Since about month 2 of pregnancy, I’ve had a weird aversion to most meat. No burgers, no steak, no chicken, no fish, no thank you. With the whole growing another human thing, this meat aversion has made me a bit more aware of where and how I’m getting enough protein. Instead of meat, I’ve been looking to plant based protein sources to ensure that I’m meeting my daily protein needs and giving Chickpea enough of what he or she needs to grow.
So in case you are in the same boat, or if you’re just looking for some meat-free protein options, this post is for you. 🙂
Dairy has played a major role here, but that’s nothing new. Yogurt is my go-to breakfast of choice, so it’s an easy choice now. Clocking in at 10g of protein per serving, a cup of plain, lowfat yogurt makes a filling and protein-packed breakfast option. I always top my bowl with 1/2-cup of rolled oats (2.5g protein), fruit, 1/4 cup walnuts (3g protein) or sunflower seeds (7g) and a squeeze of lemon juice, for a total of 15-ish grams of protein.
In addition to yogurt, I’ve been on a big cereal kick lately. I’ve rotated between cheerios, frosted shredded wheat, and am currently having a thing with cocoa puffs. Although the cereal itself might not be the best option, I do get about 10g of protein from the milk. If I have cereal for breakfast, I’ll have a snack mid-morning of a smaller yogurt bowl, granola or fruit with peanut butter. And on the days when hunger is raging, I’ll have cereal for breakfast #1 and and yogurt bowl pictured above for #2. 😉
Lunch and dinner are usually pretty similar since I try to make extras of dinner to pack for lunch. Or, I’ll make a batch of something at the beginning of the week and use it throughout the week for lunch. High-protein options include:
- Quinoa (8g per cup)
- Brown Rice (5g per cup)
- Tempeh (15g per serving)
- Chickpeas (20g per half-cup)
- Tofu (10g per serving)
I like to use the protein sources above in buddha bowl-style meals, using greens as a base, and topping with protein, nuts/seeds, and extras like avocado and roasted veggies. My go-to dressing for these bowls is either a simple lemon & olive oil vinaigrette, or Lemon Tahini dressing by OhSheGlows (I swear, I could eat this stuff with a spoon).
Last night’s bowl: quinoa, avocado, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, arugula and lemon tahini dressing.
Another favorite: tempeh, tomato and avocado sandwich on sprouted grain bread.
I haven’t found myself snacking nearly as much as I did pre-pregnancy, which is strange. Instead, I seem to fill up more quickly from my regular meals and still feel full hours later. I don’t know if my stomach is losing room already or what, but I expect my usual snacking to resume as the baby continues to grow!
When I do reach for a snack, I tend to go for:
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Baby carrots with hummus
- Granola (not the best option, but still packs a little protein)
- Cheese (I’m obsessed, and try to watch the portions!)
Additional high-protein sources that help to round out my diet lately:
- Hemp Seeds (10g per 3 tbsp): I add these to salad, buddha bowls and smoothies
- Kefir (11g per cup): Like a drinkable yogurt, kefir is a great addition to smoothies, or own its own
- Cheese (varies): I’ve always been a cheese lover, but I’m especially loving it while pregnant. Again, I try to watch the portions. When we’re out for dinner, quesadillas and flatbread pizzas are my go-to’s right now.
Hopefully my fondness for burgers returns sooner than later, but in the meantime, it’s been fun to play around with alternative protein sources! What are your favorites that I might be missing?