Posted by: Antonia Ciccolo | August 26, 2010

How Does a Traveling Vegan Get Protein?

“Is that healthy? I mean, how does a vegan get protein?” This is probably the most common question asked. Now that I’ve been vegan for over a month, I’ve learned to answer this question quickly and succinctly. First off, many Americans have an incorrect perception of how much protein an individual actually needs. Many Americans consume 50% more protein than the recommended daily intake. For my height and size, I try to get about 40 grams of protein daily through  beans, nuts, grains, and vegetables.

This question was recently asked in the August 2010 edition of VegNews Magazine and the answer from Laura Hooper Beck was, “I get it from eating people who ask me this question. And also, whole-wheat flour, bread, pasta, brown rice, oats, nuts, seeds, peas, beans, lentils, soymilk, tofu, and tempeh.”

Here are some popular high-protein food items broken down by grams of protein:

Beans (including soy):

  • Tofu (half cup): 20 grams of protein
  • Soy milk (one cup): 6-10 grams
  • Most cooked beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc.) (half cup): 7-10 grams
  • Soy beans (edamame) (half cup): 14 grams
  • Split peas (half cup): 8 grams
  • Black-eyed peas (half cup): 6 grams

Nuts and Seeds:

  • Peanut butter (2 tablespoons): 8 grams of protein
  • Almonds (half cup): 16 grams
  • Peanuts (half cup): 18 grams
  • Cashews (half cup): 10 grams
  • Pecans (half cup): 5 grams
  • Sunflower seeds (half cup): 12 grams
  • Pumpkin seeds (half cup): 16 grams
  • Flax seeds (half cup): 16 grams


  • Oatmeal, rough cut (one cup): 6 grams of protein
  • Rice, brown, cooked (one cup): 5 grams
  • Rye bread (1 slice): 2 grams
  • Whole wheat bread (1 slice): 2.5 grams


  • Spinach (one cup): 5 grams of protein
  • Broccoli (one cup): 4 grams

I try to eat some form of nuts or beans every day. As a traveling vegan, it’s easy to pick up some nuts at an airport or hotel gift shop. I’ve been really into cashews recently – a nut I hadn’t gotten into until I started the vegan challenge. It’s been great to explore new food items, especially essential protein-filled snacks.



  1. i get this question all the time too, and it’s amazing that people don’t bother to ask about iron, vitamin a,b and all the other rest…they only ask about protein, and consuming alot of protein is not that healthy for you

    but it’s also amazing to know that people who ask these questions, fail to realilze that there’s protein in alot of things, especially if you eat alot of grains,as long as you are not a junk food vegan

    i have to try that “i get it from eating people who ask me this question” and see what responses i get, i like that answer lol

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