Question: What is the best protein supplement for vegetarians and vegans? Answer: As discussed in our review of protein powders, two very good sources of protein — whey and casein protein — are both derived from milk, so products that contain these may be suitable for vegetarians but not for vegans To be sure a protein supplement does not contain any added ingredients which are non-vegetarian or non-vegan ingredients, you can check the full Ingredients List (provided for each protein supplement tested by ConsumerLab.com), or check the last column of the Results table in the Review, which notes products labeled as Suited for Vegetarians or Suitable for Vegans. Learn More About Protein Supplements.
What? Vegan sources of protein? Yes, you read that right. Despite the widespread myth that only animal products contains proteins, this important macronutrient in actually abundant in a plant-based diet. In this article you’ll find out that the best vegan sources of protein are legumes, nuts and seeds.
Since we couldn’t find a comprehensive list with all the high protein vegan foods, we decided to create it! So next time someone tells you that you can’t have enough protein on a vegan diet, just print the table below and slap their faces with it 🙂 In fact, it’s a very good idea to print that table or save it on your phone so you can use it next time you go shopping for groceries. The good thing about those vegan sources of protein is that they’re actually pretty cheap and you can find them everywhere – no need to go to fancy health shops.
But wait! Isn’t vegan protein “incomplete”?: Most non-vegans quickly point out that “vegan protein is incomplete”. But what’s the difference between complete and incomplete proteins anyway?
On a molecular level, protein is made up of amino acids. Each amino acid has a particular function in the body. Besides being the ‘building blocks’ for protein, they also produce neurotransmitters (that affect mood and sleep cycle) and play a vital role in maintaining the blood pressure, metabolism and healthy nerves – just to name a few.
As you can see, amino acids are pretty important and you need all of them. They are divided into two categories: – Non-essential amino acids. These are the amino acids which are produced by the body. – Essential amino acids. Not produced by the body – need to be ingested through your diet. We say that a source of protein is COMPLETE if it provides all the essential amino acids. On the other hand, if the food only provides some of the amino acids, it’s considered INCOMPLETE.
However, recent studies have shown that you don’t need to consume all the amino acids at the same time – as long as you ingest them throughout the day (or even throughout the week!)¹ So answering the question: Yes, some vegan sources of protein are not complete BUT you can combine them on your day-to-day to get all the amino acids you need.
So you really shouldn’t worry about the amino acids as long as you are eating a healthy and varied diet. In theory, if you ONLY ate beans, you would miss out on some amino acids… But who does that? In real life you’ll end up eating other complementary sources of protein and your diet will have all the essential amino acids. HIGH PROTEIN VEGAN FOODS: THE LIST Practically every food you eat has at least a little bit of protein, but we decided to only include the ones with the highest rates on our list – so these are the BEST vegan sources of protein.
If you are trying to increase your daily intake of protein on a plant-based diet, this list will be very helpful. And if you still don’t know how much protein you need to eat, So there you go, check the table below to see the amount of protein per 100g for each food.
FOOD PROTEINS PER 100G Hemp Seed 32 g Peanut Butter 25 g Wheat Germ 23 g Almonds 22 g Pistachio 21 g Pumpkin Seed 19 g Tempeh* 18 g Flaxseed 18 g Cashew Nuts 18 g Tahini 17 g Sunflower Seed 17 g Oat Bran 17 g Chia Seed 16 g Lupini Beans* 16 g Walnut 15 g Spelt 15 g Hazelnut 15 g Brazil Nut 14 g Tofu 10 g Pinto Beans* 9 g Black Beans* 9 g Chickpeas* 9 g Pecans 9 g Lentils* 9 g Macadamia Nut 8 g Kidney Beans* 7 g Mung Beans* 7 g Navy Beans* 6 g Green Peas* 5 g Quinoa* 4 g Buckwheat* 3 g Broccoli* 3 g *Cooked As you can see, it’s not hard to obtain a decent amount of protein as a vegan.
Just make sure to include plenty of nuts, beans and seeds on your diet and you won’t have to worry about proteins. Now for the rush-through and hectic days when you can’t take out the time to cook or go grocery shopping, it is always a good idea to have a back-up supply of vegan protein powders. Don’t think of supplements as a substitute for a healthy diet, but instead an easy hack for when you’re pressed for time.
Not to mention they’re delicious! Well.. at least some of them are. As you probably know, most vegan protein powders taste like dirt. That’s why we created the . Make sure to read it before buying! To conclude: Vegans are often labeled as people who ‘self-deprive’ themselves from a healthy and balanced diet, but this myth has been debunked over and over again.
Yet, many people still believe that you can’t find good vegan sources of protein – but we hope that our list of high protein vegan foods can prove once and for all that you can find all the protein you need on a vegan diet – and you don’t even need to consume protein powders if you don’t want to.
Now that you know the amount of protein in the food you eat, you can play around with it and easily meet your protein needs. And if you want to know how much protein you need, I hope you have a great time exploring the foods from this list, and if you have some nice recipes including those high protein vegan foods then PLEASE share with us on the comments below! Thanks for visiting us and have a good reading 😉 PS: In case you’re looking for a reliable and inexpensive kitchen scale, It will come in handy!
¹ Young VR, Pellett PL. (1994). Plant proteins in relation to human protein and amino acid nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr;59(suppl): 1203S-1212S PS: If you wanna know how to use all those cool high-protein vegan food in delicious recipes, here’s a great Vegan CookBook for you:
best dating a non vegan protein - Jack Norris RD� Blog Archive � Best Study on Vegan Protein Intakes to Date
Whether you’re vegan or mostly plant-based, a common misconception is that it can be challenging to get enough protein in your diet. Enter: vegan protein powders. Made with brown rice, quinoa, hemp, pea protein, soy, or a blend of plant proteins, the latest vegan powders supply anywhere from 14 to 22 grams of the muscle-building macronutrient per scoop. And if you choose a vegan protein powder blend, they’re more likely to have a more .
To compare, the average animal-based contains 20 to 25 grams of protein per scoop. Even if you’re not vegan, you should still consider making whey for plant protein powders in your diet. Plant-based protein powders are packed with fiber, which takes longer for your body to digest so you stay fuller for a longer period of time. And unlike powders made with casein, whey, and eggs, vegan protein powders might be easier to digest for some people.
Moreover, a scoop of the plant-based stuff delivers essential nutrients, like magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. How to Find the Right Vegan Protein Powder Shutterstock To help you pick out the best tub on the shelf, we rounded up the best vegan protein powder brands you can find at the grocery or nearest health foods shop. A good bet is to find one that’s organic because you know it’s also non-GMO. , RDN, nutrition expert and author of Eating in Color, says, “Since we’re talking about plant protein, you don’t need to worry about synthetic hormones, but you do still want to know that the ingredient (soy, hemp, rice, etc.) wasn’t grown with a bunch of chemical pesticides and fertilizers either.” Largeman-Roth also says that some protein powders have a laundry list of ingredients, so go with one that has ingredients you know and understand.
“If you’re OK with artificial sweeteners or Stevia or monk fruit, that’s fine, but lots of folks want to avoid those. In that case, look for one with less than 10 grams of added sugar per serving,” Largeman-Roth explains. 1 Bob’s Red Mill Hemp Protein Protein source: Hemp protein Protein payoff: 14 g per serving While the protein count is much lower for hemp seeds than other plant-based sources, they contain 20 amino acids, including all nine of the essential ones.
They’re also an excellent source of fiber and heart-loving . At 14 grams of protein and eight grams of fiber per scoop, Bob’s Red Mill’s powder has a mild flavor that you can easily blend into post-workout smoothies, , and baked goods.
$29.97 per 2-pack on 2 Aloha Plant-Based Protein Powder Protein source: Pea protein, hemp seed protein, pumpkin seed protein Protein payoff: 18 g per serving Certified USDA Organic, non-GMO, and soy-free, Aloha is one of the cleanest vegan protein powders out there.
Thanks to the powerful blend of pea protein, hemp seed, and pumpkin seed, you’ll get 18 grams of the muscle building blocks along with six grams of fiber and a generous dose of magnesium and iron. Aloha sweetens its powder with coconut sugar and monk fruit extract as well as adds pink sea salt, vanilla bean, and Madagascar cinnamon for a bold vanilla flavor that goes great with overnight oats and pancakes.
$29.99 on 3 Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant Protein Powder Protein source: Pea protein, brown rice protein, Sacha Inchi protein, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, chia Protein payoff: 24 g per serving Optimum Nutrition’s plant-based protein powder has one of the highest amounts of protein and provides all nine essential amino acids per serving.
It also has four grams of naturally occurring BCAAs, which are branched-chain amino acids that help reduce muscle breakdown post-workout. In addition, each two-scoop serving offers vitamin B12, a generous dose of fiber-rich ancient grains, and beet powder for recovery.
$29.99 on 4 Amazing Grass Protein Superfood Protein Powder Protein source: Peanut flour, pea protein, hemp protein, chia, quinoa Protein payoff: 20 g per serving If you’re on a quest for efficiency, look no further than Amazing Grass’ protein powder, which combines greens, like spinach, spirulina, broccoli, and wheatgrass with pea protein, hemp protein, chia, and quinoa.
It has a fruit blend of acai, banana, goji, sweet potato, pineapple, and raspberry, too. Bake with this protein powder to sneak some greens into your breakfast muffins. $21.99 on 5 Ora Superfood Protein Powder Protein source: Pea protein, rice protein, hemp protein, Sacha Inchi, amaranth, sprouted quinoa Protein payoff: 21 g per serving In addition to its excellent protein profile, Ora’s superfood protein powder also delivers a variety of anti-inflammatory foods, including blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, kale, and turmeric.
It also packs in some benefits with Jerusalem artichoke. And with flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and vanilla chai, how could you resist? $54.99 on 6 Plnt Protein source: Pea protein isolate, cranberry seed, chia seed, and Sacha Inchi seed Protein payoff: 19 g per serving With a complete amino acid profile, you can’t go wrong with Vitamin Shoppe’s Plnt protein powder, which comes in vanilla and chocolate. Free of GMOs, soy, nuts, and artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, or sweeteners, a scoop serves up 5 grams of iron, 40 grams of potassium, and 40 grams of calcium.
$17.99 on 7 Vega One Organic All-In-One Shake Protein source: Pea protein, quinoa sprouts, sunflower seed protein, chia seed powder, pumpkin seed protein, spirulina, Sacha Inchi powder, Protein payoff: 20 g per serving Three words: All. In. One. This protein powder gives you 20 grams of plant-based protein plus 50 percent of your daily value of eight different vitamins and minerals. Not to mention, it also packs gut-boosting probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids.
Go for the plain, unsweetened variety if you want something simple or satisfy your sweet cravings with chocolate mint, chocolate, French vanilla, coconut almond, mocha, and berry. $49.99 on 8 Garden of Life Plant Protein Powder Protein source: Pea protein, sprouted brown rice protein, amaranth sprout, buckwheat sprout, millet sprout, buckwheat sprout, garbanzo bean sprout, quinoa sprout, chia seed sprout, lentil sprout, adzuki bean sprout, lentil sprout, flax seed sprout, sunflower seed sprout, pumpkin seed sprout, sesame seed sprout Protein payoff: 22 g per serving Made with 13 sprouted proteins and a complete profile of all the essential amino acids, Garden of Life’s raw organic powder will help you meet all of your “get swole” needs.
It also contains probiotics to support your digestive health and vitamins A, D, E, and K. From vanilla to chocolate cacao to vanilla spiced chai, these flavors will make your smoothies sing. $32.89 on 9 Espira by AVON Plant Power Protein Powder Protein source: Pea protein isolate, artichoke protein, sprouted amaranth powder, sprouted quinoa powder Protein payoff: 21 g per serving Espira by Avon’s newly launched non-GMO plant protein powders for women are designed with 4,500 milligrams of BCAAs to help your muscles recover post-workout.
It’s also infused with an enzyme blend that includes bromelain, which helps with reducing swelling and muscle soreness from exercise. $36.94 on 10 NOW Foods Organic Plant Protein Powder Protein source: Pea protein, brown rice, and quinoa Protein payoff: 22 g per serving Following the keto diet and want to keep your carb intake to a minimum?
A scoop of NOW Foods organic plant protein powder has just three grams of carbs (and only one gram of net carbs) and zero sugar. Blend some into an avocado smoothie to ensure you’re getting ample amounts of healthy fat to maintain . $34.99 on 11 Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Protein Protein source: Fermented pea protein isolate, brown rice protein, hemp seed protein concentrate, quinoa sprouts, alfalfa herb top protein, spirulina, and mung bean sprouts Protein payoff: 15 g per serving While some protein powders can cause bloating and digestive issues, the high-quality blend of fermented plant proteins in this powder makes it easy to break down and absorb the nutrients.
The best part is it also has all nine essential amino acids that help repair and build muscles. Add a scoop of the vanilla, chocolate, or unflavored powders to delicious for a frozen a.m. treat! $29.99 on 12 SunWarrior Protein Classic Plus Protein source: Pea protein, brown rice, quinoa, chia seed, amaranth Protein payoff: 18 g per serving The powerhouse protein blend of pea, brown rice, quinoa, chia seed, and amaranth in this powder will keep you energized to take on your day long after your a.m.
sweat session. What’s more, it has a complete amino acid profile, BCAAs, and MCTs to help your body recover after some muscle-burning HIIT.
And if you’re swearing off sugar, you’re in luck because you won’t find any of the blood sugar-spiking white stuff. $36.71 on 13 Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Plant Protein Blend Protein source: Hemp and pea protein Protein payoff: 20 g per serving From hemp toppers to bites to protein powder, Manitoba Harvest has got us high on hemp—and we don’t mean the psychedelic kind.
With two grams of omega-3 and 6 and three grams of fiber per serving, this Hemp Yeah! powder will restore your energy post-run and make you feel more satisfied after sipping on a green smoothie. It blends well with any dish you add it to and is also certified organic, non-GMO, and kosher-friendly. That’s pretty hemptastic! $26.99 on 14 Nutiva Hemp Protein Protein source: Hemp protein Protein payoff: 15 g per serving Your zucchini bread, smoothies, , and pancakes will instantly get a nutrition upgrade with the addition of this hemp protein powder.
In addition to serving up 15 grams of hunger-curbing protein, it also boasts 8 grams of waist-whittling fiber as well as omega-3s, iron, magnesium, and zinc. $16.99 on 15 Moonjuice Mushroom Adaptogenic Protein Powder Protein source: Brown rice protein Protein payoff: 20 g per serving Unlike other protein powders on this list, Moon Juice provides a powerful dose of adaptogens, which are medicinal herbs and mushrooms that help your body manage stress and boost immunity.
Cordyceps mushrooms, reishi, and ashwagandha can help improve cognitive function and fight off inflammation from high cortisol levels. Prepare a refreshing latte with a scoop of the powder to give you the mental stamina to take on your day. $55 on 16 Naturade VeganSmart All-In-One Nutritional Shake Protein source: Pea protein isolate, quinoa protein, chia protein, potato protein, chlorella protein Protein payoff: 23 g per serving You don’t get one but two scoops of this flavor-packed protein powder in one serving.
Kick-start your day by adding a double of the crave-worthy chocolate to your morning smoothie. You’ll also get six grams of fiber and a wealth of other essential vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, D, and K, and manganese, selenium, and zinc.
$26.62 on 17 PlantFusion Complete Protein Powder Protein source: Pea protein isolate, artichoke powder, sprouted amaranth powder, sprouted quinoa powder, whole algae protein Protein payoff: 25 g per serving Known for selecting high-quality ingredients, PlantFusion emphasizes purity in their products so you know you’re getting the best that’s out there. For example, their vanilla protein powder comes from vanilla beans in Madagascar and their yellow peas were harvested from the hills of northern France.
Moreover, lucuma fruit from Peru, monk fruit, and yacon root have been added for a touch of sweetness while avoiding the sugar crash that comes with cane sugar. $35.59 on
Vegan protein source #9: Quinoa Foxys Forest Manufacture/Shutterstock Though touted as a “high protein grain,” quinoa is actually a seed and is not as high in protein as you might think, although it is on the list of .
One-half cup of cooked quinoa contains 4 grams of protein. Quinoa is typically used as a replacement for rice, which has half the amount of protein for the same portion, so quinoa is a better choice. Naturally gluten-free, it’s perfect in salads, sides, and more . Try quinoa-stuffed bell peppers as a tasty dinner entrée, or experiment with . Quinoa also works well in baked goods.
Vegan protein source #8: Farro Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock This packs a decent amount of protein when compared to other grains in the American diet.
One-half cup of cooked farro provides 7 grams of protein and a whopping 7 grams of fiber. Naturally rich in iron, a , farro is an excellent source of nutrition for vegans. Use farro like you would use any other cooked grain—as a base for cooked Asian vegetables, an addition to your favorite soup, or topped with berries and almond milk for a delicious breakfast.
Vegan protein source #7: Nuts George Dolgikh/Shutterstock All nuts are not created equal when it comes to protein content. Almonds are high, with 8 grams per ¼-cup serving, while walnuts are lower with 4 grams (). Nuts are an easy-to-grab protein-rich snack, but don’t overdo it; they are calorie dense.
Almonds provide nutritional bonuses such as linoleic acid, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, and riboflavin. Include in your morning oatmeal or your afternoon trail-mix snack for a dose of protein and healthy fats.
Vegan protein source #6: Tofu Gayvoronskaya Yana/Shutterstock Lower in protein than its cousin, tempeh, tofu still provides a good source of protein for a vegan diet. It comes in three main varieties: soft, firm, and extra firm. Three ounces of tofu provides 8 grams of protein and is a great source of essential minerals, like calcium, magnesium, and selenium.
Tofu takes on the flavor of the dish it’s cooked in, so spicy Indian- or Mexican-inspired dishes work well. Just check out these .
Silken tofu can be pureed and used as a base for cream sauces. Firmer versions are perfect additions to stir-fry dishes, kabobs, , or in a in place of eggs. Vegan protein source #5: Beans Luca Santilli/Shutterstock Pintos, black beans, and chickpeas are nearly identical in their nutritional profiles—here are all the —and all of them are excellent vegan sources of protein, providing about 8 grams in ½ cup.
Because they are also rich in fiber, beans are satisfying as the star of a plant-based meal. (If you primarily eat a plant-based diet, these are .) Incredibly versatile, beans are obvious choices to add to your favorite stews, chilis, curries, and salads. Mash them for a healthy sandwich spread, or puree them and use them in baked goods to replace part of the oil. Vegan protein source #4: Edamame Sopholwich Nilmanon/Shutterstock The winner of the most nutritious choice among the bean family: edamame!
As one of , these delicious green babies are perfect as a snack on their own or included in stir-fry dishes and veggie salads. One-half cup serving provides 8 grams of protein, like other beans. What sets edamame apart? They’re an incredibly rich source of folate, providing 60 percent of your daily needs. Inadequate folate intake can cause a certain type of anemia, and it’s vital for proper development in pregnancy.
Edamame also contain 23 percent of your daily needs for vitamin K, an essential nutrient involved in the . Edamame also earns a spot on the list of most Vegan protein source #3: Lentils Anastasia Panait/Shutterstock Of all the pulses (the dried seeds of the legume family), lentils are the richest source of protein with 9 grams in just ½-cup.
These unsung heroes of vegan cuisine are quick-cooking, which makes them perfect for busy weeknight dinners. Lentils are a great addition to so cook up a batch over the weekend.
You can also add the cooked lentils to salads, soups, or sandwiches. Lentils provide 43 percent of your daily need for folate, and, better still, ! They curb cravings and have even been tied to a 50 percent boost in post-meal calorie burning. Vegan protein source #2: Peanuts Arkadiusz Fajer/Shutterstock While peanuts are classified as a legume in the botanical sense, we typical eat them as a nut. As far as nuts and beans go, peanuts boast the highest protein content, with 10 grams in a handful (1/4 cup).
Peanuts can be a snack all by themselves, obviously, but consider sprinkling them into your yogurt parfait or atop a green salad or stir fry.
Rich in the antioxidants linoleic acid and , peanuts are a smart vegan protein choice. Nutritionists are loving , a natural way to amp up the protein in your meals. Vegan protein source #1: Tempeh Gekko Gallery/Shutterstock Tempeh, a fermented soybean cake that comes in a brick-like form, has been eaten in Asia for centuries.
Slices of tempeh can be marinated and cooked in a variety of ways. Without much taste of its own, tempeh will inherit the flavors of the marinades, spices, and seasonings you add. Or try it crumbled into marinara sauce or chili for a vegan protein burst. With 15 grams of protein in just 3 ounces, tempeh packs a serious protein punch for the vegan diet and with its probiotics.
It’s also rich in fiber and a good source of zinc, riboflavin, copper, and phosphorus. Learn more about the . Jennifer is a doctoral-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with nearly 25 years of experience.
The majority of her career has focused in health care, disease prevention and nutrition education for all ages - from middle school to graduate school students. She owns a private practice focusing on freelance writing and extracurricular nutrition clubs for children. When she's not working, Dr.
Bowers enjoys swimming, running, hiking, biking, camping, cooking, and reading.
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