What are the best high-protein fruits and high-protein vegetables?

If you want to try the protein-sparing modified fast (PSMF diet), you can download the free printable PDF guidebook, meal plan, PSMF food list, and PSMF calculator.

Vegetables and fruit do have protein, however, they are not the best source of complete protein. But, if you are working on increasing your protein, these high protein vegetables and fruit are the ones to reach for.

Part of eating a keto diet is to keep your macros in check. These protein and carb charts will show you which vegetables are the highest in protein and which fruits have the lowest carbs.

How much protein do you need?

Minimum protein intake: for a 70kg sedentary women = 0.8g/kg (0.36g/pound) = 56g protein per day.
High protein diet: for a 70kg sedentary women = 1.5g – 2g/kg = 105g – 140g protein per day.

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Protein is crucial for anyone’s diet, but how much protein you need depends on your level of activity, body size, and whether you want to build more muscle mass. You can calculate your own personal macros for your body (net carbs, fat, protein, and calories) using my FREE macro calculator.

What are macros? There are 3 main macronutrients: carbs, protein, and fat. Adjusting the ratio of each macronutrient, you can be on a low-carb dietketo dietlow-fat diet, or a high-protein low-carb diet.

Is plant-based protein a complete protein?

Not all plant-based proteins are complete proteins. Each plant will contain various amounts of different amino acids.

complete source of protein contains all 9 essential amino acids. Meat is generally considered to be a complete source of protein and all 9 essential amino acids.

But if you are a vegetarian eating only plant-based protein, it’s important to ensure you eat a variety of vegetables and fruits that contain all the essential amino acids.

  • Examples of complete protein foods are meat such as: Beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and fish.
  • Examples of incomplete protein foods are: Vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains.

Benefits of vegetables and fruits

Fruit and vegetables are packed with soluble fiber, insoluble fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Vegetables (and some fruits) are generally low in fat, and low in calories. They often contain vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A, folate, and vitamin B.

Fruits and vegetables can help bulk up a healthy meal, they can help crowd out junk food and junk carbs in a meal, PLUS vegetables are delicious.

One thing that fruits and vegetables don’t have on their own is any type of healthy fat (with the exception of an avocado). However, there are other health benefits they can offer.

A diet high in fruits and vegetables can help you lose weight (they are low fat and low calorie), and it is thought that their potassium can lower blood pressure, and the antioxidants can support healthy vision.

Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C and the family of B vitamins.

When people consume a diet with plant-based sources of protein, they increase their fat-burning abilities and improve their gut health due to the increased fiber and probiotics.

This guide will look at the best high-protein vegetables so you can make smart choices with what you eat.

High-protein vegetables + high-protein fruits

Starchy veggies, root vegetables, and fruits are definitely high in natural sugar and high in carbohydrates so you’ll want to be careful and choose wisely depending on your health goals.

It’s important to remember that total carbs are different than net carbs. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which will lower the number of carbs in them.

Roasted vegetables cooked in butter or olive oil, or fruit enjoyed with full-fat cottage cheese are just a few examples of how high-protein vegetables and high-protein fruit can fit into your keto lifestyle.

Protein in vegetables

Now let’s look at some of the best vegetables and legumes that have the most protein in them. Not all veggies and legumes are low carb or keto.

Pinto beans

Nutrition values per cup:
Protein: 15.4 grams per cup.
Net carbs: 29.4 grams per cup.
Fat: 1.1 grams per cup.
Calories: 245 per cup.

Pinto is the highest-protein vegetable on the list. They are part of the legume family so are also the highest in carbs and the highest in calories.

They have 15.4 grams of protein per cup cooked.

Lima beans

Nutrition values per cup:
Protein: 10.3 grams per cup.
Net carbs: 23.8 grams per cup.
Fat: 0.7 grams per cup.
Calories: 175 per cup.

Lima beans protein value is high with 10.3 grams of protein per cup.

Soybean sprouts

Nutrition values per cup (raw):
Protein: 9.2 grams per cup.
Net carbs: 5.8 grams per cup.
Fat: 4.7 grams per cup.
Calories: 85 per cup.

Soybean sprouts (commonly called mung bean sprouts) are a good source of protein too. A cup of soybean sprouts has 7 grams of protein.

One of the best ways to enjoy vegetables is in a delicious stir fry. You can get your daily dose of protein from these vegetables, especially when you cook a variety of them together.

Green peas

Nutrition values per cup:
Protein: 8.2 grams per cup.
Net carbs: 15.4 grams per cup.
Fat: 0.4 grams per cup.
Calories: 125 per cup.

There are 8.2 grams of protein per cup cooked green peas.

These are a confusing plant because according to U.S Dietary guidelines, they are starchy vegetables; but, Harvard Health considers them a legume.

Either way, they tend to be moderately high in carbohydrates and may or may not fit into a keto diet depending on the number of peas consumed.

Brussels sprouts

Nutrition values per cup:
Protein: 5.7 grams per cup.
Net carbs: 9.9 grams per cup.
Fat: 1.1 grams per cup.
Calories: 80 per cup.

When it comes to Brussels sprouts, protein is a big part of their makeup. There are 5.64 grams of protein per cup of boiled Brussels Sprouts.

Try these creamed Brussels sprouts for a delicious lunch filled with healthy fats.

Asparagus

Nutrition values per cup:
Protein: 4.3 grams per cup.
Net carbs: 3.7 grams per cup.
Fat: 0.4 grams per cup.
Calories: 40 per cup.

Asparagus protein is high as well. There are 4.32 grams of protein per cup. You’ll love this recipe for keto cheesy baked asparagus.

Corn

Nutrition values per cup:
Protein: 3.8 grams per cup.
Net carbs: 20.2 grams per cup.
Fat: 2.0 grams per cup.
Calories: 110 per cup.

Sweet corn is very high in carbohydrates, but it has other nutrients too. If weight loss or minimizing carbs is your goal, I suggest eating less sweet corn. However, there is 3.8g of protein in one cup of cooked corn kernels.

Broccoli

Nutrition values per cup:
Protein: 3.7 grams per cup.
Net carbs: 6.0 grams per cup.
Fat: 0.6 grams per cup.
Calories: 55 per cup.

Broccoli protein is excellent too. There are over three grams of protein per cup.

Spinach

Nutrition values per cup (raw):
Protein: 0.9 grams per cup.
Net carbs: 0.4 grams per cup.
Fat: 0.1 grams per cup.
Calories: 7 per cup.

Raw spinach is not a great source of protein per cup. The protein content in raw spinach is lower than others on this list, but it is nutrient-dense in other ways. One cup of raw spinach has 0.7g of protein which will not help you reach your daily protein goal.

Nutrition values per cup (cooked):
Protein: 5.3 grams per cup.
Net carbs: 2.4 grams per cup.
Fat: 0.5 grams per cup.
Calories: 41 per cup.

Cooked spinach protein is higher because it takes a lot of raw spinach to create one cup of cooked spinach.

It has free-radical fighting antioxidants so it is known as a superfood.

High protein fruits

If you need to watch how many carbs you are eating, I suggest eating fewer fruits, especially high-sugar tropical fruits. When you eat them in moderation, adding them to a side dish or salad can give you a boost of protein too.

Get more information about the carbohydrates in fruits here.

Tropical fruit

Not only are they delicious, but the following tropical fruit is high in vitamin C and has a fantastic amount of protein per cup.

Check out how much protein is in each cup of fruit:

  • Guava – 4.2g protein, 14.6g net carbs, 112 calories
  • Kiwifruit – 2.1g protein, 20.7g net carbs, 110 calories
  • Oranges – 1.7g protein, 16.7g net carbs, 86 calories

However, the carb count for all of these tends to be quite high, so they may not fit your low-carb goals.

Dried fruits

Dried fruits might have protein, but they also have a higher concentration of carbohydrates and sugar per cup too. I’ll share how much protein each type of fruit has, but watch your macros when you eat them.

  • Dried apricots – 4.4g protein, 70.3g net carbs, 313 calories
  • Raisins – 4.8g protein, 107.8g net carbs, 434 calories
  • Dried mango – 2.8 g protein, 121.8g net carbs, 531 calories
  • Dried cranberries (unsweetened) – 0g protein, 16.8g net carbs, 84 calories
  • Dried cranberries (sweetened) – 0.3g protein, 123.8g net carbs, 493 calories

Avocado

Nutrition values per cup:
Protein: 4.5 grams per cup.
Net carbs: 4.2 grams per cup.
Fat: 35.4 grams per cup.
Calories: 384 per cup.

You may be surprised to hear this, but yes, avocado is a fruit! Not only is this powerhouse an excellent source of healthy fat, but the carbs are fairly minimal and it offers a decent source of protein.

One cup of pureed avocado offers 4.5 grams of protein. There are so many ways to enjoy it: chunky guacamole and avocado boats are two excellent ways, but my favorite is just to cut it in half, sprinkle it with a bit of salt and chow down!

One other way to eat more protein from fruit is to make a smoothie from frozen fruit. I recommend this green avocado smoothie! You can even add some seeds to give it an even bigger boost of protein.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some questions people often ask about high-protein veggies and high-protein fruit. If you don’t see your question in this list please leave it in the comments.

What vegetables are high in protein?

People eat beans to really hit their protein goals but they are much higher in carbs than veggies. Veggies that have the most protein in them are green peas, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus.

What fruits are high in protein?

The types of fruit with the most protein are guavas, avocados, and apricots. But watch out for the high natural sugars. Go for low-sugar berries that are nutrient-dense.

Is peanut butter high-protein?

There are 3.8 grams of protein per tablespoon, it needs to be carefully portion controlled because it is so high in calories and fat.

High-protein recipes (plant-based)

If you want to increase your protein per meal but avoid animal products and eat more plant-based sources, these high-protein veggie recipes will hit the spot.

These veggies are packed with nutrients and flavor.

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