19 highest protein foods vegetarian and vegan runners can eat

Maybe you’re considering giving up meat to lose weight, trying to lighten your carbon footprint or you’ve noticed a lot of record-setting endurance athletes are vegan. Whatever your reason, relying less on animal products can be a great first step in upping your intake of nutrient-rich whole foods. But how are you going to get enough protein? Don’t panic - we did the maths for you.

Related: 6 of the best vegan milks for runners 

19/ Brussels sprouts

Protein: Around 3 grams per 80g serving

These little green guys get a bad rap in the taste department but they’re actually nutritional superstars. In addition to protein, Brussels sprouts pack hefty doses of potassium and vitamin K.

18/ Broccoli

Protein: Around 3 grams per 80g serving (cooked)

Broccoli’s not only an awesome source of fibre, its protein content is surprising, too (for a vegetable, anyway). And you can’t go wrong with a vegetable that’s been proven to deliver cancer-fighting compounds like sulforaphane. Up your intake with this warm Asian rice salad.

17/ Avocado

Protein: 2 grams per ½ avocado

This fruit is creamy, dreamy and super filling, thanks to its bend of monounsaturated fatty acids and a bit of protein.

16/ Spinach

Protein: 4 grams per 100g serving (cooked)

Sure, 4 grams may not sound like a lot, but for a green vegetable it is. Still, don’t just make a salad and call it a day. Cooking this green is the secret to upping its protein content.

15/ Potatoes

Protein: 4 grams in 1 medium white potato

Another stealth source of protein! Despite having a reputation for being pretty much devoid of all nutrition, a medium-sized spud actually contains a good bit of protein, along with about 20 percent of the recommended daily intake of heart-healthy potassium.

14/ Pumpkin seeds

Protein: 5 grams per 30 gram serving

Pumpkin seeds aren't just a super convenient way to get a dose of satiating protein, they're total nutrient powerhouses, packing about half the recommended daily intake of magnesium, along with immune-boosting zinc, plant-based omega-3s and tryptophan - which can help ease you into a restful slumber.

13/ Cashews

Protein: 5 grams per 30 gram serving

In addition to a decent protein punch, cashews contain 20 percent of the recommended intake of magnesium, along with 12 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin K - two essential bone-building nutrients.

12/ Steel-cut oats

Protein: 5 grams per 30 gram serving (dry)

Steel-cut oats aren’t just a solid source of protein; they also have a lower glycemic index than rolled oats. This means they don’t spike blood sugar as much, so you’re likely to be more satisfied and experience fewer cravings after eating them.

11/ Chia seeds

Protein: 4 grams per 30 gram serving

Chia packs a ton of protein in those pint-sized seeds, which are also a great source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. Bonus: Omega-3s help stimulate the satiety hormone leptin, which signals your body to burn these fats instead of storing them.

10/ Almonds

Protein: 6 grams per 30 gram serving

Along with protein, almonds deliver some serious vitamin E, which is great for the health of your skin and hair. They also provide 61 percent of your daily recommended intake of magnesium, which can help curb sugar cravings, soothe PMS-related cramps, boost bone health, and ease muscle soreness and spasms.

9/ Chickpeas

Protein: 6 grams per 120g serving

Permission to eat all the houmous - well, maybe not all of it, but the combo of protein and fibre in chickpeas make for one healthy dip.

8/ Wild rice

Protein: 8 grams per 200g serving (cooked)

Move over, quinoa. Wild rice is the protein-rich grain you should be gravitating toward. With a nutty taste and slightly chewy texture, it’s way more satisfying, too.

7/ Peanuts and peanut butter

Protein: 7 grams per 30 gram serving (or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter)

Not only are peanuts and peanut butter great for munching and whipping up classic childhood comfort food, they’re also super versatile – use them in everything from curries to flapjacks! They’ve also been shown to help you eat less at lunch if you consume them at breakfast - aka the second-meal effect. PB and banana, anyone?

6/ Butter beans

Protein: 7.6 grams per 85 gram serving (cooked)

In addition to filling protein, butter beans contain the amino acid leucine, which may play a big role in healthy muscle synthesis among older adults.

5/ Black beans

Protein: 7.6 grams per 85 gram serving (cooked)

Black beans are also packed with heart-healthy fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin B and a range of phytonutrients.

4/ Lentils

Protein: 9 grams per 100 gram serving

Low-cal, high-fibre and high-protein lentils can be morphed into a nutrient-dense side dish, veggie burger or even whipped into a houmous-like dip. Bonus: They’ve been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease.

3/ Tofu

Protein: 8 to 15 grams per 85 gram serving

Ah, tofu, the classic vegetarian blank slate made from curdled soymilk. It’s wonderful pan-fried, sautéed in a stir-fry, and even scrambled. Though it’s not quite as protein-packed as other meat alternatives (see below), its taste may be more tolerable. Opt for organic varieties to avoid genetically modified soy and funky pesticides.

2/ Tempeh

Protein: 16 grams per 85 gram serving

Tempeh is made by fermenting cooked soybeans and shaping it into a dense cake that can be sliced and pan-fried like tofu. It’s nutty, chewy, and packs significantly more protein and fibre than tofu - and some find it easier to digest because it’s fermented.

1/ Soy beans

Protein: 18 grams per 150 gram serving (cooked)

Talk about healthiest snack ever - just a small portion of edamame (or cooked soybeans) packs a huge protein punch.

A version of this article originally appeared on Eat Clean.