Why you may be eating more protein than you think

We all know that animal products like meat, fish and eggs provide protein. But what about protein in plant foods such as vegetables?

Protein powders can be a handy way to increase your protein intake. I use protein powders from time to time to help promote muscle recovery after training. But wherever possible, if I can get my protein from whole food sources during my meals, even better.


I wouldn’t say that I’m a vegetarian or vegan. However, I tend to mostly eat plant foods with some meat and fish here and there. It’s a common misconception that you have to eat a lot of meat to get enough protein in your diet. If you’re looking to increase your intake of plant foods, such as vegetables, you may be interested to find out how much protein they actually contain.

Protein in plant foods

Spinach: 100g of cooked spinach, which is about half a cup, has approximately 3 grams of protein and only 97 kilojoules. Not to mention a host of other nutrients. If you add some spinach into each meal, the protein will start to add up.

Almonds: 100g of raw almonds has approximately 19.5 grams of protein. A typical serve of about one handful weighs about 30 grams, giving you 6 grams of protein.

Peanut butter: 100g of natural peanut butter, made with peanuts only and perhaps a bit of salt, has approximately 27.7g protein. A 30 gram serve thus gives you just over 8 grams of protein.

White beans: 100g of white beans, or cannellini beans, has approximately 8.3 grams of protein and only 454 kilojoules.

Lentils: 100g of cooked lentils, which is about half a cup, has approximately 6.8 grams of protein and only 325 kilojoules.

Oats: 100g of rolled oats, which is just under one cup, has approximately 11 grams of protein.

These calculations were made using the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Nutrition Panel Calculator, available here.

So you can see that including a range of the above foods over the course of day can add up to give you a good dose of protein. You may actually be eating more protein than you think!


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