Snacking, what a wonderful world. The downfall of many, snacking can leave even the healthiest of diets in the dust as you chomp down on your ninth chocolate chip cookie… I’m not alone here, right… guys?
All jokes aside snacking is generally regarded as a bit of a headache for maintaining your healthy diet, as snacks inevitably end up being something sweet or something a little bit naughty.
Oops. Finding healthy alternatives is tricky enough for everyone, however it can be even more difficult if you follow a plant based diet. and need a little something extra to keep your energy levels up.
The secret to healthy snacking that keeps you full? Protein. Without further ado...
Protein, What Is It and How Do Vegans Get Protein?
A protein is a macronutrient which aids in muscle growth and muscle maintenance. Proteins are made up of amino acids, with complete proteins containing all nine essential amino acids. There are 20 total, with those nine being the most important.
Lacking protein can leave you feeling tired and sluggish. For vegans who don't look after their diet, low energy can be one of the main issues they face on a day to day basis. It is also essential that you consume protein so the body can grow and maintain muscle, something you can struggle with on a plant based diet.
Beyond that, protein takes longer to digest than both fat or carbohydrates and requires more energy to digest too meaning it keeps you fuller for longer, which is exactly what you want from that vegan millionaire shortbread you partook in with your coffee!
Now chances are you didn’t wake up this morning accidentally vegan, this is a choice you’ve made over time. You already know all this so I’ll get to the chase. In no particular order, let’s take a look at some of the best vegan snacks for getting in some extra protein.
1. Protein Powder
If you’ve got any interest at all in fitness then you will be aware of the benefits of consuming a protein powder as part of your diet. These are usually mixed with water or milk to make a protein shake, with Whey protein being by far the most popular in the world. But that’s no good for us vegans, so there has been an influx of vegan proteins to the market all offering outstanding benefits.
The main vegan protein sources come from pea protein, rice protein, or soy protein. These three protein rich sources are also gluten free and offer a good protein source, with most powders having around 22 grams of protein per serving. Flavours also vary from the standard chocolate, strawberry, vanilla as vegan protein allows to experiment more. But don’t be put off if you’re not a fitness freak, these shakes are still a great way to add protein!
2. Peanut Butter
Oh peanut butter, my delicious nutty friend. Peanut butter might just be the most moreish thing on the planet, but even though it can be a good source of protein, it's only downside is the high number of calories. Per 100g a good vegan peanut butter can have over 30g of protein, a massive amount and perfect for piling in some extra to your diet.
That still leaves the big caloric elephant in the corner of the room waiting to ruin all the fun. But rejoice as there are a vast number of low calorie, high protein peanut butters now available, with some as low as 45 calories per serving. That’s just enough for you to get in some protein without feeling too guilty about it.
3. Vegan Protein Bars
A good protein bar is the ideal snack. Low in sugar, high in protein and delicious. For obvious reasons we're going to tell you about ours! :)
Now this is a bit of a brag, but facts don’t lie. The Oatein Millionaire Crunch is the definitive high protein, great tasting vegan snack. I’m going to throw some numbers around, so if you’re wearing socks be prepared for them to be blown straight off.
Protein? 15g per square. Sugar? Just 0.5g per square. Calories? Just 215 per square. Let that sink in for a minute. Yep, those nutritionals are off the charts, but that's not what makes the Millionaire Crunch so great (but they certainly help).
The Millionaire Crunch has two vegan flavours, Chocolate Orange and Salted Caramel, and once you’ve tried one you will believe the hype. So with high protein content, low sugar for a guilt free treat, and a great taste, the Oatein Millionaire Crunch is a must try.
There’s no need to overthink it sometimes, so bring it back to basics and grab a handful of almonds for some extra protein. Simple and inexpensive, nuts like almonds are a great way to add more protein on the go. They will help you feel fuller, but make sure to keep your portions small due to their high calorie content.
Almonds also help to protect your heart from cardiovascular disease and stroke, this is thanks to the several phytonutrients that they contain.
5. Trail Mix
Another simple and inexpensive protein snack is trail mix. This can be purchased from a supermarket or whole food store, or for even more economic benefit can be made yourself. The good thing about making it yourself is that you can tailor your choices for your taste and your benefit.
Load you trail mix with nuts like almonds or pistachios for the most protein possible. Another great nut choice is walnuts as they help to provide you with essential omega-3 fatty acids.
6. Sunflower Seeds
Another great wholefood protein source is sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds tick a number of different boxes thanks to their high protein and low carb content, but the benefits don’t stop there.
Sunflower seeds are super high in Vitamin E which protects against aging and is essential in proper organ function. Plus they also contain a high number of antioxidants. Sunflower seeds are a win win!
7. Pumpkin Seeds
Noticing a theme yet? Nuts and seeds are appearing a lot on this list, but its hard to ignore the high protein, low carb content they have. Couple that with their health benefits and you’re onto a winner.
Pumpkin seeds are a no brainer for this list. Along with packing extra protein in, they also have a high magnesium content. Magnesium helps to lower blood pressure, fight depression, and improves PMS symptoms in women. Its high iron content helps with that too and is a must have for vegans.
Pronounced keen-waa, if you haven’t jumped on the quinoa train yet you are missing out. This ancient grain is a superfood that has been popular across the world for generations. The quinoa plant is a pseudo-grain and is known for its edible seeds.
It is perfect as a part of a main meal, but cook yourself up a smaller portion and it is great to snack on. One of the few complete plant proteins (contains all nine essential amino acids), it has an impressive vitamin profile and an extra plus, it’s gluten free.
The Wrap Up
So there you have it, eight super healthy, super tasty vegan snacks packed full of protein to keep you going through the day. From wholefoods, to powders, to protein filled snacks, there is a plethora of ways for you to get in some extra protein to feel fuller for longer. By no means is this a definitive list, if you have any of your own vegan snacks that keep you going let us know!