Ask a Nutritionist: Solving the Vegan Diet Protein Puzzle

May 27, 2015
by Elissa Goodman for Thrive Market
Ask a Nutritionist: Solving the Vegan Diet Protein Puzzle

I'm trying to eat a plant-based diet, but sometimes find I'm low on energy. I know I need protein, but without meat and dairy products, I'm not sure how to get enough!

A lot of new vegans (and even vegetarians) have this worry, but the truth is, meeting your protein needs is easier than you probably think. The best place to start? Seeds and beans.

The CDC recommends 46 grams of protein for women daily (56 for men), which is really easy to achieve if you get creative with beans and seeds. When I feel like a snack, I often eat a cup of organic edamame beans, which give me a whopping 20 grams of protein. If I make lentil soup for lunch, one cup of lentils will provide an additional 18 grams. That's already 38 grams of protein by lunchtime! Once you make a spinach salad with sunflower and chia seeds scattered on top, you've already met your recommended daily intake. But don't get stuck in a rut—there's a whole world of  seeds and beans that you can make into soups and add to vegetable bowls—some of my favorites are black beans, garbanzo beans, and kidney beans. With plants this powerful, who needs dairy?

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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This article is related to: Diet, Food, Health, Nutrition, Vegan, Vegetarian, Tips

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  • Thisisn'tmyname

    I was under the impression that most vegan sources of protein were incomplete proteins, requiring two specific types of proteins to be eaten during the same day to create a complete protein (for example, a legume such as peanuts with a grain such as rice).