Vegan protein sources chart [pdf] – 21 best foods
Here it is, kids, the article you’ve all been waiting for.
“But where do you get your protein?”
Tell people to download the vegan protein sources chart pdf to find out!
(PS – if you want some ideas for carbs, go look here!)
There is a lot I could say about protein, but for now, here is a quick review. Want more? Let me know!
Quick Protein Calculation
Without going into too much nutty gritty in this particular post, let’s do a very fast protein calculation so you can see how protein can add up to what you need.
Teen athletes need between 0.45 and 0.65 grams of protein per pound of body weight, with a minimum of 55 grams per day.
So, if you weigh 200 pounds you need between 90 and 130 grams of protein per day.
If you weigh 150 pounds, you need 68-98 grams per day.
If you weigh 100 pounds, you need between 55 and 65 grams of protein per day.
Likely, you’ll be at the top of this range on tournament days, hard pratice days, and the days following. You’ll be at the lower end during the off season, on vacation, or after a number of rest days.
How do you get this much protein using the vegan protein sources chart pdf?
Let’s pretend you need 100 grams of protein. I’d like to you spread this fairly evenly throughout your day. So, let’s aim for 25-30 grams from each meal and then another 10-20 grams total from snacks.
100 grams of protein example 1 – with more cooking
breakfast – 1 bagel (10 g) plus 1 folded Just Egg (7 g) plus 2 Beyond Meat Breakfast Sausage Patties (16 g) + orange juice + banana = 33 g protein
snack – carrots + crackers + hummus = around 4 g protein
lunch – 2/3 cups white beans (9 g) + 2/3 cups kidney beans (9 g) + 2 cups spinach (10 g) + apple = 28 g protein
snack – trail mix (1 ounce each nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, seeds – 15 g protein)
dinner – rice (6 g) + tofu (16 g) + 1 cup vegetables (4 g) = 26 g protein
total: 106 g protein, not counting the protein in the carrots, crackers, fruit, or dessert
100 grams of protein example 2 – with less cooking
breakfast – smoothie with soy milk (8g), apple, 1/2 banana, 1 cup spinach (5 g), 1 ounce pumpkin seeds (5 g) + muffin (5 g) = 23 g protein
snack – Kind bar = 12 g protein
lunch – 4 tablespoons peanut butter (16 g) + four slices bread (20 g) + jelly = 36 g protein
snack – soy yogurt (6 g) + granola + berries = around 8 g protein
dinner – pasta (6 g) + ground “beef” alternative (16 g) + pasta sauce + onion/green peppers + salad = 22 g protein
total: 101 g protein, not counting the protein in the granola, fruit, dinner vegetables, or dessert
See? Not so hard, but you still have a plan a bit. That’s where a handy chart comes in!
Types of protein in the vegan protein sources chart pdf
Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are a lot of amino acids, but 9 are extra important because our bodies can’t make them, so we need to eat them. These are called essential amino acids.
Animal products are convenient because they contain all 9 essential amino acids in amounts large enough to be useful to human bodies.
Some plant foods (soy, quinoa, hemp) also contain all 9 essential amino acids in appropriate amounts.
Most other plant foods do not. For many years, this caused confusion and concern over whether it was possible to get the right kind of protein on a vegan diet, and people did lots of “food combining” to try to get what they needed.
Now we know that our bodies hold onto amino acids and can call on them when needed. So, yes, we need to eat all 9 essential amino acids, but we don’t need to eat them all in the same meal.
My preference is to make sure that a vegan eat both grains and legumes or nuts every day, as well as a variety of vegetables.
If you do this, you can be confident that you are getting the variety of protein that you need to keep your body functioning well.
Vegan Protein Sources Chart pdf – A sneak peak
Here is what you’ll find in the pdf!
|Food||Serving Size||Amount of Protein|
|tofu or tempeh or seitan||1/4 pound||16-22 g|
|meat alternative (Beyond, Sweet earth, Impossible, Gardein)||1 serving as labeled||15-20 g|
|cooked protein pasta||1 cup||15-20 g|
|cooked beans (cooked beans (black, pinto, kidney, lentils, lima, garbanzo)||2/3 cup||10-12 g|
|raw spinach||2 cups||10 g|
|canned baked beans||2/3 cup||8-10 g|
|green peas||1 cup||8 g|
|cooked quinoa||1 cup||8 g|
|cooked pasta (regular or whole grain)||1 cup||8 g|
|soy milk, sor yougurt||1 cup||6-8 g|
|nut or seed butter (peanut, almond, sunflower)||2 Tablespoons||6-8 g|
|Just Egg||1 egg||7 g|
|peanuts||1 ounce||7 g|
|seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, chia, flax)||1 ounce||4-8 g|
|tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews)||1 ounce||4-6 g|
|oat milk||1 cup||4-6 g|
|cooked rice or millet||1 cup||4-6 g|
|whole grain bread products||1 slice, or 1/2 bagel||3-7 g|
|artichokes||1 medium||4 g|
|broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, potato, asparagus, sweet corn||1 cup||3-4 g|
|sprouts – alfalfa, mung bean||small handful||3 g|
- eat grains, legumes or nuts, and vegetables every day
- aim for 0.45-0.65 grams of protein per pound of body weight
- be sure to increase protein as you increase calories on very active days
- use the vegan protein sources chart pdf for protein food ideas!
About the Author
Sarah Skovran, RDN LD ACE-PT, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, ACE certified personal trainer, mom of a teen athlete, and is mostly vegan. She writes about sports nutrition, plant based eating, and adolescent nutrition at Plant Powered Teens, and sees in-person clients at her private practice in Maine.
NutritionData, 2018. nutritiondata.self.com.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. fdc.nal.usda.gov.
Various individual product labels.