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Whether you’re forced to go dairy-free out of necessity or are exploring it for your own lifestyle just because, there are a plethora of dairy-free yogurts you can choose from! Unfortunately, most lack substantial protein, an important nutrient that not only offers satiety benefits but also helps repair muscles and is involved in numerous enzymatic reactions throughout the body.
Protein content varies depending on the type of dairy-free yogurt you choose (i.e. a soy, almond, coconut or oat milk product). According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrient Database, common plain varieties of the following plant-based yogurts feature these small amounts per 100-gram serving (or about 3.5 ounces):
While there are certainly innovative products that offer an extra dose of protein added into plant-based yogurts (like those that market themselves as “Greek-style non-dairy yogurt”), they aren’t yet widely available – and they often come with a heavy price tag. Instead, try these 5 tips to add more protein to your plant-based yogurts and help curb that mid-morning hunger for good!
1. Hemp seeds
While they may be small, hemp seeds pack a powerful nutrient punch. Just 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds deliver 10 grams of plant-based protein, along with a sizable dose of heart-healthy unsaturated fatty acids. With a fairly neutral flavor, they’re a fun way to add natural “sprinkles” to your yogurt that even novice eaters will enjoy!
2. Pea protein
Adding protein powder to your dairy-free yogurt to increase protein may not be the most innovative idea out there, but adding PEA protein sure is! Pea protein is one of the few allergen-free and vegan sources of protein. In a 27-gram serving of pure pea protein, there are 21 grams of protein – meaning even just adding half a serving into your plant-based yogurt will give it a substantial protein boost!
Consider mixing in your favorite spices and natural sweetener of choice to add more flavor, like cinnamon and a little maple syrup.
3. Peanut butter
One of the most versatile and affordable sources of plant-based protein is the classic peanut butter. A 2-tablespoon serving of the creamy nut butter provides 7 grams of plant-based protein and 1.5 grams of dietary fiber.
While peanut butter is a bit more calorically dense at 210 calories a serving, there are peanut powders available that remove up to 70% of the fat while still leaving a good portion of protein. For instance, a 15-gram serving of peanut powder has just 70 calories and 8 grams of protein. Regardless of the choice you make, you can’t go wrong adding this classic nut into your plant-based yogurts (unless of course, you’re allergic; then choose another option!).
4. Pumpkin seeds
There’s a reason you should save those seeds when you carve your pumpkins! Pumpkin seeds are a great way to increase your plant-based protein, with a 1-ounce serving providing 8.5 grams of it! Plus, it’s a seed and not a nut, so pumpkin seeds work wonderfully in a nut-free diet and serve as a great addition to school lunches. Top a plant-based yogurt with pumpkin seeds and a tablespoon of your favorite dried fruit for a naturally delicious and nutritious protein-packed snack.
5. Spirulina powder
If this is new to you, don’t worry! Spirulina is a freshwater algae that tastes similar to seaweed and makes a wonderful addition to plant-based diets. One tablespoon of spirulina powder packs 4 grams of filling protein, in addition to serving as a source of antioxidants. Adding spirulina to your yogurt will give it a beautiful blue-green hue as well as offer anti-inflammatory benefits!
While some find the taste of spirulina unique, you can easily incorporate it into your diet by pairing it with naturally sweet fruits, like dates, bananas and mango. Try blending your plant-based yogurt with the fruit and a serving of spirulina to take that protein up a notch!