Protein is an essential part of any diet, regardless of your lifestyle or health goals. Yet there is still a common misconception that vegan diets can be harmful to health due to a lack of protein.
While this isn’t true, it can be difficult to determine which plant-based protein sources will work for your dietary preferences and how to successfully increase your daily protein.
So, here are the five best ways to optimize protein intake on a vegan or plant-based diet.
1. Focus on plant-based proteins
People typically associate a vegan diet with “low protein” due to the lack of meat and animal products. Still, the reality is that vegans have many high-protein food choices.
Significantly increase your protein intake by including a range of gut-friendly plant-based proteins in your diet. Some high-protein options include edamame beans, chickpeas, lentils, seitan, nut butters, broccoli, quinoa, and rice.
While you may need to eat larger meals to achieve a high protein intake, it’s easy to pack a lot of high-quality protein sources into one vegan dish.
2. Snack all day long
Even though they may be eating more food, new vegans may feel that they are always hungry. The main reason for this is that they do not diversify their diets enough to cover the nutrients typically found in animal foods.
In fact, science shows that calcium, vitamin D, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids are more important when following a vegan diet. Deficiencies in these nutrients can lead to a lack of satiety.
To avoid this, make it a habit to listen to your hunger cues and snack throughout the day. Opt for seeds and nuts – peanuts are high in protein and healthy fats, cashews are high in zinc, and chia seeds are great for a calcium boost.
3. Add a plant-based protein powder
For a quick protein boost when you’re short on time or on the go, smoothies are the perfect option. Not only are they easy to make, they’re also easy to fill up with healthy additives like soy milk, oats, chia seeds, and leafy greens.
For a delicious yet healthy protein boost, we recommend adding a premium vegan protein powder to your smoothies.
For example, Naked Shake’s vegan chocolate protein powder provides 20g of pea protein in each serving, along with MCT oil to prolong satiety.
Thanks to the pea protein, this flavored protein powder also offers a superior amino acid profile to ensure high-quality nutrition.
4. Don’t be afraid of meat alternatives
In recent years, plant-based meat alternatives have soared in popularity. With many brands releasing new nutritional options for vegans, it’s getting even easier to follow a high-protein, plant-based diet.
While you probably won’t love every veggie burger you come across, try to be more experimental with your diet and discover new vegan options as they become available.
Meat alternatives are also usually high in protein, fiber and carbohydrates, making them a great source of essential nutrients.
5. Get creative with your meals
With a vegan diet, it can be easy to fall into the same meal pattern without adding any variety to your diet. While this can make meal preparation a little easier, it can also leave you hungry and bored with your daily schedule.
In this case, think about your favorite meals and how you can add more protein. Add a scoop of chia seeds and protein powder to your smoothies, add nuts to your salads, and combine whole grains (like brown rice) with meat alternatives.
By adding more variety to your meals, you have a much better chance of covering all of your nutritional bases and meeting all of your protein needs.