Vegetarian Sources of Protein | STACK

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Vegetarian Sources of Protein

December 20, 2010

"Where do you get your protein?" is a common question put to vegetarians, but in truth, many alternatives to meat and fish provide sufficient amounts of protein—even for the performance athlete. Roughly one-third of your total calories should be from protein, and although athletes need more than the average person, if you eat right, you'll get enough amino acids for muscle recovery.

No surprise here. It's a staple of almost every vegetarian diet. Beans provide about 12-15 grams of protein per cup, with lentils at 18g and soybeans at a whopping 29g.

Grains, Nuts & Legumes
Eating a grain source with a legume makes a complete protein with all the amino acids you need. Try to stick with whole grains; for example, down a peanut butter sandwich for lunch or brown rice and beans for dinner. Another option is fueling with gluten-free quinoa instead of rice. This super grain provides eight grams of protein per cup.

Yes, vegetables can be a source of protein. Broccoli provides about four grams of protein per cup, but it's very filling, so it's hard to eat enough broc to make it an adequate source on its own.

Soy Product
Sick of chicken? Tofu, tempeh or seitan [a wheat-based product] all go great in a veggie stir-fry. There are loads of veggie burger options as well. Visit Morningstar Farms' website as a starting point. [Their meat-less "sausage" patties are great for breakfast.]

Eggs & Cheese
As long as you're not vegan, you're in luck. Eggs are one of the better non-meat sources of protein. Swiss and mozzarella are top cheese choices, as they tend to be slightly lower in fat than other types.

Get some great tips about vegetarian eating from University of Miami’s sports nutritionist Lisa Dorfman in the videos above.

For more info on vegetarian sources of protein, check out these STACK articles:

The Lowdown on Vegetarian Eating
How Much Protein Do Athletes Need


Maddy Lucier
- As an associate editor for STACK, Maddy creates lifestyle, social media, gear and nutrition content for our audience of athletes. She played volleyball and basketball...
Maddy Lucier
- As an associate editor for STACK, Maddy creates lifestyle, social media, gear and nutrition content for our audience of athletes. She played volleyball and basketball...
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