Diet and health fitness

Protein rich foods for vegetarian

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Hello guys, I am back with a new topic – protein rich foods for vegetarian. Let’s start…


Are you not getting enough protein without a meat source?

Most of you concern about the vegetarian diet is lack of sufficient protein.

But you don’t need to worry.

Just relax!

Today I would provide you with information on protein rich foods for vegetarian.


What are proteins and why we need protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient of your diet. It is a chain of amino acid which bound to peptide bond. These chains get twisted and folded into a final protein shape.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), amino acids are building blocks of protein and protein is a building block of life.

Generally, your body needs protein for every cell, tissue, and organ because it has a lot of functions –

1. Growth, development, and maintenance of your tissue.

2. Provides structure, strength, and elasticity of various parts of your body

          e.g. Keratin – hair, nail, and skin

                 Collagen – bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin.

                 Elastin – arteries, lungs, and uterus

3. All enzymes are protein that causes biochemical reactions.

4. Synthesize hormones for communication between your cells, tissue, and organ.

5. Provide antibodies to fight infections from viruses, bacteria, etc.

6. Act as a buffer system that helps to maintain the pH value of your body fluids.

7. Maintain fluid balance in your blood plasma and surrounding tissue e.g. albumin and globulin.

8. Make hemoglobin which helps to transport nutrients throughout your body.

9. Provides energy in a situation of starvation.


How can we understand the classification of amino acids?

Amino acids are classified into three categories –

1. Non-essential amino acids – These amino acids are not required to take through diet. They synthesize in the body itself. They are 5 amino acids –



Aspartic acid

Glutamic acid



2. Conditionally essential amino acidsThese amino acids are synthesized if you are healthy but unable to make in a condition of starvation or inborn error of metabolism. They are 6 amino acids –








3. Essential amino acidsThey are 9 amino acids, not synthesized in your body. You need to get only from food.










Among these,  leucine, isoleucine, and valine are BCAA (branched-chain amino acids), which are helpful in bodybuilding.


How does protein absorb in your body?

When we eat protein from food, it reaches to stomach. These dietary proteins contain essential amino acids.

Your stomach secretes hydrochloric acid (HCL) which helps to denatured or unfolding of protein into amino acids which are called proteolysis.

Your stomach also secretes pepsin from gastric chief cells, they help the breakdown of protein into a small oligopeptide chain.

When food moves onward, the duodenum and pancreases secrete digestive enzymes which help to a breakdown of oligopeptide into tripeptide, dipeptide, and individual amino acids.

These amino acids taken into intestinal cells and enter the bloodstream. Then it transported to other parts like muscles, brain, heart, liver, etc.


How much protein do you require daily?

According to WHO and USThe Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8g/kg of body weight.

Suppose your body weight is 65 kg, then you will have to take (65×0.8) 52 gm of protein every day.

As per World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization (WHO/FAO), protein requires 0.9 g/kg/day for boys (3 to 18 years) and girls (3 to 15 years).

As per the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2014 BMC), recommended protein intake is 2.3 to 3.1 g/kg/day for a bodybuilder.

For example – if you are in bodybuilding and your body weight is 65 kg then you will have to take (65×2.3) protein around 150 gm to build your muscle.


At what time you must take protein?

I know you are quite busy with your daily schedule and it is difficult for you to get protein every time so there is some prime time in which you must take protein –

1. Breakfast –

When you wake up in the morning your body in a catabolic state after overnight fasting and it may be muscle loss in this state. You must start your day with heavy protein.

You can add medium digesting protein to your breakfast.

E.g.- Whole egg, peanut butter sandwich, soya products, etc.

2. After workout –

If you are in bodybuilding or athletes, your muscle fiber wear and tear during exercise and then the body repaired your muscle fiber by protein intake and makes them bigger which is called hypertrophy.

Your muscle fiber is just like a rope how it twisted.

In post-workout, your muscle fiber opens and that’s a perfect time to introduced amino acids in your muscle fiber.

You should eat protein within 45 minutes after a workout. You must have fast digesting protein that has high biological value.

There is some high protein vegetarian diet plan which has a high quality of protein and also in terms of fast digestion.

E.g. – Whey isolated protein, isolated soy protein, and egg white

They are free from fat and carbs. Due to this, these foods are in fast absorption and digestion.

They are also high in BCAA (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) which are essential for muscle building.


3. Before bed –

You should eat slow-absorbing protein before going to bed because you will be on starvation for the next 8 hours.

Your body grows while sleeping at night.

So, you may take casein protein. All dairy products are high in casein like milk, yogurt, cheese, paneer, and curd.

These foods reduce gastric emptying and absorb slowly in your body.

Protein rich foods for vegetarian



How to get complete protein?

Complete protein for vegetarians – 

As you know in animal-based protein contains all 9 essential amino acids in adequate amounts like chicken, fish, and meat.

But it is difficult to get all essential amino acids from vegetarian food except a few like –

  1. Soya products
  2. Milk
  3. Whole egg
  4. Quinoa
  5. Chia seed

There are some foods that are incomplete protein but you can make it complete protein by combine these foods –

  1. Rice/wheat + lentils/beans
  2. Peanut butter sandwich (Peanut butter + toasted bread)
  3. Oatmeal + almond butter

Lentils/beans, peanuts, and almond butter contain almost all essential amino acids except methionine. Methionine is high in rice/wheat, bread, and oatmeal. So, if you add together these foods you will get a complete protein.


What are the sources of protein rich foods for vegetarian?

As per C. Gopalan, who is known as the father of nutrition in India. He described the nutrient content of foods in IFCT (Indian Food Composition Tables, 2017).

There are some list of protein rich foods for vegetarian which are convenient and affordable for you –


1. Eggs

This is a classical protein rich food for vegetarian. Most of you are in dilemma about egg comes in veg or non-veg.

The scientist has considered egg is sold in unfertilized which comes in vegetarian food. Even the Indian supreme court has declared that egg is vegetarian food.

So, if you are a vegetarian you may consider eggs in your diet.

100 gm of the whole egg contains 13 gm of protein

100 gm of the white egg contains 10 gm of protein

Protein rich foods for vegetarian


2. Dairy products

Dairy products like milk, curd, yogurt, cheese, and paneer are excellent sources of protein.

100 ml of cow milk contains 3.2 gm of protein

100 gm of paneer contains 18.8 gm of protein

100 gm curd (Dahi) contains 3.5 gm of protein

100 gm cheese contains 23 gm of protein


3. Soya products

They are also known as a complete source of protein.

Soya protein products has also many other health benefits in cardiovascular disease, cancer, menopausal symptoms, obesity, diabetes, reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein), and pregnancy.

There is a myth behind if you eat soya products it is a chance to increase estrogen levels because it contains phytoestrogens and two isoflavones – genistein and daidzein.

But you no need to worry. You must add soy products to your diet.

As per research, it is only possible if you eat soy products beyond 1 kg daily.

100 gm of soya chunk contains 50 gm of protein

100 gm of soya bean contains 35-40 gm of protein

100 ml of tofu contains 17 gm of protein

100 ml of soya milk contains 4.64 gm of protein



4. Legumes

Legumes are commonly used in foods throughout the world. They are rich in protein, fiber, iron, and vitamin B.

They have some health benefits in diabetes, reduce cholesterol, cardiovascular problem, and lower risk of cancer.

Legumes include –

Protein rich foods for vegetarianChickpeas (chana) – black chickpeas, white chickpeas, roasted black chickpeas

Lentils (dal)

Kidney beans (rajmah)

100 gm of legumes contain 18-23 gm of protein.


5. Nuts

They have not only high protein content but it is beneficial for your heart and brain.  They are rich in protein, unsaturated fat, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Nuts include almond, cashew, peanuts, walnut

Protein rich foods for vegetarian100 gm of Peanut contains 23 gm of protein

Protein rich foods for vegetarian100 gm of Almond contains 18 gm of protein

100 gm of Cashew contains 18 gm of protein

100 gm of Walnut contains 14 gm of protein

You must include in your diet plan especially peanuts. Peanuts are not expensive and high protein content.


6. Seeds

Seeds are one of the sources which have good protein content.

Protein rich foods for vegetarian100 gm of chia seeds contains 17 gm of protein

100 gm of quinoa contains 13.11 gm of protein



Whatever your goal in life whether athletes, bodybuilding, sports or be a healthy person. Protein is one of the most important nutrients for your health.

Our body recognizes amino acids that it does not matter whether it is coming from the vegetarian diet or the non-vegetarian diet.

So, your eating should be pleasurable. You should not stick to one food.

You should consider the quality of protein to be a healthy person.

I hope you acquired a lot of information from this topic protein rich foods for vegetarian.

If you have any queries on this topic, let me know and I would be happy to help.

Mention your query in below comment box.


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