Vegetarian Protein Sources

Here are some vegetarian protein sources that are specifically for lacto-vegetarians and ovo-vegetarians. The next page has sources of protein that are suited to both vegans and veggies.

  • Eggs

The reason I chose to let go of being vegan in favor of vegetarian is because I realized that it was going to be really hard for me to meet my protein needs if I stopped eating eggs.

This is a personal choice that isn't right for every vegetarian. But if you are concerned about ethical treatment, it's possible to find eggs from a local farmer where you can personally visit and assess how the chickens are kept.

Ask around, or even check on craigslist. A lot of local organic egg farmers who can't afford big advertising dollars post there.

What about cholesterol

There's now a new controversy about whether eggs really do cause bad cholesterol, but I still choose to err on the side of caution.

If this is your concern, you can do what I do and toss out the yolks and only eat egg whites.

Let's look at some numbers.

4 egg whites cooked with no added fat= 69 calories, and 14.4 grams of protein.

4 cooked eggs with yolks = 370 calories, 25 grams protein and 28 grams fat.

To me this is common sense. Regardless of whether yolks cause bad cholesterol or not, I'm not going to eat that many grams of fat and that many calories from just 4 eggs.

And don't forget this is before you add anything like cheese or other things you like in your ommelete or scrambled eggs.

  • Milk

If you're a lacto-vegetarian then milk will be a great source of protein for you.

Milk is a good vegetarian source of protein because it has about 10 grams of calories per serving, but only 150 calories.

I am not a huge defender of milk drinking but this isn't for me to decide for you. I agree that it is much harder to find milk from local sources than it is eggs.

Some nutrition gurus also argue that pasteurized milk (which is about 99% you buy from the stores) is best avoided. This is because pasteurization kills the very nutrients you're trying to drink milk for.

Also, if you're concerned about how commercially farmed cows are treated, milk may not be your best choice.

Even if you don't have a strong opinion as to how cows should be raised and treated, are you sure you're drinking milk that is free of dangerous growth hormones and antibiotics?

Lactose Intolerance

You may also find that if you're gluten intolerant, you're also likely to be lactose intolerant. I am lactose intolerant but can drink cultured, fermented milk with no reaction.

But even if you do choose to consume cultured milk, such as yogurt, be careful of all the other things they put in there. A few brands of unflavored greek yogurt are great in this regard, as is Kefir probiotics from Lifetime.

If you're gluten sensitive, even if you are not lactose intolerant, be careful when it comes to things like flavored yogurts, they probably have crazy additives from wheat and/or barley sources.


  • Quorn

Quorn is a completely soy-free protein dense prepackaged food great for vegetarian protein.

It's made from mycoproteins, which are microscopic fungi. However, it does have eggs, so it's not vegan.

When cooked, quorn tenders taste and look like chicken tenders. In fact, we did a blind test experiment with our teenager.

The first day we cooked it, we told her we were trying out going back to eating chicken. She completely believed she was eating chicken.

Quorn has 10 grams of protein per serving, and only 80 calories.

Is quorn gluten free?

I emailed the folks at the company that makes Quorn and they informed me that only one of their products, the quorn chik'in tender is gluten free.

All the rest of their products have added gluten.

I'm planning to try their beef style grounds because even if they do have malt extract, it's only .07% which is below the recommended gluten level for companies to consider a product gluten free.


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