Plant based sources of protein

In recent months I’ve seen a huge rise in the number of people choosing to adopt plant based diets. Their top concerns are how to ensure you get enough protein from plants and questions on what are the best plant based sources of protein when following a plant based, vegetarian or vegan diet?

A common misconception is that protein is only found in animal products like meat, eggs, dairy, chicken or fish and that you can’t get enough protein on a plant based vegetarian or vegan diet. While it is true that animal products are the richest sources of protein when it comes to grams per 100g, they are not the only sources. There are a wide variety of great plant based sources of protein if you know where to look and are willing to do more planning to intentionally add those sources into your diet.

Plant based sources of protein

Most people are aware that chickpeas, beans, lentils, legumes and tofu are plant based sources of protein. What may be surprising is the amount you need to eat to get that protein. Beans and lentils typically contain 5-9% protein per hundred grams. Which means that to get 15g of protein from beans in a meal you’ll need to eat at least a cups worth or 2 cups for 30g of protein.

For example, a meal of sweet potato (0.7g) with a 1/2 a can mixed beans (8.8g), 2 Tbsp hummus (4.6g), 1/2 avocado (1.2g), 1 cup spinach (0.5g) totals 15.8g of plant protein. You could then increase this further by adding more hummus, or using a whole can of beans (17.6g), or adding a tablespoon of hemp seeds (4.5g)

The most important thing to remember when eating a plant based diet is to include a wide variety of plants in every meal as each different component will add a little boost.

The following lists show how much protein is present in different plant based foods per 100g or 100ml as well as the amount in a typical serving size for that food.

Beans, lentils and legumes

plant based protein in beans lentils legumes

Nuts & Seeds

plant based protein in nuts seeds and
plant based protein in nuts seeds and nut butter

Grains & cereals

plant based protein in grains cereals

Meat Alternatives

plant based protein in meat alternatives


plant based protein in vegetables


plant based protein in fruit

Herbs & Spices

plant based protein in herbs and spices

Milk alternatives

plant based protein in milk alternatives

Sauces + powders

plant based protein in nutritional yeast spirulina soy sauce

If you are interested in learning more about plant based diets, check out these posts:

Train Smart. Eat Smart. Perform Better.


Interested in learning more about a plant based diet and ensure that you are getting a balanced diet to suit your training or lifestyle? Book an online nutrition appointment .


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