Best Sources of Plant Based Protein

Moving towards a vegetarian or vegan diet is becoming more popular. Many people do it for health reasons, others because they have ethical views on eating animal products.

But how do you maintain your intake of protein if you don’t have meat to draw on? It’s one of the big question that those new to veganism ask. The great news is that there are plenty of plant protein sources and it’s easy to add them into your diet.

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

This depends a lot on your lifestyle and your body type. If you live an ordinary life, do a moderate amount of exercise and just want to get a healthy balance, 56 grams is recommended for men and 46 for women.

If you are on a lean muscle diet, however, and want to improve your fitness, you may be looking to take on more. You should, however, make sure that you maintain a good balance between all the food groups.

To start you off, here’s our list of the best lean vegan protein:

1. Legumes

If your looking for lean proteins that are suitable for vegan and vegetarian meals, legumes are vital. Essentially the fruit or seed of a plant, they include peas, kidney and soy beans, lentils, chickpeas and green beans.

For a quick and easy way to get a large part of your protein intake for the day, these are a good choice. A cup of chickpeas, for example, contains about 15 grams of protein and other legumes contain more.

2. Quinoa

Another food staple for those searching for lean vegan protein is quinoa which contains about 14 grams in half a cup. As a replacement for rice or wheat, it’s ideal. It provides a lot of protein power and can be added to practically any meal, used in breads and even as a breakfast.

Did you know Quinoa is a good source of the amino acid Leucine, too?

3. Hemp Seeds

Many beginner vegetarians and vegans tend to stick to standard fayre rather than realising there’s a lot more out there if they are prepared to look. Hemp is normally associated with clothing and manufacturing but the seeds are also high in protein, similar to quinoa.

Hemp is good for your skin and contains essential amino acids for promoting lean muscle. It does take a bit of preparation, however, which can put some people off.

There’s around 10g of protein in three tablespoons of Hemp seed.

4. Leafy Greens

While they are not massively high in protein (a couple of big handfuls of spinach has about 2 grams), they are good for other things. When incorporated into a larger meal for example, they are a good way to increase the protein count while also adding essential fibre and vitamins.

5. Tofu and Soya Beans

People either love or hate tofu and most of the problem comes down to its preparation. Tofu is, however, very high in protein with half a cup containing around 20 grams. It’s made from mashed up Soya and is used in a lot of Asian cooking in particular.

Soya beans are also high in protein as you might expect and are available in a wide variety of products nowadays. If you are replacing dairy, then soy milk is a good replacement as a full glass contains 5 to 6 grams of protein. You can also buy roasted soy beans to snack on if you want to supplement your protein intake during the day.

As you can see, plant protein is everywhere. As with any food choice, it’s about making the right choices when it comes to diet if you are a vegan or vegetarian. All living things, including plants, contain at least some protein. Vegans also tend to have diets that are naturally rich in other important nutrients such as fibre, vitamins, and folate.

While we associate protein with meat and dairy products, as long as you eat a balanced diet, you should be getting more than enough whether you’re a meat eater, vegetarian or vegan. Don’t let anyone tell you that meat is essential to build or maintain muscle.