Complete Proteins for Vegetarians


Protein plays a serious role in your diet. You need to eat 0.8 g of protein per Kg of body weight each day to help keep your immune system strong, supply energy, build muscle tissue, and much more [1]. If you struggle with weight, protein is a must-have nutrient in every meal – it’s more effective at satisfying your hunger than fat and carbohydrates.

You can meet your daily protein needs by eating a wide range of complete and incomplete proteins.

Complete Proteins

20 amino acids make up your body’s proteins. Nine of these are called essential because they must come from your diet. The rest are non-essential because your body can make them. The proteins in meat, eggs, and dairy products are called “complete” because they contain all of the essential amino acids, whereas most plant proteins are “incomplete” because they’re missing at least one.

Proteins for Vegetarians

You don’t need meat to load up on protein. As long as you eat a varied diet, your body can mix and match the amino acids from different incomplete protein sources to build its own complete set. For example, when you eat the following pairs of food within the same day you’ll get your full range of essential amino acids [2]:

  • Wild rice and lentils
  • Oatmeal and almonds
  • Peanut butter and whole grain bread
  • Corn tortilla and black beans

In addition, the following meat-free foods are sources of complete protein [3]:

  • Natural Factors Vegan Protein: 22 g per serving
  • Quinoa: 8 g per cup
  • Soybeans: 22 g per cup
  • Tofu: 8 g per 84 g serving
  • Cottage cheese: 21 g per ¾ cup
  • Greek yogurt: 17 g per  ¾ cup
  • Eggs: 6 g per egg
  • Milk: 9 g per cup


[1] Government of British Columbia. “Quick Nutrition Check for Protein.” Health Link BC. Web. 16 September 2015.

[2] Guzman, S. and Debra Boutin. “What Are Complementary Proteins, And How Do We Get Them?” Bastyr University. Web. 16 September 2015.

[3]  USDA. “National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27.” Agricultural Research Service. Web. 16 September 2015.