One of the biggest common myths still believed by many people today is that vegans and vegetarians can’t get enough protein in their diets, and therefore they’re weak and skinny. Believe it or not, there are many vegan foods that are high in protein, some with even more protein than beef.
Protein helps with muscle growth, the immune system, respiratory and heart functions. Choosing the plant-based variety of protein comes with fewer calories and generally less fat than the meat variety.
The USDA recommends 56g of protein per day for men, and 46g for women. Some people such as athletes, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may need more.
If you don’t think you can build muscle and strength on a vegan diet, then obviously you haven’t heard of vegan strongman Patrik Baboumian, who was named “Germany’s Strongest man” in 2011. There are many other vegan athletes such as Mac Danzig (MMA Fighter,) Scott Jurek (Marathon Runner,) Austin Aries (Pro Wrestler,) and many more who have all done very well while fueled only by vegan foods. The reason is because vegan foods can give you all the protein and strength that you need, not just in barely adequate amounts, but in ABUNDANCE.
Regardless of who you are, vegan or not, there are vegan sources of protein that are tasty and nutritious that also benefits your health. Read through the top 10 high protein vegan foods, and let me know in the comments which one is your favorite.
What some call the “magical green powder,” you can sprinkle some in your smoothies and drink it every morning before or after your workout. Spirulina is 65% complete protein, which is three times more than beef at 22%. In addition to the protein, it is packed full of amino acids and minerals such as magnesium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, manganese, potassium, copper and iron. Definitely a good source of protein if you want to build muscle everyday.
2. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are a great alternative for people who are allergic to soy, 2 tbps of hemp seeds gives you 10g of complete protein. This is one of the few plant proteins that gives you all the essential amino acids – acids that your body cannot make on it’s own in building muscle and more protein, they are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. So go to Whole Foods and buy lots and lots of hemp!
Most people probably haven’t thought of leafy greens as a source of protein, but yes, spinach packs a protein punch. One cup of spinach gives you 5g of protein, and from a calorie perspective it actually has more protein than beef. 100 calories of beef has 10g of protein, whereas 100 calories of spinach has 12g of protein. So you can just have a few cups of spinach a day and you’re already well on your way to the USDA recommended amount.
These “little trees” are one of the best vegetables for fighting against cancer, it is also packed full of antioxidants which helps prevent aging. Just a mere 30 calories of broccoli gives you 4.5g of protein. It is a tasty vegetable that is packed with dozens of nutrients, and it is said to be the healthiest vegetable you can eat.
5. Almonds & Almond Butter
Almonds are an excellent source of protein, 1 cup of almonds or 2tbsp of almond butter gives you 7g of protein. What’s not to like about this healthy nut? Imo it’s tastier if you roast them up first inside the oven. Eat a handful a day, mix them with dried raisins or cranberries, or put a few spoonfuls of almond butter into your smoothies for an easy and cruelty-free protein shake. Here is how to make your own almond butter:
Just like other legumes such as peas, beans and lentils, chickpeas aka garbanzo beans are packed with protein and fiber. Half a cup of chickpeas will gives you about 7g of protein. If you get chickpeas through hummus then it would contain a bit less since it’s mixed with some other ingredients. Chickpeas helps lower bad cholesterol, which will help reduce the risk of heart disease. You can use chickpeas in a variety of ways of cooking such as salads, soups, in stews and in a curry. Chickpea flour, aka garam, is a gluten-free flour that you can use to make pancakes or as substitution for eggs in a baking recipe.
7. Peanut Butter
Similar to almond butter, peanut butter is packed with protein and provides 8 grams for every two tablespoons. It is a very popular pre-workout food for many and is a healthy source of protein for bodybuilders. It is frequently used in smoothies for it’s protein and fats, which similar to avocados, is a kind of healthy fat.
Edamame are young green soybeans picked when they were still immature. It has all of the essential amino acids and provides 11g of complete protein for every 100g. They can be found frozen or fresh in most supermarkets. They are popular in Japanese and Chinese cuisine where the pods are boiled or steamed and then sprinkled with salt. In addition to protein, they’re a great source of fiber, iron, magnesium, thiamine, phosphorous and copper.
Tempeh is made from fermenting soybeans and provides 30g of protein for every cup (166g.) It is again a complete protein and is also a good source of phosphorous, riboflavin, copper, vitamin B2 and magnesium. It’s also easier on the stomach to digest and absorb due to the fermentation process. Check out this cool “bacon tempeh” recipe:
Quinoa is a gluten-free and low fat seed-like grain that is known for being high in protein. It provides 8g of protein per cup and is a good source of iron, fiber, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, and B vitamins (B1, B2 and B6.) It is also a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids, it also contains a small bit of omega-3s in there. It is technically not a grain, but a seed that’s eaten like a grain. Throw some into a stir-fry, salad, cereal or smoothie to sneak in some high quality plant protein.
It’s very easy for a vegan to get enough protein to meet the USDA recommendations because nearly all vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and grains contain some levels of protein, with a lot of them having high amounts of it, how can anyone miss eating meat? Anyone can get all the protein they need from a whole foods plant-based diet alone, regardless of your level of activity. If the strongest man in Germany can be a vegan, then there can be no more excuse for anyone else.