Being a vegan in an animal product based society poses more challenges than just finding a restaurant to eat at. Chances are if you’re a vegan you’ve been asked, “where do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat, eggs or cheese? ” Every person who finds out I’m vegan asks me this question. Many people think that meat=protein and that’s the only way to obtain the proper daily amount of protein. Sorry to burst any bubbles, but that is not the case! Keep in mind that the average woman requires about 46 grams of protein, and the average man requires 56 grams.)
1) Green Peas: One cup of peas contains about 7.9 grams of protein. Peas are no longer just for the dinner plate, they are now made into protein powders as well. Sunwarior Protein Powder is a combination of pea and hemp protein.
2) Quinoa (KEEN-wah): This one is a personal favorite. One cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of protein. Not only is it packed with protein it is contains high amounts of all the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the ones that the body can’t produce and must be taken in through the diet.
3) Beans (legumes): Beans are perhaps the biggest staple food for most vegans. With there being such a wide variety and uses its easy to see why (how affordable they are helps as well.) Just one cup of black beans contains a whopping 42 grams of protein! That is nothing to sneeze at. Every bean has a different protein amount and a different use, but they are all great sources.
4) Nuts: A great source of protein and healthy fats. They are a quick source of protein when on the go. A half a cup of almonds contains 15 grams of protein. Most commonly people ingest nuts in their “butter” form. 2 tbsp of peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein. Other nut butters are on the rise in popularity, cashew, hazelnut and almond butters are also great sources of protein.
5) Soy: There is always controversy around soy but one thing is certain it’s a good source of protein. Tofu contains 10 grams of protein per half cup. But soy protein doesn’t just come in tofu form. Tempeh is another form of soy protein that contains 31 grams per cup. Both of these examples have an endless array of uses.
It’s easy to see where vegans get their protein. The sources aren’t even limited to these, there are so many other plant based sources to choose from. Every plant has protein, these are just sources with higher amounts. The next time someone goes to ask you where you get your protein you’ll have a good response.
Bridget Newman, nutrition and dietetics student at The University of Akron