Quantcast

25 Ways Vegans Get Protein

Food

If you’ve been vegan for any length of time, there’s a pretty good chance that someone’s asked you the ubiquitous question, “How do you get enough protein?” It’s a common misconception that you need animal products to get enough protein into your diet. In fact, many plant foods are loaded with protein, and if you incorporate 2-3 protein sources into each meal, chances are your protein levels will be a-OK.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Need proof that vegans aren’t hurting for protein? Just take a look at the recent popularity of veganism among bodybuilders. When you’re doing heavy weight training like bodybuilders do, you need to take in a lot more protein than the average recommendations. If it was that hard to get enough protein on a vegan diet, chances are we wouldn’t see so many bodybuilders talking about the benefits of a vegan diet.

The amount of protein you need in your diet depends a lot on your body weight and what activities you do. Americans in general eat far more protein than we need each day. The recommended daily allowances for protein is .8 grams per kilogram of body weight. So, if you weigh 140 pounds, you’d need 51 grams of protein per day (140 pounds = 63.5 kg, and 63.5 X .8 = 50.8).

Like I mentioned above, you just need a couple of protein sources at each meal, and you’re golden. Depending on the protein sources you choose, you can even have just one source at a meal, if it’s high in protein. What I don’t want to do is confuse this idea with protein combining, a common practice that is totally unnecessary.

The Myth of Protein Combining

You can probably track the idea of protein combining back to the book Diet for a Small Planet. The idea is that plant foods don’t contain “complete” proteins, and you need to combine certain plant foods at each meal to make sure you’re getting enough complete proteins.

Proteins contain amino acids, which are necessary for good health. There are nine amino acids that our bodies need to function, and animal products contain all nine. However, most plant-based protein sources are missing one or two amino acids, and different ones are missing different amino acids.

Read page 1

What makes a good myth is a kernel of truth, right? It’s true that you need to eat a variety of proteins to make sure you’re getting all of the amino acids your body needs, but it’s not as hard as protein combining methods make it seem. You don’t need all nine at the same meal, and it’s even OK if you don’t get them all every single day. If you stick to a variety of protein sources, like the ones below, you’ll be golden. Hey, maybe you’ll even try your hand at bodybuilding.

25 Vegan Protein Sources

There are plenty of vegan protein sources, and if you make sure to eat a variety of these throughout the week, you won’t need to worry about getting enough protein.

I understand that not everyone is going to eat all 25 of these. This list is a jumping off point to give you some options to get going. Beans, whole grains, and even fruits and veggies contain protein, so if your favorite foods aren’t on this list, I suggest using a resource like the U.S.Department of Agriculture Nutrition Database to check out their protein contents.

  1. Tempeh: 41 g per cup
  2. Lentils: 18 g per cup
  3. Plain soymilk: 11 g per cup
  4. Edamame: 20 g per cup
  5. Seitan: 19 g per 3 ounces
  6. Tofu: 20 g per 1/2 cup
  7. Peas: 9 g per cup
  8. Brown rice: 5 g per cup
  9. White rice: 4 g per cup
  10. Cooked broccoli: 4 g per cup
  11. Sunflower seeds: 6 g per 1/4 cup
  12. Quinoa: 9 g per cup
  13. Cooked spinach: 5 g per cup
  14. Avocado: 4 g per cup
  15. Whole grain bread: 7 g in 2 slices
  16. Black beans: 15 g per cup
  17. Cashews: 5 g per 1/4 cup
  18. Cooked semolina pasta: 8 g per cup
  19. Chia seeds: 5 g per 2 tablespoons
  20. Flax seeds: 4 g per 2 tablespoons
  21. Bulgur: 5.5 g per cup
  22. Peanut butter: 8 g per 2 tablespoons
  23. Sunflower seed butter: 5.5 g per 2 tablespoons
  24. Baked red potato:  3 g per cup
  25. Barley: 3.5 g per cup

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, and I’d love to hear from you guys. What plant-based foods do you rely on for protein?

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

25 Vegan Sources of Calcium

Move Over, Quinoa, a New Superfood Grain Is in Town

6 Reasons to Eat an Avocado

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a press statement on the European Green Deal at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on Dec. 11, 2019. Xinhua / Zheng Huansong via Getty Images

The European Commission introduced a plan to overhaul the bloc's economy to more sustainable, climate-conscious policies and infrastructure, with the goal of being carbon-neutral by 2050, according to CNBC.

Read More Show Less
Young activists shout slogans on stage after Greta Thunberg (not in the picture) took part in the plenary session during the COP25 Climate Conference on Dec. 11 in Madrid, Spain. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Young activists took over and occupied the main stage at the COP25 climate conference in Madrid, Spain Wednesday and demanded world leaders commit to far more ambitious action to address the ecological emergency.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A NASA image showing the ozone hole at its maximum extent for 2015. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The Montreal Protocol, a 1987 international treaty prohibiting the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to save the ozone layer, was the first successful multilateral agreement to successfully slow the rate of global warming, according to new research. Now, experts argue that similar measures may lend hope to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Example of starlings murmuration pictured in Scotland. Tanya Hart / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Police in Wales are in the midst of an unusual investigation: the sudden death of more than 200 starlings.

Read More Show Less
Donald Trump Jr. killed an argali sheep like this one on a hunting trip in Mongolia. powerofforever/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

During a hunting trip in Mongolia this August, Donald Trump Jr. shot and killed an endangered argali sheep, and received a permit only after the fact.

Read More Show Less