Getting adequate amounts of protein is an obstacle every vegan is faced! Especially those who have just started adapting a Vegan diet. Good news: there are many natural vegan protein options you can choose from! I’ve made a list of 12 protein rich foods (which include many of the ones I recommend in my Vegan meal plan!)
Vegan Protein Options: How to Ensure You Are Getting Enough Protein
One the best ways to figure out if you are taking in enough protein per day is to keep a food log. I recommend using an app like Fitness Pal and login all your meal for a solid five days. Then look back and see how much protein you are taking in and make adjustments accordingly.
For example if you see that you consistently hit 60 grams of protein but need to be at a 100 grams, you know that you need to add 40 grams of protein! Make sure to use a food scale and some measuring spoons and cups to measure your foods before logging in! Please do NOT eyeball your portion sizes as often our eyes are WAY off!
But how do I KNOW how much protein I Should Be Eating
The average females need about 1800 to 2400 calories (some more or less depending on goals). Ideally 20 to 35% of your diet should come from protein. That means the average female needs about 80 to 120 grams of protein per day (or 15 to 25 grams per meal!)
This of course does not consider specific goals and body types. For example a hard gainer looking to build some muscle may require double the amount of protein.
My best advice is to learn to calculate your Base Metabolic Rate (using a BMR calculator) and adjust your protein intake based on your goals. This is something that I teach in my online program. Generally speaking, those looking to gain weight should be hitting 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per lbs of body weight while those looking to lose weight should have 0.8 gram to 1 gram of protein per lbs of body weight.
Know that even as a Vegan (or vegetarian) you should STILL try your best to hit all your macronutrients!
Vegan Protein Options: 13 Natural Protein Rich Whole Foods
- Nuts: Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts) deliver anywhere between 3 to 6 grams of protein per serving! Buy some raw nuts and sprinkle them on your morning oats and salad. You can also alo eat natural nut butter.
- Seeds: Like nuts, the average serving of raw seeds (like pumpkin or sunflower seeds) serve 5 to 9 grams of protein! Bonus: seeds are super tasty and less allergenic than nuts! Add these to your morning breakfast bowl, to salads or eat them raw as a snack!
- Quinoa: This super grain serves a whooping 8 grams of protein per cup! It also contains 5 grams of fibre and is full of folate and magnesium. It’s a great choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
- Tempeh: Tempeh is sprouted soy beans. It’s a great source of protein at 15 grams per ½ cup cooked! You can add tempted to almost any meal!
- Black And White Beans: Both these variety of legumes serve 7 grams of protein per half a cup cooked! They are great in a salad or by themselves, cold or hot!
- Chickpeas: Similar to black beans, chick peas serve 7 grams of protein per ½ cup cooked! They are great by themselves or mixed in with rice, veggies or a salad!
- Hemp Hearts: Hemp is a great source of protein and good fats! It contains 10 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons! Sprinkle some on your oats or mix them in your shake!
- Chia Seeds: One ounce of chia seeds serves 5 grams of protein and 10 grams of fibre! You can add chia seeds to almost anything!
- Buckwheat: Buckwheat is a great alternative to oats! 1 cup cooked contains about 6 grams of protein!
- Kale: This leafy green is the ultimate vegetable! You may be surprised to find out that Kale serves 6 grams of protein in 2 cups! BONUS: It is low calories and full of vitamins like Vitamin C and Vitamin A. You can enjoy kale raw or cooked!
- Oats: Oats not only taste awesome, they are also protein and fibre rich! They serve 13 grams of protein in ½ cup!
- Adzuki Beans: These beans are a great addition to any meal! Adzuki beans serve 8.5 grams of protein in ½ cup cooked! They are also a staple in my Vegan meal plan!
I hope the list above helps you add some tasty protein into your diet! If you are looking for a more structured plan, make sure to check out my Vegan meal plan (which includes a chart of what you should be eating based on your goals!)