The first question people ask when you tell them you are vegan or eat a plant-based diet is ‘Where do you get your protein?’ The average American diet has led most of us to believe that we have to eat meat to get enough protein in our diet, but that is simply not the case. Many plant-based foods contain more than enough protein to feel satisfied and meet the daily protein goal, which is roughly 46 grams a day for women and 56 grams a day for men. (Add up to 10 more grams if you are extremely active or training for an event.) By eating a well-balanced plant-based diet you can easily get the recommended amount of protein you need, without a steak or chicken breast in sight. Plant-based protein comes from foods such as nuts, legumes, vegetables, grains, seeds, and many unlikely sources, like Brussels sprouts or onions or mushrooms. This means that as long as you eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables, grains, and legumes, you will easily make your daily protein goals, and probably surpass it.

Here we have 4 days worth of eating vegan or plant-based meals and snacks, that in the course of a full day of healthy eating meet or exceed the daily protein recommendation. Each of the days contains one breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack with protein values of each. If your biggest concern about trying out a plant-based (or vegan or vegetarian) diet is whether you will be able to get enough protein without animal products; after trying these meals you will realize how easy it is, and how delicious and filling the food tastes, without leaving you feeling like you need to take a nap

These recipes can also be used as inspiration, so feel free to add ingredients to them, especially if you want to get even more of a protein kick.

For more tips and easy ideas of how to get your protein from plant-based sources, and what to shop for the next time you head to the supermarket. You'll never need to go to the meat and dairy section again.

Day 1: Your Plant-Based Protein Plan

The first day starts with oatmeal and plant-based milk. This alone will start your day right with nearly 27 grams of protein and by simply adding in some pumpkin seeds or fruit you will spike that protein infusion well into the 30s. Over halfway there and it's still early!

Lunch is a kidney bean and arugula salad, which is not only well balanced and filling but contains 23 grams of protein.

For an afternoon snack grab a handful of spicy roasted cashews with turmeric this snack will give you an extra 6 grams of protein and this recipe is also immune boosting with turmeric. Immune-boosting foods is always helpful especially during the colder months and with the current pandemic.

Dinner is a warm and cozy recipe of lentil meatballs, this meal will fill you up and packs 34 grams of protein.

On this first day, there are 90 grams of plant-based protein that tastes amazing but is surprisingly easy to reach a high level of protein. A note: You actually can get too much protein and if you are not careful you can end up gaining weight or bulking up and since this generally is not the goal of any healthy diet plan, you may want to pick and choose which meals and snacks you eat in this plan, and substitute out lighter choices to bring your protein totals more in line with the daily guidelines of 45 grams for women and 56 grams for men.

Day 2: Your Plant-Based Protein Plan

For Breakfast, start your day with overnight chia pudding with fresh fruit and granola. It is easy to prepare the night before and quick to grab and go in the morning before work or school. This breakfast contains 15 grams of protein for a great start to the day.

Lunch is gluten-free tortillas with fresh salsa, beans and guacamole. This is easily shareable and to serve for lunch that your family and friends will love and contains 14 grams of protein.

For a sweet snack try the low-calorie vegan birthday cake protein bites, and as it says in the name they pack a lot of protein or about 5 grams of protein per ball so if you eat three of them you're racking up 15 grams.

Dinner is a filling sweet potato and lentil tandoori curry. This dinner has a ton of flavor and has 27 grams of protein.

Your day just got you well above the goal, to 71 grams of protein if you ate all of that.

Day 3: Your Plant-Based Protein Plan

The third day starts with a superfood smoothie with plant-based protein, this lets you start your day with a quick 17 grams of protein.

Lunch is a buddha bowl with tofu that has an easy almost 30 grams of protein. Buddha-protein-bowl

A snack of healthy oil-free beet hummus helps hold you over until dinner and contains 23 grams of protein.

The final meal of the day is curried quinoa and vegetable tacos with a garlic-tahini dressing that will finish your day off with 14 grams of protein.

This brings your daily total to 84 grams of protein, this satisfies the daily recommendation for both men and women.

Day 4: Your Plant-Based Protein Plan

The fourth day starts with a tofu scramble with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes for breakfast that contains 27 grams of protein.

Lunch is an easy everyday lentil soup that can easily be stored and kept. This soup provides 19 grams of protein.

A yummy snack of crunchy toast with fresh spinach, avocado and tomato contain 6 grams of protein.

The final dinner is a crispy tofu satay bowl that packs a ton of protein in the tofu containing 40 grams.

The grand total of protein for day four is 92 grams!

The take away from this is that it is surprisingly easy for anyone to reach or even exceed the recommended daily protein intake on a plant-based or vegan diet. As long as you eat a variety of well-rounded meals and eat enough during the day you don't need to think twice about getting enough protein.


More From The Beet