The Best Sources of Vegan Protein To Eat Post Workout

What you eat after a workout can help you reach your fitness goals—here are the best vegan foods for faster muscle recovery if you’re trying to follow a plant-based diet.

By URLife Team
12 Jun 2021

Amino acids are the building blocks of the body. They help our muscles rebuild and repair post exertion. There are nine essential amino acids that come together to form a complete protein. Speaking of which, there’s one misconception you can disregard: animal sources are the only complete proteins available.

“Protein is crucial in building and maintaining muscle mass. Contrary to the popular belief that vegans don’t get enough protein, consuming enough plant protein isn’t difficult as long as you eat the right foods,” says Dr Lakshmi Kilaru, Ph.D. in food science and nutrition, Head Nutritionist, URlife.




How much protein do you need?

The Observer Research Foundation based in New Delhi states that various myths related to protein consumption have led 85 percent of our population to believe that it results in weight gain. A 2018 Ipsos, Global Market Research and Public Opinion Specialist survey found that while 68 percent of Indians are protein deficient about 71 percent have poor muscle health.

To put it in perspective, 60 gm of protein is the daily requirement for a person weighing 60 kg. That’s just the minimum amount of protein they need; if the person is active and getting more than 30 minutes of exercise a day then they need to add more protein to their diet.


Your post-workout snack or meal should contain 20-30 grams of protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, says Dr Kilaru, depending on your level of activity. For instance: one cup of cooked chickpeas gives you about 11-14 grams of protein. One egg will give you about 6 gms of protein. One scoop of a pea protein powder has 15-20 gms of protein.

Benefits of Plant-based Proteins

1. Improved digestion: Vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds are rich in healthy fibres. They naturally improve digestion and absorption, reduce symptoms of gas and bloating and increase motility. A study titled, Rethinking Diet to Aid Human–Microbe Symbiosis published in the journal Trends in Microbiology states, “A plant-based diet appears to be beneficial for human health by promoting the development of more diverse and stable microbial systems.”

2. Cardiovascular health: Plant-based diets are low in cholesterol and saturated fats and high in healthy plant sterols which help to improve heart health and overall well-being. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart found that participants following a plant-based diet and pro-vegetarian diets had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular mortality.


Many animal-based sources of protein can contain added hormones and antibiotics whereas plant-based sources of protein are packed with antioxidants, phytochemicals (compounds produced by plants), vitamins and minerals

3. No added hormones and antibiotics:Many animal-based sources of protein can contain added hormones and antibiotics whereas plant-based sources of protein are packed with antioxidants, phytochemicals (compounds produced by plants), vitamins and minerals which are essential for our well-being.

4. Complete proteins:Soya, tempeh, edamame beans and golden peas are all complete sources of protein. You can also combine vegan foods to ensure that you are getting all your amino acids in one meal (see list below). A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that supplementing with pea protein during a resistance training regime promotes muscle building similar to consuming Whey protein.

List of Protein-rich Vegan Foods

  • Lentils and beans: black beans, chickpeas and kidney beans
  • Edamame, soya products like soya milk and soya yoghurt, tempeh and tofu
  • Seeds: chia seeds, flaxseeds, watermelon seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
  • Wholegrains: oats, quinoa, barley
  • Nuts: almonds, pistachios, cashews and walnuts

Post-workout Vegan Snack Options

  • Fruit smoothie with soya/almond/oat milk and vegan protein powder or vegan yoghurt
  • Slice of wholegrain toast/crackers with natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • A handful of nuts and seeds
  • Tofu wrap, tofu stir-fry, chickpeas or other beans chaat of choice
  • Hummus wrap with veggies plus a glass of nut milk
  • Rolled oats accompanied with soya yoghurt, chia seeds, chopped nuts, and berries


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