Only eating meat occasionally and reducing its portion size allows you to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, thereby improving your overall health, nutrition, and quality of life. Many plant foods are rich in protein and can contribute to a healthy, sustainable diet. Diets high in organic and non-GMO plant proteins help to lower the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, lower systolic blood pressure, reduce risk of obesity in children, and lower mortality. Beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables that are certified organic are required to be produced in a way that maintains or improves the natural resources of the farm and the surrounding ecosystem, including water, soil, and biodiversity. There is also mounting evidence that organic plant foods offer significant health benefits over their conventional counterparts, most notably a substantial reduction in exposure to toxic pesticide residues.

The amount of protein your body needs varies depending on your personal attributes, health, and lifestyle. Generally the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that 10-35 percent of your daily calories come from protein—roughly 46 grams of protein per day for adult women and 56 grams per day for adult men. Eating extra protein from meats in particular can lead to poor health outcomes, like elevated LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. Only two servings of pork, for example, would exactly meet the recommended protein consumption for adult women for an entire day.


Tips for identifying, finding and using organic, non-GE whole plant proteins:

Shopping at Grocery Stores.

There are many grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables, and even some fruits that have a significant amount of protein per recommended serving. In combination, these plants can provide a healthy daily portion of protein in addition to a diverse array of other nutrients that contribute to a well-rounded and healthy diet. Be sure to look for the USDA Certified Organic seal on product labels or produce stickers, and the Non-GMO Project Verified label on plant-based processed foods. The chart below provides a list of several common plant foods that have a high amount of protein per serving.

Standard Serving Size Grams of Protein per Serving % Recommended Daily Protein
Peanuts (raw) 1.5 ounces 11 grams 21.6%
Beans, Great Northern (canned) .5 cup 9.6 grams 18.8%
Pumpkin Seeds (dried) 2 tablespoons 9 grams 17.6%
Almonds (raw) 1.5 ounces 9 grams 17.6%
Lentils (cooked) 0.5 cup 11 grams 17.6%
Cashews (raw) 1.5 ounces 7.8 grams 15.3%
Beans, Pinto (canned) 0.5 cup 7.7 grams 15%
Beans, Black (canned) 0.5 cup 7.5 grams 14.7%
Beans, Fava (canned) 0.5 cup 7 grams 13.7%
Wild Rice (cooked) 1 cup 7 grams 13.7%
Beans, Kidney (canned) 0.5 cup 6.6 grams 12.9%
Hemp Seeds 2 tablespoons 6.3 grams 12.4%
Beans, Chickpea (canned) 0.5 cup 6 grams 11.8%
Spinach (cooked) 1 cup 5.4 grams 10.4%
Chia Seeds (dried) 2 tablespoons 5 grams 9.8%
Amaranth (cooked) 0.5 cup 4.7 grams 9.2%
Guava (raw) 1 cup 4.2 grams 8.2%
Peas 0.5 cup 4 grams 7.8%
Quinoa (cooked) 0.5 cup 4 grams 7.8%
Farro 0.5 cup 4 grams 7.8%
Flax Seeds 2 tablespoons 3.8 grams 7.5%
Avocado 0.25 cup 1 gram 2%
Chicken (breast, cooked) 3 ounces 16 grams 31.4%
Pork (lean loin, cooked) 3 ounces 23 grams 45.1%
Beef 3 ounces 24 grams 47%
Turkey 3 ounces 15 grams 29.4%
Eating at Restaurants.

In addition to intentional sourcing of meat and poultry products, restaurants are increasingly recognizing that consumers are interested in flexitarian diets and may choose to eat meatless meals occasionally. As a result, many have improved the availability of meatless items on their menus. Use HappyCow to find restaurants near you that source meatless meals.