Sources of Protein for Vegetarians

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While plant proteins may lack one or more amino acids, it’s important to combine different plant sources of protein to complete the ammonia acid profile required by the body. Before going into plant sources of Proteins, let’s see the difference between animal and plant based protein.

Differences between Animal Protein and Plant Protein

AspectAnimal ProteinPlant Protein
SourceMeat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairyLegumes, grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables
Amino Acid Profile    Complete (all essential amino acids)Often incomplete (may lack some essential amino acids)
DigestibilityGenerally higherGenerally lower
Fat ContentOften higher in saturated fatsTypically lower in saturated fats, higher in unsaturated fats
Vitamins & MineralsRich in B vitamins, iron, zincRich in vitamins A, C, E, K, folic acid, potassium, magnesium
Environmental Impact      Higher (greater resource use, emissions)      Lower (less resource use, emissions)
Ethical ConsiderationsAnimal welfare concerns, sustainabilityMore ethical, sustainable

Click Here for the List of Protein for Vegans

Which type of Protein do Vegetarian Food Sources Lack?

Amino Acid + Amino Acid = Protein

Vegetarian food sources, which primarily consist of plant-based proteins, often lack one or more essential amino acids. 

The most common limiting amino acids in plant proteins are lysine, methionine, and tryptophan. Here are some examples:

1. Lysine: Grains, such as wheat, rice, and corn, are generally low in lysine. However, legumes like beans, lentils, and chickpeas are good sources of lysine.

2. Methionine: Legumes tend to be lower in methionine, while grains, nuts, and seeds usually have higher levels of this amino acid.

3. Tryptophan: Some plant-based protein sources may also be lower in tryptophan, but this is less common compared to lysine and methionine.

It is important to note that while individual plant-based protein sources may lack one or more essential amino acids, consuming a variety of plant proteins can provide a complete amino acid profile. 

This practice is known as protein complementation, where different plant-based proteins are combined to make up for their respective limiting amino acids. 

For example, combining grains and legumes, such as rice and beans or peanut butter on whole-grain bread, can provide a complete protein source with all the essential amino acids.

List of sources of Protein for Vegetarians

Note:  Protein requirements can vary based on factors such as age, sex, and activity level. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for adults. 

For a 70 kg person, this would be approximately 56 grams of protein per day. However, individual needs may differ.

Food SourceServing Size      Protein Content (grams)   Protein Requirement for 70kg Person (56g/day)       
Legumes1 cup cooked12-183-5 servings
Tofu3.5 oz (100g)8-154-7 servings
Tempeh3.5 oz (100g)18-203 servings
Seitan3.5 oz (100g)21-252-3 servings
Edamame1 cup183 servings
Quinoa1 cup cooked87 servings
Amaranth1 cup cooked96 servings
Buckwheat1 cup cooked69-10 servings
Chia seeds2 Tbsp414 servings
Hemp seeds3 Tbsp106 servings
Pumpkin seeds1/4 cup96 servings
Sunflower seeds1/4 cup69-10 servings
Almonds1/4 cup78 servings
Peanuts1/4 cup96 servings
Cashews1/4 cup511-12 servings
Walnuts1/4 cup414 servings
Spirulina1 Tbsp414 servings
Nutritional yeast2 Tbsp87 servings
Ezekiel bread1 slice414 servings
Whole grains1 cup cooked3-69-19 servings
Greek yogurt1 cup12-18 (lacto-vegetarian)3-5 servings
Cottage cheese1 cup24 (lacto-vegetarian)2-3 servings
Cheese1 oz6-8 (lacto-vegetarian)7-10 servings
Eggs1 large egg6 (ovo-vegetarian)9-10 servings
Plant-based milks1 cup4-87-14 servings

Questions and Answers

What vegetarian foods are high in protein?

The list is the above tabular column with grams of protein in each source. 

The list involves Legumes, tofu, tempeh, seitan, edamame, quinoa, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, eggs, and various seeds and nuts.

How to get 150 grams of protein a day vegetarian?

Combine high-protein plant-based foods like legumes, tofu, tempeh, seitan, and quinoa, along with dairy and eggs if you are a lacto-ovo vegetarian. You may also consider using protein supplements like plant-based protein powders.

How can vegetarians get 100 grams of protein a day?

Include a variety of protein-rich vegetarian foods like legumes, tofu, tempeh, seitan, edamame, dairy, and eggs if you are a lacto-ovo vegetarian. You can also add protein-dense seeds, nuts, and whole grains.

How do vegetarians get most of their protein?

Vegetarians get most of their protein from legumes, dairy, eggs, tofu, tempeh, seitan, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

What is a quick source of vegetarian protein?

Quick vegetarian protein sources include Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, edamame, nuts, seeds, and ready-to-eat tofu or tempeh products.

What are 20 protein foods?

Legumes, tofu, tempeh, seitan, edamame, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, and eggs.

What are 3 vegetarian protein options?

Tofu, lentils, and quinoa.

Which dal is high in protein?

Rajma (kidney beans) and Masoor Dal (red lentils) have the highest protein content, both containing approximately 9 grams of protein per 100 grams cooked.

Dal (Lentil)Protein Content (g/100g cooked)  Servings for 56g protein            
Moong Dal (Split Green Gram)7.57-8 servings
Masoor Dal (Red Lentils)96-7 servings
Toor Dal (Pigeon Peas)78 servings
Chana Dal (Split Chickpeas)8.66-7 servings
Urad Dal (Split Black Gram)7.48 servings
Rajma (Kidney Beans)8.76-7 servings
Lobia (Black-Eyed Peas)6.78-9 servings
Kabuli Chana (Chickpeas)7.57-8 servings

Which food has the highest protein?

Seitan, a wheat gluten-based protein source, has one of the highest protein contents among vegetarian foods.

How to eat 70g of protein a day vegetarian?

Consume a combination of protein-rich vegetarian foods, such as legumes, tofu, tempeh, seitan, dairy, eggs, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, to meet your protein target.

Which Indian food has more protein?

Paneer, dals (lentils), chickpeas, and various legume-based dishes are good sources of protein in Indian cuisine.

Is there any fruit with protein?

Yes, some fruits contain small amounts of protein, such as avocado, guava, and dried apricots.

Is paneer rich in protein?

Yes, paneer is a good source of protein, with about 18-20 grams of protein per 100 grams.

What are six vegetarian food sources for protein?

Legumes, tofu, tempeh, seitan, Greek yogurt, and eggs.

How do vegetarians get B12?

Vegetarians can obtain B12 from fortified foods like cereals, plant-based milks, and nutritional yeast, as well as dairy products and eggs for lacto-ovo vegetarians. They can also take B12 supplements.

How can I increase my protein intake?

To increase your protein intake, consider the following strategies:

1. Prioritize protein-rich foods at each meal: Incorporate legumes, tofu, tempeh, seitan, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, and whole grains into your meals.

2. Choose high-protein snacks: Opt for Greek yogurt, nuts, seeds, or protein bars as snacks.

3. Combine complementary proteins: Pair plant-based protein sources that complement each other’s amino acid profiles, such as legumes with grains, to create complete proteins.

4. Use protein powders: Add plant-based or whey protein powders to smoothies, oatmeal, or recipes to boost your protein intake.

5. Plan your meals: Plan your meals in advance to ensure you include enough protein sources throughout the day.

6. Monitor portion sizes: Be mindful of portion sizes to ensure you are consuming adequate amounts of protein-rich foods.

7. Explore new recipes: Experiment with new protein-rich recipes and ingredients to diversify your protein intake.

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