Best Vegetarian Sources Of Protein

For me this is just a reference page to help me ensure I am getting enough protein. For someone who exercises, lifts weights, strength trains and so forth it is recommended that one consume about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight (a bit over 2 grams per kilo) a day, thats a 180 grams a day for myself and most people. This can prove difficult for vegetarians and is one of the key arguments for people to eat meat and fish aside from the fact that meat is one of the most vitamin and nutrient rich food in the world. There are arguments as to why not to eat meat but again, not going into that.

If your cutting meat out to any degree, you need to make sure you make up for it with a solid healthy vegetarian diet, not just lots of pasta and other carbs. For this reason all of these below sources of protein are also equally high sources of vitamins and the most essential food to impliment into a vegetarian diet. Once you get the hang of including these foods in recipes, getting your daily requirements will be a breeze.

Though dairy is a very efficient source of protein, I don’t eat it in most cases, so will leave them at the bottom.

There is an argument that vegetable proteins are processed more easily by the body than meat, but I will not get into that here. This is still heavily disputed so I err on the side of caution and aim to get at least the same amount of protein as is recommended to meat eaters.

Just for comparison a cup of ground beef (about 120 grams), contains about 30 grams of protein.

Eggs: 6 grams per 1 large egg (17 grams per 1 cup (136 grams))

Yes vegetarians by loose definition eat eggs.

Navy Beans: 15-20 grams per 1 cup (182 grams boiled)

Navy beans also contain a lot of much needed fibre. Navy beans are the best, if your a vegetarian and not eating these regularly, your an idiot.

Lentils: 18-20 grams per 1 cup (192 grams boiled)

Same goes for lentils, if you’re not eating meat, you simply must eat lentils, they contain so many necessary vitamins and fiber.

Mixed Nuts: 27 grams per 1 cup (134 grams)

Edamame: 17 grams per 1 cup (155 grams cooked)

Quinoa: 24 grams per 1 cup (170 grams)

Tofu: 20 grams per 1 cup (248 grams)

Soy Milk: 8 grams per 1 cup (243 grams)

Parsley, Kale, Broccoli and most lettuce, avocado and so on: have 3 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Chia Seeds: 32 grams per 1 cup

Chia seeds have the highest source of omega 3 fatty acids of any plant. They are also packed with zinc and iron.

Hempseed: 10 grams per 2 tablespoons

Again these are absurdly healthy, with many needed aminos, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium rich.

Buckwheat: 6 grams per 1 cup (cooked)

This is not wheat, its actually rhubarb.  It is used to make soba noodles and is ridiculously healthy! Common uses are to make flour for pancakes, cakes and so on.

Greek Yogurt: 20 grams per 1 cup (224 grams)

Cottage Cheese: 25 grams per 1 cup (225 grams)

So to show just how difficult it is to get enough protein from a vegetarian diet here is a possible day eating the right kinds of foods:

Breakfast:

  • 3 large eggs: 18 grams
  • Half an Avocado: 2 grams

Lunch:

  • 2 cups of quinoa, beans and some cottage cheese: 60 grams

Dinner:

Dessert:

Snack:

  • Handful of mixed nuts: 20 grams
  • A cup of yogurt with berries: 21 grams

Total: 

  • 150 Grams (30 grams short of daily requirement)

An after workout protein shake (a vegetarian one even) will give you an additional 25 grams of protein to just about hit your daily target.

A final point to make here is that if for lunch instead of the mixed bean and quinoa bowl I had a bowl of pasta, I would need to deduct at least 40 grams from the above number (not to mention the calories I would need to add) making a total of only 110, this is a big deficit and if we are only talking one day that is fine, but if this is an ongoing habit, it’s an issue.

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