Protein Part 4: Vegetarian Protein Sources

This series has at large been a definitive guide to plant based protein. There is no point in giving you all the science without the “how to” knowledge. Being a vegetarian and (especially) a vegan can be a bit tricky when making sure one gets enough protein. This is why I advocate eating a large variety of whole, plant based foods. If you are getting calories from crappy foods like cookies and chips you might feel full without getting much out of the healthy stuff. However, if you ate a giant bowl of lentil dahl with tahini dressing you could have just consumed a third of your daily protein requirement. Pass on that pizza and hit the plants. 

How do you know if your getting enough? I learn best by seeing examples – so an example is what I give you: I weigh 130 pounds. To figure out how much protein you need you need to know your weight (in kilograms). Math time.

The Protein Equation:

The Protein Equation: (weight in kilos) x (0.8) = the number of grams of protein you should eat per day
My protein requirement: (59 kilos) x (0.8) = 47 grams

Forty-seven grams doesn’t seem like that much until you realize one banana has less than two grams of protein. I really hate the idea of counting calories, or tallying a list of numbers to make sure I’m eating my protein requirement. However, when I made this list of plant proteins it gave me a rough idea of what foods were protein dense and how I could eat enough protein on the daily.

[bctt tweet=”How to Calculate Your Protein Requirement on #thesharpguide” username=”Alexandra_Eats”]


Soy Products

Tofu                                      ½ c                             22g
Edamame                             1 c                               19
Tempeh                                ½ c                             17
Soy Milk                               1 c                               10
Miso                                      1 T                               2


Lentils                                   1 cup                         18
Garbanzo                              1 cup                         15
Black Beans                          1 cup                         15
Hummus (homemade)        1 cup                         12
Kidney                                   1 cup                         8


Peanut Butter                       ¼ c                          16
Almond Butter                      ¼ c                          16
Walnuts (whole)                   ¼ c                          14
Cashew Butter                      ¼ c                          12
Tahini                                     ¼ c                          12
Pistachio                                ¼ c                          11
Cashews                                 ¼ c                          11
Almonds                                 ¼ c                           8
Brazil Nuts                             ¼ c                           5
Pecans                                    ¼ c                           5

Grains and Seeds

Oats Rolled                             1 c                            11
Amaranth                                1 c                            9
Quinoa                                    1 c                             8
Buckwheat                              1 c                            6
Millet                                       1 c                            6
Pumpkin Seeds                      2 T                           6
Hemp Hearts                          2 T                          6
Chia Seeds                              2 T                           5
Brown Rice                              1 c                           5
Flax Seed                                 2 T                          4


[bctt tweet=”Vegan and Vegetarian Protein Sources on #thesharpguide ” username=”Alexandra_Eats”]


Something to Consider:

Being the grand finale of the protein series I wanted to bring a couple things back to your attention. Knowing what amino acids are + how to ensure you are getting all the the essential amino acids are important – but the most important thing to remember is to fuel your body. Protein should not be an isolated way to look at nutrition. Proteins are one of the three macronutrients (along with fats and carbohydrates). Eating a large variety of plants will ensure you are getting all of the macronutrients. Apples might not seem important for protein, since they contain less than two grams, but they are packed with carbohydrates that fuel your brain. Nutrition is too often picked apart into systematic groups that sometimes make us loose track of what the goal is: eat delicious food and feel freaking good.

Want to learn more about the other macronutrients? Take a look at the fats and carbohydrate series.

Image Credit: Alexandra Thomas

One Comment

  1. Chris Futcher April 28, 2016 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    I love the idea of feeling satisfied eating healthier food. Good vegetable protein if likely what I need to get to that point. The hard part for me is finding the time or person to help me put good quality and satisfying food on the table. Any suggestions?

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