One doesn't have to be a non-vegetarian to have a healthy protein intakeAproximando Ciênciae/Flickr

Vegetarians and vegans are often asked why they chose not to eat meat if they have never tasted meat and what their source of protein is. The questions get even weirder if you were a non-vegetarian once and decided to give up meat. Then the questions range from if you miss eating meat and the taste to if you will ever eat meat again.

It is a prevailing myth that meat is the best source of protein and if you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you don't have too many options to meet your protein needs. However, that is not the case. There are numerous protein-rich foods in the nature's basket, that too sans the high fat and cholesterol content.

Here are a few things you can include in your diet that contain a high amount of protein:


quinoanerissa's ring/Flickr

Often called a super food, Quinoa is one of the best sources of protein and also contains amino acids that aid body's growth and repair. And the best part is, Quinoa can be consumed in a variety of ways. It can be added to soups as well as combined with fresh vegetables and fruits to make a salad.


The plant has long been used as food as well as medicineCreativeCommons/Kamil Porembiński

Nettle, also called stinging nettle, is a flowering plant that has a stinging effect on the skin. The plant has long been used as food as well as medicine. It has a flavour similar to spinach and contains an overload of protein. Nettle is often used to make soup in Northern and Eastern Europe as well as Nepal and some parts of India.


Lentils are a great source of protein and can easily be included in your daily diet.CreativeCommons/RobertJudge

Lentils are a great source of protein and can easily be included in your daily diet. They also contain numerous other essential nutrients such as folate, vitamins, iron and zinc. Lentils can be added to salads or can also be cooked as standalone dishes.

Green Peas

Green peas
Green peasCreativeCommons/Jules

Often served as a side dish, green peas are easily available and have high protein content. Not just protein, peas are also rich in fibre, vitamins, copper, iron, and zinc.


Asparagus is packed with antioxidants and is known to slow the ageing process.CreativeCommons/SimonLaw

Used in salads and also a meat accompaniment, asparagus is rich in protein, vitamins, zinc, iron, and dietary fibre. Known to slow the ageing process, it also acts as a brain booster.


Researchers from Aston University in UK found that eating almonds daily helped improve amount of antioxidants in the blood streamI_Nneska/Flickr

Almonds are rich in protein and other nutrients. Not just that, almonds also aid weight loss and reduce belly fat. They are also known to boost the immune system and improve heart health. They can be consumed as whole nuts, almond milk as well as almond butter.


Buckwheat noodle saladCreativeCommons/stu_spivack

Buckwheat is a wellspring of protein, vitamins and fibre. Buckwheat noodles are widely consumed in Tibet and China and the flour of buckwheat can be used to make fritters and pancakes.