It's one of the first questions vegans usually get asked. There are two things about that question that make it a non-issue for vegans who have healthy, varied diets. First, humans don't need as much protein as many Americans seem to think. The average American consumes twice as much as the body needs. Yikes! Second, there is protein in almost all plant-based foods, the amounts of protein just vary. It is easy to get the necessary protein as a vegan...as a vegan athelete...as a pregnant vegan...as a vegan child.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for the average, sedentary adult is only 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. To find out your average individual need, simply perform the following calculation:
Body weight (in pounds) X 0.36 = recommended protein intake (in grams)
However, even this value has a large margin of safety, and the body’s true need is even lower for most people. Protein needs are increased for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In addition, needs are also higher for very active persons. As these groups require additional calories, increased protein needs can easily be met through larger intake of food consumed daily. Extra serving of legumes, tofu, meat substitutes, or other high protein sources can help meet needs that go beyond the current RDA.
The best way for vegans to get their protein is a diet based on the new Four Food Groups (legumes, grains, vegetables, fruits).
Per Day (for plant-based protein):
*Aim for 2 to 3 servings of legumes.
*Aim for 5 or more servings of grains.
*Aim for 3 or more servings of vegetables.
Fruit isn't high in protein, but the recommendation is to aim for 3 or more servings of fruit per day. [And don't forget to make sure you are getting some Vitamin B12.]
Here are some links to great charts that list the some of the best protein-rich vegan foods, and more general information on vegans and protein.