One of my sons is a vegetarian, and as a mother, I worry about him eating sufficient amounts of protein. But I found there is a wealth of foods that are a good source of protein. Here are some suggestions for the vegetarian or even those who want to reduce their meat consumption.

Here are some good sources of protein that, when eaten as part of a varied diet, supply all the amino acids you need in a day:

  • beans
  • lentils
  • chickpeas
  • hummus
  • quinoa
  • other legumes
  • tofu
  • tempeh
  • edamame
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • milk
  • low-fat cheese
  • yogurt
  • potatoes
  • certain vegetables
  • eggs & fish (for non-vegans)

For comparison: A 3-ounce chicken breast delivers 27 grams of protein; a cup of lentils gives you a hefty 18 grams.

If you’re not a vegan — someone who doesn’t consume any animal products at all — you also can eat an egg a day (perfectly fine if you don’t have a cholesterol problem). An egg has about 6 g of protein. And of course there’s fish. They’re not only full of protein, but some types are good sources of healthy omega-3 fats.

You’re better off getting your protein this way, instead of from a T-bone or a turkey leg. Vegetarians tend to be healthier than carnivores; they’re thinner, have lower lousy (LDL) cholesterol, higher healthy (HDL) cholesterol, better blood pressure and are less prone to heart disease, diabetes and cancer.