A vegetarian diet omits meat and fish and focuses on fruit, vegetables and legumes, as well as dairy products and eggs. The good news is that adding protein to a vegetarian diet is actually very easy, as it is found in many different foods. If you’re used to eating lots of meat, your new diet may simply require a bit more meal planning — and a trip to the supermarket’s legume section. Regardless of whether you eat meat or not, legumes and beans should be an important part of your diet as they are a great source of low-fat protein, fiber, and important vitamins and minerals.
If you’re vegan, legumes are likely your main source of protein. Legumes are high in fiber and are an excellent source of iron. They are also among the recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Mycoprotein is a plant-based protein that is used in Quorn meat substitutes.
Two other fantastic vegetarian sources of protein include nuts and seeds. You can add seeds and nuts to meals while cooking, or eat them throughout the day. Soy milk and yogurt are a great option for vegans or vegetarians who avoid dairy products, as they’re usually fortified with calcium and vitamins B12 and D. Just make sure you opt for versions that don’t contain a lot of sugar.
Additionally, studies suggest that vegan diets are more effective in helping people lose weight than many other diets, including the Mediterranean diet (9, 10, 1).