However, sometimes vegans feel like it’s tough to get enough protein, especially those who are new to the diet. Vegans must be intentional about eating enough protein throughout the day, especially those who want to properly fuel their fitness goals.
With nutrition knowledge paired with some innovative recipes (like the ones below!), you’ll easily be able to meet your protein needs with plants.
Protein Needs for Vegans
Protein - whether it’s plant- or animal-based - is a non-negotiable nutrient that fuels your body’s complex activities.
Getting enough daily protein is key for:
- Maintaining muscle mass for both strength and endurance activities (4, 5)
- Maintaining strong skin, hair, and nails (6)
- Feeling satisfied after eating and full until your next meal (7)
- Making hormones and enzymes that regulate diverse body functions (6)
If you’re not eating enough protein on a plant-based diet, you may feel fatigued, hungry, or weak. You may also struggle to recover between workouts.
Where Can Vegans Find Protein?
Vegans can get more than enough protein if they are strategic. While many plants (like nuts, seeds, and legumes) do offer protein, they tend to be less protein-dense than animal foods. That makes it paramount that vegans make every meal and snack count by including protein-rich foods.
There has never been a more convenient time to be vegan, given how many nutritious plant-based products are available. A high-quality protein powder is a vegan must-have so that you can easily get the nutrients you need while eating plant-based.
Vegan protein ice cream - also known as “nice cream” - is a novel way to harness the power of sneaking in protein. This banana-based concoction is sweet yet hardly a dessert, given how nutritious it is.
What is “Nice Cream”? (It’s Vegan Ice Cream)
“Nice cream” refers to any vegan frozen fruit-based blend. Nice cream can be as simple as one ingredient (e.g., just bananas), which creates a creamy soft serve duplicate. Typically nice cream is made entirely from fruit without any dairy, eggs, or processed sugar. Whether you avoid animal proteins for medical, moral, or environmental reasons, nice cream is a delight.
Adding protein powder to your nice cream elevates it from a fruit-based treat to a functional food. The recipes featured below combine fruit, protein, and nutritious toppings into an ideal post-workout snack. Without any toppings, one serving of these recipes offers over 12 grams of protein. Adding chia seeds, chopped nuts, or drizzled nut butter will further increase the protein count.
Vegan Protein Ice Cream Recipes
Recipe 1: Mocha Vegan Nice Cream
Makes 2 servings
- 2 frozen bananas
- 2 scoops Chocolate Pea Protein Powder
- ¼ cup coffee (brew a little extra in the AM!)
Recipe 2: Vanilla Green Nice Cream
Makes 2 servings
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1 large handful frozen spinach
- 2 scoops Vanilla Pea Protein
Instructions for Both Recipes
- Combine ingredients together in a high-speed blender or food processor until smooth.
- If more liquid appears to be needed for blending, add a few teaspoons of water or non-dairy milk.
- Add optional toppings and enjoy!
Choose well-ripened bananas for a smooth, creamy nice cream texture. Using green or less ripe bananas will lead to a gummy texture and a bitter flavor. Having a gallon-bag or other storage container full of frozen, ripe bananas in your freezer ensures that you always have nice cream ingredients on hand - plus, you’ll never waste a banana to spoilage.
Prefer to use unflavored protein powder? Feel free!
You can adapt the two recipes above by adding 1 Tbsp of cocoa powder and ½ tsp of vanilla extract, respectively, along with two scoops of your unflavored protein.
Extra nice cream servings can be frozen in a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to enjoy the leftovers, let them thaw a few minutes before digging in.