Protein Rich Foods for Baby and Toddler

When you are vegan you may get asked the question…where does your protein come from? Plant foods provide a sufficient amount of protein as long as you are eating enough calories. Below I have listed info about protein as well as many plant sources of where you can get your protein from.

About Protein:

Proteins are the building blocks of life. The body needs protein to repair and maintain itself. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids.

What are types of protein?

Proteins are made up of amino acids. Think of amino acids as the building blocks. There are 20 different amino acids that join together to make all types of protein. Some of these amino acids can’t be made by our bodies, so these are known as essential amino acids. It’s essential that our diet provide these.


photo of various foods
Is it true that complementary proteins must be eaten together to count as a complete protein source?
In the past, it was thought that these complementary proteins needed to be eaten at the same meal for your body to use them together. Now studies show that your body can combine complementary proteins that are eaten within the same day. Your body pulla all the necessary amino acids it needa feom all the fooda you eat, even if they aren’t eaten the same meal. 


Every cell in the human body contains protein. It is a major part of the skin, muscles, organs, and glands. Protein is also found in all body fluids, except bile and urine.

You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones. Protein is also important for growth and development during childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy.

Protein is very important for your growing child since their bodies are growing so rapidly. But no need to worry. Most people including children get adequate amounts of protein in their diets each day. It is VERY rare for someone to be protein deficient since it is in so many foods that we eat. You should never put you or your child on a HIGH protein diet (unless told to do so by a medical professional) as this can put stress on the kidneys.

How much protein does your baby need each day?

A nutritionally balanced diet provides enough protein. Healthy people rarely need protein supplements.

With a plant based diet you are able to get enough essential amino by eating a variety of plant proteins.

The amount of recommended daily protein depends upon your age and health. Two to three servings of protein-rich food will meet the daily needs of most adults. Below you will find a chart for how much to feed your child:

These are averages:

0-6 months: 9.1 grams

6-12 months: 13.5 grams

1-3 years: 13 grams

In general, it’s recommended that 10–35% of your daily calories come from protein. Below are the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for different age groups.2 A good rule of thumb is, 0.45-0.55 grams per pound of body weight for kids age 1- 14 years old.

Recommended Dietary Allowance for Protein
Grams of protein
needed each day
Children ages 1 – 3 13
Children ages 4 – 8 19
Children ages 9 – 13 34
Girls ages 14 – 18 46
Boys ages 14 – 18 52
Women ages 19 – 70+ 46
Men ages 19 – 70+ 56


Protein is found in the following foods:

  • legumes (dry beans and peas)
  • organic tofu, tempeh (we personally do not consume too much soy. If you do consume be sure it is organic otherwise it is GMO). Learn more HERE.)
  • nuts and seeds
  • seitan
  • grains, some vegetables, and even fruits do actually contain protein a well.

Other Vegan Sources of Protein:

  1. Tempeh –  41 g per cup
  2. Lentils – 18 g per cup
  3. Organic Edamame – 20 g per cup
  4. Seitan – 19 g per 3 ounces
  5. Organic Tofu – 20 g per 1/2 cup
  6. Peas – 9 g per cup
  7. Brown rice – 5 g per cup
  8. White rice – 4 g per cup
  9. Cooked broccoli – 4 g per cup
  10. Sunflower seeds – 6 g per 1/4 cup
  11. Quinoa – 9 g per cup
  12. Cooked spinach – 5 g per cup
  13. Avocado – 4 g per cup
  14. Whole grain bread – 7 g in 2 slices
  15. Black beans – 15 g per cup
  16. Cashews – 5 g per 1/4 cup
  17. Cooked semolina pasta – 8 g per cup
  18. Chia seeds – 5 g per 2 tablespoons
  19. Flax seeds – 4 g per 2 tablespoons
  20. Bulgur – 5.5 g per cup
  21. Peanut butter – 8 g per 2 tablespoons
  22. Sunflower seed butter – 5.5 g per 2 tablespoons
  23. Baked red potato – 3 g per cup
  24. Barley – 3.5 g per cup
  25. Bananas-1.2 g per 1/2 cup
  26. Almonds- 21.1 g per 1/2 cup
  27. Asparagus- 2.9 g per 1/2 cup
  28. Broccoli- 4.2 g per 1/2 cup
  29. Coconut- 3.3 g per 1/2 cup
  30. Hummus- 7.4 g per 1/2 cup
  31. Oats- 11g per 1/2 cup
  32. Orange- 1.1 per 1/2 cup
  33. Potatoes- 2.1 g per 1/2 cup
  34. Pumpkin Seeds-28.8 g per 1/2 cup
  35. Pasta 12.5 g per 1/2 cup
  36. Gogi Berries 12.3 g per 1/2 cup




Photo #1 by Josefa Ciccarelli

Other Photos and some information via

Protein in Diet via

Read more:

Source: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) and Adequate Intakes (AIs), Food & Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (NAS), 1998 – 2010.

I will update this page as new information comes out and is available.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie Flores October 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I will definitely have to bookmark this page. Tons of great information.

Josefa October 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Thanks! Glad it can be of help! 🙂

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