How Much Protein Do You Need on a Plant-Based Diet?
People are so protein-obsessed, but we need a lot less than most people think. Registered dietitian nutritionist and NASM-certified personal trainer Whitney English Tabaie, MS, RDN shared that the The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) states that we only need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
To figure out this number, just divide your weight in pounds by 2.2, then multiply that number by 0.8. Registered dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, author of The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook said you can go a little higher and eat one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. So for a 150-pound woman, she would eat between 54.5 and 68.2 grams of protein per day.
Athletes should increase that amount and consume anywhere between 1.2 to two grams of protein per body weight in kilograms, Whitney suggested, depending on the intensity of exercise. Whitney added, "for someone doing light exercise, 1.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight (0.5 grams per pound) is plenty of protein."
"For weight loss you would stick in this range as well," said Leslie. While weight loss is based on having a calorie deficit, she explained that having a higher protein intake can help with satiety to help you eat less. Whitney added that you also want to focus on eating fewer processed foods and more filling, fibre-rich whole plant foods.
If you're into tracking your macros, registered dietitian Emily Tills, MS, CDN, said your protein intake should be 20 to 25 percent of your daily calorie intake, "or you can also take your weight and divide it in half for another ballpark, higher protein estimate."
If you break it down per meal, eating three meals a day, Leslie said to aim for 20 to 30 grams of protein, depending on your personal needs. Emily added that plant protein can be trickier as you may need to increase the volume of food you're eating to meet your protein needs.
Of course, if you're eating a variety of whole, plant foods, Whitney said you'll have no problem reaching your daily goal. Here are some easy ways to get more protein in your day.