Hey vegetarians! Hey vegans! Where do you get your protein?
If you're new to vegetarianism or in case you missed it, be sure to check out this Guide to Protein for Vegetarians and Vegans, in which we go over the basics, including a comprehensive list of plant-based protein sources and a deep dive into protein, from amino acids to how much protein we *really* need - and the answer may have been a bit surprising to some of you.
As newer research comes out, scientists are suggesting that the guidelines for daily protein requirements have been underestimated by quite a bit. This leaves many of us, and in particular vegetarians, wondering what we need to do in order to meet our daily protein needs.
The formula for daily protein requirements that we’re currently working with is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, which works out to about 55 grams of protein a day for a 150lb person.
However, recent research suggests that a more realistic estimate of our daily protein needs would somewhere between 0.93 and 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Using this formula, a 150 pound adult would need between 64 and 80 grams of protein per day.
To keep the math easy you can just divide your body weight (in pounds) in half to get a ballpark number that’s in the correct range, which means that same 150 pound person who would therefore need about 75 grams of protein.
So, how do you get 75 grams of protein each day on a vegetarian diet?
Knowing that we should be striving for this much protein is one thing, but do you know what eating 75 grams of protein in a day looks like? You're about to find out, because I’ve put together a couple of sample menu plans that will help you get there!
Below you'll find both high protein vegetarian and vegan meal plans, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. If you use these meal plans as general guidelines for how to get enough protein each day, you'll do just fine!
High Protein Vegetarian Meal Plan
If you're a lacto-ovo vegetarian and include eggs in your diet, they’re a great way to start your day with a boost of protein. One large egg contains 7 grams of protein, so if you eat two or three, you’ve started with a good dose.
This Ricotta and Spinach Egg Bake packs in 18 grams of protein from two eggs and a bit of ricotta. Plus a handful of leafy greens and some lemon zest, and this is a great way to get your day started.
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but between you and I, lunch is my favourite. This Beluga Lentil Salad with Halloumi Croutons delivers a whopping 27 grams of protein, which is sure to keep you satisfied long after the lunch hour has past.
If you're looking for a high protein snack that'll fill the gap between lunch and dinner, these DIY Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt Cups are just the thing. If you choose a high-protein Greek-style yogurt you're looking at around 15 grams of protein per serving.
You can never be mad about a day that finishes with tacos, and these Tempeh Tacos will round out your protein intake with 16 grams of protein in two tacos. Serve them with your favourite toppings, and everyone can make their own!
All of that adds up to 76 grams of protein total over the course of this day. This doesn't take into consideration any other snacks you might have, milk in your coffee, etc.
High Protein Vegan Meal Plan
If you want to start your day with a health vegan breakfast that's packed with protein, you can't beat this Chocolate Black Bean Smoothie. It brings 19 grams of plant-based protein to the table, and you can't argue with that. Plus: chocolate.
To fill the gap between breakfast and lunch, opt for something small but substantial, like these Peanut Butter Oat Bars. With 9 grams of protein in each bar plus lots of dietary fiber, you can't go wrong with these.
For a healthy and delicious lunch that's packed with at least 17 grams of plant-based protein, these Spicy Vegan Wraps can't be beat. As an added bonus, you can prep a big batch of them for the whole week!
For a little savory afternoon much that offers up a load of protein, choose a small handful of roasted nuts (a one ounce serving of almonds has 6 grams of protein) or opt for these Crunchy Roasted Garbanzo Beans instead, with 9 grams of protein per serving.
Last but not least, enjoy a hearty plant-based dinner with this Lentil Sheperd's Pie with 18 grams of protein per serving. Add a side salad with some leafy greens or a cup of steamed broccoli, which provides 3 cup of protein.
This vegan meal plan adds up to 75 grams of protein, not taking into account any extras like a handful of nuts or a tablespoon of peanut butter on a seed cracker.