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21 Sources of Protein for Vegetarians

21 Sources of Protein for Vegetarians

By Sara Novak, Planet Green

The first response that you’ll likely get if you decide to become a vegetarian is “but how are you getting your protein?” And as more and more people go veg both for the health of the planet and in reaction to the sheer terror that factory farmed animals endure, it becomes evident that protein is available in a host of plant-based sources. How much protein do you really need? And what everyday sources provide ample amounts?

I eat seafood about once every two weeks at this point so the majority of my protein is plant-based. In the extensive research that I’ve done on the subject I’ve found that the protein requirements are about 47 grams a day for women and 56 grams a day for men. While it does vary according to weight, I try and get between 45 and 55 grams of protein per day. Another way to find out your protein needs are to take your body weight, divide it in half, and subtract 10.

I usually have three meals and one snack a day. To ensure I get enough protein each day, I separate my protein requirements into four meals and try and get between 10 and 15 grams per meal. A normal day for me looks like this: I have two local eggs for breakfast with a piece of toast. For lunch, I enjoy fresh local vegetables paired with 1 cup beans of some sort or maybe a homemade veggie burger. My snack is usually cup raw nuts followed by a balanced dinner with ample beans, lentils, soy, or dairy.

Protein Sources and How Much You Are Actually Getting By the Numbers

Beans, Nuts, Seeds

1 cup garbanzo beans 14.5 grams
1 cup pinto beans 12 grams
1 cup refried beans 15.5 grams
1 cup soybeans 28 grams
1 oz. cashews 4.4 grams
1 oz. peanuts 6.5 grams
1 oz. sesame seeds 6.5 grams
1 oz. pistachios 5.8 grams
1 cup tofu 22 grams
1 cup lentils 18 grams


1 cup yogurt 13 grams
1 oz cheddar cheese 7.1 grams
1 egg 6 grams
1 cup cottage cheese 10 grams

Fruits and Vegetables

1 avocado 10 grams
1 cup broccoli 5 grams
1 cup spinach 5 grams
1 cup peas 9 grams
1 medium artichoke 4 grams
1 cup asparagus 5 grams
1 cup beet greens 3 grams

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, ,

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Samantha, selected from Planet Green

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, and, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.


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1:36PM PDT on Mar 15, 2014

Thanks for sharing

1:27PM PDT on Mar 15, 2014

1 cup is 226.796185 grams or 8 oz

8:55AM PDT on Mar 10, 2014

For us anteaters there are only two sources: ants and termites!

6:42AM PST on Feb 1, 2014

Teresa W, nuts for the most part have no parasites in them, especially nuts that have (as nuts often are) been pre-roasted, not to mention salted. Even the natural, raw nuts in organic stores have no parasites on them, at least where I live.

3:51AM PST on Feb 1, 2014

Check this out Georgie

5:47AM PST on Nov 28, 2013


8:43AM PST on Nov 19, 2013

thank you!

4:48AM PST on Nov 18, 2013

can you tell me what 1 CUP equals to in terms of weight...!!? nice stuff

7:21PM PST on Nov 7, 2013

Thank you for the great information!

7:04AM PDT on Oct 31, 2013

No, thanks. Nuts are full of parasites and, remember: parasites are NOT a source of protein (eating food infected with parasites doesn't equal eating worms for protein - yuck! anyway), but they can deplete your body of nutrients.

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