Top 7 Sources of Plant Based Protein

Vegan Protein

When you go vegan, the one question you will receive time and time again is, “how do you get enough protein?” While this seems absurd as a vegan, it’s completely understandable coming from anybody without knowledge of how vegans eat. Vegan protein sources are rather varied and there are plenty to choose from.

#Vegan protein sources are rather varied and there are plenty to choose from. Click To Tweet

However, we vegans have to understand, there was probably a time that we didn’t know where protein came from (outside of meat). Our society, in America, does a great job of brainwashing us to think all, or at least most, good protein comes from animal meat. We are also taught that we need a ridiculous amount of protein every single day to survive.

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These are simply myths, which I discussed some in my post on top vegan myths here. For this post, I want to explore the top 7 sources of plant based protein to help those becoming vegan and those just curious.

Before we get into the top vegan protein sources, it’s important to understand how much protein the human body really needs every single day. There are about as many opinions on this subject as there are people writing about it.

How Much Protein do You Really Need Every Day?

Unless you’re an athlete or trying really hard to build muscle, your daily protein need is probably far lower than you would expect. Of course, some very popular, high protein diets have skewed our idea of what we really need.

The Paleo Diet, for example, would have a 180-pound man eating between 126 to 153 grams of protein per day. It will nearly all come from diary and meat, too. This same diet will have a 125-pound woman eating 88 to 100 grams of protein per day.

This is just one example of a popular high protein, high fat diet skewing what you and I think our bodies need daily. You don’t need this much protein, unless you’re a serious athlete. Even then, your real requirement may be lower.

According to multiple sources, our bodies need between 45 and 59 grams of #protein per day. Click To Tweet

According to multiple sources (listed just below), our bodies need between 45 and 59 grams of protein per day. If you’re a lactating woman, you need closer to 72 grams per day, however. One of the sources below is a Harvard study and it stated that a woman over the age of 19 needs 46 grams of protein per day while a man over 19 years of age needs 56 grams.

That’s really not much protein and the Paleo Diet, along with other high protein diets want you to more than double that!

Now, if you exercise quite a bit, you may need a bit more protein, but very few humans need 100+ grams of protein per day. Bodybuilders and serious athletes may be the only ones needing that much protein.

Sources:
Top 10 Foods Highest in Protein + Infographic
The Nutrition Source: Protein (Harvard Study)
How Much Protein Do You Really Need?
How Much Protein Do We Really Need?

Okay. Now that we have solved the issue with how much protein you need, it’s time to figure out where it will be coming from. Here’s what you’ll be eating for protein, if you decide to go vegan.

Seitan

Uh oh, there he goes talking about things I have never heard of before. Click To Tweet

Uh oh, there he goes talking about things I have never heard of before. As a vegan, this happens often and if you’re new to it, you’ll be learning new words and foods for quite some time.

Seitan is one of the top choices for protein because you get 24 grams for just 4 ounces. It’s a good substitute for meat and soy products, as well. It comes from wheat gluten, however, so it won’t work for those vegans also going gluten-free.

Looking to go Plant Based for more Energy and Productivity? Check out my FREE eBook called, “8 Practical Tips for Better Productivity Through Proper Eating” and get your copy by clicking here.

Pacific makes a pretty good brand of Seitan and it’s not very expensive. In fact, it’s about the same price as some meats.

Tempeh

tempeh protein

Tempeh was something I had heard of, but not really had before I became a vegan. It’s packed with 24 grams of protein for every four ounces. This is a great protein option as it’s the non-fermented brother of tofu. You can use it to make veggie burgers or as a good meat alternative in pasta and stir-fry dishes.

Personally, I don’t eat a ton of Tempeh or Tofu for that matter. It’s made of soy, which isn’t my favorite, but I know plenty of vegans that love the stuff.

Beans

kidney-beans-vegan-protein-source

Beans are packed with protein and certainly one of my staples. Whether you choose black, pinto, kidney, mung or any other type of bean, you’ll get about 12 to 15 grams for every cup you eat.

Mix them into a chili or eat them right out of the can. I like to take kidney beans and add a bit of chili powder, garlic, jalapeno, onion, brown mustard and ketchup to make my own version of baked beans. Serve this over toast with the Earth Balance Vegan Butter and you have yourself a nice breakfast!

Lentils

lentils for protein

Another staple in my pantry, lentils pare packed with nearly 18 grams of protein for every cup. They are great for you and have plenty of excellent nutrients for your body. The best part, they are easy to work with.

Add lentils to your noodles, rice or #quinoa and you'll add protein to any meal. #vegan Click To Tweet

Add lentils to your noodles, rice or quinoa and you’ll add protein to any meal. They don’t take long to cook and you’ll probably barely notice they’re in there after a month or two.

You can also sprout lentils for an even more nutritious option. Check out this video for instructions on sprouting lentils.

Quinoa

top-7-sources-of-plant-based-protein-quinoa

There’s that word everybody pronounces differently. Yes, as a vegan, you will become very familiar with quinoa. It’s a great substitute for rice or noodles and you can even find noodles made with it.

The best part, quinoa offers 11 grams of protein per cup and goes with just about everything. You can mix it into a soup, serve a stir-fry over it or just add a little cinnamon and your favorite fruit for a healthy dessert.

Peas

vegan-protein-from-peas

Peas are one of the top 7 sources of #plantbased protein. Click To Tweet

Yes. You read that correctly. Peas are one of the top 7 sources of plant based protein. These little green things are packed with the stuff. For every cup, you’ll get nearly 8 grams of protein. That may seem like only a little bit, but peas are a vegetable and you probably didn’t even think they had protein in them.

Hemp Seeds

hemp-seed-protein-source

About 16 grams of protein for every 3 tablespoons is found in hemp seeds. These are a super seed with all kinds of great nutrients including omega-6 and omega-3 at a greet ratio. They work in a number of dishes and help to give you a little extra protein quickly.

Looking to go Plant Based for more Energy and Productivity? Check out my FREE eBook called, “8 Practical Tips for Better Productivity Through Proper Eating” and get your copy by clicking here.

Other great vegan protein sources include:

  • Spirulina – 6 grams per 10 gram serving
  • Chia Seeds – 4 grams per 2 tablespoons
  • Broccoli – Over 4 grams for a regular size stalk
  • Spinach – 2.1 grams per 2 cups
  • Almonds – 8 grams per 1/4 cup
  • Raw Cacao – 1 gram per tablespoon
  • Sunflower Seeds – 7 grams per 1/4 cup
  • Edamame – 18 grams per 1 cup
  • Lima Beans – 7.3 grams per 1/2 cup
  • Peanut Butter – 7 grams per 1/4 cup
  • Wild Rice – 6.5 grams per 1 cup cooked
  • Oats – 5 grams per 1/4 cup
  • Potatoes – 4 grams for one medium white potato

There are so many vegan protein sources we don’t even realize have protein in them. If we didn’t let modern society dictate what we think and believe, maybe we’d realize that you can get plenty of protein without killing one single animal.

Now you have my top 7 sources of plant based protein, along with plenty of bonus vegan protein sources to choose from. It’s not hard to be a vegan, if you take the time to learn your protein sources and how to cook great meals with them.

Do you have a favorite source of vegan protein not found on the list or a favorite recipe to share? Help out all of us vegans by posting it in the comments section.

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