In recent months I’ve seen a huge rise in the number of people choosing to adopt plant based diets. Their top concerns are how to ensure you get enough protein from plants and questions on what are the best plant based sources of protein when following a plant based, vegetarian or vegan diet?
A common misconception is that protein is only found in animal products like meat, eggs, dairy, chicken or fish and that you can’t get enough protein on a plant based vegetarian or vegan diet. While it is true that animal products are the richest sources of protein when it comes to grams per 100g, they are not the only sources. There are a wide variety of great plant based sources of protein if you know where to look and are willing to do more planning to intentionally add those sources into your diet.
Plant based sources of protein
Most people are aware that chickpeas, beans, lentils, legumes and tofu are plant based sources of protein. What may be surprising is the amount you need to eat to get that protein. Beans and lentils typically contain 5-9% protein per hundred grams. Which means that to get 15g of protein from beans in a meal you’ll need to eat at least a cups worth or 2 cups for 30g of protein.
For example, a meal of sweet potato (2.8g) with a 1/2 a can mixed beans (8.8g), 2 Tbsp hummus (4.6g), 1/2 avocado (1.2g), 1 cup raw spinach (0.5g) totals 17.9g of plant protein. You could then increase this further by adding more hummus, or using a whole can of beans (17.6g), or adding a tablespoon of hemp seeds (4.5g)
The most important thing to remember when eating a plant based diet is to include a wide variety of plants in every meal as each different component will add a little boost.
The following lists show how much protein is present in different plant based foods per 100g or 100ml as well as the amount in a typical serving size for that food.
Beans, lentils and legumes
Nuts & Seeds
Grains & cereals
Herbs & Spices
Sauces + powders
If you are interested in learning more about plant based diets, check out these posts:
- Plant based sources of calcium
- Plant based sources of iron
- Plant based sources of protein
- Nutrition advice for vegan athletes
- Does broccoli have more protein than steak?
- Why you should stick your mushrooms in the sun
Train Smart. Eat Smart. Perform Better.
Interested in learning more about a plant based diet and ensure that you are getting a balanced diet to suit your training or lifestyle? Book an online nutrition appointment.