Being vegetarian is easy until you’re in college, sitting in the library with a rumbling stomach and the daunting task of learning the content of a half-semester's worth of lectures. It’s times like these when you realize you need to start packing more than Trader Joe’s snacks. But, cooking vegetarian meals is harder than it appearsfinding a sufficient source of protein that complements the rest of the meal and is easy to cook proves to be a challenge. Read below to find five sources of vegetarian protein:

1. Lentils

cereal, buckwheat, legume, lentil, vegetable
Christin Urso

French green lentils, red lentils, black beluga lentils, brown lentils: the lentil options are endless. With a variety of textures and flavors, lentils arearguablythe most undervalued source of protein. Most types of lentils have 17.9g of protein per cup of cooked lentils, and can easily be thrown into most meals. But, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, New York Times Cooking and Bon Appetit are chock-full of lentil options, like this Red Lentil Soup and this Kale and Lentil Salad. All you really have to know about lentils is that there is a type for every situation, so when in doubt, opt for lentils.

2. Beans 

cereal, coffee, black beans, beans, vegetable, azuki bean, pasture, legume, kidney bean
Zoe Malin

Black beans and kidney beans are easy to find and even easier to use. White kidney beans offer a buttery addition to any meals, while red kidney beans make any stew more hearty. If kidney beans aren't on hand, black beans also offer a similar amount of protein and are easily thrown into stews and salads to make for a more substantial meal. No matter what type of bean you're using, with 13.4g of protein per cup of kidney beans and 15.2g of protein per cup of black beans, beans are asking to be added to every vegetarian's plate.

#SpoonTip: White kidney beans are a hidden secretbuttery smooth and smoky in flavor, these beans are delicious when floating in brothy soups or atop a fried piece of bread.

3. Tofu

dairy product, milk, cheese, dairy, tofu, goats cheese
Helena Lin

A natural option, tofu is more versatile than most people anticipate. Tofu offers 8g of protein per 100g (about 16g protein per cup) and can be eaten raw, pan-fried, scrambled, and curried, among other methods.  Tofu makes an easy filing for a sandwich or a satisfying meat-substitute in a scramble. My personal favorite is a tofu chipotle scramble with cubed sweet potatoes and chipotles in adobo sauce mixed with yogurt.

4. Quinoa

cereal, millet, condiment, quinoa, wheat, corn, amaranth, mustard, groats
Christin Urso

While quinoa does not pack as much protein as the other options (8g per cup), it can act as a base for bowls, curries, and salads. Since it has almost no flavor, it is easy to add vegetables and spices to quinoa to make it a light meal. These mildly sweet quinoa bars make a great on-the-go snack.

5. Sprouted Grain Bread

toast, bread, wheat, sandwich, rye
Jocelyn Hsu

While bread is not often seen as a good source of protein (because, unfortunately, sourdough is not), sprouted grain bread is an alternative to satiate early morning cravings. Two slices of sprouted bread contain about 8g of protein, and, topped with some nut butter, sliced bananas, and chia seeds, they can become a good source of protein.

Being vegetarian on a college campus doesn't have to be difficult. Most of the foods mentioned above can be found in the bulk foods section of any grocery store (or at every college student's favorite grocery store, Trader Joe's) and are mostly affordable and easy to make. So, vegetarians, don't worry, protein is at your fingertips.