One of the biggest concerns among those leaning towards a vegan or vegetarian diet is whether or not they’ll get enough protein. Surprise twist: Plants are loaded with it. “Protein is found in literally every single whole plant food—even coffee!” says Whitney English, RD, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of The Plant-Based Baby & Toddler. “One can easily meet their protein needs by eating a variety of plants such as beans, soy foods, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.”
Experts add that you don’t need as much protein as you may think either. The average woman requires only about 46 grams of protein per day. And, by the way, you don’t need to be considering going full vegan or vegetarian to appreciate how much protein you can get—and probably have been getting—from plant sources. Knowing this may inspire you to recalibrate how you balance your plate, gradually adding a higher ratio of plant-based options to pork (just saying!).
A word of advice though: Skip the fake meats and stick to real plant protein sources. “I recommend getting the majority of your protein from whole food sources rather than the heavily-processed, plant-based proteins like imitation meat products or even protein powders,” says Claire Carlton MS, RD, LD/N, a North Carolina-based registered dietitian nutritionist and digestive health expert. “[Meat alternatives] are fine every once in a while if you enjoy them, but they have less fiber, vitamins, and minerals than real foods.” To help meet your protein quota, check out these powerhouse plant-based sources.
Excerpted from Real Simple