Having been a vegetarian for nearly 18 years, I can't tell you how many times I've been asked, "So how do you get your protein?" I usually sigh and explain that as long as vegetarians eat a variety of foods and eat enough calories, they're going to get enough protein. I've never felt like I have had to worry about my protein intake, even when I've trained for half marathons and a marathon. Iron, sure. But protein? Nah. Also, Americans eat far more protein than they need each day; women should aim for 46 grams of protein, while men should aim for 56 grams.
I'm also big on whole foods. Foods that your grandmother or great grandmother would recognize. I've tried protein powders before and some of them even taste pretty good, but I much prefer the real deal: dairy products, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
Here are several vegetarian snacks that are loaded with protein, and taste delicious too:
Fruit with nut butter. This is one of my favorite snacks. Just slice up a banana, apple, or pear, scoop two tablespoons of nut butter, and you've got a tasty and filling treat. My favorite nut butters are peanut butter, sunflower butter, and cashew butter. (I'm allergic to almonds, so no go on almond butter for me.)
Approximate protein per two tablespoon serving: 8 grams.
Cottage cheese. I know this one's usually a love it or hate it food, but I've always liked cottage cheese. Try it as a savory snack by sprinkling on some black pepper, or go with the classic sweet snack by topping it with some pineapple. The Cabot full fat kind is my favorite.
Approximate protein per half cup serving: 13 grams.
Smoothies. If you read here at all, you know that I'm a smoothie girl. I love adding a cup or so of Greek yogurt to my smoothies for a protein boost, and sometimes add a little nut butter too. You can find a bunch of smoothie recipes here.
Approximate protein per smoothie made with 1 cup Greek yogurt and one tablespoon nut butter: 20 grams.
Greek yogurt. Mmm, Greek yogurt. I love the plain kind all on its own, or top it with fruit, a bit of granola, honey, or maple syrup for an even more decadent treat. Fage and Cabot top my list for favorite Greek yogurt brands; they're both super creamy and rich.
Approximate protein per one cup serving: 17 grams.
Hard boiled eggs. I try to keep a stash of hard boiled eggs in our fridge at all times. They're great for a quick snack, or to top on a salad or for making a batch of egg salad. We love buying the Omega 3 Feather Ridge Farm eggs (they're a local farm).
Approximate protein per egg: 6 grams.
What's your go-to protein snack source?