5 Protein Sources For Vegans

Though we often think of meat when we think of protein, it is not hard to get enough of the nutrient even when you follow a vegan diet. Here are some of the best plant-based sources of the nutrient to include in your daily meals.

1. Soy milk

According to a study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology, the amount of protein found in soy milk is similar to the amount in cow's milk, making it the best plant-based dairy substitute.

Help yourself to a bowl of soy milk and high-protein cereal for breakfast. Kashi GoLean and Special K Protein Plus can provide around 13 grams of protein per cup, as revealed in a report from the Department of Agriculture. 

2. Greens

You have to make sure you have enough vegetables on your plate, especially when following a vegan diet. Spinach, broccoli, edamame, green peas, asparagus, and brussels sprouts are among the green protein-boosting options to consider.

While no individual vegetables can match the high protein content of meat, including a variety of them in your meals throughout the day can help you reach your recommended daily intake.

3. Beans and lentils

One cup of cooked lentil can provide up to 18 grams of protein in addition to boosting your intake of iron and fiber. Speaking of fiber, you can also get some of it from kidney beans or black beans, containing up to 15 grams of protein on one cup.

"Beans and lentils taste great in curries and soups and are also useful for thickening sauces or dips. They are an excellent source of fiber and some B vitamins," London-based nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert told Cosmopolitan UK.

4. Quinoa

Available in white, red, black or mixed varieties, quinoa is a favorite not just with vegans but also people diagnosed with celiac disease. This is because the healthful seed is free of gluten.

Quinoa is one of the few plant-based foods considered to be a complete protein food — which means it contains all of the essential amino acids — providing a little over 8 grams of the nutrient in one cup. It can make a good substitute for rice, providing a much-needed dose of fiber, iron, magnesium, and manganese. 

5. Tempeh

One serving of cooked tempeh, which is around 100 grams, can provide up to 20 grams of protein. In addition, it is also said to have a beneficial effect on gut bacteria.

"Tempeh is made by fermenting cooked soybeans and shaping it into a dense cake that can be sliced and pan-fried like tofu," Stephanie Eckelkamp writes in Prevention. "It's nutty, chewy, and packs significantly more protein and fiber than tofu—and because it's fermented, it's easier to digest for some."