A healthy vegan diet can provide plenty of protein. However, much of the available information suggested vegan protein sources which aren’t actually that dense in protein. This handy chart gives you 20 vegan protein sources with 20g of protein.
Take special note of both the calories and the quantity of each vegan protein source. So called ‘good sources’ of vegan protein, such as Kale and chia seeds require you to consume a crazy amount. Are you really going to eat 7 cups of Kale?
And look at Quinoa, as a protein source. Not that great really. All the foods below it have less calories for the same amount of protein. Plus let’s not forget the environmental and cultural impact of growing quinoa.
How should I combine my vegan protein sources?
As a vegan, wanting more protein in their diet, it is best to combine many different protein sources. This ensure an adequate range of amino acids are consumed and that you are keeping a lot of variety in your diet.
Here is an example of how you might put these foods together in a day’s meals:
1/2 packet of tofu (10g of protein), scrambled with 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (10g of protein) on 2 slices wholemeal sprouted grain toast (another 10g). Total 40g
1/2 can of chickpeas, spices, garlic, sautéed with a bag of baby spinach, 2 cups of mushrooms and 1/2 cup rice cooked. Total 35g protein
1/2 packet Seitan strips (10g protein), a tablespoon of hemp hearts (4g protein) and a quarter cup of peanuts (10g protein). Total 24g protein
1/3 can of Black bean (10g protein) and 2 cups of mushroom (4g protein) in two soft tacos (2g protein) with salsa and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast ‘cheese’ (5g protein) on top. Total 21g protein
All up this is 120g of protein which is more than enough for a non-athlete vegan and adequate for a smaller female vegan athlete.
This is just one example. Get creative and mix up your favourite high protein vegan foods.
A note on vegan protein sources for athletes and bodybuilders:
If you are an athlete you may want to supplement with BCAAs. Each scoop contains 7g of protein and a wide variety of amino acids. Vegans should also supplement with vitamin B12 as it’s not available in natural plant products. Some nutritional yeasts are fortified with it.