Eating enough protein throughout the day to support the body’s needs can be a challenge for some and confusing for others. Most of the time when we think of protein, we automatically think of animals that walk, fly, swim or at least have a mother. Well, we know not everyone likes to eat this kind of protein for moral or ethical reasons, taste, or some may be restricted on what types of animal protein or how much they can consume due to medical reasons. Thankfully there are many ways to consume the appropriate amount of protein at each meal without solely focusing on plain chicken breast, an egg or a can of tuna…unless you want to!

One serving of protein will vary per person depending on many factors but for the purposes of this topic, an average serving ranges between 15-30 grams. An easy visual tool to measure is the size of your palm…pretty portable! 

You can minimize or eliminate the use of animal protein by combining two or more foods to equal one serving of protein at each meal. Protein exists in some amount in almost all grains, beans, fruits, roots, and vegetables. Additionally, combining these foods or adding them to a small portion of animal protein will add variety of other important nutrients to your meals. Most importantly, you won’t get bored with your meals!

Here are a few examples of non-animal sources of protein and the amount per serving with some examples of how to combine them.

High protein grains

  • Quinoa- 1/4c = 3g
  • Oats- 1/4c = 2.5g
  • Wild rice- 1/4c = 6g

Beans and legumes

  • Black beans-1/4c = 4g 
  • Chickpeas- 1/4 c = 9.75g 
  • Edamame- 1/4c = 4.25g

Vegetables/roots/fruits

  • Avocado- 1 cup = 4g 
  • Asparagus- 1 cup = 4g
  • Spinach- 1 cup = 5g
  • Sweet potato- 1 cup = 2g
  • Blackberries- 1 cup = 2g

Nuts and seeds

  • Almonds- 2oz = 11g 
  • Pumpkin seeds- 2oz = 12g
  • Cashews- 2oz = 10g

Combinations to create 1-2 servings/meal

1 whole egg = 5g protein 

1/2 cup whole oats = 5g protein

1 cup blackberries = 2g protein

1 cup of soy milk = 9g

Total grams of protein = 21g (including animal protein)

1/2c wild rice = 12g protein

1/2c black beans = 8g protein

1 cup spinach = 5g protein

1/4c avocado = 1g protein

1/4c corn = 3g protein

1/4c tomatoes = .25g protein

Total grams of protein = 29.25g of protein (not including animal protein)

Getting protein does not have to be boring and isn’t accomplished one way! Explore new foods to combine with your favorite foods and create new, taste worthy options for your protein!