Top Vegan & Vegetarian Protein Sources
If you are eating a vegan or vegetarian diet (or just trying to eat less meat in general), it may be a bit difficult to find out the best sources to get protein from. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps grow and maintain muscles, keeps your skin and hair healthy, and it also helps keep you feeling full for a longer period of time. Let’s get started and take a look at the best protein source options that are completely meat-less!
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Vegan & Vegetarian Protein Options
Greek Yogurt [vegetarian]. This is a great protein source to add to smoothies, or you can make a parfait with your favorite fruit and granola! It may also be used as a sour cream substitute. Try to choose plain greek yogurt that do not have any added sugars. For a dairy-free homemade version, try a blend of cashews and rich coconut milk.
Eggs [vegetarian]. If you can get your hands on pasture-raised eggs, that is even better as they contain twice as much omega-3, three times more vitamin D, four times more vitamin E and seven times more beta-carotene than eggs from hens raised on traditional feed. Eggs contain various trace nutrients that are essential to your health!
Lentils [vegan & vegetarian]. Lentils are an excellent source of protein for vegans as well as an excellent source of fiber. This protein source is low in fat and calories + naturally gluten-free, making them the perfect staple to keep in your kitchen. They are an easy option to add protein to your soups & salads!
Chia Seeds [vegan & vegetarian]. Chia seeds are very nutrient-dense, delivering protein, fiber and omega-3s into your diet. Just like the greek yogurt, you can add them into your smoothies, onto a parfait with fruit, or you can make overnight chia seed pudding simply by adding 2 tablespoons of chia seeds for every 1/2 cup of milk alternative.
Quinoa [vegan & vegetarian]. This completely gluten-free plant-based protein contains all nine essential amino acids (making it a complete protein) and is rich in fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, iron, thiamine and folate. With quinoa, you can make patties for burgers, add them to salads, create dips, etc. For ideas, check here!
Hemp Seeds [vegan & vegetarian]. Similar to chia seeds, they are great sprinkled in smoothies, parfaits, oatmeal, and more! In addition to being a great source of protein, they are rich in healthy fats including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (both of which are known for improving heart health by reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides).
Black Beans [vegan & vegetarian]. Black beans are versatile, cholesterol-free, high in fiber, rich in protein and low in fat! They are also rich in resistant starch and may help you feel fuller for a longer period of time. These beans are great for soups, salads, nachos, making burger patties, tacos, and much more.
Chickpeas [vegan & vegetarian]. In addition to being a great source of protein, chickpeas contain several key vitamins and minerals which are necessary for bone, muscle and skin health. Only one cup of chickpeas provides almost 1/3 of an adult’s daily protein needs! You can put them in sandwiches, in pasta, make hummus, roast them, the possibilities are endless.
Edamame [vegan & vegetarian]. Naturally gluten-free, low in calories, high in essential fatty acids and protein, this snack is great for people who may not be getting as much protein as meat eaters. A quick tip: edamame can be added to your favorite salsa for texture and protein!
Green Peas [vegan & vegetarian]. Green peas are another great plant-based source of protein- they are very filling and can be a great snack when roasted or thrown in the air-fryer. You can also blend them with other veggies or create a fresh pea soup.
Peanuts + Peanut Butter [vegan & vegetarian]. Peanuts are a great source of plant-based protein, also rich in fat and fiber. With roughly 7 grams of protein per ounce, peanuts are the most protein-packed nut with levels comparable to (or better than) a serving of beans.
Almonds + Almond Butter [vegan & vegetarian]. People can eat almonds raw or roasted as a snack- you can add them to both sweet or savory dishes for a nice crunch as they are readily available to buy sliced, flaked, slivered, or as a flour! They contain slightly less protein than peanuts, but make up for it with other nutrients as well.
*This article will continuously be updated. Feel free to bookmark this page to come back to see any updates! Feel free to share your favorite vegan/vegetarian protein sources as well at firstname.lastname@example.org
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