Meet the Best Meatless Protein Sources

By , SparkPeople Blogger
If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you've probably been asked countless questions about how you get your protein. The truth is, it's not as hard as you might think to meet your protein needs when you're going meatless. However, some plant sources are higher in this important nutrient than others. Which veg-friendly food packs more protein: 4 ounces of tofu, 1 cup of cooked lentils, or 1 cup of cooked quinoa

The Winner: Lentils!
Just one cup of lentils packs a whopping 18 grams of protein! However, tofu and quinoa are still good sources, both clocking in at 9 grams per serving. If you're newly vegetarian or vegan, check out these meat-free protein sources for more ideas to satisfy your protein needs and your taste buds!

It's also important to note that both herbivores and omnivores often overestimate proper protein needs. The media is constantly pushing protein as the magic key for weight loss, especially in recent years. Although protein is important for satiety, muscle repair and other bodily processes, it's definitely not the only macronutrient that should be considered in a healthy diet—and getting more than what you need won't do any favors for your waistline or your health. Consume protein in moderation along with an appropriate level of carbohydrates and healthy fats, and you'll get all the nutrients you need to sustain health and long-term weight loss. Wondering how much protein you should eat per day, or how it fits into your macronutrient requirements? Find out with the chart below.

Nutrient Carbohydrates Fat Protein (Women) Protein (Men)
Healthy Range 45%-65% 20%-35% 10%-35% 10%-35%
1200 calories 135-195 g 27-47 g *60-105 g N/A
1500 calories 169-244 g 33-58 g *60-131 g *75-131 g
1800 calories 203-293 g 40-70 g *60-158 g *75-158 g
2100 calories 236-341 g 47-82 g *60-184 g *75-184 g

What's your favorite meatless way to get your protein?