Get more than enough protein on a vegetarian or vegan diet, by eating a wide variety of fresh whole foods. Our protein sample menus show you how to combine plant based foods for plenty of complete protein - without effort or analysis.
Lacto and ovo-lacto vegetarians can easily add dairy or egg to these menus. Remember that you are also adding calories, and adjust the serving sizes of other menu items as needed.
2 slices 100% whole wheat bread
1 Tblsp almond or peanut butter
1 cup soy or hemp milk, enriched, unsweetened
2 cup Green Salad
1 Tblsp Hummus
1 serving Barley Bean Veggie Soup
1 small whole wheat tortilla
handful cashew nuts unsalted
3 dried calmyrna figs, cooked or soaked suggested
1 serving Pasta, Tofu & Veggies
1 Tblsp soy parmesan cheese
2 slices artisan sour dough bread
1 tsp garlic butter (veggie spread + garlic powder)
1/2 cup raw veggies
1/4 cup soy sour cream spinach dip
1 orange, peeled, sectioned
1 cup Enhanced Oatmeal
1 cup enriched hemp or soy milk, unsweetened
1 Tblsp ground flax seeds
1 Tblsp maple syrup
1 cup Carrot Salad
1 large tortilla
1/3 cup Refried Beans
3 slices avocado or 2 Tblsp Guacamole
2 Tblsp non-dairy sour cream
2 Tblsp chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped romaine lettuce
1 Tblsp tomato salsa
2 Tblsp soy or dairy mozzarella cheese
2 Tblsp Hummus
1 cup grapes
10 tortilla chips
1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup Curried Chick Peas
1 whole wheat tortilla
1/4 cup chutney
1 cup Stir Fried Greens
Our menus are based on an average requirement of 2000 calories a day, and 59 grams of protein, which works for a so-called average 40 year old 160 lb man. That may not be how many calories or how much protein you should eat. For more on this topic, see the article, How Much Protein and Calories Do We Really Need?
You should eat what you need to feel satisfied and energetic, without unwanted weight gain or weight loss. Change the amount of calories and protein you get by adjusting portion sizes, and the amount of oil used in recipes.
We've included links to quite a few Savvy Vegetarian Recipes, and the protein values are partly based on those. But use whatever recipes or prepared foods you like - there'll be variations in the nutrient values, but you can probably live with that.
Enriched non-dairy milk or other processed foods often have these nutrients added, but check the labels.
Read the notes below to learn more
No RDA for Omega 3 has been set, although 4 grams has been suggested. In that case, if you eat two or more of the foods below every day, you'll probably get enough Omega 3.
Many grains and vegetables contain trace amounts of Omega 3 and it all adds up. Some products, such as Living Foods hemp milk, are a good source of Omega 3. Again, check the labels.
100 g = .6 cup, 3.53 oz
20g of flaxseeds contains 4,500mg Omega 3s - .7 oz approx 1.5 Tbsp
20g of walnuts contains 1,800mg Omega 3s - .7 oz approx 1.5 Tbsp
100g tofu contains 181mg Omega 3s - 3.53 oz or approx 1/4 lb or 1/3 cup
50g raw spinach contains 70mg Omega 3s - .1.75 oz
100g hazelnuts contains 87mg Omega 3s - .6 cup
Food labels show nutrients as a percentage of the DV (daily value), which is sometimes not real. A recent change in the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for vitamin B12 isn't reflected on most nutrient labels.
Recommended B12 levels are now about half what they were, so if a label says it contains 50% DV of B12, it probably contains about 100% of the RDA. The DV is based on recommended consumption of 6 mcg per day, but 2.4 mcg B12 per day is apparently considered enough.
Vegetarian food sources of Vitamin B12 are eggs and dairy, and that may or may not be enough, depending on how much you get and how much you need.
There are no reliable food sources of Vit B12 for vegans, except for enriched foods such as non-dairy milks, nutritional yeast, and other prepared foods. Vegan diet experts Melina & Davis, in their book 'Becoming Vegan', recommend B12 supplementation for vegans.
Sun exposure on bare skin is the best way to stimulate production of Vit. D in the body. But people in countries with a long winter or limited sunshine may need to supplement. Note that while Vit. D2 is vegetarian, Vit. D3 comes from fish liver oil.