Choosing to abide by a plant-based diet, particularly a vegan or vegetarian one, can provide a number of health benefits. However, it is essential that dieters strive to provide themselves with sufficient nutrients when they deprive themselves of traditional sources. Protein is an important nutrient that can be difficult for vegans to obtain in their diets, and because protein is so essential for strength, muscle growth, weight loss, and overall health, vegans should strive to include as many diverse options in their diets. Listed below are a number of plant-based protein sources than can serve as vegan alternatives to meat.
Soybeans are naturally packed with whole protein, meaning they provide all the necessary amino acids. For vegans, there are a few variations of soy products that can provide them with a sufficient amount of protein to supplement their diets. One of the most common variations is tofu. Lacking a distinct flavor of its own, tofu can easily be integrated into dishes such as stir fry or soup as it will naturally take on the flavor of the dish. Tempeh is a similar product in texture and taste, but it made differently; where tofu is constructed with a method comparable to cheesemaking, tempeh consists of cooked fermented soybeans. Both can be versatile ingredients.
Young soybeans, also known as edamame, are another excellent source of protein. They are often served steamed with salt.
Much like the soybean, this legume provides a substantial amount of protein per serving, offering nearly 9 grams of protein in a half cup. They can be added to dishes like soups, stews, and curries to add texture and protein to a meal.
This hearty grain is both versatile and tasty. Not only is it relatively easy to prepare, it is also gluten-free, meaning those with a gluten allergy can enjoy its many benefits and flavor profile. With roughly 8 grams of protein in a cup, quinoa is a good source of the nutrient for those looking for alternative means of consuming protein.
Since gnawing on seeds may not be your preferred method of consuming your snacks, hemp seeds are a great addition to any smoothie, cereal, or snack mix. With about 13 grams of protein in just three tablespoons, hemp seeds are an ideal resource for individuals in need of additional protein.
Various other beans, grains, fungi, and even algae can provide protein for those maintaining a plant-based diet. With such plentiful options for protein-rich foods, vegans should have no trouble consuming a sufficient amount of protein each day.