Can Vegans Eat Enough Protein?
First, you don’t have to be vegan to benefit from CravingsCured.com. Most of us here do lean towards veganism or vegetarianism for a variety of reasons. We’ve already discussed that protein deficiency can cause weight gain, and average people should plan to consume 50 grams of protein or more each day. Larger or very active people may need more. The point of this article is to explain that you can consume enough protein every day by relying upon cheap, vegan food sources, but you are free to select your own eating plan.
How Much Protein Should You Consume Each Day?
A good rule of thumb is to multiple your weight in pounds by .36. Using this formula, you would need 36 grams of protein at 100 pounds, and 72 grams of protein at 200 pounds. You can learn more about dietary protein recommendations at the National Library of Medicine page on protein too. Obviously, you should adjust that number based upon your activity level.
A Word About Complete Protein
You may have heard that most plant-based protein sources are not complete proteins. This is true, but it might not be as big a deal as was previously thought. In the old days, dietary writers would tell you that you had to consume a complete protein in one sitting or meal. These days, writers will usually tell you that you’ll be fine if you simply consume complete proteins in the same day.
Anyway, a complete protein has eight amino acids, but some kinds of food has less than that. These are examples of food combinations that will give you a complete protein:
- Legumes and grains: There is a reason that rice and beans go together like peanut butter and whole-grain bread.
- Legumes and seeds: Alternatively, you can combine nuts and seeds for a complete protein dish.
- Quinoa, buckwheat, and hemp seeds contain a complete protein by themselves. Even though people use quinoa and buckwheat as grains, they are actually seeds. Soy is also a source of complete protein.
Of course, if you eat eggs and dairy products, you can get some protein from them as well. You may have heard that some vegetables, like broccoli, contain protein, and it’s true! However, broccoli doesn’t have enough of certain amino acids to be considered complete. You have plenty of reasons to enjoy broccoli, so you can always add seeds, whole grains, or a cheese (even a soy cheese) sauce to your vegetable dish.
Graphic Guide to Vegan Protein
Here’s a simple graphic you might refer to:
How to Consume at Least 50 Grams of Protein Each Day From Cheap, Vegan Sources
Let’s look at some examples of good food choices that will help you eat at least 50 grams of protein a day without relying upon animal protein or anything expensive or exotic. You also might be interested in this doctor’s take on ways to consume enough protein on a vegan diet.
Vegan Protein for Breakfast
Steel-cut oats and soy milk offers you over 13 grams of protein alone. Sprinkle in a tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds for an extra boost. If you’re not a fan of oatmeal, you can also find other low-sugar, high-protein cereal choices at the store. As an alternative, two slices of sprouted grain or high-protein bread should offer you at least eight grams of protein. Go ahead and smear on peanut butter or even avocados, and don’t forget that sprinkle of seeds. Depending upon your protein requirements, you can try to aim for at least 15 to 20 grams of protein at breakfast.
Vegan Protein for Lunch and Supper
At lunch, you can start experimenting with buckwheat noodles, quinoa, or even that old standby of rice and beans. Broccoli with cheese sauce, or a salad that includes high-protein vegetables, seeds, and legumes will also serve you well. One favorite around here is a nice tofu stir-fry dish with vegetables. Alternatively, you can center your meal around potatoes or sweet potatoes by including high-protein toppings. Of course, you’ve always got the peanut butter sandwich on whole-grain bread as a backup.
Protein Boosts From Snacks
You can boost your vegan protein intake and curb cravings by choosing snacks wisely. Of course, a handful of seeds or nuts makes a good choice, but so does nut butter on whole-grain toast. Roasted chickpeas are a satisfying, crunchy snack you may enjoy. Of course, a reasonable amount of popcorn works well too.
Yes, You Can Consume Enough Protein From Vegan Sources
Really, if you focus on eating plant-based sources of protein, you requirements for fiber, fat, and other nutrients are likely to take care of themselves. If you’re pregnant or have other exceptional needs for protein, you might speak with your doctor or a nutritionist.
Tip: If you’re also worried about consuming B12 on a vegan diet, check this out.