“How did you make that switch? Why did you become vegan?” These are two of the most common questions vegans get asked. The third? You guessed it — “What do you eat for protein?”
Vegan protein sources might feel elusive or complicated, but they’re not once you learn where to find them and how to incorporate daily protein into a lifestyle that doesn’t include meat or dairy. That’s where we come in to help.
Vegan Protein Sources: Get the Facts
Talking about protein can get confusing when you hear and see words like “amino acids” or “macros” thrown around, but we think it’s important to 1) describe protein in a simpler way and 2) break down some misconceptions about where you can get it.
Protein is a super important source of nutrients every body needs in order to build strong bones and muscles, plus give the body enough fuel to keep all the parts moving and healthy. The trick is, the body doesn’t produce protein on it’s own. So you have to provide it with enough through what you eat and drink every day.
Lots of people think you need meat to get your protein, but don’t be mis-steak-en. If you practice a plant-based lifestyle, you can still get the protein you need from tons of different sources.
Vegan protein sources do definitely include peanuts, cashews, walnuts, and Beyond meat burgers, but there are other also other fun foods to work into your meal planning to ensure you are meeting daily protein needs.
It can be confusing trying to determine how much protein you need on a daily basis. Most experts agree it depends on a few factors, including your diet, activity level, and gender. You may want to investigate what the right amount of protein is for your unique circumstances with a tool like a protein calculator to determine your needs and of course, consult with your physician before making any dietary changes.
Separating Fact from Fiction
Below we’ve listed a few some common misconceptions (fictions) about plant-based protein, followed by the myth-busting facts!
There’s not enough variety in plant-based protein sources to enjoy good foods.
Nuts, beans, seeds, soy, fruits, and vegetables are the most common sources of plant-based protein. But, consider this list is also a sampling of all the ingredients that can be used in plant-based recipes and dishes that span a wide variety of culinary delights There are delicious entrees that mimic meat, if that’s what you want, like lentil meatless loaf, bean patties, and rich sauces made from combinations of hearty nuts, oils, and spices that will be satisfying and decadent. Vegan entrees can be found in most every cuisine around the world– from Mexican to Italian to Asian and everything in between. You can enjoy a delicious taste adventure without leaving your comfy table!
Vegans don’t get enough protein.
A common myth is that following a plant-based diet doesn’t provide enough protein. Plant-based diets can provide all the protein needed, but most vegans can benefit from slightly higher protein intake. This is because plant-based protein is absorbed differently in the body. As you’re planning out your meals, keep that in mind and pay attention to your own body and energy levels. After all, an extra helping of mushroom lasagna or hearty chili never hurts right?!
If you’re an athlete or are very active, you can’t rely on a plant-based diet.
It’s a misperception that a plant-based diet is incompatible for athletes or very active people. The reality is veganism is a very popular movement among professional athletes. Stars from all major sports are making major adjustments to their lifestyle in an attempt to improve their performance and are liking the results.
Although you may not have plans to become the next Tom Brady, if you have an active lifestyle you can be confident knowing varied vegan protein sources are available to help you achieve your plant-based protein goals.
Adding Vegan Protein Sources to Your Day
Incorporating vegan protein sources into your routine is simple when you explore the variety of foods in a vegan diet. Here are 5 ways you can make sure you’re getting enough plant-based protein throughout your day.
1. Eat breakfast.
When you start off your day with a pack of plant-based protein, you’re working towards achieving your protein goal. There’s a variety of high protein cereals and grains to enjoy, or if you can’t resist a hand-held breakfast, try a tasty Breakfast Burrito with Tofu Scramble. On-the-go options for a delicious and convenient breakfast include fruit smoothies made with vegan protein powder.
2. Pack a snack.
If you get the munchies, remember this is a great time to get some extra protein while satisfying your hunger pangs. Explore convenient snack foods, like Vevan Snax available in Lemon Poppyseed Mozza or P’Jack, that feature dried fruit, nuts, and tasty dairy-free Vevan plant-based cheese cubes.
3. Explore plant-based protein powders.
With a wide variety of plant-based protein powders available, you’re sure to find one you love. Available in a range of flavors (and also plain) just add this powder to most any food for an extra protein punch.
4. Find your favorite recipe.
If you love Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok, you may know these are ideal places to find great meal ideas and plant-based recipes that will help you fill your plant-based protein quota. From hearty soups, to party foods, to main courses, the endless possibilities of vegan protein sources can fill your every single culinary need.
5. With (dairy-free) cheese, please.
Dishes rich in plant-based protein, like this hearty quinoa bowl, are even better with dairy-free cheese. Any vegan protein sources can be complemented by your favorite dairy-free Vevan varieties, like Vevan P’Jack, Ched, and Mozza, for a flavorful, decadent, and creamy finish that dairy cheese delivers.
Now the next time you get asked about plant-based protein, you can tap into your big brain and provide some delicious facts. The topic of protein might feel stressful, scientific, or dull sometimes, but with all of the incredible options you can actually have fun talking about it. You may even find someone who wants to explore all of the options with you and become your plant-based protein partner!
If you have tips on how to incorporate vegan protein sources into your everyday, we’d like to hear from you!