Today, let’s talk about how to get enough plant-based protein!
I am NOT a certified nutritionist/dietician, so please use these only as broad guidelines. These are all based on my independent study, personal research and overall experience. For a proper, personalized nutrition plan that fits YOU, kindly consult a professional clinical nutritionist.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN YOU NEED PER DAY
How much protein do you need? This is the most important question to ask yourself. To make it simple, use this calculator.
For example, as a 45-year old woman who is 165 cms tall, weighing around 64 kg, and who does moderate exercise 4 to 5 times a week, I require around 45 to 51 gms of protein per day.
To make this even easier, let’s break it down into 3 meals per day, which each include 15 to 17 gms of protein. Because, protein has to be taken through the day and not in a single setting of just one meal. This makes it very convenient to plan your protein intake regularly.
VEGAN PROTEIN IDEAS
To get the most out of your diet, ensure that you are eating a diverse range of plant-based foods including legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, tofu, brown or red rice, quinoa and sprouts through the day. This also guarantees that you get a combination of complete and incomplete proteins on a plant-based diet.
Examples of protein content:
1 cup of soaked and cooked chickpeas (channa) is equal to 15 gms of protein. When you have a cup of cooked chole or channa salad, that’s your quota of protein for that meal.
¾ cup of tofu contains 15 gm of protein
100 gms or ½ cup of peanut curd contains 4 gms of protein
100 gms or 1 cup of moong sprouts contains 7 gms of protein
½ cup almonds contain 16 gms of protein
100 gms or ½ cup of cooked rajma has 24 gms of protein
1 glass of ragi malt (with plant milk) gives 6 gms of protein
½ cup cooked quinoa has 4 gms of protein
1 cup cooked brown rice has 6 gms of protein
SAMPLE PROTEIN CONTENT FOR A DAY
|Chickpeas (Cooked)||1 cup||15 gms||Breakfast||Chappati with chole/channa masala|
|Tofu||¾ cup||15 gms||Lunch||Add chopped tofu to your salad|
|Almonds||¼ cup||8 gms||Snack||Roast almonds and have as a snack with chai|
|Ragi Malt||1 cup||6 gms||Dinner||Have a glass with your dinner|
|Quinoa (cooked)||½ cup||4 gms||Dinner||Substitute quinoa for rice|
As you can see, with this sample break up, you get 48 gms of protein per day easily into your diet. I told you it’s simple 🙂
COMBINING PROTEIN SOURCES FOR COMPLETE PROTEIN CONTENT
The good news is that you don’t need to combine protein sources for every meal to get complete proteins for the day. Just ensure that you’re having something from the complete protein list once a day. Or combine two incomplete proteins to satisfy your protein quota.
*Complete Plant Proteins include: Amaranth(Rajgira), Buckwheat (Kuttu), Quinoa, Soyabeans, Tempeh, Tofu, Chia
Other plant proteins are:
Fruits(protein content per 100 gms)
Prunes – 2.2 gm
Peaches 1.5 g
Oranges 0.9 g to 2 g
Musk melon or Cantaloupe 0.8 to 1.5 g
Dried cherries 4 g
Kiwi 1.14 g
Figs 0.8 g
Jackfruit 3 g
Avocado 4 g
Apricot 1.4 g
HOW TO INCREASE BIO-AVAILABILITY OF PROTEINS
- Soak Grains, Legumes, Nuts and Seeds before eating
- Sprout and Ferment Legumes such as green moong, Horsegram, black channa and Kabuli Channa
- Add Vitamin C to your meal – Squeeze Lemon Juice/ add fresh red/yellow bell peppers to your salad / Add sliced tomato to your meal
SAMPLE PLANT BASED MEAL PLAN FOR A DAY
In this sample vegan meal plan for a day, focus on how the protein content is balanced across all the meals.
You can tell that it’s filling and nutritious without compromising on taste
2 medium quinoa cheelas
1 cup aviyal (vegetable and coconut stew)
1 cup Veg Pulao (with ¼ cup carrot, beans, peas)
¾ cup dal (½ cup lentils)
1 cup Green salad
1 green tea
1 cup mixed veg gravy
2 phulkas with ¼ cup grated cabbage
1 helping salt and pepper tofu
Don’t worry yourself about weighing each portion of your meal. That is a very stressful way to eat and takes all the joy out of food. ☺️
To start with, just follow the plate method I mentioned earlier and fill 1/4th of your plate with protein. After a few weeks, your body will naturally adapt to the portions you serve yourself and you can learn to eyeball the content on your plate far more easily.