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Protein Sources for Vegetarians

By Ruchi Shah, MS, RD, CDN

As a vegetarian, I am always looking for protein sources to create healthy, well balanced meals for myself. It’s hard sometimes knowing what plant based protein sources act as the protein source in meals. Provided below is a list of some plant based protein sources and their protein content.

Tofu is a great source of plant protein that is easy to use as a meat substitute. You can use tofu in wraps, sandwiches, salads, and stir fries. Half a cup of raw tofu provides about 10 grams of protein.

Egg is a delicious breakfast protein with slice of whole wheat toast and a few slices of avocado. One egg provides about 6 grams of protein.

Greek yogurt is a delicious snack. Top it with some almonds and ¼ cup of fruit. Choose plain and low fat. One cup of Greek yogurt provides about 20 grams of protein.

Cottage cheese is a delicious snack or breakfast choice. Cottage cheese tastes great with whole wheat crackers, bread, or even fruit. Half a cup of cottage cheese provides 14 grams of protein.

Quinoa is a grain which provides protein as well. Quinoa tastes great in salads, and is also a wonderful rice substitute. One cup of quinoa provides about 8 grams of protein.

Soy milk is a delicious milk substitute. Be sure to choose the soy milk that is labeled as unsweetened. One cup of soy milk provides about 8 grams of protein.

Lentils and beans are great sources of fiber and provide protein as well. They are a major component of many cultural dishes. About ¼ cup of lentils or beans provides 4 grams of protein.

Peanut butter is a delicious source of protein. It’s great with fruit, in oatmeal, or on whole wheat bread or crackers. One tablespoon of peanut butter provides 3.5 grams of protein.

Nuts are a great snack and a wonderful source of healthy fat. Choose ones without added sugar or salt. Nuts are great to add to salads! Half an ounce of nuts provides 3 grams of protein.

Seeds are also a great snack and source of healthy fat. Again, choose seeds without added salt or sugar. Seeds provide 3-4 grams of protein, depending on the seed.

For vegetarians, finding sources of protein is very important due to the few options we have. I hope this list helps you add more variety to your protein sources!

Ruchi Shah is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Family Health and Wellness Program. She can be reached at


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