High Protein Diets for Vegetarians and Vegans

protein source

Protein is an important part of a healthy diet. It used to be just an obsession with bodybuilders and fitness fanatics, but now many of us want to make sure we eat enough of it. It can be difficult to reach your daily quota as a vegetarian when you’re not sure what the best sources of protein-rich vegetables are.

Forget protein shakes, powders and supplements, let’s get back to basics. Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids and are essential for repairing damaged cells and building new cells. It’s important for building tissue, muscle, and bone, so it’s important to make sure your body has what it needs.

How much protein do we need daily?

Typically, adults are recommended to consume 0.75g of protein per kilogram of body weight based on the Nutritional Intake Reference (RNI). This will vary throughout your life and depends on your personal circumstances. For example, a more active person, such as a training athlete, needs more protein than someone who leads a sedentary lifestyle. On average, guidelines suggest that men should aim for around 55g of protein per day and women around 45g of protein per day. Read on to find out how to meet your everyday needs.

High-protein vegetarian foods

Grains and pulses

Lentils, legumes and beans are excellent primary sources of protein from the store – 100g of cooked lentils contains about 9g of protein and is a filling soup, stew and casserole. Chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, and even baked beans are easy ways to increase your protein intake. There are also a number of grains such as wheat, barley, rice, and quinoa that can add protein to a simple recipe. Quinoa, in particular, is a valuable plant-based ingredient because it is one of the few plant sources classified as a complete protein. That means it contains all nine essential amino acids.

Dairy products

Dairy products are rich in calcium and protein, which are important for a healthy diet – 100g of cow’s milk contains about 3g of protein, while 100g of cheddar cheese contains about 25g of protein. Choose a low-fat option if you’re concerned about saturated fat and calories. Vegan options include nut milks such as hazelnut or almond milk, but be aware that store-bought versions are very low in protein. Soy milk is more comparable to dairy products in terms of protein content.


Eggs are an easy and inexpensive source of nutrition. Hard-boiled eggs contain about 7g of protein and make for a nutritious and filling breakfast or lunch. They are also easy to digest and low in calories.

Soya and tofu

Soy protein is a very versatile ingredient and can be made into many different delicious shapes. Tofu, for example, is made from soy milk curds and is ideal as a topping for stir-fries or vegetarian salads. It comes in a variety of forms: smooth, hard, or extra hard, and is another low-calorie, high-protein ingredient that’s relatively easy to use – 100g of firm tofu contains about 8g of protein. The soybeans themselves can be eaten alone or made with soy milk, miso, or tempeh. Soybeans contain about 15 grams of protein per 100 grams. Although plant and animal proteins are digested differently by our bodies, soy is a great plant-based meat substitute and is quite adaptable.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are a convenient snack form of protein and essential fats. There are several types of protein that are particularly high in protein: Almonds, cashews, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are popular protein choices. A 30g serving of almonds contains about 6g of protein and will help you get through that afternoon slump.