Tofu, tempeh and edamame originate from soybeans and are especially popular in East Asian cuisine. Soy is considered a complete source of protein. Even so, getting enough protein and essential vitamins and minerals may be more difficult for people who don't eat meat or animal products. A person should plan ahead to ensure that they get enough protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B-12, which people who follow an omnivorous diet get from animal products.
Almonds offer 16.5 g of protein per ½ cup. They also provide a good amount of vitamin E, which is great for skin and eyes. Mycoprotein products contain about 13 g of protein per ½ cup serving. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a minimum daily protein intake of 0.8 grams (g) of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about 60 g for a person weighing 165 pounds.
People looking to build muscle, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and older adults may need more protein. The human body creates 11 amino acids, but it must obtain another nine from food. Animal products are complete proteins, meaning that they contain all the amino acids. Some plant products, such as soy and quinoa, are also complete proteins, while others are incomplete proteins.
The ubiquitous vegan protein is often associated with processed hamburgers or the mysterious meatloaf, but it doesn't have to be that way. Soy protein can be part of a healthy plant-based diet. Foods such as tofu, tempeh, edamame and even soy milk are great options for adding protein to your diet. Try cooking a stir-fry with tempeh or tofu, steaming some edamame for an easy snack, or topping your morning cereal with soy milk.
On a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can get enough protein if you eat an adequate amount of calories from a variety of whole foods. Without dairy, eggs or meat, this extensive guide highlights some of the best vegan protein sources available. You'll see some classic dishes on this list, such as beans and tofu, as well as foods that are often overlooked, such as peas and wild rice, which also have a lot of protein. A range of vegan protein powders are available for people who want to increase their protein intake but follow a plant-based diet.
Nelson recommends consuming more vegan protein sources or combining different types of plant-based proteins with unique amino acid profiles to fill in the gaps and create a complete protein. Versatile, affordable and nutritious, tofu is considered to be one of the best vegan protein sources available. So while it may be quite easy to meet your protein needs with a large piece of meat or a spoonful of whey protein powder on a non-vegan diet, it may take a little more effort to include enough protein in the diet through plant-based proteins alone. Foods such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, and peas contain decent amounts of protein to balance the plate.
In addition, since proteins play a key role in satiety11, it might be best to increase your protein intake a little if you find that you're constantly hungry between meals. This means that many plant-based foods, such as most types of nuts, seeds and legumes, have a lower content of essential amino acids (such as leucine or lysine) than the body needs and generally have a lower PDCAAS7 score7, which is used to measure the quality of a food's proteins. This is because most vegan-friendly foods contain less protein per serving than animal products. With 18 grams of protein in every cooked cup, lentils are one of the few plant-based foods that can compete with animal products, such as meat, in terms of protein content.
Vegan proteins that are low in one or more of these essential amino acids are generally considered incomplete proteins. People with a history of mushroom allergies or with a lot of food allergies may want to consider another source of protein. Part of maintaining balance with a vegan diet is to avoid becoming a junk food vegan, which can lead to low energy and protein deficiency.