Lots of useful dietary advice focuses on consuming more protein from plants and less from animals. However, not all protein sources are equally nutritious. In the chart below, we’ve taken some of the top plant protein sources and compared nutrition information across the board, so that you can make an informed decision about which proteins to incorporate into your eating pattern.
You may have noticed that serving size does vary in this chart, but that's only because the foods we’re comparing are so different. We made sure to compare what is considered a typical single serving of each food, so that you can evaluate the differences between them without sheer amount complicating the data.
Now, let's look at each nutrient.
You may have noticed that green lentils have the most protein in a single serving, followed closely by edamame and tempeh. Green lentils also lead the way in fiber and iron content as well, though edamame is also loaded with iron and chickpeas, black beans, and tempeh are great sources of protein as well.
Firm tofu has the fewest calories per serving, while black beans have the lowest levels of fat. Brown rice, quinoa, chickpeas, black beans, edamame and green lentils are all saturated fat free, while the almonds, peanuts, quinoa, brown rice, and green lentils all have no sodium in the preparations we compared. Note the sodium content of the canned foods like chickpeas and black beans -- they're a lot higher in this element than their non-canned counterparts.
Remember, many of these protein foods can be combined with others (black beans and rice or chickpeas and quinoa, for example) in order to create an even more protein-rich meal.
Which will you try first?
Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she’s not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.