How Do Vegans Get Their Protein?

Read our related article "How Much Protein Do We Need?"

For many skeptics out there, the biggest reason most people do not want to eat a more plant-based diet is because they are concerned they will not get their share of protein. Where are vegans getting their protein from? We have been hardwired to think eggs and meat and fish are the biggest sources of protein, when in fact, if you do a bit of research, there are a lot more things you can choose to add to your diet that give you the same, if not more protein in some instances.

Daily Protein Needs

For most of us, our daily protein requirements are easily achieved by a healthy, balanced diet. The US Department of Health advises adults to avoid consuming more than twice the recommended daily intake of protein (55.5 g for the average man and 45 g for the average woman).

Get it straight: Plant-based foods have lots of protein (per 100 grams):

  • Green Peas have 5 g
  • Chickpeas (aka Garbanzo Beans) have 19 g
  • Quinoa 14 grams of protein in 100 grams. NOTE: Spelt, Kamut, Teff, Amaranth, Sorghum are all other grains than have more protein than quinoa! 
  • Spinach: 2.9 g
  • Broccoli: 2.8 g
  • Peanut butter: 8 g for 2 tbsp or 25 g of protein in 100 grams
  • Almond butter: 6.8 g of protein in 2 tbsp or 21 g of protein in 100 grams
  • Chia Seeds: 3 g protein in 1 tbsp or 17 g protein in 100 grams
  • Hemp Seeds: 5.3 g of protein in 1 tbsp, or about 34 g protein in 100 grams
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes: 5 g
  • Soy Milk:  3.3 g 

Recommendations on Getting your Protein

  • Spread your protein intake out throughout the day
  • Have a meal or protein shake within 30 minutes of exercise
  • Aim for 0.8-1 g of protein per 1 kg of bodyweight through a combination of healthy food choices
  • Remember to drink water to keep the blood flowing and thus protein moving to each muscle fibre.
  • Pea protein and hemp protein offer very high % of calories from protein (93% and 46%, respectively.)
  • Meat eaters should choose the lean cuts
  • Vegans should vary their diet to ensure all essential amino acids are included as protein