Plant-based protein is easy to find! Just ask a gorilla. The largest living primate today is 100% vegan and one of the strongest animals around. Gorillas get all the protein they need from plants because all plants contain protein. Many people today equate protein with animal foods but a plant-based diet that includes a variety of plants will meet your needs perfectly. To help ease your nutrition worries, here’s some charts that show common plant-based sources of protein.
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Among the various plant parts that people eat — seeds, stems, leafs, flowers, fruits, and roots — seeds contain the most protein on average. Beans and legumes are seeds, like grains. But unlike grains which are the seeds of grasses, beans and legumes grow on vines and bushes. Sometimes these super seeds pack more than three times as much protein per serving as grains. Tempeh and tofu are two of the most-concentrated sources of plant-based protein. One cup of tempeh, a great addition to salads or steamed veggies, packs 31 grams of protein.
Grains Are Another Good Source of Plant-based Protein
One cup of dry oats has 26 grams of protein and a one-cup serving of oatmeal delivers 6 grams. Oats are seeds of a grass, like other grains. Like other seeds, grains are generally a good sources of protein. Wild rice, buckwheat, and millet all contain as much protein as oats. Quinoa is an exceptional source delivering 8 grams of protein with every 1 cup serving.
Nuts are Protein-Packed Seeds Too
Nuts are what we commonly call the edible seeds of trees. Peanuts and peanut butter are a popular go-to for plant-based protein—1/3 cup of peanuts contains 13 grams. These ‘nuts’ grow underground and are technically classified as legumes since they are found in a pod. Almost any edible seed or nut you enjoy is likely packing in a good amount of protein along with fat, fiber, and an array of other nutrients.
High Protein Veggies
Vegetables are also good sources of protein in a healthy diet. What we call veggies are most commonly the roots, shoots, leaves, and flowers of plants. Topping the veggie list is peas, not surprisingly since they are actually seeds. But even the common potato has 5 grams of protein. While veggies are not commonly hailed for their protein, they nevertheless deliver this important nutrient with every crunch.
Even Fruits Contains Protein
Even fruit, often the sweetest and juiciest part of the plant, contains protein. One cup of dried figs or one medium cantaloupe both contain around 5 grams of protein. A single avocado contains 4 grams. No matter what fruit you choose to eat, you are likely getting small amounts of protein with every sweet bite.
Basic nutrition facts reveal that the rainbow of plant foods is a wealth of nutrients including today’s most popular macronutrient—protein. As long as your diet includes a variety of whole plant foods, you can rest assured your protein requirements have been met. ###
Reya Steele is a holistic health writer, educator, and publisher at Healing With Plants. Steele is certified in Plant-based Nutrition and teaches nutrition science and food preparation to students in Southern California. Healing With Plants is empowering people to heal themselves at home, with plants. Explore more nutrition facts, healing whole foods plant-based recipes, and inspiring stories that testify for the amazing healing power of plants.