Top six sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans

By Kesava Commerford | July 9, 2015

Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids.

Much like Beyonce the (sometimes) vegan, the main question I, a vegetarian, am asked is “where do you get your protein from?

“It’s made me realise that most people aren’t aware exactly how much protein is needed each day, and how many different sources of protein there are that are vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Depending on your goals, you need anywhere between 0.8 and 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. So, if you are 70 kilograms, you need only around 70 grams of protein each day.

Proteins are known as the building blocks of the body. They break down into amino acids that promote cell growth and repair muscle. Proteins take longer to digest than carbohydrates, helping you feel fuller for longer and on fewer calories – a plus for anyone trying to lose weight.

Having been a vegetarian all my life, and in the fitness industry for eight years, I can say with confidence that using the above formula, the following proteins as supply me with enough protein and also give me enough energy to train with.


Foods in the legume family are good sources of vegetarian protein. Peas are a good example. One cup contains 10 grams – about the same as a cup of milk.


Most grains contain a small amount of protein, but quinoa, technically a seed, is unique in that it contains more than 8 grams per cup, including all nine essential amino acids that the body needs for growth and repair, but cannot produce on its own (because of that, it’s often referred to as a “perfect protein”). Plus, it is amazingly versatile. Quinoa can be added to soup or vegetarian chili during winter months, served with brown sugar and fruit as a hot breakfast cereal, or tossed with vegetables and vinaigrette to make a refreshing summer salad.

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