How Do Vegans Get Enough Protein on a Plant-Based Diet?

How Do Vegans Get Enough Protein on a Plant-Based Diet?

A protein-rich diet is essential for maintaining and developing muscle strength, building muscle mass, keeping you energetic, curbing hunger, and naturally promoting weight loss.

And to ensure that you get enough protein each day, you can rely on meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy products.

But what about vegans?

How do vegans get protein on a plant-based diet?

If you have this question on your mind, this blog has the answer.

This blog lists the top 8 protein-rich plant-based foods along with different ways to include them in your diet.

So, read along and get all the protein you need.

How Much Protein Do You Need Each Day?

There's not one-size-fits-all approach regarding how much protein you need per day.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein depends on certain factors like: -

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Overall health
  • Muscle mass
  • Whether the person is pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Activity levels

However, an average healthy person generally requires around 0.45-0.73 grams of protein per pound (1.0-1.6 grams per kg) which is nearly 70-113 grams for a person that weighs nearly 70kgs.

Top 8 Plant-Based Foods to Help you Meet your Protein Needs

1.    Tofu, Edamame and Tempeh

Soy products are one of the best sources of plant-based protein, perhaps because of the essential amino acids, they come with, offering you a complete protein package. Tofu, Edamame, and Tempeh are some well-known soy products that vegans love. In addition to offering you protein, soy products are also a good source of calcium and iron.


How Much Protein Do They Provide?

85 grams of Tofu offers you around 8 grams of protein. The same amount of Tempeh and Edamame offers you 16 grams and 9 grams of protein, respectively. 

How Do Vegans Get Protein from Tofu, Edamame, and Tempeh?

You can use tofu and tempeh in several recipes like burgers, sandwiches, curries, soups, etc. Edamame can be an awesome addition to your salads, or you can eat it as just a side dish.

2.    Lentils

Lentils come in different varieties and are staple ingredients in most Indian meals. The credit goes to their high protein profile. Lentils consist of antioxidant polyphenols, fiber, and folate and are rich in minerals like magnesium.


How Much Protein Do Lentils Provide? 

A single cup or 198-200 grams of lentils will provide you with half of the needed fiber intake and nearly 18 grams of protein.

How Do Vegans Get Protein from Lentils?

Lentils can be used in a variety of dishes like soups, salads, and stews or served with rice. If you are a South Asian or like South Asian food, you probably know the best ways of consuming lentils. Lentils are also an excellent substitute for ground meat in meatballs, tacos, etc.

3.    Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds come from the Cannabis Sativa plant. It is often misjudged as it belongs to the same family as the cannabis plant. However, it's far better than cannabis. That is because it consists of an almost negligible amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, the substance responsible for causing the psychoactive effect of cannabis.

Hemp is rich in Zinc, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. It also consists of impressive amounts of proteins. 


How Much Protein Do Hemp Seeds Provide? 

A 30-gram serving of Hemp seeds will provide you with around 9.4 grams of protein.

How Do Vegans Get Protein from Hemp Seeds?

You can add some Hemp seeds to your daily morning smoothie, sprinkle it on your salad, or muesli. Hemp seeds are also a great addition to your energy balls and protein bars.

4.    Oats

Oats are whole grains and perhaps the simplest sources of plant-based protein. Even though oats are not considered a complete protein, they're still better in terms of protein than many other grains. Also, a cup of cooked oats carries more protein than an ounce of meat.


How Much Protein Do Oats Provide?

Half a cup or around 40 grams of dry oats can provide approximately 5 grams of protein.

How Do Vegans Get Protein from Oats?

You can add oats to a variety of meals and dishes. It can be simple overnight oats with your favorite fruits such as toppings, oat flour, and healthy addition to your veggie burgers. You can even grind the oats into oat flour and use it for baking.

5.    Chickpeas

Chickpeas are legumes, also known as garbanzo beans. These beans are rich in several nutrients and minerals like protein, fiber, healthy fatty acids, iron, and phosphorus. The decent amount of dietary fiber in chickpeas helps with easy digestion. It also helps control blood sugar levels because of its low glycaemic index.

How Much Protein Do Chickpeas Provide? 

A cup of cooked garbanzo beans (164 grams) consists of 14.5 grams of protein.

How Do Vegans Get Protein from Chickpeas?

The nutty taste & grainy texture of chickpeas go very well with a variety of dishes. Chickpeas are very versatile and go with both sweet and spicy dishes. You can add them to your salads, stew, or soups. If you want to add more creativity, you can blend them into a paste in a food processor and add them to your burgers. You can even make hummus spread.

6.    Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are pretty popular among vegans for all the right reasons. After all, chia seeds are a complete powerhouse of nutrients such as antioxidants, fiber, minerals, omega-3 acids, and of course, protein. Chia seeds can help you improve heart health and regulate your blood sugar.

How Much Protein Do Chia Seeds Provide? 

2 tablespoons of chia seeds (28 grams) would provide you with 4.7 grams of protein.

How Do Vegans Get Protein from Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are flavorless, and that is why these seeds can be added to various dishes. You can start with something easy like making chia water. Or add them to your smoothie, sprinkle them over salad, add them to your truffles or bake them in your bread.

7.    Seitan

Seitan is a pretty popular meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians made of wheat gluten, water, and sometimes other ingredients for extra flavor. It is a great source of selenium and decent amounts of iron, phosphorus, and calcium. However, its protein content is what makes it special.


How Much Protein Does Seitan Provide?

With 100 grams of Seitan offering about 25 grams of protein, it’s the best answer to how do vegans get protein.

How Do Vegans Get Protein from Seitan?

There are several delicious ways of adding Seitan to your daily diet for protein. You can add it to your sandwiches, mix it up with your favorite sauce, use it as a meat substitute in cheesesteaks, cut into chunks and add it to stir fires, etc.

8.    Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are not generally the first thing that comes to mind when you think about protein. However, they do offer a decent amount of protein. And eating a variety of fruits & vegetables in your diet can fulfill a great part of your protein requirement in a day.

Vegetables like green peas, spinach, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, etc., are rich in proteins. Coming to fruits, you can rely on guava, banana, apricot, jackfruit, kiwi, apricot, blueberry, raspberry, etc., to get an adequate amount of protein for your body.

How Much Protein Do Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Provide? 

Vegetables can get you around 4-6 grams of protein per cup. Fresh fruits generally provide 2-4 grams of protein per cup. However, the amount of protein you're getting varies from fruit to vegetable and vegetable to vegetable.

How Do Vegans Get Protein from Fresh Fruits and Vegetables?

Vegetables & Fruits form a major part of most people's diets. You can make fresh fruit bowls, add fresh fruits to your oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles, make smoothies, etc.

For vegetables, you can add them to your soups and smoothies, grind them and add them to your pasta, make vegetable noodles, and whatnot.

Bonus Point: Plant-Based Protein Supplements

While the first preference should always be given to natural food sources, natural supplements can also be reliable sometimes.

For instance, because of a chaotic lifestyle, not everyone can prepare unique recipes each day to ensure protein intake. Also, people suffering from poor nutrient absorption aren't able to absorb all the nutrients, including protein, from the foods they consume. That's when supplements come into the picture.

Supplements are super easy to consume and come with concentrated nutrients which get released into your bloodstream regardless of how good your nutrient absorption is. So, if you have a really tight schedule or suffer from poor nutrient absorption, you can rely on natural plant-based protein supplements.

Point to Note: Always remember to put in good research while looking for plant-based proteins, as all aren't reliable. If you need help choosing the right plant-based protein powder, you can refer to this article.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know how do vegans get protein, it's time to include some protein-rich foods in your daily diet. However, always remember to first determine the right amount of protein you need. And then figure out which combination of the above-mentioned foods will be able to meet those needs. This way, you can ensure adequate protein intake and the corresponding benefits.

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