Protein is an essential nutrient, which is made up of amino acids.
The body builds and repairs itself through amino acids and therefore protein is required for energy as well as to make enzymes, hormones and other chemicals within the body.The NHS Eatwell Guide recommends consuming beans, pulses, fish, meat and other protein, as well as a good balance of other food groups.1
But if you are committed to a vegan diet, it is especially important to make sure you eat sufficient amounts of protein.
So, alongside balanced meals, what are the best kind of snacks that vegans can munch on, which are also high in protein?
Sources of protein
Meat is a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, including iron and zinc.The NHS recommends eating at least two portions of fish a week. Oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids.2
Some of the best high protein foods include dairy products, such as milk and cheese, poultry, lean meats, eggs and seafood.
By omitting meat and dairy products, vegans may find it harder to maintain sufficient levels of protein in their diets.Fortunately, there are now a variety of vegan meat alternatives which are packed with protein.
What is a high protein diet?
Bodybuilders, wrestlers or those looking to gain muscle mass often go on a high protein diet.
The Atkins diet remains popular amongst many. Those following it eat high protein foods while at the same time lowering the amount of carbs they consume.
There are several other examples of high protein diets you can try, such as the Dukan, South Beach or Paleo diet.
If you are looking to follow one of these diets, it is advisable to first contact a nutritionist or dietician, to see which meal plans are best catered to your own health and wellbeing.
Protein shakes for vegans
Alongside following a high protein diet, protein shakes and supplements are also available.
And as a vegan alternative, there is the option of vegan protein powder and bars.
They are often derived from soy protein, pea protein, hemp protein and rice protein. You can add protein powder to soy, coconut or oat milk as they are vegan friendly.Our health hub can guide you to choose the best protein powder, depending on your goals and lifestyle.
What is the best vegan protein?
The nutritional value of protein is measured by the amount of essential amino acids it contains.
Soya products are vegan friendly and contain essential amino acids.
Protein rich foods such as edamame, miso, soy nuts, tempeh and tofu are all good sources.
Vegans can also find protein in plants. Beans, legumes, lentils, nuts, grains, seitan, chickpeas, garden peas and hempseed can be used to make protein meals.You can substitute vegan ingredients into your everyday cooking. Instead of using meat in tacos, you might like to opt for black beans, which are high in protein. Our Health Hub features three easy protein packed vegan recipes for you to try out!
To ensure you are following a high protein vegan diet, you can choose to do meal preps and count the number of calories and protein in whatever you eat during the day.This involves eating a high protein breakfast, where you can either make a smoothie using vegan protein powder or you could try your very own vegan fry-up. For lunch, you might fancy cooking a dish with lentils, which contain around 8-9g protein per 100g.3 You could cook a delicious almond lentil stew, which is bursting with flavour and full of energy to keep you going throughout the day.
Five of the best high protein vegan snacks
So what are the best ways of boosting your daily protein intake, so you can ensure you eat more of this essential nutrient during snack time?
Here are five vegan and high protein snack ideas to get you started:
1. Edamame beans
Vegan protein snacks such as edamame beans are a great choice to eat between meals.
You could try adding edamame hummus to salads, wraps or using it as a dip for crackers.
Or else just adding edamame beans to stir-fries.
2. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are another great option for vegan snacks.Almonds contain 3g of protein for every six, hemp seeds have 5g per teaspoon and pumpkin seeds contain 4g per tablespoon.4
3. Vegan cheese
Vegan cheese is a great alternative snack. It is made from vegetable protein. You could use the cheese to snack with crackers, melt on toast or add to a sandwich.
Oats are another great example of vegan protein snacks. Oats contain 10.9g of protein per 100g.Try adding them to your breakfast and decorate with soft fruits. Or use oats to bake vegan flapjacks as a tasty treat. Porridge contains 5g of protein in a 40g serving.5 It is a popular choice of breakfast for many as it gives a good energy boost in the morning.
But it can also be used as a filling snack, and you can top it off with berries and maple syrup as a vegan alternative to honey.
Popcorn can make a delicious snack, perfect for on the go or for sharing with a loved one, whilst you cuddle up together and watch a film.
Made from heating dried corn kernels in a microwave, air popper or even just a pan, with a dash of oil, on the stove, popcorn is a plentiful and extremely affordable snack, full of fibre, which you can enhance with flavorsome toppings of your choice.
Last Updated: 28th October 2020