When it comes to fitness and health, many people are focused on their protein intake. From protein shakes to chicken, tuna and eggs, in the fitness world protein in all forms is key. However, as more and more people are switching to plant-based or vegan diets, what options do they have? Below is a list of high protein, low-calorie vegan foods to help you on your health journey.
As a staple food in many vegans' fridges, tofu is a versatile option for almost any meal. Half a cup of tofu is just 94 calories and contains 10 grams of protein. You can blend it into shakes, make an egg substitute for breakfast, or pan fry to add to any meal you choose. Tofu is made from soybeans and is a complete source of protein. This means that it contains all nine essential amino acids. As an added benefit it also contains magnesium, which aids in muscle recovery. This makes tofu a great option for those intense workout days. Half a cup of tofu is just 94 calories and contains 10 grams of protein.
This is a great source of protein for those on a vegan diet. In every 50 grams of plain hummus there are almost 5 grams of protein for just 85 calories. Made from chickpeas, this spreadable dip often comes in a variety of flavors. Some of these flavors may have a higher calorie count, however, all should have a similar amount of protein. Many people use hummus as a dip, or instead of mayonnaise in sandwiches and wraps. As it is made from chickpeas, hummus also contains a significant amount of dietary fiber.
Now spinach is often mentioned as a high protein vegetable, but collard greens also contain a significant amount of protein. Both of these leafy green vegetables have 3 grams of protein per 100 grams (raw), for about 26 calories. Spinach is often eaten raw in place of lettuce, whereas collard greens are best sautéed or steamed as they can be quite bitter raw. Both of these vegetables are also great sources of folate and vitamin C.
Chickpeas are more the just an ingredient in hummus, they also make great high protein snacks. Simply bake them to make a delicious, crispy snack or salad topper. A single cup of chickpeas contains 12 grams of protein for 211 calories. As part of the legume family, they are also a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Chickpeas have a slightly nutty flavor and grainy texture. As a higher carb option, incorporating chickpeas into your meal will leave you feeling fuller for longer.
Now there are various different types of beans available, but all contain protein. The best option for a high protein and low-calorie option is refried beans. However, kidney, mung and pinto beans all have a significant amount of protein with a higher calorie count. Half a cup of refried beans contains 1.5grams of protein for just 46 calories whereas kidney, mung and pinto beans contain an average of 11gram of protein per half-cup, for around 165-175 calories. When combined with grains such as rice or quinoa, beans are a complete protein.
The final high protein, low-calorie vegan food option is lentils. These are another food option that is highly versatile and available in various colors. They are high in antioxidants, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and zinc. One cup of cooked lentils is 230 calories and contains 18 grams of protein. Lentils are a popular replacement for meat in pasta, and burgers. They are also commonly added to soups and salads.
There you have it six high protein, low-calorie vegan foods you can add into your daily diet to get your required protein. All of the foods mentioned above are easy to cook, and many are often found while eating out at restaurants. Which will you be trying first?