- Maddy Belaustegui
Whether you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, do not eat meat for cultural reasons, or just do not enjoy meat in your diet - you still need to get adequate protein from other sources. It is absolutely possible to get protein from plant sources, you will just have to work a little bit harder. Here are a couple things to remember:
Plant-based proteins contain a different form of iron than animal protein, which is harder for your body to absorb and use. They are also incomplete - meaning they contain less essential amino acids. So if you get most of your protein from plants, you will need to consume more protein to achieve the same muscle growth and maintenance as someone who eats animal protein. One exception is quinoa which contains all the essential amino acids!
If you follow a strictly plant-based dietary pattern, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider to ensure if supplementation of certain nutrients, including iron vitamin B12, may be necessary.
Plant protein can be valuable for everyone to add into their diet. Whole grains and legumes are sources of many vitamins and minerals, as well as excellent sources of fiber, a component that animal protein lacks. Decreasing red meat and increasing fiber consumption is important for cardiovascular health especially for those with high cholesterol and blood pressure.
Here are some of the common sources of plant protein and how many grams of protein they contain!
Tempeh, 100 grams - 18 grams
Lentils, 1 cup cooked - 18 grams
Black beans, 1 cup canned - 15 grams
Almonds, 1/2 cup - 15 grams
Black-eyed peas, 1/2 cup - 13.5 grams
Edamame, 1/2 cup shelled - 13 grams
Kidney beans, 1 cup canned - 13 grams
Firm tofu, 100 grams - 12 grams
Chickpeas, 1 cup canned - 12 grams
Spirulina, 3 tbsp - 12 grams
Hazelnuts, 1/2 cup - 10 grams
Hemp seeds, 3 tbsp - 10 grams
Chia seeds, 3 tbsp - 6-9 grams
Flaxseed, 3 tbsp, 6-8 grams
Nutritional yeast, 2 tbsp - 8 grams
Peanut butter, 2 tbsp - 8 grams
Quinoa, 1 cup cooked - 8 grams
Potato, 1 large - 8 grams
Plain soy milk, 1 cup - 8 grams
Roasted peanuts, 1/4 cup - 7 grams
Wheat berries, 1/2 cup - 6 grams
Rolled oats, 1/2 cup - 5 grams
Peas, 1/2 cup - 4 grams
Broccoli florets, 1 cup - 3 grams
Steamed kale, 1 cup - 3 grams
Jessica Isaacs the Sports Dietitian
USDA | Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025