Protein and Fat In A Vegan Diet

Not sure how to get protein and fat as a vegan? It’s actually really reasy!

Credit: Christopher Shoebridge

vegan protein

It’s a common myth that we need meat to get enough protein, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There may be a lot of protein in meat, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist anywhere else. It does! And vegans simply do what elephants, bison and rhinos do. We go straight to the source – plants.

While protein is an essential macronutrient, protein deficiency is not a concern for most of the UK population. That said, it’s important to be aware of what plant-based foods are protein-rich, and to include a variety of plant-based proteins in your meals.

what is protein?

There are 20 amino acids that make up protein and our bodies are able to make most of these themselves. However, there are nine that we need to get from food, and these are known as essential amino acids.

Individual vegan foods contain most of these, but there are two that we need to be more aware of – lysine and methionine. Typically, cereals such as rice and wheat are lower in lysine, and legumes like beans, pulses and peas are lower in methionine.

By ensuring you’re eating a balanced diet that includes both cereals and legumes, you’ll be getting all of the essential amino acids you need.

VEGAN PROTEIN SOURCES

So where do vegans get protein? Here are some of the best vegan protein sources you can include in your diet:

  • Tofu a high-protein food made from soybeans
  • Tempeh a food made from fermented soybeans
  • Seitan a high-protein food made from wheat gluten
  • Legumes – beans, peanuts and peanut butter, peas, lentils and soya
  • Grains – quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta, quinoa, bulgur
  • Nuts – Brazil, peanut, cashew, almond, pistachio and walnut
  • Green vegetables – kale, sweet corn, artichoke, and Brussels sprouts

High protein Vegan meals

Here are some delicious, protein-packed recipes.

Vegan FAT SOURCES

Some fats are good! We’re not talking about saturated fats (which we should keep to a minimum) and trans fats (which we should avoid altogether).

We’re talking about polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which can be found in plants and which we need small amounts of for good health. These healthy fats are found in nuts, seeds, avocado, and olives.

Avocado on a pink background - you can get many foods which provide protein and fat in a vegan diet
Image Credit: Unsplash

OMEGA 3 and Omega 6

These are two essential fatty acids and are called ‘essential’ as we need to get them from our diet. Omega 6 is easy to find in oils, nuts, seeds and some cereals, but we must make sure we get sufficient omega 3. To do this, we should eat walnuts, flaxseed (also known as linseed) and chia seeds.

Find out more about the strange relationship between omega 3 and omega 6 and how to make sure you’re getting it right.

Thinking of trying vegan?

Veganuary inspires and supports people all over the world to try vegan for January and beyond. Millions of people have already taken part. Will you join them?