If you’re plant-based, you’ve probably heard this question a million times. Or maybe you’re toying with the idea of becoming a vegetarian or vegan, but have concerns about getting enough protein. Let’s dispell some myths and get some answers, shall we?!

Making sure our system has enough protein is important. Protein is responsible for the overall growth, repair, and maintenance of your body. But eating plenty of protein doesn’t necessarily mean chomping on a big slab of steak. Did you know that veggies, especially sprouts, are full of plant protein power? 

Leafy green sprouts like alfalfa and sunflower are high in protein, particularly when compared to common green leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce. And bean sprouts such as mung, lentil, and chickpea, contain even more protein than their unsprouted counterparts!

Get the full lowdown on what your body needs when chowing down, and let’s bust the top protein myths still circulating.

Myth #1: The Highest Protein Sources Are Meat & Dairy 

When most people think of  protein, the obvious example is something animal-based like steak or eggs. When someone asks, “but where do you get your protein?”, they’re probably ready to follow it up with a claim about their need for meat. But where does the meat get its protein? Cows don’t eat other animals, they eat grass (tons, and tons of grass). The same goes for most animals Americans consume on a regular basis—they’re vegetarians themselves! 

While animal proteins are cheap and easy vessels, you have to take into account the portion size as well. Eating lots of fresh, healthy vegetables all day long can give you just as much, if not more, protein than you would get from an average serving of chicken breast.

Myth #2: If It’s Not A Complete Protein, It Doesn’t Count

What even is a complete protein? Proteins are made of amino acids, 22 of which our human bodies need to function correctly. And of these 22 there are 9 that we cannot make on our own—which is where complete protein comes in. These 9 are often referred to as the ‘essential amino acids’. Meat and dairy products contain all 9 essentials, while most veggie sources lack one or two. But the incomplete vs complete debate is not as important as you would think! Your body is resourceful—you don’t have to combine amino acids in one meal for your body to complete them later on. The notion that beans and rice have to be eaten together to constitute a complete protein is a myth—just make sure to eat them within the same day.

Myth #3: You Can’t Get Enough Protein From Plants Alone

Sprouting seeds build new proteins from stored starches, sugars, and fats within the seeds. Precious amino acids increase during germination and peak generally between the 5th and 9th sprouting days, depending on the variety. In fact, the total dry weight protein of legume sprouts such as mung rivals popular animal-based foods. Legumes fall short in one amino acid called ‘methionine’. But not to worry! Simply combining them with a sulfur-rich food (like broccoli sprouts) gets you your complete protein. 

Myth #4: More Protein Means Bigger Muscles

Increasing your protein intake only increases your muscle mass if you’re also training hard at the gym. Amino acids in proteins are critical for repairing the microtears your muscles experience when they’re pushed to their limits, and then build and bulk up. But if they’re not being pushed and pulled, they don’t need as much protein. Burning fat and building new muscles means working out your body and then eating more protein to repair it. If you want a quick-comparison guide on higher protein sources, check out the table below: 

Protein Content of Sprouts vs. Popular Vegetarian Foods (per 100g)

39.8 gAlfalfa Grass13.1 gSoybean Sprouts3.8 gRadish Sprouts
36.5 gSoybeans9.0 gLentil Sprouts3.6 gBroccoli 
26.6 gWheat Germ8.8 gGreen Pea Sprouts3.2 gSprinach
24 gSunflower Seed7.5 gBrown Rice3.1 gMung Sprouts
23 gFenugreek Seed6.2  gGarlic1.3 gAvocado
16.6 gChia Seed4.0 gAlfalfa Sprouts1.1 gBanana

Are you ready to ‘pump’ up with plant protein? Check out our Power Protein mix! This blend contains protein-packed red and green lentils, garbanzo beans, and green peas. Tag us in a pic of your favorite sautée or salad @sproutman. Eat well and stay sproutful!