Protein for Vegetarians and Vegans

As foods with significant protein content are typically animal-derived, it may be challenging to include adequate amounts of this nutrient in vegetarian or vegan menu options. However, with some basic knowledge and planning, meals conforming to these categories can easily offer good amounts of protein.

The average healthy adult requires approximately 0.7 – 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This equates to about 50 – 60 grams a day or 15 – 20 grams per meal. Reaching this daily goal is possible when consuming a vegetarian or vegan diet. Exploring more protein-rich vegetarian and vegan-friendly ingredients can create more diverse and nutritionally complex dishes. In addition to dairy products and eggs, including a wide variety of plant-based foods in recipes can help to ensure adequate intake of essential amino acids. Examples of good plant sources of protein are beans, lentils, peas, nuts, seeds, and soy. Soy products had long been seen as exotic flavours on Asian menus, but today’s consumer is increasingly more open to ingredients of the world and alternatives to staple foods. Until recently, soy-based products on the Irish market were mainly made up of tofu and soy sauce, but in recent years the influx of Asian fusion and advances in food technology and product development have resulted in soya foods becoming part of the mainstream diet. Examples of such foods are edamame, soy bean flour, soy yoghurt, miso, and tempeh. The protein in soya foods is high in a range of essential amino acids and is also a rich source of isoflavones, a phytoestrogen that has proven beneficial antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulant effects. Optimal nutrient absorption is achieved when consumed as part of a mixed diet. Using nutrient complex ingredients within vegetarian and vegan options will ensure you are serving balanced meals to the consumer.

Our nutrition and dietetic team at healthpro Menu Mentoring®, work with a diverse range of Irish food businesses to increase their presence within the health and food sector. The healthpro Menu Mentoring® programme provides precise nutritional and allergen analyses, menu and website labelling, and dietitian-led menu recommendation. By working with healthpro, your business can successfully cater for a growing demographic of consumers subscribing to alternative dietary choices such as vegetarian or veganism, thereby increasing customer footfall and profitability. Furthermore, partnership with healthpro Menu Mentoring® also contributes to significant indirect business growth, as customers not subject to specific dietary needs appreciate and value demonstrated commitment to customer care. To find out more about healthpro Menu Mentoring® expert services, visit or call us on +353864119222 to book a free consultation.


Published on 5 July 2017 | Back to July Articles