Let's talk about protein for a moment shall we?

One of the questions I am sure most vegetarians/vegans get is "Where do you get your protein from?". This would, in my opinion, be especially true for very active people who are also meat-free (or in my case someone who eats very little meat). In thinking more about it recently I honestly believe that this stems from the misconception that animal products are the best or perhaps only source of protein available. (I myself thought this for a long time) I stumbled upon a blog post at The Edible Perspective today and I thought I would share a list of some of my favorite non-animal protein sources that Ashley had listed:

*Beans (chickpeas,black soy and lentils)
*Nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts)
*Grains (quinoa, brown rice)
*Pasta & Bread (whole grain)
*Vegetables (spinach, broccoli, potato)
*Dairy alternatives (soy and almond milk)
*Whey protein

The best part is that this list is really just the tip of the iceberg! Protein is a component in so many of the healthy foods that make up a balanced diet and it really is easier then some people might think to get an adequate amount (which, according to the Vegetarian Society website in the UK is 45g per day for women between 19-49 years old who are not pregnant or breastfeeding) This knowledge is extremely valuable to me as I continue to make a conscious effort on a daily basis to use nutrition as fuel for my training and to experiment more in the kitchen! And by no means am I saying that people should go meat-free because I truly believe that is a personal choice, but I do think its great to have wholesome options either way.

And speaking of protein here's dinner tonight:

Yummy tofu!

Look how big that green pepper is!

Throw it all together

Add the last of the spinach and some carrot-slaw

And voila! Dinner is served!

So tell me, what are some of your favorite non-meat sources of protein?


  1. I eat a little (ok, a lot) of everything on your list - my favorites being nuts and beans. One of my go-to snacks is an super easy bean salad. I toss beans (any type will do) into a tupperware containter in the am before work, and add oil, vinegar and pepper. By mid-afternoon, the beans have absorbed all the flavors and it's sooo tasty. I wonder though - they say athletes need more protein that the average Joe - any idea how much that number might increase to meet the nutritional needs of a runner?

  2. @ Olivia (blissfulrunner)

    I should preface this with the common disclaimer that I am not an expert. Ok, there the legal stuff outta the way LOL

    I'm not sure that the protein requirement increases that much for althetic people, unless of course you are looking to put on some serious muscle. The Vegetarian Society website suggested that for the most part we just need more carbs (which I'm sure most runners know) and the nice thing about vegetarian proteins is that they often have both! Check out the link I have in the post, its a really informative site for both vegetarians and meat eaters.

  3. Do eggs count? I am CRAZY about eggs which is why I know I'll never be vegan. I've also decided that I cannot live without almond milk - yummy! Finally, between classes, I grab a few almonds before my angels fill me up with their presence. I don't think I can make it through the day without protein. Middle schoolers take a lot out of you.

  4. That is a pretty interesting site. I poked around on Runner's World because I knew I had read about this somewhere and found a pretty informative article. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (whoever they might be), endurance athletes need almost twice the amount of protein to sustain their activity levels. Guess I'd better eat more beans!


  5. Thanks for this post. I am going to show my partner because he always complains that if he doesnt eat meat, he isnt getting enough protein! On your list we probably only eat wholegrains(pasta & bread), brocolli, almonds and potatoe and eggs (although they arent exactly vegan) but he supplements with protein powder as well (one of those men that struggle to hold their weight so he needs this). Great post!

  6. Great looking stirfry! I am obsessed with bell peppers (in addition to several other foods, that is, lol). I love garbanzos and quinoa as far as protein goes. And of course there's all the nuts and greens that I eat. I prob like garbanzos best, vary the beans that I am eating though cause I know that's important too. And I actually worry way more about other micronutrients like calcium, vitamin d, vitamin b12 and so on. Is that weird? I feel weird. I'm trying to take multivitamins and get over my little nutrient obsession right now.

  7. Dinner looks great! I love to stir fry because it's always so colorful and flavorful.

    I don't eat too much meat, but I do it dairy. I get my protein from nuts/nut butters, whole grains, egg whites, Greek yogurt. I also eat lots of beans and veggies.

    I used to worry about my protein intake, but now I feel like if I eat a balanced diet I'll be OK. Plus, I usually can tell by my hunger pangs if I'm needing some protein and know to eat a protein-packed meal or snack. Summer is the toughest because I always reach for cold fruits and veggies.

  8. BEANS and COTTAGE CHEESE are my favourite :)

  9. I love beans, nuts, and whole grains as protein sources. I still do eat meat regularly, especially now that I'm pregnant, have to watch iron levels, and crave it. But after I'm done with the pregnancy and breastfeeding I hope to go back to trying to limit meat some in my diet like I was before getting pregnant. I think a big part of why people think they NEED meat is because they have been told they need more protein than they really do. This was a great post to read.

  10. I would probably not be alive it weren't for nut butter.

    Your dinner looks lovely, btw!

  11. Eggs are my favorite. Love love love em!

  12. I like hard boiled eggs and tofu.
    Those peppers look like a great addition!

  13. Lentils and peanut butter (though not together!).

    I used to be a hard core meat eater and I've found that the more non meat protein I get, the less I crave meat.

  14. Your tofu looks delicious. Tofu is definitely my favorite non-meat source of protein, though I like eggs too (but some don't consider them vegetarian)!

  15. I just found your blog and I'm in love. Adding it to my reader right now!

    I'm a vegetarian and I think you're completely right when you say people often assume that since you're not eating meat, you're not getting protein. My list of non-meat proteins is just as long as yours.

    Another question I get is: Don't you starve only eating fruits and veggies? And my answer is always, no, I do not starve because I eat a lot more than that. It's so silly what people assume when they have no idea about a topic.

  16. As a vegetarian I love most everything on your list. I also love almond or peanut butter and eggs.

    People always ask me if I miss meat and I can honestly say no, I eat as many more foods now that I don't eat meat.

    x, ash

  17. I'm vegetarian and probably get most of my protein through beans, quinoa and tofu.

    I recently bought some greek yogurt and I'm trying really hard to like it, but it's a bit more bitter than I'd like. I've tried eating it with berries and a bit of honey or agave but I think it's something that has to grow on me. At least I hope it will! It's such a great source of protein.