The vegan diet eliminates all animal products including, eggs, dairy, meat and fish. By eliminating these high protein food sources, it means that protein needs to be found from plan based sources. Some high protein plant based foods include soya beans, soya milk, chickpeas, beans, lentils, nuts/nut butters, seeds and tofu.
Plant based sources of protein are generally lower in protein and also contain higher amounts of carbohydrates and/or fat. For example, 30g (match box size) of lean meat contains 7g of protein and 1-3g of fat. To get the same amount of protein from lentils you need to eat 70g (half a cup) which also contains an additional 15g of carbohydrates. Similarly with cashews, to get 7g of protein you need to eat 40g of nuts which also contains 17g of fat and 12g of carbohydrates. Therefore, it is more challenging to reach your protein requirements, or eat a high protein diet, when following a vegan diet.
I always recommend aiming to include a good quality vegan protein source at each main meal to ensure that you reach your protein requirements. To meet your baseline protein requirements, you need to consume at least 0.8g of protein per kg per day. People who exercise regular may have higher protein requirements to support muscle adaptions to training which can go as high as 1.5-2g/kg of protein per day. Including these options at breakfast, lunch and dinner can ensure that you reach your protein requirements.
The one great thing about the vegan diet is that you can be very creative with your food. These days you can find vegan alternatives to most of our non-vegan meals and snacks. You can get vegan chocolate and even vegan cheese! One thing I have noticed is that the vegan diet is quite limited with savoury breakfast options that are high in good quality protein. So after some googling and cooking tests I found a delicious recipe for vegan scrambled eggs that is just as good as he original! This recipe is great on toast, in a wrap, in a salad or even as a sandwich.
- 1 block of firm tofu
- Half an onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- Splash of non-dairy milk (i.e. soya or almond milk)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil or Spray & Cook
- OPTIONAL – 1/2 a cup of vegetables of your choice (spinach, tomato, mushrooms, brinjal, etc.)
- OPTIONAL – 1 Tablespoon Nutritional yeast
- Heat a non stick frying pan on a low heat with ether a small amount of olive oil or spray & cook.
- Add your chopped onion, garlic, turmeric, paprika and cumin and slightly brown your onions.
- Drain your tofu and crumble it into the frying pan. If you are going to add vegetables, you can add them in with the tofu or cook them separately to have on the side.
- If it is looking a bit dry add a splash of you non-dairy milk.
- For additional flavour and protein you can add nutritional yeast when adding your tofu and vegetables to the frying pan.
- Cook for a few more minutes and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately on a slice of toast or as you choose.