50 plant proteins that you need in your diet

Contrary to popular belief, you can get all your protein needs from plant proteins. Since I became a vegetarian, many people have asked me

WhEREEEE Dooooo you get your protein?????

If you follow a strict vegetarian or plant based diet and vegan lifestyle, protein will always be there for you. In fact, the average American consumes too much protein. The typical American diet is high in calories, sugar, and fat (meat, dairy, and processed carbs). Americans are not eating enough fruits and vegetables!

Both vegans and vegetarians need to make sure they are consuming a variety of foods. Also, make sure you are getting enough Iron, Zinc, Vitamins (A,D,B) and Omega 3 fatty acids; if not planned well, vegan and vegetarian diets can lead to poor health. 

Complete and Incomplete Plant-Based Proteins

There is simply not enough education on nutrition to go around. Some health gurus will tell you, high protein diets are the way to go and others will tell you, you don’t need as much protein as you think. Bottom line, our bodies need protein to repair and build muscles.

Protein is a macronutrient. Protein deficiencies are uncommon, but it can lead to a host of problems such as fatty liver, muscle depletion, thinning skin and hair, and stunted growth in children.

In specific terms, our bodies need complete proteins. Complete proteins are proteins that contain all the essential amino acids in adequate amounts. These proteins are found in meat and animal products, such as:

  • Seafood
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Eggs

The really good news is there are plant based complete protein sources found in:

  • Buckwheat
  • Soy products
  • Quinoa
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Amaranth

The hot debate

Many vegans will tell you, you don’t need complete proteins every meal and some don’t believe you need complete proteins at all. Incomplete proteins are proteins that are lacking in essential amino acids such as:

  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Bread
  • Leafy vegetables

Just because some plant based alternatives are incomplete proteins does not mean they are unhealthy and you shouldn’t eat them. And as an athlete, I don’t agree with many vegans, I believe every athlete and or gym rat needs complete proteins. If you don’t consume meat or animal products you can get complete proteins by combining incomplete proteins together. For example:

Combinations:

  • Peanut butter and toast
  • Humus and pita
  • Beans and rice
  • Barley and lentils stew and soups
  • Vegetable stir fry with buckwheat noodles and tofu
  • Peanut butter rice noodles with tempeh
  • Pasta salad with chickpeas
  • Vegetarian chili with corn muffins

As long as you are eating a variety of foods and combining protein sources together you will reach your dietary needs. Below I have a list of delicious plant based foods that contain protein! Two cheers for plant power! 

Top Soy and Grain protein sources

1. Tempeh
  • 31 grams of protein per cup (complete protein)
2. Tofu
  • 20 grams of protein per cup (complete protein)
3. Seitan
  • 75 grams of protein per 100 grams
4. EDAMAME
  • 17 grams of protein per cup (cooked)
5. Quinoa
  • 14 grams of protein per 100 grams (complete protein)

Legumes and Seeds

6. Lentils
  • 18 grams of protein per cup
7. Chickpeas
  • 39 grams of protein per cup
8. Black Beans
  • 15.2 grams of protein per cup
9. Hemp Seeds
  • 31.56 grams of protein per 100 grams (complete protein)
10. Sun Flower Seeds
  • 29 grams of protein per cup
11. Oatmeal
  • 6 grams of protein per cup
12. Chia Seeds
  • 4.7 grams of protein per oz
13. Pumpkin Seeds
  • 12 grams of protein per cup
14. Peanuts
  • 25 grams of protein per 100 grams
15. Mycoprotein
  • 11 grams of protein per 100 grams (complete protein)
16. Amaranth  
  • 26 grams of protein per cup (complete protein)
17. Peanut Butter
  • 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoon
18. Beans and Rice
  • 21 grams of protein per 1 serving (complete protein combination)
19. Pea protein
  • 15 grams of protein per 2 scoops
20. SOY MILK
  • 8 grams of protein per 1 cup
21. Flax Seeds
  • 5.2 grams of protein per 100 grams
22. Cashews
  • 5 grams of protein per oz
23. Almonds
  • 6 grams of protein per oz
24. Potatoes
  • 7 grams of protein per large potato
25. Ezekiel Bread
  • 4 grams of protein per slice
26. Lima Beans
  • 15 grams of protein per 1 cup
27. Wild Rice
  • 24 grams of protein per cup
28. Spelt and Teff
  • 12 grams of protein per cup
29. Sprouted Grains
  • 15 grams of protein per slice
30. PISTACHIOS
  • 20 grams of protein per 100 grams
31. Nutritional Yeast
  • 9 grams of protein per two tablespoon (complete protein)
32. Whole Wheat Pasta
  • 6 grams of protein per serving
33. Walnuts
  • 4.3 grams of protein of per 100 grams
34. spirulina
  • 4 grams of protein per tablespoon

Veggie protein

35. Green Peas
  • 8 grams per cup
36. CORN
  • 5 grams of protein per cup
37. BROCCOLI
  • 2.6 grams of protein per cup
38. Spinach
  • 2.9 grams of protein per 100 grams
39. Avocado
  • 1.9 grams of protein per cup
40. Brussel Sprouts
  • 3 grams per cup
41. Asparagus

Fruit

42. Guava
  • 4.2 grams of protein per cup
43. Cherimoys
  • 2.5 grams of protein per cup
44. Mulberries
  • 2 grams of protein per cup
45. Blackberries
  • 2 grams of protein per cup
46. Nectarines
  • 1.5 grams of protein per cup
47. Bananas
  • 1.3 grams of protein per cup
48. Kiwi Fruit
  • 2.1 grams protein per cup
49. Peaches
  • 1.4 grams protein per cup
50. Cantaloupe
  • 1.5 grams of protein per cup

I hope this list has helped those of you who are on the plant-based journey! Or those who want to add more vegetables in their diets.

Thanks for reading,

Fitsavvy

*Post updated 3/2/2021

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