Does a vegan diet supply enough amounts of proteins to your body? Is the plant-based diet healthier to non-vegetarian diets? How can we include enough plant-based proteins to build muscles and stay healthy?
Our meals should contain the right proportion of proteins. Thus focusing on what we eat is important. Protein requirement of our body differs for individuals depending on their age, sex, physical activity, muscle mass, and current health status.
A well-planned vegan or vegetarian diet can provide you all nutrients including proteins. A diet with plant-based proteins promotes satiety, weight loss, and muscle strength.
Let’s learn about the top 8 plant-based sources of proteins and how to use them in your diet below.
Top 8 Sources of Plant-Based Proteins
1. Tofu, Tempeh, And Edamame
Soybeans are good sources of proteins. They’re a boon for people transforming to veganism. They provide the body with the essential amino acids for muscle growth.
Tofu, tempeh, and edamame are products derived from soybeans. All these can be used in a variety of recipes from burgers to curries.
All three products contain proteins, calcium, folate, and vitamins to boost your health.
Soy Products Nutrition:
- 1 serving = around 20 grams of protein
How to Use:
- Add them to salads and soups.
- Substitute them for meat in non-vegan recipes.
- Incorporate into stir-fried
- Use as filling for burgers, hot dogs, or tacos.
2. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds have an exceptional amount of proteins. They are also highly nutritious and supply heart-healthy fats, vitamin, and minerals. Being one of the excellent plant-based sources of proteins it becomes a must-have food for vegans.
Hemp seeds have a delicious nutty flavor with a sweet tinge. They can be easily incorporated in any recipes.
Hemp Seeds Nutrition:
- 1/4 cup = about 10 grams of plant-based proteins
How to Use:
- Sprinkle the tiny seeds on top of salads.
- Blend them into stews or soups.
- Incorporate into your smoothies for a creamy texture.
- Add to your dips, hummus, and dressings.
- Add to baked cookies and desserts.
- Sprinkle on your bowl of cereal.
Spirulina contains about 65-70% of proteins and thus is one of the few sources of plant-based proteins. It provides all the essential amino acids and thus it has a nutritive place in your meals. This superfood tastes best with smoothies, avocado guacamole, or desserts.
It’s deep blue-green seaweed that changes color when you mix it with anything. Spirulina tastes subtly sweet and nutty, with a slight savory seaweed flavor.
- 2 tablespoons spirulina = 8 grams of protein
How to Use:
- Blend into fruit or green smoothies.
- Use in desserts like chocolate fudge, energy bars, etc.
- Sprinkle on protein shakes to boost nutrition.
Quinoa is a gluten-free protein-rich food that can be incorporated into recipes that savor your taste buds. It’s often classified as starchy proteins because it contains a mix of carbs, proteins, and fiber. Vegans can use quinoa in place of rice or wheat to add diversity in their meal plans.
- 1 cup quinoa = 7-9 grams of protein
How To Use:
- Cooked quinoa can be added to salads or a bowl of skillet meals.
- It makes a delicious breakfast cereal with nut milk and fruits.
- Replace rice with quinoa with stir-fry veggies.
- Pair with other plant-based proteins in wraps, pilaf, etc.
Beans and legumes are great sources of plant-based proteins. They are also starchy proteins with carbs and fiber content. They also contain magnesium which plays a vital role in muscle function and protein synthesis.
Different types of beans, including black, red, and white can be included in your vegan diets.
- 1 cup cooked beans = around 15 grams of protein
How to Use:
- Bean curries topped with spices taste delicious.
- Combine with salads, rice or quinoa meals, or tacos.
- Use beans to make vegetarian meatballs or burgers.
6. Nuts And Seeds
Almonds, walnuts, cashews, and more are nuts with abundant minerals, vitamins, healthy fats, and proteins. They have a versatile nutty flavor that blends with many sweet and savory dishes. They have great sources of plant-based proteins with a full line-up of amino acids.
Like hemp seeds; sesame, sunflower, chia, flax, and pumpkin seeds also contain high amounts of proteins. These have a different flavor from neutral to earthy to nutty. But, they go well with different recipes.
Nuts And Seeds Nutrition:
- 1/4 cup nuts and seeds = around 7-9 grams of protein
How to Use Nuts And Seeds:
- Sprinkle both on top of salads or any meal.
- Use in baked goods like bread, granola, and energy bars, etc.
- Can be used in smoothies and desserts.
- Blend to make nut or seed butter.
- Add to your oatmeal, cereals, or porridges.
7. Ezekiel Bread
Ezekiel bread is made from sprouted legumes and grains like barley, spelt, millet, soybeans, and lentils. Thus this bread is more nutritious and healthy as compared to the traditional bread. Sprouting increases the amino acid content of the bread and this helps to boost overall protein quality. Ezekiel bread is less gluten content, which makes it easy for digestion.
Ezekiel Bread Nutrition:
- 2 slices of Ezekiel bread = 8 grams of protein
How to Use:
- Make vegan sandwiches using Ezekiel bread.
- Add the crusty crumbs to your stew or soup.
- Make healthy French toasts for breakfast.
Lentils and split green peas are a great source of plant-based proteins. It contains a good amino acid profile in just a single serving. Lentils also contain insoluble fiber, starch, and potassium that boost health.
The best thing about lentils is they are inexpensive, easy to prepare and filling source of muscle-building proteins.
- 1 cup cooked lentils = 18 grams of protein
- 1 cup of green peas = 8 grams of protein
How to Use:
- Cook then with flavorsome spices and seasonings to make curries.
- Make salads, or add to rice or quinoa meals.
- Use lentils and peas to make vegetarian meatballs or burgers.
Regardless of your lifestyle practices, and diet styles, we all can benefit from plant-based proteins. Along with muscle building blocks these foods contain vitamins and minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients that are beneficial for health.
The above list of plant-based proteins is enough to start your vegan diet plans. Say no to protein deficiency now! Vegans too can build muscles with these protein-rich foods.
Tell us about your favorite plant-based protein-rich food and how to use it in the comments below.
She is a pharmacist by education and working in the field of medical content development for more than 9 years. She has an excellent hold on medical content research and development and has produced valuable data for various pharmaceutical companies.