Looking for sources of lean vegan protein? Read our guide to the best high-protein, low-fat vegan foods to add to your diet.
Foods such as chicken breast and egg whites are often hailed as fitness foods due to their high-protein and low-fat content, and many people believe animal foods are essential to meet their protein requirements.
However, the growing number of elite athletes thriving on a plant-based diet proves that there are plenty of lean vegan protein sources.
Whether you want to optimize your macronutrients or reduce your intake of saturated fat, keep reading for our guide to the best high-protein, low-fat vegan foods.
Where do vegans get protein?
Protein is abundant in plant-based foods. Vegans can get sufficient protein from tofu, tempeh, seitan, legumes, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
One of the most persistent myths about veganism is that vegans can’t get enough protein without animal products in their diet, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
How much protein do vegans need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight every day for adults. This averages around 46 grams for adult women and 56 grams for adult men. However, individual protein intake depends on many factors including current activity levels and fitness goals.
The average American adult consumes about 100 grams of protein every day — that’s roughly twice the recommended amount.
If you eat a variety of foods that contain protein with each meal, you don’t need to worry about getting enough protein!
Best High-Protein, Low-Fat Vegan Foods
Made using vital wheat gluten, seitan is a popular vegan meat alternative and is one of the best sources of plant-based protein.
Seitan contains around 25 grams of protein, 1.9 grams of fat per 100 grams, and has all nine essential amino acids. But because it doesn’t contain much of the amino acid lysine, consider pairing seitan with foods such as legumes.
Although it’s sold in supermarkets, you can also make seitan at home. It’s a versatile food that you can enjoy in any dish that typically uses meat, such as salad bowls, stir fries, burritos, curries, and sandwiches.
If you’re looking for a high-protein meat alternative to replace chicken in your diet, tempeh is a great place to start. This processed soy product may not sound appealing on its own, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how tasty it is!
It contains 19 grams of protein, 6.4 grams of fat per 100 grams, and contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source.
You can include tempeh in an array of healthy vegan dishes, such as salads, sandwiches, and stir fries.
Do you prefer to avoid meat alternatives? Try adding chickpeas to your diet for a boost in plant-based protein.
Chickpeas have an impressive nutritional profile and work well in many vegan dishes and snacks, offering 19 grams of protein and 2 grams of fat per 100 grams.
Although they’re not a complete protein source on their own, this doesn’t matter if you’re eating a range of various sources of protein every day.
Use chickpeas in healthy veggie curries, salads, atop baked potatoes, or even mash them up for a tuna alternative.
There are so many wonderful things about tofu and it’s one of our favorite high-protein, low-fat vegan foods. Its texture and properties make it ideal for creating meat and fish alternatives and it absorbs flavor well, meaning you can really get creative if you want to.
Tofu has 8.5 grams of protein and 0.8 grams of fat per 100 grams, making it a great vegan protein source for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. It’s also a complete protein source.
When it comes to cooking with tofu, the options are endless. Enjoy it in salads and buddha bowls, stir fries, wraps, and so much more. You can even scramble it for breakfast as an alternative to eggs.
Legumes are great sources of lean vegan protein, including lentils, peas, and beans.
Lentils contain 9 grams of protein, 0.38 grams of fat per 100 grams, and are easily combined with other protein sources. They can be used in all kinds of dishes including salads, soups, curries, and even Bolognese.
Oats aren’t just high in fiber and other essential nutrients, they’re also a fantastic source of vegan protein.
Rolled oats contain 13.15 grams of protein, 6.52 grams of fat per 100 grams, and it’s easy to boost the protein intake in any meal using oats, as they’re endlessly customizable.
For more information about swapping chicken for plant-based foods, check out our Choose Chicken-Free campaign.
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