Large nut and seed selection

Protein Needs

By Dietitian Juliette Kellow BSc RD

Our list has 57 high protein options for vegetarians, 43 of which are also good choices for vegans.

It’s unusual for most people in the UK, including people who follow a vegetarian diet, to be lacking in protein. In fact, healthy eating guidelines suggest most women need only 45g of protein each day for good health.

Assuming you include dairy products in your diet, you shouldn’t have any difficulty meeting this. For example, a 300ml/1/2pt serving of skimmed milk provides a fifth of your protein needs alone.

Low-fat yoghurts and cheeses are also good sources of protein, as are eggs (if you eat them). You may also want to eat more pulses as these are packed with protein, yet are low in fat and calories.

Meat alternatives such as Quorn, tofu and soya are also rich in protein and can be low in fat and calories depending on how you cook them.

Nuts and seeds are also a great source of protein but can be high in calories. Having said that, you really don’t need to eat a lot of them. Just 25g/1oz unsalted peanuts contains almost 6g protein, yet will add only 140 calories to your daily intake.

The following lists show the grams of protein (per 100 grams) of higher protein foods suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Where ranges are given this often depends on how the food is processed and particularly applies to foods that are used as meat substitutes. As a rule of thumb, the drier the food, the more concentrated its nutrients, including protein, are.

All the foods in the list should be easily found in your local (UK) supermarket

Good Sources of Protein for Vegetarians and Vegans

Good Sources of Protein for Vegetarians and Vegans
All Bran, Kelloggs 14g protein per 100g
Apricots, dried, average 3-4g protein per 100g
Almonds 25g protein per 100g
Baked beans in tomato sauce 4.5-5g protein per 100g
Basmati rice (dry weight) 9g protein per 100g
Bread, soya and linseed 15g protein per 100g
Bread, wholemeal 9g protein per 100g
Broccoli 3-4g protein per 100g
Butter beans 5g protein per 100g
Cashew nuts 22g protein per 100g
Chia seeds 20g protein per 100g
Chickpeas, canned 7g protein per 100g
Cocoa powder (unsweetened) 20g protein per 100g
Herbs, dried 12g protein per 100g
Houmous, reduced fat 9g protein per 100g
Kale 3g protein per 100g
Lentils, dry weight 22-24g protein per 100g
Mushrooms, dried 22g protein per 100g
Peanut butter 22-30g protein per 100g
Peanuts 28g protein per 100g
Peas, frozen or canned 5-6g protein per 100g
Pine nuts 15-17g protein per 100g
Pumpkin seeds 30-40g protein per 100g
Pancakes, home-made 6g protein per 100g
Quinoa, dry weight 14g protein per 100g
Quorn chicken style pieces 14g protein per 100g
Quorn mince 14.5g protein per 100g
Quorn sauages 10g protein per 100g
Quorn slices, ham style 16g protein per 100g
Red kidney beans, canned 7-8g protein per 100g
Seitan (meat substitute) 20-40g protein per 100g
Sesame seeds 18-22g protein per 100g
Soya beans, dry weight 34g protein per 100g
Soya milk 3g protein per 100ml
Soya mince granules 42g protein per 100g
Spaghetti, dry (most dried spaghetti has no egg) 12g protein per 100g
Sundried tomatoes, average 4.7g protein per 100g
Sunflower Seeds 20g protein per 100g
Sweetcorn 3-4g protein per 100g
Tempeh 20g protein per 100g
Tofu, average 13g protein per 100g
Weetabix 12g protein per 100g
Yoghurt, soya, plain 5g protein per 100g

Good Sources of Protein for Vegetarians Who Eat Eggs and Dairy

Good Sources of Protein for Vegetarians Who Eat Eggs and Dairy
Cheese, brie, average 18-20g protein per 100g
Cheese, cheddar, average 25g protein per 100g
Cheese, cottage, average 12g protein per 100g
Cheese, mozarella, average 21g protein per 100g
Cheese, Philadelphia, light 9g protein per 100g
Cream, soured, reduced fat, average 4-5g protein per 100g
Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) 8-11g protein per 100g
Eggs 12.6g protein per 100g
Milk, semi skimmed, average 3.4g protein per 100g
Milk, whole, average 3.3g protein per 100g
Yoghurt, fruit, low fat, average 4g protein per 100g
Yoghurt, greek, 0% fat 10g protein per 100g
Yoghurt, natural, low fat, average 5g protein per 100g

All items are raw and unprepared unless otherwise stated.

Vegetarian Protein Snacks

Snacking can provide a great opportunity to get a bit more protein into your veggie diet. Here’s some ideas for some quick and simple high protein snacks;

  • 1 slice of wholemeal toast with 10g peanut butter 4.7g of protein per serving, 119 calories
  • 20g salted peanuts 5.6g protein per serving, 123 calories
  • Piece of baguette (60g) with 25g of brie and 2 pieces (15g) of sundried tomato, 11g protein, 257 calories
  • 3 breadsticks/grissini (15g) with 1 tablespoon houmous sprinkled with 5g sesame seeds, 6g protein, 162 calories
  • Peanut and chocolate protein bar, Nature Valley 8.5g protein per bar, 140 calories
  • 2 Ryvita pumpkin seeds and oats crispbreads with 20g cheddar cheese and 10g sweet pickle, 8g protein, 196 calories
  • Chocolate caramel protein meal bar, Special K 10g protein per bar, 170 calories

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