Vegetarian Sources of Protein | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

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...
Must See
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,988,602
Brandon Jennings: "Always Improve"
Views: 2,761,355
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 34,226,849

Featured Videos

Dwight Howard Ab Workout Views: 62,466
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 186,408
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Build Explosive Power With Contrast Training Views: 17,723
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Colby Lewis's Post-Game Band Splitter Routine
Views: 8,349,368
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,988,602
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,610
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,504
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,175,033

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

You diet hard all week, eating nothing but clean foods, train your butt off in the gym, and feel like you're making real progress. Then Saturday comes -...

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

The Case for Red Meat

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

The Boston Cannons'

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes