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How Can a Vegetarian Get Protein?

I've been a vegetarian for 4 years and I don't think I'm getting enough protein. What would be good protein sources for me?
- Katie*

Getting enough protein isn't tough with a well-planned vegetarian diet, especially if you include eggs and dairy.

It's when a vegetarian diet isn't planned at all that nutrition trouble can start. All too often people give up eating meat but end up eating more carbohydrates and snacks. Look for alternative sources of protein, including beans (kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.), nuts, soy, and low-fat dairy products.

If you're a vegan, you can still get protein from eating beans and soy products, but it may be a little harder to get enough, and you also have to pay attention to other important nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and calcium.

If you have questions about vegetarian diets and how to get the nutrients you need, talk to your doctor or set up an appointment with a registered dietitian.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: October 2013

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.