“If I didn’t eat meat I don’t know where I’d get my protein.”

Has anyone ever said this to you? Or have you wondered this yourself? Or maybe you’re a vegan and have heard that “as long as you eat a variety of foods you’ll meet your daily protein needs”, but have your doubts… I have generally accepted that the vegan community knew what they were talking about and that I could trust people who have been living this lifestyle far longer than I have. BUT, instead of just repeating what I’ve heard or trusting others that I am eating a healthy diet, I prefer to do my own research and back up what I’m saying with hard facts. So that’s what I did.

So how much protein does a person *really* need to consume? According to Harvard Health, for each pound of body weight you should consume .36 grams of protein per day. This means a 140 pound woman needs to get around 50g of protein per day from her 2000 calorie diet. And a 200 pound man needs 72g of protein per day from a 2500 calorie diet. To simplify this into smaller units let’s look at how much protein these people need on average from every 100 calories they eat. 50 grams of protein from 2000 calories translates to 2.8g of protein from 100 calories. 72 grams of protein from 2500 calories translates to 2.88g of protein from 100 calories. This means for every 100 calories of food you eat, you should be getting just under 3 grams of protein. Of course, this is on average! Fruit tends to fall under that number, but many veggies pack close to 3 times that amount! Take a look at the list below of common foods and their corresponding grams of protein per 100 calories of that item. I’m including lists of animal products for comparison, but you’ll find that there are MANY plant sources that contain above and beyond the ~3g/100cal average. So if you’re a vegan or are interested in a plant based diet, you can rest easy that as long as you incorporate a variety of foods each day you will meet or exceed your daily protein requirements. If you have any other foods you’d like to see included on this list please let me know in the comments below!

Source: NutritionIX Database
*All values are grams of protein per 100 calories

Meat

Tuna 22.5
Salmon 10.7
Pork 10.9
Chicken 10.7
Beef 8.9
Bacon 7.5

Dairy & Eggs

Parmesan Cheese 9
Eggs 8.8
Yogurt 8.3
Mozzarella Cheese 7.4
Milk 6.8
Cheddar Cheese 5.7

Soy

Tofu 12
Tempeh 10.2
Soymilk 7

Nuts

Almonds 4
Peanuts 3.4
Cashews 2.2
Walnuts 2.3
Macadamia Nuts 1.1
Pecans 1

Beans & Legumes

Lentils 8
Black Beans 6.7
Peas 6.4
Pinto Beans 6.1
Chick Peas 5.6
Green Beans 4.5

Greens

Spinach 12.9
Romaine Lettuce 7.3
Kale 6.9
Cabbage 5.3

Mushrooms

Portabella Mushroom 11.3
Button Mushroom 8.8
Shiitake Mushroom 6.2

Vegetables

Asparagus 10.6
Cauliflower 8.3
Zucchini 7.6
Broccoli 6.7
Tomato 5
Cucumber 4.3
Corn 3.5
Onions 3.2
Green Pepper 3.1
Carrots 1.9

Fruits

Blackberries 3.6
Canteloupe 2.5
Strawberries 2
Watermelon 2
Kiwi 2
Oranges 1.9
Pineapple 1.2
Banana 1.2
Grapes 1.2
Avocado 1
Apple .5

Potatoes

Gold Potatoes 2.7
Red potato 2.6
Sweet Potatoes 1.8

Grains

Wheat Bread 4
Quinoa 3.7
Oatmeal 3.6
White Bread 3.4
White Rice 2.1
Brown Rice 2.1