WHAT IS PROTEIN?
Protein is one of your three macronutrients (our food’s primary energy source). They are made up of amino acids, which are either essential or non-essential. When we talk about veggie protein, we are primarily interested in the essential amino acids as the human body cannot produce them.
Amino acids are critical for all processes in your body and are the basis of cell renewal. Your heart, liver, and muscles are 20% protein, and your brain is around 10%. So, protein makes up a considerable proportion of our body mass.
In addition, protein plays a crucial role in your immune system, healing, regeneration, and even weight loss. Also, proteins can help you control your food intake better as they are very filling.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO YOU NEED A DAY?
Everyone’s daily protein requirement varies individually and depends on your physical activity, age, stress level, and diet.
Your daily protein intake should not be less than 0.8-1.2 g of protein per kilo of bodyweight to meet your basic needs. However, a higher protein intake is recommended for athletes, people with high loads, older people, or those on a diet. That’s why I usually recommend an intake of 1.6-2.2g per kilo of bodyweight.
Unfortunately, the myth persists that high protein intake is harmful to your kidneys – but this has not yet been proven in studies. On the other hand, a significantly higher protein intake does not offer you any advantages for recovery or muscle building.
You can also eat less of the other vital macronutrients due to too much protein, which can cause your body to have less energy available. In addition, protein is tough to digest and can cause problems in this area.
It’s easiest if you try to get 20-30g of protein with every meal. This way, you can be sure that you are covering your needs and consuming the proteins throughout the day.
THE TOP 55 VEGGIE PROTEIN SOURCES
The following is an overview of the best vegetarian protein sources. Many are purely plant-based and therefore also suitable for a vegan diet. However, some are also of animal origin and thus only the right choice for vegetarians.
The protein sources are sorted by category and protein content per 100g. Unfortunately, not all vegetarian protein sources contain the complete amino acid profile, which means some essential amino acids are deficient.
Therefore, some vegetarian protein sources are marked with an * as these foods provide a complete amino acid profile.
Of course, that doesn’t make the other foods worthless. With a targeted combination and a varied diet, you can get all the essential amino acids throughout the day.
VEGGIE PROTEIN SOURCES – LEGUMES
- Soybeans (dried) – 38g
- Red lentils (dried) – 25g
- Peanuts – 25g
- Green/brown lentils – 23g
- Tempeh – 19g
- Tofu – 14g
- Edamame (frozen) – 10g
- Peas (frozen) – 7g
- Chickpeas (can) – 6g
- Kidney beans (can) – 6g
VEGGIE PROTEIN SOURCES – PROTEIN POWDER
- Rice protein powder – 90g
- Soy protein isolate – 80g
- Pea protein isolate – 80g
- Whey protein* – 80g
- Vegan multi-component protein* – 67g
- Pumpkin seed protein – 60g
- Hemp protein* – 50g
VEGGIE PROTEIN SOURCES – NUTS AND SEEDS
- Almonds – 24g
- Chia seeds* – 22g
- Hemp seeds* – 21g
- Sunflower seeds – 21g
- Cashew nuts – 18g
- Flaxseed – 18g
- Walnuts – 16g
VEGGIE PROTEIN SOURCES – MEAT SUBSTITUTES
- Pea-based meat substitute – 27g
- Seitan – 25g
- Soy chicken – 18g
- Vegan mince – 14g
- Vegan sausages – 12g
LACTO-OVO VEGETARIAN PROTEIN SOURCES – DAIRY AND EGG
- Gouda* – 24g
- Camembert* – 20g
- Low-fat quark* – 13g
- Cottage cheese* – 12g
- Skyr* – 11g
- Greek yoghurt (0% fat)* – 8.5g
- Yoghurt (1.5% fat)* – 4g
- Egg (chicken)* – 13g
- Egg whites (chicken)* – 11g
- Harz cheese* – 30g
VEGGIE PROTEIN SOURCES – VEGETABLES
- Spirulina* – 50g
- Bean sprouts – 5.5g
- King Oyster mushrooms – 4g
- Brussels sprouts – 4g
- Broccoli – 3g
- Spinach – 3g
- Chard – 2g
VEGGIE PROTEIN SOURCES – GRAINS
- Buckwheat* – 9g
- High-protein bread – 31g
- Quinoa* – 15g
- Almond flour (de-oiled) – 53g
- Chickpea flour – 18g
- Oatmeal – 14g
OTHER VEGGIE PROTEIN SOURCES
- Soy yogurt – 4g
- Soy Skyr alternative – 6g
- Almond Quark alternative – 6g
So you can see that there are also many protein-rich foods available for vegetarians. Hopefully, this overview of the different veggie protein sources will give you the right inspiration and a good feeling for your diet.