Although finding high-quality sources of protein may be a bit harder for vegans, they still require the same amount of protein as everyone else. Incorporating enough protein into your vegan diet can be challenging if you don’t know which foods you need to be eating in order to get enough. However, once you learn how to balance your diet, meeting your daily protein requirements will be a fairly simple task.
It is recommended that roughly 10 to 35 percent of the total calories you consume each day come from protein. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RD) of protein for adults is between 46 to 56 g per day. Men need a little more than women. Children ages 1 to 13 only need between 13 to 34 g, increasing with their age; and teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 need about 42 to 52 g.
Athletes require more protein than the average person because of their high level of activity and the demands they place on their muscles. Athletes must consume extra amounts of protein to aid their muscles in recovery so they can continue to perform at their peak levels. It is generally recommended that athletes consume approximately 1 to 1.5 g of protein per pound of bodyweight. For example, 150 lb athlete would need to consume between 100 to 150 g of protein per day.
You may not consider yourself an athlete, per se, but if you workout with intensity 3 to 5 days per week, or perform difficult labor most days, you should eat about as much protein as an athlete does.
Protein Rich Foods
Vegans have many options when searching for protein rich foods. Legumes — beans, peas, and pulses — are an excellent choice. 1 cup of cooked black-eyed peas, for example, contains about 32 g of protein. Nuts, seeds and nut butters are another great source of protein that should be added to a vegan diet. 1 ounce ofalmonds contains 6 g of protein. 1 ounce of sunflower seeds also contains about 6 g of protein.
Other Sources of Protein
Protein is also introduced into a vegan diet through other foods that are not considered high in protein but still contain some amount of protein. For example, 1 slice of whole-wheat bread yields about 3 g of protein. Oatmeal is another good example: 1 cup of cooked oatmeal yields 6 g of protein. Even fruits and vegetables, like bananas and broccoli, contain small amounts of protein. As long as you consume enough calories throughout the day from mostly whole foods, you’ll get at least the minimum amount of protein you need to stay healthy.