How I Get Enough Protein as a Vegan

Let’s start with the basics. According to the National Institutes of Health, the general recommended daily allowance for a woman ages 19-30 is 46 grams, or about 0.36 grams per pound of body weight, or about 10-20% of your totally calorie intake. Those looking to gain more muscle or are super active might need more protein.

That’s really not that much protein! Some sources claim most Americans get too much protein. And if we’re too focused on protein, we could potentially be overlooking other important nutrients!

Vegetarian and vegan diets can adequately provide all the protein you need. If you’re just starting out reducing your consumption of animal products (read this), it can seem overwhelming to figure out what to eat. With a little thought and some online inspiration, it can be incredibly easy to eat intuitively and still get all the protein you need.

Some quick tips to remember…

  • All plants have protein. Some definitely have more than others! By being mindful when you make a bowl or salad, you can effectively get enough protein!
  • Remember there are 9 essential amino acids that we have to consume, and the way to get all of them is eat a variety of plant foods, meat substitutes, and snacks!
  • Protein is just one nutrient we need. Fats, carbs, and micronutrients are also super important to consider when making a well-rounded diet.

So, I’m going to share some different food ideas that you can eat throughout the day to get enough protein. I think it’s important to keep in mind that other nutrients are important, too, so you may opt for a lower protein choice for one meal if it means getting other needed nutrients. I’m including estimates of the protein amounts!

Breakfast:

  1. 1/2 cup of steel cut oats (uncooked) with 2tbsp of chia seeds & 1 cup of soy milk — 24g of protein
    • I love making overnight oats with oatmeal, chia seeds, and soy milk! I simply mix them in a container with some maple syrup and berries to enjoy the next morning. It’s SO filling and the complex carbs give me energy for hours.
  2. 3/4 cup of Kashi GO Crunch Chocolate Cereal with 1 cup of soy milk — 20g of protein
    • This is the best breakfast because…dude…it’s chocolate and it’s so easy. There are lots of high protein cereals, but I haven’t had any that are as delicious as this one. Top with berries (of course) and enjoy!
  3. 2 slices of whole wheat toast with 2tbsp of peanut butter — 17g of protein
    • Simple, easy, classic breakfast that just reminds you how easy it is to get protein!

Lunch & Dinner:

  1. Smashed chickpea salad sandwich18g of protein
    • There are a million different recipes out there for chickpea salad, but I prefer some combination of chickpeas, vegan mayo, celery, red onions, garlic, and dill. Minimalist Baker has a good one, but I kind of just wing it. Then, I pair it with whole wheat bread and tomatoes. YUM! 
  2. 3oz of chickpea pasta21g of protein
    • This is such a great base for a meal that you can add onto in so many different ways. I love to add olive oil, garlic salt, and Morningstar Farm Chik’n Strips. You can also use hummus as a dressing or add in different plant-based meat, broccoli, or tomatoes.
  3. 1 cup of black beans with 1 cup of brown rice20g of protein
    • Another classic meal that you can spice up in so many different ways. All types of beans are generally high in protein, and brown rice has a good amount, too! I like to add different veggies and salsa to customize this basic dish for what I’m feeling that day.

Snacks:

  1. Clif bars10g of protein
    • The chocolate brownie bar is my favorite thing on earth. Their website is also super intuitive and transparent about allergens so you can easily find vegan products. Plus, lots of organic ingredients!
  2. Protein shake — 23g of protein
  3. 1 cup of edamame — 19g of protein
    • Edamame is simply young soy beans, and we know soy is packed full of protein! Boil some with salt for a super easy, healthy snack or addition to a meal.
  4. 1 cup of soy milk — 10g of protein
    • This is something easy to add onto your other meals for a splash of extra protein–and yumminess. I love vanilla soy milk!
  5. Plus… click here to see my other favorite snacks as a college student!

In conclusion…

Plants have power! You can get enough protein as a vegan by being educated and mindful about what you need and what your foods have.

What’s your favorite high protein vegan meal?

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