Vegan foods are solely plant-based and include vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains and in some cases, soy products. It is possible to be on a high-protein diet and still exclude animal protein from your diet. Tofu, a soy product, is one vegan protein option, but there are plenty of other vegan protein sources to choose from if you want to exclude soy products from your diet. You might want to explore a high-protein diet if you are trying to lose weight or increase muscle mass.
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Soy-Free Vegan Protein Powders
Protein powder is an easy way to boost your protein intake on a vegan diet. If you like to make vegan fruit and vegetable smoothies or juices, you can add hemp, yellow pea and brown rice protein powders to your beverage. You can also add the powder to water or juice. A one-scoop serving of a blend of these three powders has around 20 grams of protein, varying slightly by the brand. The combination of these three proteins creates a complete protein source, providing you will all the amino acids your body needs.
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are another strong source of vegan protein and provide about 15 grams of protein per one 1-cup serving depending on the variety. Because there are so many types of beans and legumes, including garbanzo, kidney, black, pinto, white, lentils and split peas, you can routinely alternate the type of bean or legume you eat so you never get bored from eating the same thing day after day. Another positive side benefit of beans and legumes if you are trying to lose weight is their high fiber content. This contributes to a feeling of fullness and makes you less likely to overeat, which can help you with your weight loss.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds have a high protein content, with 7 to 10 grams of protein per one 1/4-cup serving, depending on the variety of nut or seed. They also contain fiber and monounsaturated fats, which help decrease your appetite. If you are trying to lose weight or increase muscle mass, be sure to stick to just one serving of nuts and seeds for a source of protein, as they are high in calories and fat.
Because you are on a vegan diet, you should be consuming plenty of vegetables. If you are trying to adhere to a high-protein vegan diet, some vegetables are particularly high in protein. A 1-cup serving of cooked broccoli has 4 grams of protein, 1 cup of cooked spinach has 5 grams of protein and one 6-ounce potato has 4 grams of protein. If you eat your daily recommended minimum five servings of vegetables, you easily get between 20 and 25 grams of protein from these sources alone.
Whole grains are another source of vegan protein. Seitan, a food made of wheat gluten, contains a whopping 31 grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 9 grams of protein, two slices of whole-wheat bread has 5 grams of protein and 1 cup of cooked brown rice provides 5 grams of protein.