Easily Hit 100 Grams of Protein Without Meat

How Much Protein Should You Eat? 

First off, why is this important? Why would I want to hit 100 grams of protein a day? And furthermore, why would I want to hit 100 grams of protein without meat?

It doesn’t need to be literally 100 grams. However, active people thrive when their protein needs are 1.1-1.4 times their pounds of lean body mass in grams.

Sometimes you’ll hear the recommendation to “eat your bodyweight” in protein in grams, but this is more applicable to leaner people with less fat and more lean mass. For example, if you are 125 pounds and 24% body fat (i.e., a fairly lean woman), your lean body mass is about 95 pounds. 95 and 125 are pretty close – if you eat in that ballpark, you’ll support your goals beautifully and won’t feel like you’re force-feeding yourself protein. But if you are, for example, 30% body fat at 155 pounds, that means your lean body mass is only about 108 pounds – it’s not necessary to try to eat 155 grams of protein per day. That might feel like a bit much, and it probably is.

Bottom line: for most women, that 100 grams goal is an achievable and very effective goal!

Eating sufficient protein helps dramatically with fat loss and muscle gain, because:

  • Protein digests more slowly and sends fullness signals to your brain, delaying the onset of hunger… this means less cravings, less mindless eating, and an easier time staying in a caloric deficit for fat loss without feeling hungry!
  • Protein is also essential for the building and maintenance of lean muscle mass. This means that as you lose weight, you look fitter and stronger, instead of just a shrinking version of you that’s losing muscle right along with fat 

As you can see, protein, in the context of a whole foods diet, is essential for a healthy, successful, sustainable approach to weight loss.

But protein intake can be a challenge – especially if you eat a plant-based diet (or even a vegetarian or pescatarian diet). I have seen protein intake decline for many women, for reasons ranging from ethical concerns to environmental unease to health precautions.

But it is completely possible to hit 100 grams of protein without meat every single day!

Client Contributions 

In today’s blog post, I’m sharing the secrets that I use with my vegetarian clients, as well as sharing some direct tips from my plant-based eating clientele! Although I include meat in some of my meals, I personally emphasize eating a diet rich in plant protein, and I have learned so many useful hacks from my vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian clients over the years!

With the right planning, hitting 100 grams of protein without meat is easy even if you’re busy and on-the-go all the time. Here are some ideas for convenient, portable protein sources that get the job done!

Before we dive in, though, I have to thank some clients in particular for their input on this blog post:

Megan – completely vegan, Illinois

Elizabeth – vegetarian/pescatarian, New York City

Caitlin – vegetarian, New Jersey

Robin – vegetarian/pescatarian, New Jersey

Now, let’s go!

How to Hit 100 Grams of Protein Without Meat

Below, I have some suggestions for foods to mix and match to make sure you’re getting in at least 20-40 grams per meal, to add up to 100+ per day! I have started with the sources that are the richest in protein, that will give you the most bang for your buck.

To make this list, I tried to think about my busiest clients, who are either stuck at work a lot, driving kids around a lot, or both.

What I like about the list below is that it requires minimal preparation! I also tried to include brand recommendations where I think it’s helpful to be specific.

  • Canned Salmon (Trader Joe’s “Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon – Boneless/Skinless” as example) – one 6-oz can – 39 g
  • Extra Firm Tofu – 1 14.oz package – 32 g
  • Egg Whites – one cup from a carton – 30 g
  • Boca Burgers (original) – 2 burgers – 28 g
  • Canned Tuna (Trader Joe’s “Albacore Solid White Tuna” as example) – 26 g
  • Bob’s Red Mill TVP – 1/2 cup dry – 26 g
  • Franklin Farms Beetles Seitan – 1/2 package (4 oz.) – 26 g
  • The Only Bean Edamame Spaghetti – 2 oz. serving – 25 g
  • Lentils – one half cup (in raw form) – 24 g
  • Smoked Salmon (Vita Classic “Atlantic Nova Salmon” as example) – 4-oz serving – 24 g
  • Butler’s Soy Curls – 1/4 of a package (about 1.5 cups) – 20 g
  • Chobani Complete Protein Yogurt Drink (one bottle) – 20 g
  • Good Culture Cottage Cheese – one 5.3-oz container – 19 g
  • Greek Yogurt (Fage “Total 0% Plain” as example) – one 6-oz container – 18 g
  • ZENB Plant-Based Pasta – one 3oz. serving – 17g
  • Icelandic Yogurt (Siggi’s “Vanilla 0%” as example) – one 5.3-oz container – 15 g
  • Black Beans – one half of a can (drained and rinsed) – 14 g
  • Greek Yogurt (Fage “TruBlend” as example) – one 5.3-oz container – 13 g
  • Epic Everything Bagels by Dave’s Killer Bread – 13 g
  • Trader Joe’s “Yellow Tadka Dal” (Lentils) – whole pouch – 12 g
  • Eggs – two hardboiled or scrambled – 12 g
  • Chick Peas – one half of a can (drained and rinsed) – 12 g
  • Hemp Seeds – three tablespoons – 10 g
  • Seapoint Farms Roasted Edamame – 1 100-cal. snack pack – 10 g
  • Peanut Butter – natural two tablespoons – 8 g
  • Almonds – one quarter cup (whole) – 8 g
  • Milk – one cup – 8 g
  • Mozzarella Cheese – part-skim, one quarter cup shredded – 7 g
  • String Cheese Stick – part-skim mozzarella – 7 g
  • Bada Bean Bada Boom bean snacks – 1 1-oz. serving – 6 g
  • Quinoa – one quarter cup (in raw form) – 6 g
  • Feta cheese – one ounce – 4 g
  • Chia seeds – two tablespoons – 4 g

When you look at it this way, it’s easy to hit your protein goals even if you don’t eat meat other than fish.

Throw-Together Meal Ideas 

Here are some throw-together ideas for meals to get you through the day:

  • A Siggi’s vanilla yogurt for breakfast with three tablespoons hemp seeds, with a piece of fruit with two tablespoons of peanut butter
  • A cold lentil and quinoa salad for lunch
  • Good Culture cottage cheese with a piece of fruit for snack
  • Shakshuka with two eggs for dinner, with one ounce feta and toast
  • Fage TruBlend Greek yogurt for dessert, with two tablespoons chia seeds

Client Tips

Again, I really appreciate my clients (past and present) who contributed to this blog post. Since I am about 75% vegetarian, it was really helpful to get the insights of people who are plant-based or vegetarian full-time. 

  • My client Megan, on how to use soy curls, which are an interesting way to mimic meat – “You just boil water and then pour over the curls and wait 10 minutes. Then you drain, mix with your fav sauce and bake for 30-40 min at 400 depending on how crunchy you want them. I usually turn once half way through. Pro tip: use parchment paper to help with clean up.”
  • My client Robin recommends this Cheesy Black Bean and Quinoa Skillet Casserole from Eating Well.
  • My client Caitlin recommends “on weekends indulge in a Mexican breakfast of eggs and beans and flavorful toppings like avocado and salsa.”
  • My client Christine: “For lunch I will often have a field roast Italian veggie sausage or Quorn veggie chicken patty with some chickpea pasta and some sort of topping, like tomato sauce or cheese – or sometimes even guacamole!! Sounds weird but soooooo good.”

With a little planning, it’s easy to hit 100 grams of protein without meat!

Most of my clients aren’t vegan or vegetarian, but on the other hand, most of them always don’t want to feel like they’re constantly eating meat. In fact, many people are trying to eat less meat overall, and make it more of a “special occasion” food. I feel the same way. For omnivores, being intentional and creative about non-meat protein intake can help to diversify your diet and increase the amount of fiber you take in, as well.

The benefits of eating more whole-foods-based protein are boundless, even if you still eat some meat. Thanks to the fiber content, you feel full, you cut cravings, and you help yourself out on the path to your health and physique goals.

If you need help leveling up your vegetarian or vegan diet, please set up a free consultation and let’s talk about fitness nutrition, protein, and body composition!

Rachel Trotta

I am a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Physique and Bodybuilding Specialist, and Women's Fitness Specialist. I live in New Jersey in the NYC metro area, and I coach clients online all over the world. As a trainer and health writer, my mission is to make healthy living sustainable for the average person. I’m also a wife, mom, nature lover, runner, avid cook, weightlifting aficionado, history nerd, travel addict, and obsessive podcast listener. Get in touch!

Free Download

Get My Free 28-Day Meal Prep Guide