When most people consider adopting a vegan lifestyle, they usually worry about getting enough protein. Luckily, it’s a myth that vegans can’t get enough protein in their diet. If you’re considering giving up meat and animal products, you don’t need to worry that you’re going to deprive your body of the nutrients it needs.
Learning which whole foods will provide you with enough fuel is the best thing you can do when you make the switch. Having the right ingredients in your kitchen, and knowing how to make a meal out of them, will help you stay on track, and feel fulfilled with your food choices. That being said, let’s get started!
Where Vegans Get Their Protein?
Yes – plants have protein! This is probably surprising for most people to learn, because we usually aren’t taught that vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and green peas, all contain protein. Broccoli, for instance, has 17 grams of protein in 1 stalk, while kale has 2.9 grams of protein in 1 cup, and brussels sprouts contain 3 grams of protein in 1 cup.
2. Beans and Lentils
Beans are a staple in vegan kitchens. They’re also the nucleus of so many amazing dishes like tacos, quinoa bowls, burritos, and burgers.
Beans are great sources of fiber and are major sources of protein. Black beans and chickpeas contain 39 grams of protein in 1 cup, kidney peas contain 43 grams of protein, and lentils contain 18 grams of protein per cup.
3. Nut butters
Peanut butter, Almond Butter, and cashew butter are excellent sources of protein. Spread them over bread, crackers, and celery, put them in your overnight oats and smoothies, or include them in your homemade muffins and desserts.
Almond butter usually contains about 3.4 grams of protein in 1 tablespoon, while peanut butter contains 4 grams per tablespoon.
4. Tofu and Tempeh
Tofu is another vegan cooking staple. Tofu is known for soaking up flavor, so cook it with your favorite sauces, oils, herbs, and spices. You can use tofu to make sauces, scrambled “eggs”, and delicious lunch and dinner dishes. One block of tofu contains about 36 grams of protein.
5. Alternative Milk
Out of all of the alternative milks available, including almond, rice, coconut, hemp, soy, and flaxseed milk, soy milk has the most protein, coming in at 8 grams per cup.
Nuts make for an amazing snack, alongside slices of apples or other pieces of fruit. Cashews contain 5 grams of proteinper ouncee and are used to make incredible vegan sauces and cheese that you can pour over things like pasta and vegetables!
Hemp seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Chia seeds are always in my kitchen cabinet. Seeds are great to have on hand because you can add them to salads, soups, oatmeal, and sandwiches.
1 tablespoon of hemp seeds has 5.3 grams of protein; Pumpkin Seeds contain 5 grams per ounce, and chia seeds contain 4.7 grams per ounce.
Quinoa is another vegan staple. Use it for any meal: breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and get 8 grams of protein per cup!
Who doesn’t love a little oatmeal in the morning? There are 6 grams of protein in 1 cup of cooked oatmeal. Throw in some nuts, seeds, or nut butter for added protein!
Tahini is ground sesame seeds that is used to make things like hummus and salad dressings. One tablespoon of tahini contains 2.6 grams.
11. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional Yeast is magical. Vegans use it as a replacement for cheese because of its cheesy flavor. Sprinkle it over your pastas, popcorn, and salads, and you’ll see why it’s so popular. It’s also packed with nutrients like Vitamin B12, magnesium, and fiber.
You can get 8 grams from 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
That concludes my list of 11 must-have vegan ingredients. Keep these stocked up in your kitchen and you’ll never run out of things to cook and eat! As long as you have a few of these staples, you can make a nutritional meal for you and your family instead of reaching for processed fast food.