Vegetarians and vegans are sick of hearing, “how do you get your protein?” Vegans get a bad rep for being weak and skinny. But that is not true! It is possible to build muscle and not eat meat! I am a vegan and can say that my diet has not affected my athletic ability. Vegans can be strong athletes too! NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, Joe Namath, is a vegetarian. As is my favorite MLB manager, Tony La Russa. Dave Scott holds the record for the most Iron Man World Championship victories, and guess what, he doesn’t eat meat.
So how do us non-meat-eaters get our protein? Let me tell you 10 of my favorite vegan protein sources!
Nuts/Nut Butter. All nuts contain healthy fats and protein. They can be high in calories though, so watch your serving size! And make sure to get nut butters that are organic and ideally only have one ingredient (the nut). A couple of tablespoons will give you about 8 grams of protein.
Quinoa. A vegan and gluten-free person’s savior food. 1 cup contains about 8 grams of protein. I eat quinoa in at least one or two meals a day.
Lentils. Delish and filling – you can use lentils to make veggie burgers, casseroles, stir-fry dishes, and more. One cup delivers 18 grams of protein!
Tofu. Tofu is popular amongst vegans because foods made from soybeans contain a lot of protein. Tofu contains about 20 grams per half a cup. Now, who’s still saying vegans don’t eat enough protein?!
Beans. There is a lot of variety here: black, white, kidney, pinto, etc. – and they all contain high amounts of protein! Black beans have about 14 grams/cup.
Chickpeas. Also known as garbonzo beans. These can be put in salads, snacked on, or pureed into hummus. They are high in fiber and low in calories. One cup also contains 20 grams of protein! Wow.
Edamame. I love edamame. I snack on it daily or put it into my meals. A cup of boiled edamame contains about 16 grams of protein. And it’s oh so tasty!
Sprouted-grain Bread. Pack together a nutritious sandwich and you will get 10 grams of protein in the bread alone!
Leafy greens. Vegetables don’t have nearly as much protein as the previously mentioned foods, but they still have a significant amount (and have so many other health benefits as well). Two cups of raw spinach contains 2.1 grams of protein, and one cup of raw broccoli contains 8.1 grams.
Green Peas. Foods in the legume family are a great protein sources. Green peas have 7.9 grams in one cup.