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How can I get protein on a vegan diet?

Jul 29, 2014

Getting enough protein is especially important on a vegan diet because there are not as many full protein options as when you eat foods that come from animals. Some vegetable plants such as soybeans and other beans, nuts and lentils have a good amount of protein in them but are not enough on their own. Proteins are made up of amino acids and while animal proteins usually have all the essential amino acids together, plant foods usually have only some of the amino acids, so you need to combine a variety of foods to get all the amino acids you need for the protein. Rice and beans, peanut butter on whole wheat toast, or some edimame or nuts mixed in with your salad are some examples of combining foods to get the protein you need. –Kristen

While getting protein on a vegan diet can be a little challenging, planning out your protein sources ahead of time will make it easier. Beans/legumes, nuts, and tofu are three good options. Beans and tofu can easily be worked into a meal, and nuts are a great (albeit caloric) snack. There is also a wide range of "fake meat" and "vegan meats" available at grocery stores and specialty food shops these days. Those items can be quite flavorful and pack a hefty punch of protein, but be careful as they are often loaded with sodium. -Keith


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