These days, it seems as if the vegan diet is growing in popularity with each passing week. While many people debate as to whether or not key nutrients like protein, essential amino acids, omega-3 vitamin B12, vitamin D are best consumed through animal products or meat-free sources, there is ample evidence of people thriving on a vegan diet and a vegetarian diet.
One good point to acknowledge in these discussions, regardless of whether someone is non-vegan, is that there are plenty of great foods accessible to someone on a vegan diet. Although red meat and dairy products are off limits, whole grains, legumes, Seitan, Tempeh, black beans, chia seeds, peanut butter, edamame, brown rice, Hemp seeds and various plant milks are all animal-free and nutrient rich options anyone can enjoy on a vegan diet or vegetarian diet.
For those who want to build muscle and burn fat by selecting foods that are high in protein, amino acids, omega-3 vitamin B12 and vitamin D, protein shakes are often a favorite option. Plant Protein powders, such as protein sourced from brown rice, hemp seeds and pea protein, have been popular for years.
However, protein powder should be just one of several sources of plant protein for those on a vegan diet. A strong vegan diet should include plenty of foods that have complete protein, along with other important nutrients (like the aforementioned essential amino acids, omega-3 vitamin B12 and vitamin D). There are plenty of plant-based sources of protein.
Here’s a short list of popular plant-based foods on a vegan diet or vegetarian diet and the grams of protein:
- Tempeh: 31g of protein per cup (or, 166g)
- Seitan: 75g of protein per 100 g
- Chia Seeds: 4.7g per 1 ounce (or, 28.4g)
- Black Beans: 22g per 100g
- Hemp Seeds: 6.13g per 2 tablespoons (or 20)
- Peanut Butter: 8g per 2 tablespoons (or 20)
Protein powder isn’t the only way to pump up your post workout smoothie. Try these whole foods options the next time you need to refuel,”
Generation Active contributor Whitney English knows the importance of eating plant-based proteins and the concepts of veganism as well as anyone. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. When those on a vegan diet or vegetarian diet ask her about the best sources of complete protein, she has plenty of answers.
Here are her top three plant-based protein options that are great for smoothies:
- Silken Tofu (10 grams of protein per half cup)
- Hemp Seeds (10 grams per three tablespoons)
- Peanut Butter (8 grams per two tablespoons)
“This creamy plant-based protein blends seamless into smoothies,” she says.
Of course, for Whitney nothing can top the taste of peanut butter.
“My personal favorite: peanut butter, adding eight grams of protein per two tablespoons, plus some healthy fats to keep you full long after you sweat sesh.”
Watch Whitney share these plant-based protein options in the video below, or read why you she thinks you should eat a high-fiber diet.