The Best Vegetarian protein sources

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Whether you eat vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based, getting enough protein in your diet is vital!

 

Protein is a macronutrient made up of amino acids that help repair tissue and are precursors to enzymes, hormones, cellular repair, your body’s immune response, and other molecules necessary for human life. Proteins are vital in building muscular tissue, hair, skin, and nails.

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Often we see inadequate or poor sources of protein being touted for vegans and vegetarians. These include nuts, seeds, and some grains. In general these have less than 1 gram of protein per 15 calories. Today i’m here to share some of the highest protein sources for vegans and vegetarians. This list is not all-inclusive, but I’ve done my best to include as much as possible.


Vegetarians or Plant Based

  1. Greek Yogurt- 17 grams of protein per 100 calories
  2. Whey Protein-20 grams of protein per 100 calories (may vary slightly)
  3. Eggs- 9 grams of protein per 100 calories
  4. Cottage Cheese- 12 grams of protein per 100 calories
  5. Egg Protein Powders21 grams of protein per 100 calories
  6. Faux Meats- Including brands like Morningstar Farms ®, Gardein ®, Boca ®, Quorn ®, Tofurky ®, Amy’s ®, Yves Veggie Cuisine ®, Beyond Meat ®, Tofutti ®, and more. Some of these products may be vegan, while others may include egg or dairy ingredients. Calories vary, but generally range in the 18-20 g per 100 calories range
  7. Protein Bars- including many popular bars like: combat crunch ®, quest ®, fitjoy ®, mission 1 ®, fit crunch ®, lenny and larry’s ®, grenade carb killa ®, oh yeah! ®, pure protein ®, and more! Calories vary but generally range in the 9-10 grams of protein per 100 calorie range.

Vegan

  1. Tempeh & Natto10 grams of protein per 100 calories
  2. Lentils8 grams of protein per 100 calories
  3. Tofu11 grams of protein per 100 calories
  4. Soybeans/Edamame- 9 grams of protein per 100 calories
  5. Pea Protein Powder- 20 grams of protein per 100 calories
  6. Hemp Protein Powder- 12 grams of protein per 100 calories
  7. Soy Protein Powder- 24 grams of protein per 100 calories
  8. Brown Rice Protein Powder- 23 grams of protein per 100 calories
  9. Protein Bars- Including many popular bars like: Simply protein ®, Cliff Builder’s Bars ®, NuGo ®, and more! Calories vary but generally range in the 9-10 grams of protein per 100 calorie range.

While there are many other protein sources found in plant foods, many are not “good” sources of protein. I consider these poor sources of protein as they lack the full amino acid spectrum and you would have to consume a high number of calories to obtain the same range of protein as the above.

Just a Few Sub-Par Protein Sources:

  • Brown Rice- 2.3 grams of protein per 100 calories. You would have to eat over 500 calories of brown rice to obtain a measly 10 grams of protein.
  • Oats- 4.25 grams of protein per 100 calories. You’d have to consume a whopping 400 calories for only 17 g of protein.
  • Nuts and Seeds (Almonds in this example)- 3.6 grams of protein per 100 calories. You’d have to eat over 550 calories worth just to get 20 grams of protein.
  • Nut Butters (Peanut butter in this example)- 4.3 grams of protein per 100 calories. You’d have to eat over 460 calories for 20 grams of protein.
  • Quinoa-  3.6 grams of protein per 100 calories. You’d have to eat over 550 calories worth just to get 20 grams of protein.

 

Surprisingly, these protein sources are generally touted as great options for vegans and vegetarians who may be unknowingly under-consuming total proteins or specific amino acids (lysine is a common deficiency).


 

We hope this helps with your protein intake if you’re a struggling vegan or vegetarian!