How to Get Enough Protein on a Vegetarian Diet

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When we hear the word “protein,” we automatically think “MEAT!” It makes sense because meat is packed with protein. Gym goers turn to chicken/meat often to get their “lean protein” source. However, as active as I am, I actually don’t eat a lot of meat: about 75% of my meals don’t contain any meat like beef, chicken, or fish. I naturally gravitate to eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains because I love them! But, like all vegetarians and vegans, I have to be conscious to make sure each meal is balanced with enough protein and fat.

Let’s quickly make a distinction between vegetarians and vegans. For various reasons, people choose not to eat meat: religious, ethical, and personal choice. Vegetarians don’t eat animal meat (including seafood/fish), but they may consume milk, milk products, and eggs. Vegans don’t eat any animal meat or any products of animals like milk, milk products, and eggs.

The standard go-to food with vegetarians and vegans is soy/tofu. Soy is a wonderful plant-based source of protein. It’s not only a complete protein source, it’s considered a complete-food food! What that means is that it has a balance of healthy monounsaturated fats, carbohydrates, and protein! Recently, everyone has been asking me: what other vegetarian-friendly foods are good sources of protein?! Check this list out. It’s important to note that when eating some of these vegetarian sources of proteins like beans, legumes, etc, you should pair it with a complementary protein food like a grain. It’s because combined, the foods create a complete protein. Beans have certain proteins that grains may not, and vice versa:

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And if you need any more convincing about eating more plant-based foods, remember that horses are herbivores and they’re the epitome of athleticism.

Be a horse,

Thomas Ngo
Dietetic Intern
NASM Certified Personal Trainer

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