WIAW: Protein-Packed, Plant Style

Any current or former vegetarians and vegans out there know this question all too well: “So where do you get your protein?” To most omnis, protein is only found in meat, eggs and dairy products. But as we all know, protein is found in pretty much everything, from kale to cacao nibs. Yes, there are actually 3 grams of protein in a one ounce serving of cacao nibs, which is all the more reason to enjoy chocolate πŸ˜‰ Anyways, the point is, even strict vegans don’t need to worry much about adequate protein consumption as long as they’re consuming enough calories as well. However, I do love a lot of plant-based protein sources–I love me some healthy carbs, but I can’t survive on those alone. Last year, when I was just starting out on my vegan journey, I gravitated more towards carbs, which is okay, but nowadays I have a much better balance of fats, protein and carbs and I feel a lot more energized. If I had to categorize my macros, I’d say I’m usually around 45% carbs, 20-25% protein and 30-35% fats. That’s a big change, especially in the fats department, but I’m definitely embracing protein a lot more today too.

That being said, here are Monday’s protein-packed, plant-based eats. Note: I am a big fan of plant protein powders (not soy-based ones, but ones made from sprouted quinoa/rice, pea and cranberry proteins, like Vega and Sunwarrior) and I use them frequently, but I don’t think they’re a necessity in a plant-based diet. I use them (along with peanut flour, which isn’t really a protein powder but just concentrated peanut protein that tastes AMAZING) because I like how they taste and that they give me a protein boost for relatively fewer calories. Yes, I will admit that I still have a fear of eating ‘enough’, mostly because I don’t know what ‘enough’ is for me and it’s scary to change our habits. I do like whole food sources of protein, but protein powders are fun and tasty and I always choose the less processed versions.

Breakfast: banana bread in a bowl. Garden of Life RAW chocolate protein powder, half of a mashed banana, almond milk, mini Enjoy Life chocolate chips, topped with Maranatha maple almond butter.

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with banana bread. I’ve been fulfilling that craving with making my protein microwave cakes with a banana mashed in and adding chocolate chips. Maybe you won’t believe me, but this legit reminds me of banana bread. The best part is the gooey banana and chocolate, and the melty nut butter on top. Swoooon…

Protein: 19 grams

Lunch: pumpkin curry socca pizza topped with kale and red cabbage, side of black grapes and Chocolove peppermint dark chocolate square.

Socca is a great way to have pizza while still getting in some great protein. I love loading up my pizzas with veggies, and since I don’t eat cheese, most traditional pizzas don’t have much in the way of protein. But socca does, and I love it! Today’s version had a pumpkin curry sauce (made by mixing pumpkin puree and a premade coconut curry sauce) and was topped with sauteed kale and crunchy red cabbage. Perfect combo!

Protein: 8 grams

Afternoon snack: peanut and buckwheat flour waffle, topped with maple almond butter and vegan chocolate mousse.

You guys already know I have an insane obsession with homemade waffles. I love everything about them–the toppings, the texture, the endless flavor options, the flour choices. This one was made with a mix of (mostly) peanut flour and a little buckwheat flour and then topped with my new favorite almond butter and some mousse from the Whole Foods dessert section (it has a really great ingredients list of just dark chocolate, tofu and maple syrup). I added in a bit of banana and some more chocolate chips into the batter and it was just too good.

Protein: 14 grams

Dinner: pineapple fried quinoa, with edamame and (unpictured) Kaia raw sprouted “party mix” pumpkin seeds, unpictured side of kabocha squash dipped in organic ketchup.

Guys, this may be my new favorite dinner (other than waffles). I made it for the first time around my birthdayΒ back in July and made it a few times shortly after, but then forgot about it as I was moving into my apartment and starting school again. I randomly decided I wanted to make it again and I am so glad I rediscovered it. It is really so simple, but tastes crazy good. The best part is, it’s packed with protein from whole foods sources–edamame, quinoa and pumpkin seeds.

Protein: 11 grams

Dessert: PB Puffins mixed with peanut flour, almond milk, raisins and mini chocolate chips, unpictured side of peppermint dark chocolate square and Hail Merry raw maple vanilla almonds.

I don’t have cereal as much anymore, but I still have a soft spot for PB Puffins. They’re just so…addictingly good. Now when I have cereal, I like to add in some protein powder or peanut flour in with the almond milk to make it more substantial. This particular bowl was very peanutty, but good, even for a girl who hates peanut butter (but loves peanut otherwise).

Protein: 11 grams

The total protein count for the day was 63 grams! I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s right in line (actually a little higher) than Fitsugar’s chartΒ on protein needs based on weight and activity levels. And for me, it’s about double the protein that I was eating a year ago so I consider that a major success! And it just goes to show that vegans can get enough protein, without having to eat a ton of soy (I only had half a serving on Monday) or even a lot of supplements (I only used one full scoop of protein powder the entire day).

Do you ever track your protein consumption? What’s your favorite plant-based protein source?Β 

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18 thoughts on “WIAW: Protein-Packed, Plant Style

  1. I also keep track of my protein intake each day because it really helps me to motivate myself to eat more than I usually would. I know that,since I am very active,I need protein,especially because I want to gain muscles. If I wouldn’t have this motivation,I would probably eat even fewer and that would NOT be good for me,to say the least…

  2. I do eat dairy products so that contributes to my protein, along with the seafood I eat occasionally… but I think the meat industry tricks people into believing they need more protein than they actually do. I’ve read the majority of Americans get more than enough protein (meaning: meat eating Americans). Also a lot of the nutrients in plants are better absorbed than meats and dairy- like the calcium and vitamins in kale for example.

    • I have heard that about plants, which I think is interesting! If people still want to eat meat and dairy, it’s probably still a good idea to vary their protein sources and sometimes focus more on plant-based proteins.

  3. PROTEIN POWA!!! Lovin all these eats girl, you’re so creative! Oh man, totally can relate with your puffin love affair. They’re just so dang amazing, I’m convinced they’re laced with some kind of drugs hahaha πŸ˜‰

  4. I never enjoyed the ‘where do you get your protein’ questions either when I was eating a veggie diet. Protein is seriously like… in everything. And I think that a lot of people end up getting way more than they need anyways. I don’t track my macros anymore, but I remember protein being a pretty big deal to me when I did. And I’d have to say that quinoa is probably my favorite plant protein. Either that or all the VEGA powders… especially the chocolate smoothie one.

  5. Janie Kaiser says:

    Also impressed by your protein intake! I’ve had the same kind of journey as you with veganism and am working to get my macros around the level you talked about. Also, being a student, it is very helpful to see how you manage it!

    • Thanks! Once you get the hang of it, it isn’t too hard to get in plenty of protein. It’s a little bit more difficult on the days I’m on campus all day so I’m trying to get more creative with my on-the-go eats.

  6. Mmmm…that banana bread in a bowl looks incredibly delicious!! Banana+chocolate+almond butter = one of the best food combinations ever–in my opinion:) That pineapple fried quinoa also sounds amazing; I definitely want to try the recipe sometime! I haven’t had Puffins cereal for years, but I remember loving it when I was younger…

  7. That quinoa sounds so good. I miss having good food.
    I always feel like I should eat more protein but I never know exactly how much need or how much I eat. I just try to get it in where I can.

  8. My roommate made me buckwheat flour chocolate waffles – I died. I liked them a lot better than regular ole flour. Much denser πŸ™‚

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