For my lovely vegetarians… (or even if you’re not a vegetarian but want some alternate ideas for protein)
It’s a little more challenging as a vegetarian to get all of the protein you need during fat-loss mode to protect that precious muscle, but it is by no means impossible! And notice I said a “little” not a lot more challenging 🙂
As we’ve chatted about before, protein levels do not need to remain nearly as high during maintenance mode, it’s just during fat-burn mode that we need that protein higher to protect and build that muscle.
A few more thoughts before you dive in…
#1 I always want to encourage real whole organic foods for protein sources above anything else that is more processed. However, during fat-loss mode it can be helpful to use some more “processed” foods like protein powders etc… to help get you to your protein macro goals
#2 Chat with your doctor about any supplement recommendations to fill any nutrient/vitamin/mineral gaps (if any) in your nutrition because of not consuming meat, meat products etc…
#3 Pick a few of these tips and just get started…You can add more as you move along in your journey!
Without further ado: Here are 10 protein-boosting ideas for you in no particular order…
#1 Eat wonderful eggs for a great protein source (and healthy fats too!)
You can go scrambled, hard-boiled, overeasy, add liquid egg whites to a smoothie, mix liquid egg whites into your organic oats (sounds a little weird but it works & flavor is light!) etc…
#2 Find a high-quality plant-based protein powder that you love
Plant-based protein powders are just different in their composition (obviously :)) as compared to their grass-fed whey counterpart. Plant-based powders can tend to the gritty or chalky side but that does not mean you’re doomed. There are lots of great ones out there.
Everyone’s taste buds are so different…One that I hate another person absolutely loves. Strangest thing 🙂 So my recommendation (besides seeing the protein powder guide in the members area) is to check out ones where you can buy single packets of first before you commit!
You can use these protein powders for:
-post-workout shakes or shots if you don’t prefer to fill up on a larger shake
-for making wonderful smoothies
-for delish protein pancakes
(my fave easy recipe is 1/2 cup egg whites (or eggs if you want healthy fats) + 1/2 cup org oats + 1/2 cup org cottage cheese + 1 scoop vanilla protein powder + cinnamon + vanilla + liquid Stevia to taste if desired…You can always eliminate cottage cheese if you don’t do dairy)
-to mix into yogurt (greek, coconut, almond, etc…) if you need a protein boost
-to mix into your oats (or have on the side as a protein shake)
#3 Try a high-quality plant-based unflavored/savory protein powder
-You can add this powder to soups, stews, crockpot meals etc…
-You can mix it into veggie “pasta” (i.e. zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash etc…) dishes or add as a topping to these dishes or roasted veggies themselves!
These are a couple of my faves:
P.S…The organic bone broth protein savory herbs does come from organic chicken bone broth…So you may want to avoid if you are averse to consuming any animal products even in a powdered form. The Sun Warrior Natural unflavored protein is totally plant-based.
#4 Use high-quality grass-fed dairy in moderation (if you do dairy!) for a great source of protein & other nutrients
You don’t want to do dairy all day long 🙂 So think moderation with it!
Dairy can be inflammatory for the body so that’s why using it in moderation with your nutrition is key and also balancing that inflammation with awesome alkalizing foods & veggies.
Greek yogurt will be your top protein source in the dairy department. You can add grass-fed cheeses, kefir, cottage cheese, milk, etc… in moderation as well.
#5 Incorporate seeds & legumes into your diet as much as possible for a boost in protein (plus some healthy fats & carbs…depending on the seed or legume)
Think…hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sacha inchi seeds (these pack a great omega 3 dose too!) quinoa, beans, lentils, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) etc…
Hemp seeds are one of my faves to mix into yogurt for an extra protein & nutrient boost…It’s also great to sprinkle into salads or other casserole-type dishes.
#6 Organic (non-gmo) soy products in moderation for protein boosts
This is another food that you want to think moderation for sure…But it definitely can be an option to help boost your protein during times of fat-loss. Just make sure it’s always non-gmo and organic (most ideal) to avoid gmo’s and other yucky pesticides etc…and also that you’re not buying junk food disguised as health food. A soy protein hot dog is not something your body needs 🙂 You’ll be better off opting for some straight, unadulterated organic edamame!
-Organic sprouted tofu (Trader Joe’s has a great one!) makes a great filler for “meat” in dishes. I love to sauté it in a skillet with some coconut oil & garlic.
-Edamame, miso (fermented seasoned paste to use for soups, dips, dressings…You could even add some to greek yogurt for a great protein veggie dip), tempeh (fermented alternative to tofu…is easier for some people to digest), occasional jerky (like Primal brand or seitan jerky [fyi…it’s not GF] etc)
#7 High-quality spirulina powder
This high protein algae is great to add to smoothies, smoothie bowls, sprinkle on veggies, mix into a warm tea, or if you’re extra brave take it as a shot mixed in water 🙂
#8 Occasional protein “pastas”
–Know Better Pasta is made entirely from chickpeas and has a great protein content & other nutrients!
-Organic Edamame, lentil, or other brand of chickpea (garbanzo bean) pasta
-Cappello’s Paleo Fettuccine has less protein than the above mentioned chickpea pasta but definitely packs some nutrients with its ingredients of almond flour & eggs!
Whole Foods in KC sells it, but I’m not sure about every city so you’ll have to check 🙂
#9 If you can/will eat fish (which would technically make you a pescatarian :)…eat fish!
Ideally, you want to aim for wild & sustainably caught fish. You want to avoid farmed/farm-raised fish like the plague. There’s a whole host of problems with farm-raised fish for your health and for the treatment of the fish themselves.
-fresh fillets of fish
-make up some salmon or tuna cakes (like crab cakes)…These are great to make in bigger batches to use throughout the week!
#10 Nuts & nut butters
Nuts definitely contain protein, but they’re more classified as a fat because of the fact that they have more fat than protein. However, it’s still a source of protein! As you’ve probably learned by now many foods are not just one macronutrient source. They’re a combination of two or all three macros (protein, fat, carbs).
Nuts/nut butters happen to contain all three macronutrients…Fats, carbs, & protein. Enjoy!
BONUS VEGETARIAN IDEAS…
Try jack fruit as a meat alternative
This is not a protein-boosting idea, but it definitely has some wonderful nutrients and antioxidants, and tastes awesome!
It’s actually a fruit that is predominantly native to India, and it’s used in all kinds of ways. But specifically, for vegetarians it can make an amazing meat substitute without all of the worries of soy products or other processed foods.
I mean doesn’t a “pulled pork” bbq sandwich sound amazing?! Just do a simple Google search for “jack fruit recipes” and you’ll find a whole new world for yourself.
Like I mentioned above, this is not a protein-booster…it’s a fruit which makes it predominantly a carb source. That’s not a bad thing. It just lets you know that if you’re looking to up your protein you’ll need to scope out another source.
Check out some of the sites below for some vegetarian/pescetarian recipe inspiration
These are not personal endorsements of mine, just some sites that I have found some yummy recipes on! Especially Skinny Taste as they include all of the macronutrient info already calculated for you. #WINNING!!