It’s a common misconception that plant-based diets are “insufficient” or “too complicated” when it comes to daily protein intake. Without the convenience of protein sourced from animals, how do plant-based protein sources stack up? Animal products make up only a portion of foods that are rich in protein. It’s easy to incorporate protein (and plenty of bonus micronutrients) into your diet from a variety of plant-based sources including beans, peas, lentils, and grains.
Some worry Another necessary nutrient that often comes from animal protein sources is vitamin B-12. If you’re not adding fortified nutritional yeast or grains to your vegan diet, you might want to consider a vitamin B-12 supplement.
Before diving into our favorite plant-based protein sources, you’ll want to determine how much protein you actually need based on your weight, activity level, and fitness goals. Head over to our protein calculator to find your number.
Here are the heavy hitters of plant-based protein you can easily space throughout your day in meals, snacks, and smoothies. We’ve included grams of protein according to the USDA.
Nuts & Seeds
Raw, roasted, or blended into a tasty butter, nuts and seeds are a great source of protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
- Sunflower seeds (6g/oz)
- Sacha Inchi seeds (9g/oz)
- Hemp seeds (8.8g/oz)
- Pumpkin seeds (5g/oz)
- Pistachios (6g/oz)
- Almonds (6g/oz)
Peas, beans, and lentils are excellent sources of fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, lysine (an essential amino acid), polyphenols, omega-3 fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates.
- Lentils (18g/cup)
- Black beans (15g/cup)
- Chickpeas (12g/cup)
- Green peas (8g/cup)
- Peanuts (7.3g/oz)
Soybeans are versatile and pack the most punch when it comes to protein AND vitamins.
- Tempeh (41g/cup)
- Tofu (20g/cup)
- Edamame (17g/cup)
- Soy milk (8g/cup)
Nutritional yeast is a great dairy-free and gluten-free source of protein, fiber, and vitamins. Check to make sure it’s fortified with vitamin B-12. It’s also a delicious cheese substitute in savory vegan dishes.
- Nutritional yeast (8g/.25cup)
High-protein grains are a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and complex carbohydrates. Whole grains can also help lower your cholesterol while meeting your protein needs.
- Quinoa (technically a seed) (8g/cup)
- Oats (6g/cup)
- Buckwheat (5g/cup)
- Brown rice (4.5g/cup)
Ascent's Plant-Based Protein
Made from pea protein, sunflower protein, and pumpkin protein, our Certified Organic, vegan, plant-based protein powder delivers a full amino acid profile, including 4g of BCAAs and 25g of clean protein in a single scoop.
Whether you are trying out a vegan diet for the first time or looking to add variety to your animal protein sources, incorporating plant-based protein is both doable and enjoyable.