Does broccoli have more protein than steak?

When talking about protein recently, a number of my athletes have brought up broccoli as a good source of protein. Since broccoli isn’t a food I would typically consider high in protein, I decided to investigate and see whether broccoli truly does have more protein than steak.

I’ve seen an infographic going around stating that you can get more protein from broccoli than steak when comparing the energy content. Vegetables don’t normally come first to mind when looking for good protein sources in the diet. From a plant-based perspective I would usually recommend legumes, beans, nuts…. even grains contain more protein than most veggies!

Having worked in inherited metabolic disorders like PKU where foods containing more than 1g of protein have to be restricted, there’s no doubt that vegetables do contain some protein. But that doesn’t mean there’s more protein in broccoli than steak. Or that broccoli is a good source of protein.

How much protein is in broccoli and steak?

When you look at the weight per 100g, steamed broccoli contains about 4g of protein per 100g. The amount of protein in steak varies depending on the cut of meat and how much fat is present or removed. Using lean grilled steak as an example, there’s about 30g of protein per 100g.

When you look at the energy content, broccoli has 34kcal in 100g compared to the 188kcal per 100g in steak. However, even when you compare them per 100 calories there’s still more protein in steak as 100 calories of steak has 15g protein compared to the 12g in 100 calories of broccoli.

This is what 100 calories of broccoli (300g) looks like…

How much broccoli do I need to eat to get 20g protein?

I always recommend aiming to eat at least 20g of protein per meal throughout the day.

To get 20g of protein, you need to eat a whopping 500g of steamed broccoli. Thats over 8 serves of broccoli!! Definitely one way to hit your 5 a day or 7 a day, but that’s a heck of a lot of broccoli to eat for one meal. Alternatively you can get 20g of protein from just 70g of grilled steak.

So, does broccoli have more protein than steak?

Regardless of whether you compare the actual weight, or calorie content, there’s still more protein in steak compared to broccoli.

Broccoli is a fantastic food full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to benefit your health. Eating broccoli will give you a bit of protein, but unless you’re eating massive quantities it’s not really going to give you enough to meet your daily protein needs.


Image Dinner Prep  by Nadja Robot  Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). Accessed 1st March 2017

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