Meatless Protein: A Simple Guide | Down to Earth Organic and Natural

Meatless Protein: A Simple Guide

Dried beans on spoons against white marble

Protein is an indispensable nutrient in the body – to help make antibodies that fight infections, to regulate blood sugar, to metabolize fat, and much more. Protein foods break down into 22 naturally occurring amino acids, which are known as the building blocks of protein.

When you think of protein, the word “meatless” might not come to mind. But protein doesn’t just come from animal-based foods. Many plants are high in protein, too. Getting all these amino acids in a plant-based diet may seem difficult at first if you’re not sure how best to replace animal products with meatless ones.

Fortunately, many experts agree that a well-planned plant-based diet can provide all the nutrients you need, including protein – just combine different grains with a mix of vegetables and legumes, such as beans with rice, or tofu with broccoli. Variety is key when it comes to meatless protein!

These foods make it easy to get your protein fill if you’re eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, or just trying to eat less meat and more plants:

Soy

  • Tempeh: 1 cup has 34 grams of protein.
  • Soybeans: 1 cup has 31 grams of protein.
  • Tofu: 4 oz has 10.7-11.2 grams of protein.
  • Soy milk: 1 cup plain has 7 grams of protein.
  • Soy yogurt: 8 oz plain has 6 grams of protein.

Legumes

  • Lentils: 1 cup cooked has 18 grams of protein.
  • Black beans: 1 cup cooked has 15 grams of protein.
  • Kidney beans: 1 cup cooked has 15 grams of protein.
  • Chickpeas: 1 cup cooked has 15 grams of protein.
  • Pinto beans: 1 cup cooked has 15 grams of protein.
  • Lima beans: 1 cup cooked has 15 grams of protein.
  • Black-eyed peas: 1 cup cooked has 13 grams of protein.
  • Peas: 1 cup cooked has 9 grams of protein.

Grains

  • Quinoa: 1 cup cooked has 8 grams of protein.
  • Bulgur: 1 cup cooked has 6 grams of protein.

Nuts and nut butters

  • Almonds: ¼ cup has 8 grams of protein.
  • Almond butter: 2 Tbsp has 7 grams of protein.
  • Cashews: ¼ cup has 5 grams of protein.

Seeds

  • Flax seeds: 1 cup has 31 grams of protein.
  • Sunflower seeds: ¼ cup has 6 grams of protein.

Vegetables

  • Spinach: 1 cup cooked has 5 grams of protein.
  • Broccoli: 1 cup cooked has 4 grams of protein.