Protein and Vegetarian Diets

Those who follow a vegetarian diet do not eat any beef, pork, poultry, or fish. Some do not include eggs and/or dairy products either.

These are all high-protein foods that are plentiful in the traditional American diet. In the past, many people thought those who followed a vegetarian diet were not getting enough protein.

However, research has shown that Americans are already getting more protein than they need. Protein is not a problem with a vegan or vegetarian diet when you eat a variety of the many plant foods that provide protein:

  • Dried beans or canned beans that have been rinsed (black, pinto, garbanzo, navy, kidney, etc.)
  • Other bean products (bean spreads, hummus, fat-free refried beans, baked beans or falafel)
  • Lentils
  • Peas (black-eyed or split)
  • Nuts and nut spreads (almonds, almond butter, peanuts, peanut butter, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, etc.)
  • Soy and Soy Products (soy milk, edamame, soy nuts, tofu, tempeh)
  • Meat Substitutes (veggie burgers, black bean burgers, meatless “chicken nuggets”, “beef” crumbles, etc. These can be found in most grocery stores.)

Next: Meal Ideas for Different Vegetarian Diets

  • Last Reviewed: August 1, 2013
  • Last Edited: November 21, 2013

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