How do you get enough protein is a common question if you are vegan.
It’s a common misconception that you need animal products to get enough protein into your diet. In fact, many plant foods are very rich in protein, and if you mix 2-3 plant-based protein sources into each meal you will get enough protein.
Need proof that vegans aren’t hurting for protein? What about 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. We wouldn’t see so many vegan bodybuilders if it was that hard to get enough protein on a vegan diet.
The amount of protein you need in your diet depends on your body weight and how active you are. Generally, Americans intake far more protein than we need every day.
How much Protein you need per day
The RDA for protein is 0.5 to 0.7 grams per kilogram of body weight for people with a sedentary lifestyle. For strength athletes, RDA is from 0.7 to 0.8 grams. To determine your RDA for protein, you should multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36. Here are some general guidelines:
- 36 grams protein if you have 100 lbs (0.36 X 100)
- 45 grams protein if you have 125 lbs (0.36 X 125)
- 63 grams protein if you have 175 lbs (0.36 X 175)
- 72 grams protein if you have 200 lbs (0.36 X 200)
As mentioned before, you just need a couple of protein sources at each meal. If your choice is a plant rich in protein you can even have just one source at a meal. 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
Proteins are building up from amino acids and they are necessary for good health. From 20 proteogenic amino acids, nine amino acids are essential and they cannot be synthesized in the body. So, these nine amino acids must come from food. Animal products contain all essential nine amino acids. Plant-based protein sources usually are missing one or two amino acids, and different ones are missing different amino acids.
Yes, 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 you don’t need all nine essential amino acids at the same meal, and it’s even OK if you don’t get them all every single day. You should stick to a variety of protein sources, like the ones below.
25 Vegan Protein Sources
Plant based foods can be good protein sources, so a vegan must eat a variety of them. This way you will get enough protein and good health!
We 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, check it out now.
- Tempeh – 41 g per cup
- Tofu – 40 g per cup
- Sunflower seeds – 24 g per cup
- Edamame – 20 g per cup
- Cashews – 20 g per cup
- Lentils – 18 g per cup
- Seitan – 19 g per 3 ounces
- Black beans – 15 g per cup
- Plain soymilk – 11 g per cup
- Peas – 9 g per cup
- Quinoa – 9 g per cup
- Cooked semolina pasta – 8 g per cup
- Peanut butter – 8 g per 2 tablespoons
- Whole grain bread – 7 g in 2 slices
- Millet – 6 g per cup, cooked
- Bulgur – 5.5 g per cup
- Sunflower seed butter – 5.5 g per 2 tablespoons
- Chia seeds – 5 g per 2 tablespoons
- Cooked spinach – 5 g per cup
- Brown rice – 5 g per cup
- White rice – 4 g per cup
- Cooked broccoli – 4 g per cup
- Avocado – 4 g per cup
- Flax seeds – 4 g per 2 tablespoons
- Red potato (baked) – 3 g per cup
So if your favorite foods aren’t on this list, we suggest using a resource like the USDA Nutrition Database and check out their protein contents.