Plant Protein

Plant protein – the best vegan protein sources

Content Editor & Ecotrophologist
Leyla is an ecotrophologist. She writes articles for foodspring about nutrition and healthy living. She also creates free food programs to help you eat healthy.

Do you rely on the power of plants in your kitchen and follow a predominantly vegan diet? And yet you still constantly hear from those around you that your body is probably not getting enough protein? We’ ll show you whether there is any truth in these assertions, which plant proteins we recommend, and whether they can compete with whey, meat, and low-fat cottage cheese.

Vegan protein sources: check the quality of your plant protein!

Created via metabolism, proteins are the basic building blocks of your cells. Your body assembles them from up to 20 different amino acids. Of these, 9 are called essential, which means your body doesn’t produce them and therefore you have to eat them in order to receive their benefits. Here are some differences between animal and plant-based proteins.

Whether you want to lose weight or gain weight, protein is important for helping your body reach your goals. So it’s very important that you cover your needs. 

foodspring's vegan protein pread
©foodspring

Do you find it difficult to integrate more vegetarian protein into your daily diet? Then simply replace your conventional breakfast bread with our vegan protein bread. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, it provides you with more protein and fiber with fewer carbs. This will keep you full longer than regular bread made from wheat flour. 

Try our vegan protein bread

Not all proteins are created equal. Above all, the amino acid composition and digestibility determine the protein’s quality. Surely you’ve heard of biological value? It indicates how many grams of protein per 100g you ingest that your body can use. Thus, it measures how similar the protein from your food is to those found in your body. The ratio of the nine essential amino acids is critical to the food’s biological value. If an amino is missing, it has a negative influence on complete protein quality. 

Vegetarian protein sources rarely have sufficient amounts of these essential amino acids. In this context we also have to talk about the limiting factor. The amino acid that occurs in the smallest amount limits the build-up of the body’s own protein and thus the overall quality of the protein. This is one of the reasons why vegetable protein gets such a bad rap.

But on the other hand, soy, legumes, and hemp are real protein packages and have an optimal amino acid profile. Of course, this does not mean that you have to live off of tofu. If you take your protein vegan, you can still eat a balanced diet and cover your requirements. Our vegan protein powder helps you get a big portion of vegetable protein. It combines the highest quality protein sources with peas, hemp, rice and sunflower protein and does not contain any soy. It’s the full protein kick for your muscles.

Soja Tofu Edamame
©ElenaYeryomenko
Discover our vegan protein powder

Another important thing is the biological value, which indicates how much protein you can theoretically use. To what extent your body actually processes the food proteins is referred to as bioavailability. Among other factors, it depends on an individual’s metabolism and the various ingredients of the meal.

Vegan nutrition with plant protein: How do you cover your plant-based protein requirements?

In a vegan diet, it is recommended that you combine different sources of protein to obtain a complete amino acid profile. Do you think and stress non-stop about what you need to eat? We understand that. Fortunately, our body is smarter than you think. Recent studies have shown that it can collect aminos over a period of time.¹ So the essential aminos don’t have to be consumed every meal. Our tip for achieving your goals is always a balanced diet.

If you want to feel healthy and fit, you need to change your diet for the long term. Just make sure that you eat a conscious, varied and fresh diet. This way, you will absorb the amino acids you need completely, naturally, and without any stress. To make sure you don’t lose your bearings, we’ll show you which plant-based foods contain plenty of protein per 100 grams.

Which plant foods are high in protein?

Food Protein per 100g
Soybeans 34 g
Hemp seeds 32 g
Pumpkin seeds 30 g
Almonds 29,1 g
Sunflower seeds 27 g
Peanuts 25 g
Linseed 24,4 g
Red lentils 24 g
Chia seeds 22 g
Pistachios 21, 8 g
Cashew kernels 21 g
Kidney beans 21 g
Tofu 16, 7 g
Walnuts 15,3 g
Quinoa 14 g
Edamame 13 g
Oats 13 g
Pine nuts 13 g
Couscous 12 g
Millet 11 g
Buckwheat 9,8 g

Legumes are great sources of protein. They are low in fat, high in fiber, and great as a side dish rich in plant-based protein. How about a veggie bolognese? You can even replace conventional pasta with zucchini noodles to make the perfect low-carb recipe with a full serving of plant-based protein. Soybeans have all the essential aminos, which explains why soy products are such popular meat substitutes. With an average of 11 grams of protein, 12 grams of protein, and 18 grams of protein per 100 grams, respectively, edamame, tofu, and tempeh are all very popular. 

Nuts and seeds, including peanuts, are rich in protein and minerals, and also have a lot of good fats. Still looking for the ideal snack for on the go? Our nut and berry mix provides you with high-quality plant-based proteins and essential fatty acids as well as a good portion of valuable vitamins. 

Try the nut and berry mix
a package of foodspring's nuts and berries mix, a good source of vegan protein
©foodspring

Our tip: For a healthy and balanced lifestyle, we recommend that you look at the ratio of all the nutrients in a food, regardless of protein content.

Conclusion

  • The biological value measures the quality of a protein
  • It indicates how many grams of protein your body can use from every 100 grams of protein you ingest
  • Plant foods often do not have a complete amino acid profile, or at least one essential amino acid might only be present in small amounts
  • With a balanced vegan diet there is no risk of protein deficiency
Sources for this article
We at foodspring use only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • ¹Marsh, K. M; Munn, E. A.; Baines, S. K. (2013): “Protein and vegetarian diets” in: The Medical Journal of Australia, 199 (4) , S. 7 – 10.

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