Proteins are the building blocks of the body. If you’re focused on building lean muscle mass, or even maintaining it, then making sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet is absolutely crucial.
According to WebMD, a minimum of about 46 grams of protein per day is recommended for women and 56 grams of protein per day is recommended for men. A higher amount would be necessary for those who are moderately active, eating at a caloric deficit to lose weight, or eating at a caloric surplus to gain muscle.
For vegans, however, getting a higher amount of protein can be tricky since most plant-based sources come with their fair share of carbohydrates or fat too. But never fear — these protein-packed, plant-based foods may be just what you need!
This powdered form of protein comes from seeds that grow on the hemp plant, containing all the essential amino acids required by your body. You get about 5 grams of protein from two tablespoons depending on the brand. It’s best used in smoothies, oatmeal, and even baked goods.
All nuts are pretty powerful, but walnuts are among the highest in protein at 3 grams per 1/4 cup. Also high in healthy fats, antioxidants, plus a variety of vitamins and minerals, you can add these to your diet for a satiating snack between meals.
Chia seeds pack a powerful punch with nearly 5 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving and more omega-3 fatty acids than flax seeds. Sprinkle them over your breakfast in the morning or make pudding with them by turning them into a gel-like substance when mixed with liquid.
One cup of lentils has a whopping 18 grams of protein and an incredible 16 grams of fiber. Although it’s a starchy legume with 40 grams of carbs, you probably won’t need an entire cup of the stuff to fill you up.
Frequently referred to as a grain, quinoa is actually a seed from the goosefoot plant, containing 8 grams of protein per cup (cooked). It’s one of the best alternatives to rice and is incredibly nutritious too.
Sprouted grain products (like breads, buns, and wraps) are not only high in nutrients but also high in protein too, with anywhere from 7 to 10 grams per serving. Prepare them with your favorite veggies for a seriously nutritious and filling meal or snack.
One cup of cooked wild rice has 7 grams of protein plus lots of valuable nutrients including many from vitamin B complex. It’s best when cooked with other grains like brown rice or even quinoa!
Don’t forget your cruciferous veggies! Although not quite as protein-dense as most other foods on this list, filling up on green veggies like broccoli keeps your calories low and your nutrition high. Broccoli has about 2.6 grams of protein per cup.
Speaking of green veggies, you can’t go wrong with leafy greens. With just about 1 gram of protein per cup (raw), it’s easy enough to throw a couple handfuls into a smoothie or add several bunches to a salad, wrap, or sandwich at every meal.
Spirulina is a highly nutritious, protein-packed type of algae that’s typically consumed in powder or tablet form. It’s 60 to 70 percent protein, so you can bet that you can get a hefty portion by supplementing with it. Just be sure to speak to your doctor before doing so.
Pretty great list, right? If you incorporated some or all of the above foods into every one of your daily meals and snacks, you’d probably have no problem at all getting enough protein into your diet at all.
Photo (edited) via VegaTeam