Protein is one of the fundamental nutrients for any biologic process, thus even more crucial for  athletes and active persones. They participate in the digestive process, protect the cardiovascular system and are core pieces to our muscle-tissues, organs and more. Te amount of protein required depends on each person, their fitness level, current volume/ intensity of the training and specific goals.

Getting enough protein and essential vitamins and minerals can be harder for people who do not eat meat or animal products. A person must plan ahead to ensure they get enough protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B-12, which people on an omnivorous diet get from animal products.
The right plant-based foods can be excellent sources of protein and other nutrients, often with fewer calories than animal products. Although most of the following products are mainly consumed by vegans, they are also perfect to combine with animal proteins - providing variety and alternate benefits that different meat and animal sources might not be able to.  

While food supplements can help people meet their daily nutrition goals, eating a wide variety of nutrients rich in protein is usually a better strategy for meeting daily goals.
Some protein supplements may also be high in sugar or sodium to improve the taste, so it is important to read the nutrition labels.

The general recommendation is to have a minimum daily protein intake of 0.8 grams (g) of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about 60 g for a person who weighs 165 pounds. For more specific goals, especially related to general weight loss and lowering the % of body fat, many times dieticians chose to calculate the protein intake based on body composition and thus total weight of muscle mass.  

People aiming to build muscle, pregnant or nursing women, and older adults may need more protein compared to the rest of the population. The physical training sessions cause damage to the muscle fibres and the different amino acids are crucial for an appropriate recovery, thus the importance having enough protein through the diet. Most plant based proteins normally lack some amino acids or have a smaller amount of protein per serving. This is why it’s so important to provide a varied plant based diet, to make sure all the protein need is covered providing all 9 essential amino-acids. In some cases it might be interesting to add a plant based protein shake to the varied diet in order to supply enough protein and total calories for very active person and athletes. 
 Animal products such as meat, eggs, and milk are naturally high in protein, which is an essential nutrient made up of amino acids. This makes it easier for people who consume animal products to meet their daily protein needs.

The human body creates 11 amino acids but must get another nine from food. Animal products are complete proteins, meaning they contain all the amino acids. Some plant products, such as soya beans and quinoa, are also complete proteins while others are incomplete proteins.

A person following a vegan or vegetarian diet should eat a varied diet of plant-based foods to get the required range of amino acids. This includes high-protein foods, such as tofu, tempeh, lentils, nuts, seeds, and quinoa.

A meat-free diet can lower the risk of heart disease, some cancers, and type 2 diabetes. A diet free of animal products requires planning and research to ensure a person's nutritional needs are met. For some, this is a benefit, as it encourages them to think about their diet and understand the nutritional content of the foods they eat. For others, it can prove challenging and lead to nutritional deficits.

A vegan diet tends to be low calorie, making it easier for vegans to manage their weight - on the other hand it might be difficult to get enough calories and energy for active people and athletes.   

All proteins, whether plant or animal, are made up of a chain of amino acids. Animal proteins are considered complete proteins because they have all nine of the essential amino acids that your body needs to support protein tissues in the body. Most plant proteins are lacking in one or more of these nine building blocks.

“An older theory was that in order to utilise plant protein efficiently, you must eat complimentary proteins simultaneously. For example, rice and beans are complimentary because the key amino acids missing from beans are found in rice, and vice versa,” says Sass. She explains that it's no longer necessary to worry about combining plant proteins if you eat enough total calories and a wide range of plant foods. “An adequate supply of essential amino acids can be obtained within a 24-hour period. The liver helps by storing various essential amino acids over the course of a day for later use,” she says. However, she stresses the importance of a nutritious, diverse diet (not one filled with vegan junk food!). “To best provide your body with a broad spectrum of amino acids, as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, mix up your meals and snacks. Include veggies and fruits, along with whole grains, pulses (beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas), nuts, and seeds,” she says.

Benefits of plant based protein: - low fat content - thus reducing cholesterol levels (LDL) - and therefore prevent cardiovascular deseases - may prevent some types of cancer - may provide weight loss
Some plant products, such as soy beans and quinoa are complete proteins, which means that they contain all nine essential amino acids that humans need. Others are missing some of these amino acids, so eating a varied diet is important.


1. Tofu, tempeh and edamame

Soy products such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy nuts and soy milk are among the richest sources of protein in a vegan diet.
 Soy products are among the richest sources of protein in a plant-based diet. The protein content varies with how the soy is prepared:
 - firm tofu (soybean curds) contains about 10 g of protein per ½ cup
 - edamame beans (immature soybeans) contain 8.5 g of protein per ½ cup
 - tempeh contains about 15 g of protein per ½ cup

Tofu takes on the flavour of the dish it is prepared in so that it can be a versatile addition to a meal. These soy products also contain good levels of calcium and iron, which makes them healthful substitutes for dairy products.
 Whole soy foods include tofu, edamame, soy nuts, soy milk and tempeh. A 3-ounce portion of tofu has nearly 9 grams of protein—the same amount as a half cup of shelled edamame.
 Approximately 37 gram protein/100g

2. Lentils

Red or green lentils contain plenty of protein, fibre, and key nutrients, including iron and  potassium. Combined with some kinds of cereals (like rice) they offer high quality protein and can almost be compared with a piece of meat. They are low fat, but have a great amount of carbohydrates and fibre. 

Lentils are a great source of protein to add to a lunch or dinner routine. They can be added to stews, curries, salads, or rice to give an extra portion of protein.

3. Rice

This is a basic and universal product, one of the main benefits is the lack of cholesterol and sodium, it’s a complex carbohydrate, it’s easy to digest and contains high quality protein. Brown (or wild) rice contains about 40% more protein than the white rice.

4. Chickpeas

Cooked chickpeas are high in protein, containing around 7.25 g per ½ cup. They are an important source of plant protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals and are bit by bit becoming one of the most important alternatives to alternate protein sources.

Chickpeas can be eaten hot or cold and are highly versatile with plenty of recipes available online. They can, for example, be added to stews and curries, or spiced with paprika and roasted in the oven.

A person can add hummus, which is made from chickpea paste, to a sandwich for a healthful, protein-rich alternative to butter.

5. Nuts

A great alternative as energy source, providing medium and long term energy due to the amount of healthy fat. Apart from the ones mentioned below, other sources with a higher content of protein are: pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts  or macadamia nuts.

Peanuts are protein-rich, full of healthful fats, and may improve heart health. They contain around 20.5 g of protein per ½ cup.
 Peanut butter is also rich in protein, with 8 g per tablespoon, making peanut butter sandwiches a healthful complete protein snack

Almonds offer approximately 20 grams of protein/100g. They also provide a good amount of vitamin E, which is great for the skin and eyes.

Walnuts offer approximately 14 grams of protein/100g

Hazelnuts offer approximately 12 grams of protein/100

6. Spirulina

Spirulina is blue or green algae that contain around 8 g of protein per 2 tablespoons. It is also rich in nutrients, such as iron, B vitamins — although not vitamin B-12 — and manganese. It is typically used as a food supplement in fitness diets.

Spirulina is available as a powder or a supplement. It can be added to water, smoothies, or fruit juice. A person can also sprinkle it over salad or snacks to increase their protein content. Each tablespoon offers approximately 7 grams of protein.

7. Quinoa

Quinoa is a grain with a high-protein content, and is a complete protein. Cooked quinoa contains about 18 g of protein per cup.
 This grain is also rich in other nutrients, including magnesium, iron, fibre and manganese. It is also highly versatile: Quinoa can fill in for pasta in soups and stews, it can be sprinkled on a salad or eaten as the main course.

8. Chia seeds

Chia and hemp seeds are complete sources of protein that can be used to make smoothies, yogurts, and puddings: they contain a great amount of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.

Chia seeds are a complete source of protein that contain 2 g of protein per tablespoon, meaning they are made up of about 23% protein, providing a faster recovery in athletes and active people.
 Try adding chia seeds to a smoothie, sprinkling them on top of a plant-based yogurt, or soaking them in water or almond milk to make a pudding.

9. Hemp

 Similarly to chia seeds, hemp seeds are a complete protein. Hemp seeds offer 5 g of protein per tablespoon. They can be used in a similar way to chia seeds.  

10. Beans with rice

Separately, rice and beans are incomplete protein sources. Eaten together, this classic meal can provide 7 g of protein per cup.
 Try rice and beans as a side dish, or mix rice, beans, and hummus together then spread on Ezekiel bread, which is made from sprouted grains, for a savory, proteinpacked meal.

11. Potatoes

A large baked potato offers 8 g of protein per serving. Potatoes are also high in other nutrients, such as potassium and vitamin C.
 Add 2 tablespoons of hummus for a flavourful snack that is healthier than buttercovered potatoes and increases the protein content. Two tablespoons of hummus contain about 3 g of protein.

12. Protein-rich vegetables

Many dark-coloured, leafy greens and vegetables contain protein. Eaten alone, these foods are not enough to meet daily protein requirements, but a few vegetable snacks can increase protein intake, particularly when combined with other protein-rich foods.
 - a single, medium stalk of broccoli contains about 4 g of protein
 - kale offers 2 g of protein per cup
 - 5 medium mushrooms offer 3 g of protein
 Try a salad made from baby greens with some quinoa sprinkled on top for a proteinrich meal.

13. Seitan

Seitan is a complete protein made from mixing wheat gluten with various spices and is know as the “vegetarian meat”. The high-wheat content means that it should be avoided by people with celiac or gluten intolerance. For others, it can be a protein-rich healthful meat substitute.
 When cooked in soy sauce, which is rich in the amino acid lysine, seitan becomes a complete protein source offering 21 g per 1/3 cup.
 Approximately 20 gram protein/100g

14. Ezekiel bread

Ezekiel bread is a nutrient-dense alternative to traditional bread. It is made from barley, wheat, lentils, millet, and spelt. Ezekiel bread is an excellent choice for bread lovers who want a more nutritious way to eat toast or sandwiches.
 Ezekiel bread offers 4 g of protein per slice. Get even more protein by toasting Ezekiel bread and spreading it with peanut or almond butter.