Usually, when I tell someone I’m a vegetarian, they respond with:
“But how do you get enough protein?” or
“Don’t you get tired of eating salad all the time?” or even,
“What DO you eat?”
So I thought I would share some of my go-to items that you can always find in my fridge (and maybe clarify some misconceptions about being a vegetarian along the way – it’s not ALL salad, even though I do love my salad!)
I love fruit and could seriously eat it for every meal of the day. I mix up what I buy depending what is on sale, but I almost always have apples and bananas on hand. Easy to grab on the go, and no prep work necessary!
With my new new salad chopper, I want to add all the veggies to salads now. Favorites include: broccoli, zucchini, tomato, and cucumber. Roasting vegetables is also a quick, easy way to prepare them. I love roasting brussel sprouts in the oven, adding spices or balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of honey on top when they come out of the oven. I’ve been known to throw in a handful of spinach to a smoothie or shake as well – it gives it a green color but I promise you can’t taste a spinach flavor at all. Easy way to sneak more vegetables in!
I usually just buy plain or vanilla yogurt since it’s healthier without flavors (i.e. extra sugar!) added in, but I make exceptions for things in the fall.
I will use egg whites as a substitute if a recipe calls for eggs, or cook them plain and eat with roasted veggies as a quick way to up my protein intake for the day. I’ll add some spices or a wedge of laughing cow pepperjack cheese for flavor (—> my new favorite, ever tried laughing cow cheese??)
I use almond milk in my coffee, smoothies or shakes, and as a substitute for regular milk when baking. Almond milk doesn’t contain the protein that regular milk does, but it is high in calcium.
Protein Powder + Bars
I go in stages of using protein powder for everything I make, and then not using it at all. When I do use protein powder, I typically use the Quest brand. I love that you can buy single serve packets at GNC or online, so I use them to make protein shakes or add some to oatmeal to kick up the protein content. (Oatmeal + peanut butter quest protein + peanut butter on top = heaven). For awhile, I was addicted to Quest bars, but I ate so many that I got sick of them… so these are some other kinds that I’ve tried! My current favorites are Combat Crunch bars (I find them at GNC and Vitamin Shoppe) and Premier Protein bars (I find them at Wal-Mart, Giant, or Food Lion). I like protein bars because they are a quick thing to grab on your way out the door and help me to include enough protein in my diet. I usually pick out chocolate flavors too, and the more chocolate in your day the better, am I right?
Oatmeal and protein pancake mix are two of my favorites to have on hand. Breakfast for dinner, anyone? Read about how I make my protein pancakes here! Flap Jacked is another great brand of protein pancake mix if you are looking for one to try – it has more protein than Kodiak Cakes does, but I also thought you could taste the protein powder more. Other grains I buy include: quinoa, barley, wheat rice, couscous, and risotto.
Nuts + Peanut Butter
You can almost always find almonds in my pantry! Since I don’t eat meat and don’t really use butter, oils, etc. most of my fat content comes from nuts and peanut butter. Which is great because that means more peanut butter!
A girl’s gotta have options.
Chocolate usually makes it way into my day in some form… whether that is M&M’s (—> the pumpkin spice latte limited edition ones are actually really good!), a chocolate flavored protein bar, spoonful of chocolate peanut butter, chocolate chips in pancakes, etc. I believe it is all about balance!
*This is not a comprehensive list of everything I eat, but it does includes a lot of the foods I typically have on hand.
- What are some of your staple food items you keep on hand?