Ask any vegetarian or vegan what the number one question they get asked is and I’m almost 100% certain that the answer will be this: “But, where do you get your protein from?”
Not that you should ever have to justify your diet to anyone, but if you are struggling to answer this question, then this is the page for you! Here we’ll list out some common (and not so common) sources of plant based protein sources and their protein values.
Firstly, the issue of how much protein a person needs is in great debate. According to the powers that be, the recommended daily allowance of protein is about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight – that’s 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. And, if the person is an athlete, then a range of between 0.36 and 0.86 grams per pound has been suggested. (Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002)
Taking this into account, that would mean that an average female of 140 pounds (63.6 kg) would need about 51 grams of protein in a day. If that female were to be an athlete, her recommended intake would range somewhere from 51 grams to 120 grams of protein.
If this means absolutely nothing to you personally, then you are not alone!
Broken down in to portion sizes, the protein content looks like this:
Vegan Protein Heavyweights
Tempeh (1 cup) 31 grams
Soybeans, cooked (1 cup) 29 grams
Seitan (3 oz) 21 grams
Lentils, cooked (1 cup) 18 grams
Chickpeas, cooked (1 cup) 15 grams
Tofu, firm (4 oz) 11 grams
Medium Bagel (3.5 oz) 10 grams
Quinoa, cooked (1 cup) 8 grams
Peanut Butter (2 TBSP) 8 grams
Soy Milk, store-bought (1 cup) 7 grams
Whole Wheat Bread (2 slices) 6 grams
If you are worried about getting enough protein, you might consider entering your daily intake in to a food calculator such as MyFitnessPal. Otherwise, as you can probably see, the average vegan with a varied diet has no trouble meeting their daily protein targets.