If you’ve recently become vegan or you’re thinking of changing to a plant-based diet, you might be
wondering how you can get enough protein. Protein is an essential nutrient, needed for building and repairing your body’s cells. Because meat and dairy products are known to be high in protein, it’s sometimes assumed that vegans don’t get enough of this nutrient. But actually, many plant-based products are great sources of protein, and they often have less calories than animal products, too.
To enjoy a balanced vegan diet, simply include these brilliant protein-rich foods:
Tofu is one of the best sources of protein for vegans. Not only is it high in protein, its one of the few
plant-based products that offer ‘complete’ protein; this means it has all nine protein based amino-
acids the body needs to build and repair cells. Tofu is easy to include in your diet because it’s so
versatile. It can be cooked in lots of ways – from stir-fries to burgers – and it will absorb the flavour
of the ingredients you’re cooking with.
Lentils aren’t just a great source of protein, they’ve a host of other health benefits, too. They contain
healthy complex carbs, they’re packed with fibre and promote gut health, and they’re a source of
key nutrients such as folate, manganese and iron. Lentils are another versatile food; they’re easy to
include in your diet, delicious in stews, burgers, curries and more.
3. Chickpeas and beans
Most beans – including kidney, black and pinto – are packed with protein. Chickpeas have plenty of protein, too. Both beans and chickpeas are also great sources of complex carbs, fibre and potassium. In fact, studies have found that a diet rich in beans can lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Beans make a great stand-in for meat in Mexican dishes, while you can enjoy chickpeas in humus, curries and stews.
Quinoa is another plant based food that provides a complete source of protein, so it’s a great
addition to your vegan diet. Quinoa is a kind of seed that’s available in different varieties and can be used in place of wheat or rice, sprinkled on salad or stirred into soups and stews.
Although oats aren’t a source of complete protein, they do provide higher-quality protein than other
grains such as wheat and rice. Oats are a complex carb, so they release energy slowly into the
bloodstream. They’re also great sources of zinc and folate. Enjoy oats in breakfast porridge, ground into flour for baking and even in veggie burgers.
6. Nuts and seeds
A small amount of nuts can deliver a big dose of protein. Nuts and seeds are a good source of
vitamins, antioxidants and healthy fats, too. It’s best to choose raw, unroasted nuts to maximise the
nutrients. You can eat nuts as a snack or incorporate them into dishes such as curries and salads.