As a Vegetarian, Do I Get Enough Protein? | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

As a Vegetarian, Do I Get Enough Protein?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Whether or not you get enough protein in your diet as a vegetarian depends on your diet choices.
  • It’s important to know which vegetarian foods contain the most protein and to be intentional about incorporating those foods into your daily diet.
  • It is always best to get your protein from real food sources, but supplements are also a viable way to make sure you are meeting your protein needs.
It’s a common assumption that vegetarians don’t get enough protein, but this is not necessarily the case.

Many vegetarians are conscious of total body health, diet, and fitness. They understand the importance of protein and how to get it from other sources besides meat.

Whether you are getting enough protein as a vegetarian depends on your diet.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are definitely ways for vegetarians to get enough protein, you just have to plan your diet carefully.

Keep in mind that protein combined with an exercise routine can be beneficial to your overall health and fitness needs. If you are looking for an exercise routine, look no further. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, and more.

What Kinds of Foods Should a Vegetarian Eat in Order to Get Enough Protein?

In order for a vegetarian to get the best protein, they need to include eggs and milk products in their diet. Although you can get enough protein without eggs and dairy, it is going to be difficult.

The Vegetarian Resource Group, in conjunction with the USDA, has designed a food pyramid that shows what a vegetarian can eat in order to get all the vitamins, minerals, and protein their body needs to stay healthy. The only problem is that this pyramid was created in 1997, which may mean it is a little outdated.

In order to eat a healthy diet, according to this food pyramid, you should be eating a large amount of grain, bread, cereal, and pasta.

Vegetarians should also consume several servings of vegetables and fruit, two or three servings of beans, nuts, eggs, seeds, or soy, and up to three servings of milk, cheese, or yogurt every day.

As you will see, there is no spot for fish on this pyramid. However, many vegetarians also eat fish as it is technically not considered meat. The good news is that fish contains a great deal of protein, which can go a long way towards giving you your protein requirements.

Fish that are high in protein include yellowfin tuna, halibut, swordfish, and rainbow trout. Each of these has more than 20 grams of protein per serving, which places them close to chicken breast, which has about 27 grams of protein per serving.

For more tips on protein-containing foods for vegetarians, watch the video below:

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Are There Any Fruits and Veggies That Provide Protein?

Both fruits and vegetables contain protein. However, you aren’t going to meet your daily protein requirements from fruits and veggies alone unless you are prepared to consume far above what a serving would be.

Most people would not be able to maintain that sort of diet. For example, if you are a 150-pound man, then you may need about 56 to 75 grams of protein a day.

The fruit with the most protein per serving is an avocado, with 4.02 grams of protein. A regular-sized banana contains 1.29 grams of protein. Most fruits contain about half a gram of protein, which is often found in the skin of the fruit.

What this means is that if you were trying to get all of your protein by only consuming fruit, you would have to eat about 45 servings of fruit in a day to get the protein you need. As you can see, that is quite a lot!

Most of the vegetables you would eat have the same problem. The exception is French green beans, which have almost 13 grams of protein per serving.

Most other veggies contain less than one gram of protein per serving. Again, this means it will take a lot of vegetables to get you to your daily requirements.

If you want to ensure you get the most protein from your diet alone, and you want to do it without dairy or eggs, you need to include beans, seeds, and soy in your diet.

All of these foods have protein levels that are almost as high as meat products!

Are Supplements Okay for Getting Daily Requirements of Protein?

Protein powders are an excellent way of getting the protein you need. You will find that there are multiple products for you to choose from.

As such, you should lean toward protein powders that are all-natural and that contain whole food ingredients. You can even find vegan protein supplement products.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How many calories should I eat?

How many calories you should eat depends on a number of factors. To get a rough estimate, check out this article.

What is bulking? What is cutting?

Bulking and cutting are techniques used by bodybuilders to grow muscle and shed fat. Bulking requires eating in a surplus while weight training in order to build muscle. Cutting requires eating in a caloric deficit to shed body fat in order to “expose” the muscle built during the bulking phase.

Do I have to bulk? Do I have to cut?

No. Unless you are a professional bodybuilder, you do not have to bulk or cut to lead a healthy, happy lifestyle.

Don’t forget that getting enough protein in your diet is just one part of total body health and fitness. Exercise is a key component. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, goal trackers, and more!

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