Following a plant-based diet is becoming more common. Despite what many think, getting enough nutrients, such as protein, is very possible with a primarily plant-based diet. This article answers what are sources of Plant-based, vegan proteins?
Fitness Goals and Vegan Proteins
This means that those with strength training goals, such as muscle building, can achieve their fitness goals without needing any animal protein in their diet. It just takes a little more work, such as tracking your macros, to make sure you are getting enough protein to achieve your muscle building goals, but also to keep your body functioning at optimal levels!
Whether you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, we’ll help you meet your daily protein needs by giving you tips and a list of the best plant-based protein sources!
How can athletes get enough protein from a plant-based diet?
When someone starts a plant-based diet, often they have too many vegan substitutes. These substitutes are often highly processed and nutrient poor, which can make you feel fatigued because you’re not going to get enough protein from these types of foods. Vegan substitutes aren’t necessarily bad, they’re fine in moderation, but everyone’s top priority (whether they have fitness goals or not) should always be whole foods.
Weightlifters and athletes should focus on prioritizing the right foods that are natural and protein-rich to ensure their protein intake and other important nutrient needs are met. In addition to focusing on the right foods, consider calculating your macronutrients and tracking them! The recommended daily amount of protein in the United States is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight or 0.36 per pound.
But if you consistently train at high intensity, the amount of protein you need is slightly higher than the average person to repair muscle tissue, which is why we suggest you use a macro calculator to estimate your protein needs. Once you calculate your macros, you can find out how many grams of protein your body needs to reach your goals, along with the amount of carbohydrates, fats and calories.
Plant-based Vegan Proteins
These plant based sources will be your best bet when it comes to compiling meals rich in plant-based proteins.
Legumes are a powerhouse source of plant-based protein! Legumes are known for their high protein content, for containing a wide variety of amino acids, and for being an excellent source of fiber, iron, potassium and other beneficial nutrients.
Three nutrient-rich legumes to include in your diet are….
- Black beans: 14 grams per cup
- Chickpeas: 11 grams per cup
- Lentils: 18 grams per cup
Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that looks like powder or yellow flakes. The great thing about it is that a 1/4 cup serving contains 8 grams of complete protein. It is also an excellent source of B vitamins, specifically vitamin B12. This is quite important because most sources of vitamin B12 come from animal products, so to get enough vitamin B12 and add some protein to your meals and snacks, add nutritional yeast to your pantry!
Meat substitutes are often made from soy, nuts or legumes, making them a good source of protein. Some meat substitutes contain 20 grams of plant-based protein and claim to be GMO, soy and gluten-free. However, these plant-based substitutes are often full of other additives that can cause them to have more sodium and saturated fat than meat. Be mindful of the amount you consume in your diet, as with any processed food, moderation is best.
Also known as wheat meat, seitan is a soy-free product that resembles the appearance and texture of meat. It is derived from gluten, the main protein found in wheat. 100 grams of seitan contains no less than 25 grams of protein, making it one of the richest plant-based protein sources!
You may not be able to eat it on its own, but adding spirulina to your meals or snacks can help increase your protein and nutrient intake! Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is used as a supplement in vegan or vegetarian diets. It is usually found in powder form, but can also be purchased in tablet form and taken as a supplement. Vegans and vegetarians love this supplement because one scoop of dried spirulina provides 4 grams of complete protein. It is also rich in antioxidants and a good source of several B vitamins, copper and iron.
Swap your usual whole-grain or white bread for sprouted grain bread, also known as Ezekiel bread. Why? Because this baked good contains 4 to 5 grams of protein per slice, slightly more than the average bread. In addition, sprouted grains increase the amount of healthy nutrients they contain, including their amino acid content! Specifically, it increases lysine, and most plant sources are low in this amino acid, so adding sprouted bread can help increase the overall quality of protein in your plant-based diet. It’s also high in soluble fiber, folate, vitamin C and vitamin E!
Tofu is a very popular food in the vegan world and for good reason. Just 3 ounces of tofu contains about 8 grams of protein, but also 15% of the daily value of calcium, which is great for those following a vegan or dairy-free diet! It is made from soymilk that is coagulated and pressed into white blocks that essentially have no flavor and take on the flavor of the food they are cooked with.
Vegan Protein Powder
Whole foods from natural sources should always be your top choice, but sometimes you may need a little extra help from a supplement like vegan protein powder! Fortunately, there are several plant-based protein powders on the supplement market for vegans to choose from. They are derived from protein-rich plant sources such as hemp seeds, brown rice, split peas, soybeans and even pumpkin seeds.
Summary on Plant-based Vegan Proteins
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