Athletes following a plant based or vegan diet should consider incorporating high protein vegan snacks into their overall diet plan.
Adequate protein intake is essential for athletes to maximize their recovery and adaptations to exercise.
Therefore, athletes following a plant-based or vegan want to ensure they meet their protein needs and overall goals for their healthy eating performance nutrition meal plan.
However, following a vegan diet doesn’t mean an athlete requires more protein. Rather, they should focus on high quality and a variety of vegan protein sources.
In this post, we will explore the best high protein vegan snacks for athletes.
What vegan food has the most protein?
Some of the best sources of plant-based vegan protein include:
- Soy milk
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Nuts, nut butters
- Leafy greens
- Whole grains
What’s the best time to eat protein snacks?
A key component of an athlete’s performance diet is ensuring they eat enough food throughout the day to provide sustained energy and protein to build and repair muscle and tissue.
Research shows that athletes benefit most by consuming adequate amounts of protein throughout the day (1).
Generally, recommendations suggest athletes eat around 15-20 grams of protein for snacks and 25-30 grams of protein at meals.
Use these high protein vegan recommendations as snacks, mini meals before activity or included along with other foods for a hearty meal.
Additionally, you can pair some of our recommended healthy snacks with the high protein options listed above.
Vegan protein snack ideas
These high protein vegan snacks are delicious and easy to make. Indeed, not only do they provide a good source of protein, plant based proteins are high in fiber. They also provide the essential nutrients that athletes need.
Here are twelve delicious and easy-to-make options to try:
- Hummus and veggies: Hummus provides a great source of plant-based protein, and it’s incredibly versatile. You can dip raw veggies like carrot sticks, cucumber slices, or bell pepper slices into a bowl of hummus, smear hummus on a sandwich or wrap or top on a baked potato.
- Roasted chickpeas: These little legumes pack a punch when it comes to protein. Also, they make a great crunchy snack when roasted. Simply toss chickpeas with a little olive oil and your favorite sweet or savory seasonings, then bake in a 425-degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Peanut or nut butter: Peanut and nut butters provide a good source of plant-based protein. Spread some peanut butter on a slice of apple, banana, or whole-grain toast for a satisfying and protein-rich snack.
- Nuts and seeds trail mix: A combination of nuts and seeds, such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds, can provide a good source of protein and healthy fats. You can mix them with some dried fruit and take them as a snack on the go, for a hearty snack. Or add them to your morning oatmeal or ice cream for an extra protein boost and crunch.
- Tofu or tempeh: Soybean based products like tofu and tempeh are excellent sources of plant-based protein. They can be marinated, grilled, roasted or stir-fried as a snack or added to salads, sandwiches or rice bowls.
- Seitan: Seitan, which is made from wheat gluten, is a plant-based protein made from wheat and has a meat-like texture. It’s a great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans and can be sliced and grilled, stir-fried or added to soups and stews.
- Edamame: Edamame are young, green soybeans that are often served as a snack. High in protein, fiber and healthy fats, you can enjoy them as a snack on their own or as a topping for salads. You can find these in the freezer section in pods or shelled. Additionally, you can make your own roasted edamame or buy as a grab and go snack.
- Lentil and bean dips: Lentils and beans make delicious dips and spreads. Try blending cooked lentils or black beans with some spices and olive oil for a tasty and protein-rich snack along with whole grain crackers or pita chips.
- Quinoa: Quinoa is a gluten-free ancient grain that is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids. It can be enjoyed as a side dish or as a snack by mixing it with some diced vegetables and a vinaigrette dressing.
- Overnight oatmeal or chia pudding: Overnight oats or chia pudding can be a great snack or mini meal before a practice. Combine low fat soy milk or dairy free milk, plant based yogurt, chia seeds or nut butter to boost protein levels in addition to providing carbohydrates for energy.
- Protein bars: For athletes on the go, you can find many options for vegan protein bars. These can be a quick and convenient option for getting a protein boost Look for bars that have at least 10 grams of protein per serving and check the ingredients list to make sure they’re vegan. Check out our post on gluten free protein bars for more recommendations on selecting the right bars.
- Protein powder: Another on the go option, vegan protein powders made from pea, hemp, soy, or brown rice are a great way to boost your protein intake. These plant based protein powders can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, or baked goods to increase protein content.
By including these high-protein vegan snacks in your diet, you can ensure that you’re getting the building blocks for recovery and adaptation following activity.
Consider how you can combine these protein sources with a carbohydrate for a balanced snack, mini meal or make a hearty meal.
What’s your favorite plant based snack?
Steph Magill, MS, RD, CD, FAND has over 22 years of experience in public health and nutrition. As a performance registered dietitian nutritionist, Stephanie specializes in sports nutrition and provides simple and actionable information so that athletes can be well fueled for high performance on and off the field. Stephanie has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.