Updated: Mar 15
When you tell people that you're vegan the first thing that a lot of people ask is, where do you get your protein? So, as a vegan, where DO you get your protein? Easy, food.
If you are eating enough calories it is very hard to not get enough protein because protein is in almost every food, even fruit. If you are concerned that you're not getting enough protein or you need more protein in your diet like bodybuilders do, you can use protein rich foods such as tofu, but you can also add things like nuts to your diet which are really easy to carry around and eat on the go.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
The amount of protein that you need each day depends on how old you are and whether you are male or female. The average man needs around 56 grams of protein per day and a woman needs around 46 grams. This amount will increase if they are active as protein is used to repair the body and build muscle. For children the amount of protein needed is lower, 4 - 9 year olds need only 19 grams of protein a day and from 9 - 13 this goes up to 34 grams.
What Do You Need To Eat To Get Enough Protein?
When you eat meat most of your protein will come from this, if you're not eating meat you will need to make sure that you're eating a variety of different foods so that you get protein from everything you're eating. Foods like legumes and whole grains all contain different amino acids which join together to make protein and eating these food together means that your body will get everything that it needs to build and repair itself.
Below is a list of different foods and how much protein you would find in 100 grams of each of them. With some of these foods, such as cheese, you wouldn't eat 100 grams in one go, you may only have 10 grams or 15 grams, but it makes it easier to compare.
Chicken breast 25g
Cod fillet 17g
Pork sausage 19g
Baked beans 5g
It is important to note that, just as getting too little protein in your diet is harmful to your your body, getting too much protein is damaging too. Extreme amounts of protein might cause bone, kidney or liver problems and could cause cancer. This doesn't mean that is you eat a lot of meat you will definitely get cancer, but it is definitely not good for you.
Going back to the list you can see that if you are eating a little bit of all of the things that are good for you getting enough protein isn't a problem. If you're under the age of 10 you only need 19 grams of protein a day, this is really easy to get. If you have a baked potato with beans and a helping of peas for lunch that would be 12 grams of protein in one meal, more than half of what you need in a day. Simple right?
Let me know what you like to eat to make sure that you're getting you protein each day. Do you Eat oats for breakfast with soy milk? Or how about crispy tofu with brown rice?