The Best Sources of Protein for Vegetarians, According to Experts


This is the standard protein amount everyone should aim for, regardless if you eat meat or not. But it is also just a general guideline and you can adjust how you see fit, within reason. She points to recent studies that show those eating about 1.0 grams of protein can benefit from muscle preservation and greater strength when exercising. Shah doesn’t believe in going overboard with the protein if that’s the case, though. She says that many athletes and frequent gym goers think they need to drastically increase their protein intake to manage their body and build more muscles. Too much of it can have adverse effects as it can cause excess fat in the body, so find a happy medium.

The Best Sources of Proteins for Vegetarians

The best vegetarian foods that provide protein also comes with loads of health benefits. The experts break down the eight most common sources for vegetarian diets as follows:


Both Shah and Hartog agree that legumes, which include foods such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas, are one of the best sources of proteins for your vegetarian diet.

Varieties of beans such as kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas and similar ones that are widely considered to be a powerhouse of proteins. Chickpeas contain about 20 grams of protein in a half cup serving and also contain numerous other elements and minerals that can keep us healthy.

Lentils, which Hartog says are packed with carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber content, can be had in many forms, such as soups, stews, or can be eaten with flatbreads and even rice. They contain a good quantity of fiber which can help maintain healthy bacteria within the gut. Each cup of lentils contains about 18 grams of protein.

A cup full of green peas will have about 9 grams of protein. In addition to this, they are rich in vitamins A, K, and C and also contain numerous minerals and a high quantity of fiber.


A superfood and an excellent source of protein in a vegetarian diet, nuts can give you the protein boost your body needs. Nuts such as almonds, pistachios, and cashew nuts contain a good quantity of dietary fiber and vitamin E and Hartog says that they contain heart healthy fats. For reference, Hartog says that 1 ounce of almonds contain 6 grams of protein and 1 ounce of walnuts contains 4.5 grams of protein


There are plenty of veggies that will help with your protein intake. Hartog lists foods like artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, and sweet potatoes as some healthy options for you to consider. “Although lower in protein compared to some of the other [vegetarian] foods, consuming these vegetables still provide some protein plus many other vitamins and minerals,” she says.

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