7 great sources of protein that aren't meat or animal products


"You're vegetarian? How do you get your protein?"

It's a question vegetarians (and vegans) are asked over and over again. While meat and other animal products are common sources of protein for much of the population, there are countless protein options for those on a plant-based diet, too.

» RELATED: These protein powders are toxic to your health, study says

Scientific evidence suggests that animal farming causes between 14.5 percent and more than 50 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

>> Read more trending news 

As concerns for animal welfare, along with environmental realities, continue to grow, many are adopting vegetarian or vegan diets. But starting off can be daunting, especially if you’re worried about maintaining strong bones and muscles.

"It is very easy for a vegan diet to meet the recommendations for protein. Nearly all vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds contain some, and often much, protein," the Vegetarian Resource Group explains on its website.

» RELATED: 31 healthy and portable high-protein snacks

Here's a look at some of the best sources of protein that aren't from animals:

1. Lentils and beans

Not only are lentils a great source of protein, they are also rich in healthy carbohydrates and fiber. One cup of cooked lentils contains an average of 18 grams of protein. A cup of beans contains a bit less, coming in at an average of 15 grams.

2. Spinach and kale

Popeye was definitely onto something when he chowed down on spinach before saving the day. Most people already know that spinach and kale are trendy "superfoods," primarily because they’re great sources of protein. There are about 3 grams of protein per 100 grams of spinach. Kale has even more, with 4.3 grams per 100 grams.

3. Quinoa

Another popular superfood, quinoa is considered a starchy protein because it also contains carbohydrates and fiber. In just half a cup of quinoa, there are seven to nine grams of protein.

4. Nuts

From almonds to walnuts, pecans, cashews and pistachios, nuts are an ideal source of protein. They are also rich in minerals, Vitamin E, and healthy fats. Nuts vary in their protein content. For instance, 21 grams of protein can be found in 100 grams of almonds. Cashews have about 18 grams of protein per 100 grams.

» RELATED: Eating nuts can improve survival rate for those with colon cancer, study says

5. Asparagus

Asparagus is another vegetable rich with protein, plus it works to detoxify your body. Per every 100 grams, there are about 2.2 grams of protein.

6. Tofu

One serving of tofu contains about 20 grams of protein. The protein in tofu is also considered a complete protein, meaning it contains all the necessary amino acids.

7. Broccoli

It may not be the most popular vegetable among children, but broccoli is high in protein, as well as fiber, antioxidants and other essential minerals. There are about 2.8 grams of protein per 100 grams of broccoli.


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