What Vegetarian Foods Are High in Protein? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What Vegetarian Foods Are High in Protein?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. 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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  • There are many vegetarian foods that are high in protein if you know what to look for.
  • If you are a vegetarian who eats fish, fish is obviously a high-protein option.
  • Aside from fish, there are many high-protein vegetarian options for your diet, including seitan, certain green vegetables, beans, and soy.

Determining how much protein you can get in your diet as a vegetarian really depends on what kind of vegetarian you are.

If you are a vegetarian who includes fish in your diet (a pescetarian), then fish will almost always be your highest-protein food option.

If you don’t eat fish, there are still multiple high-protein options for you to choose from. There is a common misperception that vegetarians simply cannot get enough protein in their diets.

However, many vegetarians just don’t eat a well-balanced diet, which prevents them from getting the protein they need. But this can be corrected by eating the right foods.

Many people also disregard the importance of exercise. If you are looking for an exercise routine, look no more. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, and more.

If I Eat Fish, Am I Getting Enough Protein in My Diet?

This depends on what type of fish you are eating and how often you eat it. If you eat fish once a week, this will not provide you with the protein you need.

You should be getting around 45 to 58 grams of protein each day, depending on whether you are a man or a woman.

The fish with the most protein is halibut, with 26.7 grams of protein per serving. Eel has the lowest level of protein with only seven grams per serving. Most fish fall somewhere in between these two.

How you cook the fish determines how protein is left at the end. Steaming or dry heat leaves the highest protein levels, with grilling and roasting being the second-best options. Frying fish actually reduces the amount of protein.

The important thing is that if you eat fish, you must also eat fruits, veggies, beans, and other sources of protein to balance out your diet.

You don’t want to depend on only one source. It is healthiest to have multiple sources of protein in your diet.

What Is Seitan, and Is It a Good Vegetarian Protein Source?

Those of you who don’t eat any meat, including fish, will need to look at getting your main protein from another source. One such option is seitan, which, by the way, is not a soy product (despite some claims)!

Seitan is called “wheat meat” in vegetarian circles. It is wheat based, as the protein portion of wheat is used to create the product. Seitan can be eaten alone or it can be added to your favorite dishes as a substitute for meat.

With a staggering 23 grams of protein per 1/3 cup, seitan is a great source of protein for your diet. Combined with other fruits and veggies, seitan can help round out your diet and allow you to get the protein you need every day.

Seitan also has less fat, calories, and potassium than tofu and tempeh, which makes it an excellent choice for people with certain health issues.

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What Are Other Non-Meat, High-Protein Foods?

As seen in the video above, soybeans offer the highest level of protein per cup than any other veggie. They have a whopping 29 grams per cup, which is probably why you will find them used so often in vegetarian dishes.

Other beans also offer a great source of protein, but you don’t want to base your entire diet on beans! With all that fiber, you could end up gassy and cramped a majority of the time.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus offer around six grams of protein per cup. While that may not seem like a lot, most veggies only have one gram of protein or less per cup, so this is actually an excellent amount.

Of course, most fruit has some protein. For the highest amount, you need to go with avocados. Avocados have around 12 grams of protein per fruit, which is significantly higher than any other fruit you could eat.

Peanut butter and peanuts are typically a staple in any vegetarian diet. With around 25 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, it is no wonder.

However, peanuts and peanut butter typically have a lot of calories and fat, too, so they are often used in very small quantities.

There are quite a lot of non-meat protein sources for you to choose from, so take the time to create a good meal plan. Even as a vegetarian, you can certainly get the protein you need in your diet.

You can also include protein supplements if you can’t get the protein you need.

And don’t forget that eating right is just one half of total body health. Exercise is vital. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, goal trackers, and more!

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