Protein is an incredibly important nutrient that we all need to have in our diet. Even though meat, fish, eggs and some dairy are incredibly rich sources of protein, that doesn’t mean that vegans and vegetarians have to miss out. There are plenty of excellent non-animal protein sources that will ensure you get all those essential amino acids needed for rebuilding, repairing and maintaining your healthy body.
Here are 10 of the top vegan protein sources available:
- Tempeh - Tempeh is a fermented form of soybeans, and contains more than twice as much protein as tofu. It is also easier to digest and full of probiotics which means it helps aid your digestive system.
- Lentils - Lentils are packed full of good nutrients, including being rich in protein. They are quite versatile and are often made into a soup, salads or dhal, and provide you with a good helping of fibre to keep your digestive system running smoothly.
- Seitan - This is quite a popular protein source for vegetarians, with one setback. It is derived from wheat, so it contains gluten. For those of you who are not bothered about gluten, seitan is an excellent meat substitute in any dishes that calls for a main protein source.
- Nutritional yeast - Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of protein that comes from a specific form of deactivated yeast. It is available in a yellowish powder or flake form, similar to parmesan cheese. It is probably because of this, and it’s cheesy taste, that it is often sprinkled on top of pasta, scrambled tofu, or on roasted vegetables (basically you can add it to anything!). It is also rich in numerous other nutrients including all the B vitamins, zinc, magnesium and manganese.
- Teff - Teff is a type of ancient grain, similar to spelt yet without gluten. It is rich in protein and a versatile alternative to other grains.
- Hemp seed - Though they have often been dismissed because of their close relation to the illegal drug marijuana, hemp seeds are actually an excellent source of easily digestible complete protein. They are also a great source of both omega 3 and 6 fatty acids! So try adding hemp seeds to your smoothie or morning breakfast bowl!
- Quinoa - Even though quinoa is considered a gluten-free grain, it grows from grasses and for this reason it is referred to as a pseudocereal. It is a complete protein source that can be refined into flour or is often used as a seed.
- Spirulina - Spirulina is available in a powder form and is actually a type of blue-green-algae. It is packed full of protein as well as numerous other nutrients and is an excellent source of antioxidants.
- Green peas - Green peas are little green nutritional powerhouses, packed full of protein, fibre, iron, vitamins A, C, & Bs, just to name a few. They are also incredibly versatile and even make a lovely protein addition to your favourite guacamole!
- Oats - Oats are an excellent source of both protein and fibre and a fantastic way to start your day or add extra protein and fibre to your smoothies. Serve your oats with some nuts and seeds to get even more bang for your protein buck!