What Are Some Good Sources of Protein for Vegetarians?

The best sources of protein for vegetarians (Image via Unsplash/Bakd Raw by Karolin Baitinger)
Best sources of protein for vegetarians (Image via Unsplash/Bakd Raw by Karolin Baitinger)

Plant-based sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans can aid muscle gain and fat loss in a vegan diet.

The bioavailability of plant protein is a matter of concern when gaining muscle. Vegetarians eat milk and dairy products and hence can get their fair share of amino acids from yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products. However, vegans need to rely solely on plant-based sources.

In this article, we list the sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans that might help you get an adequate amount of amino acids from your diet.


High Protein Vegetarian Foods

Dairy is among the best sources of protein for vegetarians. (Image via Unsplash/Alexander Maasch)
Dairy is among the best sources of protein for vegetarians. (Image via Unsplash/Alexander Maasch)

A vegetarian diet includes milk and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. Milk products are among the best sources of protein for vegetarians and provide all the amino acids required by the body.

If you're a vegetarian, try to include the following foods in your diet:

1) Cheddar cheese

Cheese of any kind is an amazing protein source for vegetarians. It's among the high-protein foods that are delicious. The nutritional value of cheddar cheese is mentioned below:

  • Calories: 120 kcal
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Sodium: 190 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Calcium: 201.6 mg
  • Vitamin A: 95.7 mcg
  • Vitamin B12: 0.3 mcg

Other forms of cheese, including mozzarella, parmesan, gouda, and feta, have similar nutritional profiles.


2) Yogurt

Yogurt is among the best sources of protein for vegetarians and is also a probiotic-rich food that promotes digestion and absorption of nutrients in the gut.

Yogurt is prepared by the fermentation of milk in the presence of bacteria. Both plain and Greek yogurt contain several vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one cup (approximately eight ounces) of plain yogurt provides:

  • Calories: 149 kcal
  • Fat: 8 grams
  • Sodium: 113mg
  • Carbohydrates: 11.4 grams
  • Fiber: 0 gram
  • Sugars: 11.4 grams
  • Protein: 8.5 grams
  • Phosphorus: 233 mg
  • Calcium: 296 mg
  • Riboflavin: 0.34 mg

Best Vegan Protein Sources

Tofu is among the best sources of protein for vegetarians. (Image via Unsplash/Sherman Kwan)
Tofu is among the best sources of protein for vegetarians. (Image via Unsplash/Sherman Kwan)

A vegan diet excludes all foods that are sourced from animals, including dairy. In such a diet, plant-based protein sources can provide the amino acids required by the body.

If you're a vegan, try to include the following foods:

1) Tofu

Tofu is one of the sources of protein for vegetarians that's made from soy and also provides several vitamins and minerals. Its nutritional profile makes it the ultimate vegan protein source.

Hundred grams of tofu provides:

  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Calories: 171 kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 5.34 grams
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Calcium: 418 mg
  • Magnesium: 63 mg
  • Iron: 3 mg
  • Phosphorus: 279 mg
  • Potassium: 173 mg
  • Zinc: 2 mg
  • Folate: 25 mg

2) Almond

Almonds are among the sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans alike and can be used as an amazing pre-workout snack. They can also be used to prepare smoothies, almond milk, and almond flour. Almonds are low-carb and keto-friendly as well.

Hundred grams of almonds provide:

  • Protein: 21.15 grams
  • Fat: 49.93 grams
  • Carbohydrate: 21.55 grams
  • Fiber: 12.50 grams
  • Sugar: 4.35 grams
  • Calcium: 269 mg
  • Iron: 3.71 mg
  • Magnesium: 270 mg
  • Phosphorous: 481 mg
  • Potassium: 733 mg
  • Vitamin E: 25.63 mg

You can blend almonds with water to prepare a plant-based milk alternative at home.


3) Cashew

Cashews are one of the sources of protein for vegetarians that can be used to make trail mixes and milk alternatives.

The nutritional value of 100 grams of cashews is:

  • Protein: 18.22 grams
  • Fat: 43.85 grams
  • Carbohydrate: 30.19 grams
  • Fiber: 3.30 grams
  • Sugar: 5.91 grams
  • Calcium: 37 mg
  • Iron: 6.68 mg
  • Magnesium: 292 mg
  • Phosphorous: 593 mg
  • Potassium: 660 mg

Cashew butter can also be consumed as a high-protein food.


4) Pea

Peas are among the best sources of protein for vegetarians. They're used in the production of pea protein isolates for vegans. The bioavailability of pea protein is slightly higher than that of other vegetables.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a cup (approximately 80 grams) of peas contains:

  • Protein: 4.1 grams
  • Calories: 62 kcal
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Sodium: 58 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 11 grams
  • Fiber: 3.6 grams
  • Sugars: 3.5 grams
  • Vitamin K: 19.2 mcg
  • Zinc: 0.5 mg

Sources of Protein for Vegetarians: Can Vegetables High in Protein Help Gain Muscles?

Yes, you can gain muscle on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Vegetables contain limited amino acids, which can help you gain muscle. It's recommended to consume a variety of vegetables to increase the bioavailability of plant protein.

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Edited by Bhargav