Vegan diets can be a major challenge for a lot of vegan beginners. Aside from the new diet and food items being introduced into the body’s overall system, it is extremely difficult to get enough protein. Protein is a naturally occurring mineral in meats, poultry, and other dairy products. Unfortunately, these food items are mostly not included in the approved and recommended vegan foods. Advances in science and technology, though, have made it possible for scientists to identify high protein vegan foods to help vegans get enough protein despite going “meatless”
Health Benefits and Justification on the Importance of Protein Intake
Protein is very important to the human body. It leads in the development and growth and muscles and helps our body in a multitude of ways, from boosting metabolism, burning fat and increasing health and wellness. Being vegan can provide some challenges in getting these much-needed proteins. This can be a cause for concern as these proteins have the following health benefits:
Enhances the development of muscle mass
- As people age, they naturally become weaker and have a slower metabolism. This weakness can only be addressed by consuming more protein-rich food products and supplements on top of increased physical activity.
- Consuming enough protein can actually aid in the body’s improved metabolism as protein takes more effort from the body to digest. This means fewer hunger pangs and cravings as you tend to feel “full” with a protein-rich diet.
Protein intake can help burn calories
- Protein-rich food items that are consumed in the right quantities can help your body burn calories even while at rest. In the system, protein encourages the burning of calories even when sitting still.
Top Ten Vegan Foods that are High in Protein
Protein has been established as an essential mineral in the development and growth of muscles. With the vegan diet, there is a big chance that protein intake may not be sufficient or enough to promote muscle growth and development. Thankfully, there are ten (10) vegan foods that are high in protein and these are listed below:
This nutritious food item packs six (6) grams of protein and has the nine (9) essential amino acids needed by the human body. Regular intake of eggs can supply vegans with their much needed protein fix.
A food product that is high in protein, cottage cheese has ten (10) grams of protein and goes great with salads and desserts. Taking some cottage cheese along with other nutritious food items can greatly vegans maintain healthy levels of protein intake.
Similar to cottage cheese, Greek yogurt has ten (10) grams of protein. Some yogurts come in different flavors and these flavored yogurts may have increased sugar content. It is advisable to just have plain greek yogurt topped with additional food items rich in protein (such as oats and granola) to multiply the protein intake of the body.
Lentils have the same protein amount as that of chicken. One (1) cup of lentils has 18 grams of protein just like chicken and they are a perfect addition to soups, stews, and even salads. Some recipes even encourage using lentils as toppings or add ons to cookies for that extra healthy protein-rich dessert.
Also called Garbanzo Beans, chickpeas contain fifteen (15) grams of protein which can make for healthy, crunchy and protein filled snack vegans (and non-vegans) can enjoy. Chickpeas can also be added to salads or used as meat substitute in soups and stew, making sure that vegans stay true to their diet plan.
A cup of quinoa can provide eight (8) grams of protein and is an excellent carbohydrate substitute for pastas and rice meals. Quinoa can also be used as meat substitute in the beef chili pepper recipes using quinoa instead of ground beef.
Almonds are not only protein-rich but they are also rich in healthy fats and omega 3s. Twenty three (23) almonds contain around seven (7) grams of protein. Almonds can be used to replace unhealthy snack items so instead of snacking on potato chips and french fries, vegans can enjoy this healthy alternative while getting their recommended dose of protein.
One of the most protein-rich vegetables on this list is Green Peas. One (1) cup of this highly nutritious side dish can provide vegans with eight (8) grams of protein. Green peas can easily be mixed with other vegetables for a tasty side dish that is protein-rich, tasty and extremely nutritious depending on the added vegetable items (such as carrots)
Edamame is possibly one of the most protein-rich food item on this list clocking in at seventeen (17) grams of protein per cup. This simple yet tasty soybean can be boiled, steamed and roasted expanding its possibilities in the kitchen while remaining true to its main health benefit which is to provide alternative protein-rich foods to vegans.
A highly nutritious seed, Chia seeds can provide four (4) grams of protein in just 1 oz on top of proving eleven (11) grams of fiber and calcium content equal to around three (3) glasses of milk. They are especially tasty since they have a nutty texture and can be easily added to various food items such as smoothies, soups, stews or other home-baked products
While these items can provide vegans that much needed protein boost, non-vegans can also enjoy the benefits of a healthy and nutritious snack or main meal with any of these food items. One may notice that these protein-rich vegan options are also low calorie and healthy choices compared to any fast food menu and supermarket chips and crisps. These high protein vegan food choices then, make going vegan easier, healthier and more manageable as this particular food group can help maintain the required protein intake of vegans.