words Alexa Wang
If you don’t eat meat, then getting enough protein every day can be a serious challenge. Whether you’re a vegetarian or vegan because of preference, familiarity, dietary restrictions, or any other reason, not eating meat eliminates a major source of protein from your diet.
That said, you can still get plenty of protein if you’re smart about what you eat. Several vegan foods are packed with protein and you need to make a point of including them into your diet to keep you healthy.
Something like vegan cashew yogurt is a tasty choice that you can easily add to your breakfast for a small punch of protein. Continuing to make protein-loaded selections like this throughout the day will eventually add up to what you need to keep you strong.
To help you get all the protein your body needs, we’ll look at some of the best vegan foods for protein below.
The first protein source you should be consuming regularly is nuts.
You’ve likely heard that nuts are a good source of protein and there is a lot of truth to that. However, it’s important to note that each type of nut contains a different amount of protein.
This means that some nuts are better than others when it comes to getting your protein intake. Peanuts are the best nut for protein while almonds aren’t a bad choice, either. You can also eat walnuts, pistachios, and brazil nuts if you’d like some variety.
One thing to keep in mind is that nuts are often associated with being high in fat and calories. Nuts do have a good amount of fat and calories, but at least the fats are good for you.
Because of this, you should moderate how many nuts you consume. They can be used as a snack and shouldn’t serve as your primary protein source.
Another excellent source of protein comes from beans.
The great thing about beans is that there are so many choices. Whether you’re into black, pinto, garbanzo, or kidney beans, you can’t go wrong as far as protein intake.
All beans have a good amount of protein in them. Garbanzo beans are one of your healthiest options due to the high amounts of fiber they also contain.
For a slight variation from beans, you can also look into legume varieties. Beans are part of the legume family, so other legumes can also be sought for protein.
One of the best legumes you can eat is lentils. These are packed with protein and have plenty of fiber, too.
Another alternative is soybeans. These have an abundance of protein and are one of the most popular options for vegan protein. Soybeans tend to show up in the form of tofu or tempeh, which both taste great and can be used in just about any dish.
Feel free to eat beans daily as it’s a fantastic way of adding a significant amount of protein to your diet.
Meat and Dairy Substitutes
You should also look for meat and dairy substitutes.
When it comes to individual protein content, meat is the highest source and dairy is close behind. Unfortunately, these are both animal products and this means that they aren’t good options for you as a vegan.
However, meat and dairy substitutes make for a good middle ground.
There are several different types of vegan sausages, beef-like crumbles, chicken patties, and even tofu can be considered a meat alternative. These can all be used like their meat counterpart, tasting similar but without containing any meat.
Dairy substitutes are also a nice choice because many dairy products have plenty of protein. Foods like cheese, yogurt, and milk all provide a substantial amount of this essential nutrient.
Several dairy products can be made dairy-free, which means they’re often made from nuts. As nuts are a good source of protein, this will make a dairy substitute inherently filled with protein.
One thing to keep in mind is avoiding meat and dairy substitutes that are loaded with chemicals. These are not good for you and it’s better to find more natural sources of protein.
With that in mind, feel free to eat as many meat and dairy substitutes as you’d like to help meet your protein goals.
One last way to get your protein is through protein powder.
Even if you give your best effort to eat a variety of protein-packed food throughout the day, there’s still a decent chance that you aren’t getting enough to meet your daily needs.
Meat is just too good of a protein source that eliminating it makes meeting your goals quite a challenge. However, a great way to combat this is through supplementation.
Protein supplements, specifically protein powder, is an amazing way of increasing your protein intake. You can use it to create shakes, smoothies, or baked goods for a healthy treat.
Chances are, you’ll need a protein supplement if you want to get enough protein every day. Think about adding a serving size of protein powder to your daily diet to help you get closer to your protein goals.
While meat is the best way of getting the protein that your body needs, you can get adequate intake without it. This requires you to be specific about what you eat and prioritize foods that are high in protein.
A few vegan-friendly options include nuts, beans, meat, and dairy substitutes, and protein powder. These are all foods that you can consume every day, which makes them a great addition to your diet.
The trick about meeting your protein needs as a vegan is making sure that just about everything you eat has protein in it. This means eating a wide variety of food and always opting for a protein-loaded alternative.
With enough dedication and effort, you can certainly meet your protein needs without eating meat! Just vary your protein sources and make a point of picking foods that you can consistently eat day in and day out.