So, how much protein do we need? When should we be eating protein to get the most benefit for our bodies? And what are some good sources of plant protein to incorporate into our diets?
Women’s bodies can absorb approximately 20-25 grams of protein at a time. Men’s bodies can absorb approximately 25-30 grams of protein at a time. Any more than that, and it’s excreted through our urine. Eating approximately .8-1 gram of protein per kilogram (2.2lbs) of desired body weight, is sufficient (ie. a 100lb woman would eat 35-45.5 grams of protein per day). You want to be getting about 15%-35% of your daily calories from protein. One gram of protein equals 4 calories. Typically, Americans tend to eat much more protein than they need. Getting the majority of protein from plant sources will cut down on the amount of saturated fats being eaten, and will still give your body the nutrients it needs to perform necessary functions.
The most familiar plant-based proteins are legumes (beans, lentils), seeds, and nuts.
- Lentils have approx. 18g protein per cup
- Beans have approximately 12-15g of protein per 1 cup
- Pumpkin seeds have approximately 9g per ounce (about ¼ cup serving)
- Almonds have approx. 7 grams of protein per ounce (about ¼ cup serving)
- Hemp seeds have approximately 16g of protein per ounce (about ¼ cup serving)
- Quinoa has approximately 6g per serving (1/4c uncooked)
- Spinach and kale have approximately 2g of protein per cup, raw
- One large cooked broccoli spear has 5g protein
- Brussels sprouts have approximately 5g protein per cup, cooked
- Oatmeal has 5g of protein per serving (1/2c dry)