What are the best high protein vegan food options?
How do I eat more protein as a vegan?
Which plant based foods are high in protein?
These are some of the common vegan nutrition questions I get as a Sports Dietitian from vegan athletes and gym goers alike. The truth is that vegan diets can be effectively balanced diet but they require more care and effort to ensure you fill the gaps left by eliminating animal based food products.
Protein is one nutrient that many vegans struggle to get enough of because the biggest players in the protein food game as animal based products. Nonetheless, there are some effective plant based protein foods you can incorporate into your diet to level up your results and your vegan athlete game.
In today’s blog I will reveal the top 5 best vegan protein food sources that you should consider including in your diet from today!
Plant based nutrition does not need to be complicated but it can easily be done incorrectly. That is why you need to put in extra effort to eat certain foods and understand how to eat a BALANCED vegan/plant based diet.
One of the biggest struggles my vegan clients have is hitting protein targets daily on a consistent basis. Before they come and see me they would struggle with understanding how to optimise plant based eating alongside their fuelling and recovery requirements. Luckily, the first step is having a “cheatsheet” to vegan protein options - specifically the best bang for your buck options money can buy.
So without further ado…
Tofu is a food product made from the curds of soybeans. Soy is a complete protein source (i.e. it has all the ‘essential amino acids’) and therefore this makes tofu an excellent option for vegan and vegetarian diets. There are various variations of tofu, all with their own uses in the kitchen but all you want to know is to get your tofu game up if you want to level up protein as a vegan athlete.
Protein (per 100g): 8 grams
Another day, another soy based protein option for your vegan needs. Tempeh is created through the fermentation of soybeans. This makes it another complete protein food source and is also versatile in the kitchen - allowing you to mix it up so you aren’t just livin’ the tofu life.
Protein (per 100g): 19 grams
Texturised Vegetable Protein (TVP):
Texturised vegetable protein (TVP) - also known as Texturised Soy Protein - is another high protein and high fibre soy based meat substitute made from soy flour. It is made when soybean oil is extracted and the leftovers are used to make this powerhouse of vegan protein. TVP is super versatile and can be added to many dishes to enhance the protein content.
Protein (per 100g): 50+ grams
Legumes and lentils are a food staple that is known for its nutrient and fibre qualities. However, another cool thing about the beans and lentils you know (and hopefully love), is that is also contains a nice hit of plant based protein. This makes legumes and lentils are truly balanced staple in ones diet and a great way for vegans to boost protein intake in a healthy way. While the protein may not be complete like the above 3, it can be combined with other proteins and grains to make it “complete”.
Protein (per 100g): 5-9 grams (depending on the legume and lentil)
Quorn is the name of a range of plant based food products that contain the new protein kid on the block - Mycoprotein. Mycoprotein has risen in availability and populraty in recent years as a new complete protein that enables vegans and vegetarians alike, to enjoy a variety of different “mock” food products. Mycoprotein in laymens terms is created through the fermentation of fungus - but don’t let that sway you, it doesn’t taste funky. However, as a vegan, care should be taken as some Quorn products contain eggs.
Protein (per 100g): 15 grams
To wrap up!
So now you know the 5 best protein food sources for vegans. By incorporating even ONE of these foods in your diet, you will surely boost your protein game. The key is finding the group of protein foods you both enjoy AND feel confident cooking. After doing this, it’s as asimple as finding recipes or swapping out meat in recipes for the above options. To help you out, here are some ways I eat plant based meals (even if I’m not vegan):
Now it is your turn to start improving the protein intake in your diet and I hope this blog has helped get you back on the right path. Remember, it’s not impossible to eat enough protein as a vegan…it’s your strategy and effort that matters.
Want help executing the right nutrition strategy?
So if you are ready to take your nutrition to the next level and elevate your performance in a way that doesn’t make you want to punch your Sports Dietitian, then let’s chat.
I have developed a 90 Day Macro Sherpa program that is a 1:1 nutrition coaching experience to help start bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to be as an athlete. In this program, I'll personally coach you using my flexible nutrition system to help you harness the power of calories and macro strategy to regain your competitive edge - think of it as a bespoke sports nutrition solution that empowers you to eat better to achieve better.
No matter if you are vegan or not vegan, I can help you simplify nutrition and harness it for real results and lifestyle outcomes.
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Hi there! My name's Aleksa Gagic - i'm a Brisbane Sports Dietitian & Brisbane Sports Nutritionist. I have 7+ years experience in providing professional nutrition consulting and want to help you learn about the power of flexible nutrition.