Getting More Protein in a Vegetarian Diet

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

FroBunni | Getting more protein in a vegetarian diet header

I've been doing the IIFYM (if it fits your macros diet) for over a month now, and wow! It's been really hard getting protein in my diet. I'm supposed to be getting 93 grams a day, but I consistently average a little more than 60 grams. It has been frustrating to say the least.

Two weeks ago, I tried to eat meat again, but, no surprise, I ended up wasting it. So, that was a bust. Last week, I bought some protein bars to see if they could help (I'll be writing a review on them), and while they definitely have helped bridge the 30 grams gap, I only eat them on days when I go to Elevate. It's definitely been a struggle, but slowly but surely, I'm getting a little better at it.

Here are some tips that have helped:

Eggs, yogurt, and cottage cheese are my friends: Since I'm vegetarian and not vegan, I can still consume animal byproducts like dairy, which has a lot of protein. I just make sure to keep the saturated fat intake low by buying low-fat or no-fat options. I will generally have some dairy twice a day, such as eggs for breakfast and yogurt for a snack.
Whole grains have more protein than refined grains: Whole grain pasta, brown rice, and oatmeal are my go-to when it comes to grain-based carbs. Compared to refined grains, they have more protein, and when you're vegetarian, that can make a big difference.
Stock up on protein bars and powder: You'll see a follow-up post and some reviews sometime in July, but I've been testing protein bars, drinks, and powder. Because of my dietary restrictions and preferences, I find that it's hard to get those last few grams of protein, even if I eat perfectly. And on days when I lift or go to Elevate, these are a necessary post-workout snack.
Nut butters and beans provide protein and healthy fats: Whether it's adding some peanut butter to a smoothie or having hummus with red peppers for a snack, nut butters (I can't have whole or chopped nuts because I have Crohn's disease), add not just 5-6 grams of protein, but also healthy unsaturated fats.
Meatless "meat" can be a lifesaver: Veggies patties, chik'n, and meatless crumbles are great to add to any dinner for an extra few grams of protein at the end of the day. For a super quick dinner that can be made in less than 10 minutes, I will have some chik'n with tomato soup or a veggie pattie with some roasted vegetables.

It's definitely been a wake up call seeing how pathetic my protein intake has been all these years, but I'm hoping this really makes the difference in my diet, and I will feel more awake and stronger (because for real, I may be doing a Spartan Race in July, and if I do, my protein intake needs to really be perfect).


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