Healthy Vegetarian Protein Sources for Athletes

Whether you eat meat or not, these vegetarian protein sources are all excellent foods to help optimise your nutrition. Keep your recovery on point and your performance top-notch with these different types of protein.


“Protein: Any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds which have large molecules composed of one or more long chains of amino acids and are an essential part of all living organisms, especially as structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, etc., and as enzymes and antibodies.”

Proteins are ‘king’ when it comes to recovery and muscle growth: these nutrients, once in the body, are digested into amino acids that are the building blocks of your lean mass.

During your workout, the cells in your muscles are subjected to higher stress than they normally are, among them, the significant release of lactic acid which occurs in exercise. This leads to the athlete having to recover a part of the ‘damaged’ cells, while also replacing some of the old cells with new ones, in the growth of which protein synthesis is vital. Therefore, the post-workout diet must include proteins in order for the body to be assisted in its process of recovery from the effort.

Pay attention to your body as there are signs that you are suffering from protein deficiency.

Read more: 10 Vegetarian Friendly Foods to Help Build Muscle


vegetarian protein sourcesSource: Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

A cup of cooked lentils has 18 grams of protein.

Lentils can be the protagonist of your dish, be accompanied by rice, or mixed in a salad, making it one of the most versatile vegetarian protein sources you can find.


beansSource: Shelley Pauls on Unsplash

Blac, pinto, kidney. It doesn’t matter which beans you prefer, they are always good vegetarian protein sources.

Usually, a cup of cooked beans contains 15 grams of protein.

Protein Powder

supplements guide

The most common protein powder is extracted from milk, which is perfect to add to your shopping list for healthy vegetarian protein sources.

In case you are vegan, there are other options from plants as well, such as pea protein, hemp protein, or brown rice protein.

Check out our supplements guide to know more about protein powder and other types of supplements you may want to take.


superfoods quinoa

A cup of cooked quinoa provides 8-9 grams of protein.

You can add quinoa to salads, use it as a replacement for rice, or grind it into flour. This is another great versatile vegetarian protein sources.


Homemade Tofu Stir Fry with Vegetables and Rice

100 grams of tofu contains 8 grams of protein.

Tofu is one of the vegetarians’ best friends when it comes to substituting meat in a recipe. It acts as a sponge and you can make it taste however you want.


SpirulinaSource: Joannawnuk

100 grams of Spirulina has 57 grams of protein, making it one of the densest vegetarian protein sources available.

Spirulina is a biomass of cyanobacteria that, besides its high amount of protein, has anti-oxidant and inflammation-fighting properties.


GuavaSource: VD Photography / Unsplash

Most fruits are great vegetarian protein sources, but guava is one of the best out there. A cup of guava contains 4.2 grams of protein.

The tropical fruit is also high in vitamin C and fibre.


avacado superfood crossfit
Superfood Avacado

Which fruit has more protein than guava? Avocado.

A cup of sliced or cubed avocado contains 3 grams of protein, but mashed will give you 4.6 grams.

Avocado is also full of healthy fat, fibre and potassium.

Read more: 8 Delicious Vegan Foods to Help You Lose Weight

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