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How to increase protein intake on a vegetarian diet

Benefits of personal training for pain relief

February 3, 2022

How to increase protein intake on a vegetarian diet


There are 3 key components to increasing protein intake on a vegetarian diet


Firstly, having a number of go to protein sources that can be the centre of each meal


Secondly, finding small ways to add incidental protein


Thirdly, making sure you are eating complete protein over the course of the day, meaning you’re mixing sources of protein that will provide most if not all your amino acid (building blocks of protein) requirements


We want to aim for around 1-2g per kg bodyweight of protein per day, so for an 80kg man, around 80-160g of protein per day, or for a 60kg female 60-120g, to keep you fuller and promote muscle growth


Aim for the higher end when strength training, and lower end when just looking to optimise body composition with lower intensity exercise or a solid walking regime


1) You won’t find a lot of protein in veggies and leafs, anything less than 10g protein per 100g isn’t really a great protein source


I’ve put together a list of good sources of vegetarian protein, that is by no means exhaustive, however it should provide a good base from which to find suitable options: 


Beans/Legumes Nuts/Seeds Other
Black beans Almonds Pulse pasta
Peas Cashews Tempeh
Lentils Chia seeds Tofu
Kidney beans Buckwheat Eggs (if suitable)
Pinto beans Quinoa Protein powder 


The key here is to have a high protein source as the centre of each meal


You can then surround with nutrient dense vegetables and fruits


Protein powder can be an awesome way to get protein intake up and is probably the best processed food money can buy (from the right place, stick with Australian brands where possible) 


2) Incidental protein? What the hell is that? 


I mean adding nuts and seeds to salads, using them as snacks, chucking chia seeds or nut butter in smoothies


Anything that can up the protein intake without necessarily becoming the main part of the meal


This has the obvious benefits of increasing protein intake, but also gives you a variety of sources of protein to ensure a complete amino acid profile over the course of the day


3) Don’t get caught up in the weeds here


And just make sure you’re having a variety of sources over the course of the day and the week


Relying too much on soy, or protein powder, can lead to imbalances over time


Try to change it up and keep it fresh


Soy and protein powder (ideally pea and brown rice) are great when rushed for time, but there are HEAPS of other great vegetarian sources out there you can use


So experiment and have some fun with it!


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