Vegetarians and Vegans – Hitting the Lazy Macros Protein Target

Even with the protein target at 0.7 grams per pound of bodyweight (1.6 g/kg bw), vegans and vegetarians can certainly do the Lazy Macros challenge. 

The main “problem” is (generally) non-animal products are lower in protein and contain a lot of carb and fat grams per every gram of protein. This means to achieve the protein target, you could potentially gain weight from extra carbohydrate and fat calories on your way to eating enough protein. You may be surprised by how many calories are in black beans or cheese compared to chicken for the same number of protein grams. Watch the full explanation and comparison here


Vegetarians will have an easier time by being able to use dairy options like whey protein powder, cottage cheese, high-protein plain yogurts, and eggs/egg whites. Vegans will mostly be limited to plant-based protein powders and tofu (try to choose tofu varieties that are relatively low carb and fat for each protein gram). Vegans using plant based protein powders should try using them from different plant sources to get greater breadth across all the essential amino acids (e.g., beans, grains).


Unlike the standard challenge recommendation to track 800g items and protein on a post-it note, you likely want to track protein in every single food you eat. This is most easily accomplished in an app like MyFitnessPal. Since it is harder to hit your protein target, you get “credit” for every single protein gram when you use an app to track everything you eat. For example, the Lazy Macros challenge allows people to “credit” 10 grams of protein when they hit their 800 grams of fruits and veggies. However, your 800-gram items might have more than 10 grams of protein based on your choices (e.g., beans).

You’ll also want to get credit for protein in grains, for example. Those eating meat are more likely to hit their target without needing to track every single gram, but you don’t want to miss out on counting protein from any food. 

In addition, you’ll be able to see how many carb and fat grams are in your protein sources to help limit any weight changes. Lazy Macros was meant to be an easy way to keep total quantity in check without weighing and measuring everything, but for vegetarians and vegans it likely won’t be very “lazy.” It likely ends up being more like true macros.


Assuming your tofu has only beans and spices, it can count towards both! If it has other additives, it can only count towards protein. This is one reason why using an App may be beneficial for vegans and vegetarians eating tofu, as tofu usually has more protein than other #800gChallenge® items.

Keep in mind, however, if you are eating a good amount of tofu for your protein requirement, you are encouraged to eat other fruits and veggies for your #800gChallenge® items. This is because an ideal diet has a wide array of whole, unprocessed foods. While beans are quite healthy, a diet of predominantly tofu doesn’t contain the breadth and depth across vitamins, minerals, fiber types and phytochemicals for ideal health.

This brings up a great point about nutrition challenges. You can’t interpret challenge rules as truths for ideal physiology. Yes, by the “letter of the law,” tofu can be for both 800g and protein, but a diet comprised of mostly only-tofu was not the intent of the challenge.