Pictured above: beans, lentils, and seeds!
Everyone seems to be concerned with protein intake, and if you mention you are vegetarian or (gasp!) vegan, your protein intake will become a great concern for others. How much protein we really need and who actually should be worried about getting enough is a topic for another day. Today I wanted to share the sources of protein that don't come from animal products. This is for anyone considering or currently on a plant-based diet, and for all of us skeptical that one can really get enough protein from plants.
Pictured above: almond milk, tofu, and coconut yogurt
Good Sources of Protein
Tempeh - 31g in 1 cup
Lentils - 18 g in 1 cup cooked
Black Beans (add rice to make it a complete protein!) - 15 g in 1 cup
Black eye peas - 13 g in 1 cup
Tofu - 11 g in 4 oz
Hemp - complete protein with 9g in 3 Tbsp
Quinoa - complete protein with 8 g in 1 cup
Green Peas - 8 g in 1 cup
Almonds - 8 g in 1/4 cup
Oatmeal - 6g in 1 cup, cooked
Pumpkin Seeds - 5g in 2 Tbsp
Spinach - 5 g in 1 cup, cooked
Chia seeds - complete protein with 4g in 2 Tbsp
Pictured above: beans, lentils, and pumpkin seeds
Most foods, except fruit, fat, and some vegetables, contain protein so if you are consuming a well balanced diet you are probably consuming enough of it. If transitioning to an only plant-based diet, it may be useful to track your protein intake until you feel comfortable you are consuming enough. Otherwise, even if you consume a small amount of animal products, such as yogurt or eggs, if you are eating a balanced diet your protein intake will be sufficient. Of course, everyone has different needs and you should consult with a physician and/or registered dietician before making changes to your diet.
Pictured above: rice and bean salad for a complete protein option!
1. Protein in the Vegan Diet. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2017, from http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.php