“OMG how do you get enough protein?” is a question I get asked A LOT. Like daily. So it inspired me to create a post dedicated to explaining how myself and other vegans get enough protein.
I understand why I get the question, as a lot of people assume because I don’t eat meat or dairy that I am malnourished. I couldn’t be further from that.
Yes meat and dairy products contain protein, but A LOT of other foods also contain protein.
Here are some of my favorite forms of protein that I use on a consistent basis:
1. Black beans- oh my, I put black beans in 80% of my meals because I love them! Black beans are full of antioxidants and contain approximately 8 grams of protein per half cup. I use them in veggie burgers, enchiladas, salads, and even stir fry. I love them.
2. Quinoa- this is another staple of my diet. I have quinoa just about daily! I use it as my pasta and rice for most of my dishes that need them. There are approximately 8 grams of protein per one cup of quinoa. It is a great alternative to pasta if you are looking to lower your carbohydrate intake.
3. Edamame- at first I only had edamame if I were eating sushi, but now I use it in a lot of dishes. Edamame has about 8 1/2 grams of protein per half cup. Eat it by itself or throw it in an Asian salad like I do, but either way, edamame is delicious!
4. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)- like black beans, I eat these just about daily. I truly love them! I sauté them in stir fry or throw them in salads. They provide me with 8(ish) grams of protein per half cup.
5. Tofu- I like tofu. A lot of people don’t like the consistency or texture, but I find myself eating it more and more. I use “extra firm” for stir fry because it holds it shape, and I use “firm” for when I want it to be more like a scrambled egg texture. Either way, tofu provides 10 grams of protein per cup.
6. Lentils- I love lentil soup and using them in sauté style dishes. Lentils provide 9 grams of protein per half cup!
7. Soy milk- I could drink this by the gallons. Soy milk contains 8 grams of protein per cup. I down a cup each morning and often times have another cup at night with my nightly dessert.
8. Chia seeds- these little seeds are amazing! I use them daily in my breakfast and smoothies, and often throw them in whatever I am baking (usually banana bread). They contain about 5 grams of protein per two tablespoons.
9. Broccoli- I love using broccoli in my stir fry meals, as well as putting it in my salads. Broccoli has about 4 grams of protein per cup.
10. Nutritional yeast- this stuff is one of my new favorite finds. It gives a cheesy taste and texture, and is great with cauliflower mashed “potatoes”. Nutritional yeast contains 8 grams of protein in just two tablespoons!
11. Peanut butter- um, hello this stuff is amazing. I use this every morning in my smoothies (along with chia seeds!). Peanut butter gives you about 8 grams of protein per two tablespoons.
12. Tahini- I have just started using tahini, so I don’t know a lot of recipes that contain it just yet, but I have created a good sauce for a stir fry using it. It also contains 8 grams of protein per two tablespoons.
13. Almonds- I love snacking on these raw, in the form of almond butter, or almond milk. Either way, almonds provide 7 grams of protein per two tablespoons.
14. Artichokes- I have recently become obsessed with artichokes! I love putting them in a stir fry or on pizza. Artichokes provide 8 grams of protein per one cup.
15. Spinach- I use spinach in smoothies, salads, stir fry, and baked meals. Spinach offers 5 grams of protein per cup.
16. Protein powder- I use Vega One daily for my protein smoothies. This particular brand has 20 grams of protein per scoop, but I only use half a scoop because I get enough protein from the rest of my diet. It also will make your protein powder last longer! It is a little trick I learned from my exercise physiology professor 🙂
There are many other forms of protein (green beans, peas, tempeh, etc.), but I just don’t use them as much as the sources I listed about.
I consume about 125-130 grams of protein per day. I consume about 1 gram per 1 pound, and because I lift weights and exercise for 2-3 hours per day I want to make sure I consume enough.
Please note that I am NOT a dietitian, so I cannot tell you what to eat, but I hope this information will be helpful to you! I took nutrition classes while at Iowa, but I do not have my R.D. license!