If you are considering becoming vegan, it is easy to think that without meat, eggs and dairy, you might only be left with fruit and vegetables, in which case where would you get enough protein from? Thankfully, there is plenty of choice these days when it comes to animal-friendly meals, enabling vegans to make sure their protein levels remain sufficient.
Here are some ways they can boost their protein intake
Plenty of pulses
Vegans tend to eat lots of pulses, such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans, as these contain a whole host of nutrients, including protein. This means veggie chillis, hummus, beanburgers, falafels, lentil dahl, chickpea curries, bean casseroles, dips, chickpea cookies, and lentil burgers are all great choices when it comes to vegan meals, as they ensure an adequate amount of protein is consumed.
Tofu & Tempeh
Tofu, made from soybean curd, is another popular choice for vegans. BBC Good Food explains how healthy tofu is, with 100g containing just 73 calories and 4.2g of fat, but as much as 8g of protein. What’s more, the digestibility of this protein is high, meaning it is just as effective as animal protein at helping the body to repair and grow.
It is also a source of antioxidants and phytoestrogens helping to alleviate menopausal symptoms, can help reduce cholesterol levels, and is a good choice for diabetics as it cuts fasting blood sugar levels by 15 per cent and insulin levels by 23 per cent.
Tempeh is made from whole soy beans that have been through a fermentation process and pressed into blocks. These can be sliced, marinaded and pan fried for sandwiches or shredded and used instead of mince in pasta sauces.
While nutritional yeast does not sound that appetising, it is often used in vegan cooking as a seasoning. It is made from deactivated yeast from the molasses plant and can be used to create a vegan cheese sauce, to thicken soups, or sprinkled over snacks for extra nutritional value.
It is one of the only plant-based sources of B12, which is why many vegans can become deficient in the vitamin, resulting in anaemia. As well as providing the much-needed B12, nutritional yeast is also a good source of protein, containing 8g and just 60 calories in one quarter of a cup of nutritional yeast.
Nuts & Seeds
Many vegetarians and vegans regularly consume nuts and nut butters because they provide plenty of fats, fibre, and protein.
According to the USDA, 100g of peanuts contains 567 calories, 49.2g of fat, but also 25.8g of protein. Almonds, on the other hand, have 667 calories in 100g, 57.8g of fat and 20.4g of protein.
Other popular choices for healthy fats and protein include seeds - sesame, flaxseeds, chia, hemp. These are wonderful as toppings for salads, soups and breakfast cereals. They also provide minerals such and calcium, zinc and iron and plenty of fibre.
Vegan protein powder is an optional alternative source of protein for those who do not feel they are getting enough from their diet (which is rarely the case) or who perhaps exercise frequently. It is often made from pea or hemp protein, which has all nine essential amino acids, and is high in fibre.
Having a shake after working out or mixed into your porridge, overnight oats, cereal, or smoothies helps to top up your protein intake.
Being vegan is not just about what you eat though, and you should also consider animal-friendly body and bath care products. Take a look at our vegan body care range today.