a plate of tofu - meat alternatives

More and more people are looking for meat alternatives as they choose to follow vegetarian, vegan or plant-based diets. This can be for various reasons – for health, the environment or ethical choices.

But whether you eat meat or not, it’s always important to eat a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, veg and fruit. Here, we look at different vegetarian sources of protein.


Protein-rich beans, peas and lentils are great alternatives to meat because they’re naturally low in fat, contain fibre, protein and some vitamins and minerals. Other nutritious protein sources include tofu, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Go for a good variety of plant-based protein sources, in order to include a full range of amino acids in your diet.

If you follow a meat-free diet, we recommend including these protein sources in your meals and recipes wherever possible.


refried lentils with egg and veg


Meat substitutes include vegetarian or vegan products that look similar to sausages, mince or burgers. One popular ingredient in meat alternatives is  mycoprotein, which comes from fermented funghi.

Mycoprotein is high in protein and fibre, and low in saturated fat. It can be a great meat substitute, as it can mirror the appearance, texture and flavour of meat – while helping people reduce their meat consumption.

However, some products containing mycoprotein are also high in salt, so it’s always important to check the nutritional figures for the overall product before you buy. Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day (2.4g sodium) – that’s around 1 teaspoon.

For more information, take a look at our feature on the health benefits of all types of protein.