Protein Powah

I can eat meat again! Run for your lives chickens, cows, pigs and lambs! 

Actually, I was surprisingly neutral on my feelings of going back to being carnivorous. There were a few times in the middle of my 40 meat free days that I found myself craving a burger, which was weird considering I'm not one to dream about burgers (sushi and tacos- that's the food I'll dream about!) And there was the time I cheated and ate meat to sample FISHTAG's new bar bites.  But laying in bed the night before Easter, I was thinking about what my first meat would be and I almost got grossed out by it for a hot sec! I momentarily considered giving up meat for good and going pescetarian- but let's be real.  There will be a drunken night when all I want is some lamb over rice from a halal cart (drenches in whit sauce, obvs). 

Everyone pesters vegetarians with the same question- "Are you sure you're getting enough protein?" And yes, I'm getting enough protein thank you very much.  I can honestly say that there are proteins that I prefer to chicken, turkey, etc. after this Lenten journey of mine. Where, you ask, do I get my muscle-building protein from? 

(Protein = muscles!)

1. Greek Yogurt
Tis true.  Greek yogurt is surprisingly chock full o' protein.  Like, up to double the amount of protein in regular yogurt.  

In 6 ounces, which is the size of a standard Greek yogurt cup- there's between 15-20 grams of protein- the amount in 2-3 ounces of lean meat.  And guess what? The serving size for a check breast is 3 ounces.  So 1 plain Greek yogurt is pretty  much equivalent to a chicken booby!  And Greek yogurt is SO fun to be creative with.  Actually- light bulb- I definitely need to write an ode to Greek yogurt and its versatility. Aka a blog post with all my crazy Greek yogurt recipes. 

(True Life: Chobani should hire me as a spokesperson)

2. Peanut Butter
As my URL suggests, I am a peanut butter fanatic.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't eat peanut butter (when I gave THAT up for Lent last year, things got ugly). I have a jar of peanut butter at my desk at work. I have about 7 jars of peanut butter in my apartment. Peanut butter is my boyfriend. Peanut butter is also a course of protein- hooray! 

2 tablespoons has around 8 grams of protein.  I put 2 tablespoons of PB2 powdered peanut butter in my oats almost every day and I usually dip some puffins cereal in peanut butter at night.  Another great snack is rice cakes with peanut bytter, apples with peanut butter, carrots with peanut butter and Quest bars topped with peanut butter!  Peanut butter on peanut butter! 

But why you gotta be so high in calories, peanut butter? :( 

(That's why PB2 is so great, check that ish out!

Never met a nut I didn't like.  Some favorites include: almonds, pecans, walnuts and macadamia nuts.  Like peanut butter, it makes me sad that they are high in calories and fat- but it's healthy fat! Right? Right. And yep, you guessed it, PROTEIN!

Almonds are one of the most protein-packed nuts, with 20 grams in a cup of sliced almonds.  But let's be real, unless you want to set yourself back 529 calories- you're not eating an entire cup! But 1 ounce (about 23 whole almonds) is 163 calories, a doable snack containing 6 grams of protein- and it will keep you feeling full thanks to 3.5 grams of dietary fiber! 

Another favorite of mine, pistachios, has equally  impressive stats.  1 ounce of nuts has 6 grams of protein, 162 calories and 2.9 grams of dietary fiber. 

Though all delicious, not all nuts are created equal in the protein department.  You should do your research- this chart is super helpful! Pecans and macadamia nuts, for example, are lower in protein and high in calories (so sad). 

4. Tofu
I'm not going to pretend to be a tofu expert. I'm aware that there are some concerns about soy products and that they are in fact products (i.e. not natural). A lot of the concern comes from the fact that 90% of soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified.  Again, I'm not expert so you may want to check out this article

What I do know is that a half cup serving of tofu contains 10.1 grams of protein, is easily paired with about a million different foods, and tastes yummy! I try not to eat an over abundance of soy and soy products, but every once in a awhile a meal centered on tofu (or my new obsession- tempeh) really hits the spot! 

5. Hummus
I LOVE hummus.  I go through a container a week nooo problem! Made with chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, whatever floats your boat), hummus contains around 2.5 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons.  But if you're anything like me there's no way you're eating just 2 measly tablespoons!  I put hummus in my wraps and paninis, on top of omelets, and of course, us it as a dip for carrots, cucumbers, celery, wheat thins, etc. 

6. Egg Whites 
Typically, I opt for liquid egg whites over whole eggs with the yolk. I know there's debate on how many yolks you should eat, how they affect your cholesterol, yadda yadda. Whether you're eating the yolk or just the whites, eggs are a great source of protein, with around 24 grams in a cup of liquid egg whites! 1 egg contains 6 grams.  Whatchya waiting for? Go make a veggie omelet! 

(An excuse to show off my Easter eggs)

7. Quest Bars <3
Eventually, I will dedicate an entire post to these incredibly delicious treats. But for now, just know that each bar contains 20 grams of protein. And you should all have them in your cabinets. 

(If you've had a Quest bar, you'll understand my excitement!) 

8. Seafood
Last but not least, I eat a TON of seafood.  Raw, cooked, seared, shellfish, salmon, tuna- I love it all. And a lot of it is packed with protein. 3.5 ounces of clams has 14 grams of protein. 

(Heck yes my dad just made me clams on the half shell!)

A serving of flounder? 16.7 grams.  3.5 ounces of salmon? 22.5 grams.  It's fabulous. 

Follow Up: For Easter, we had a giant party egg sandwich bagel made. 

I fell in love with sausage all over again and it is confirmed- though I may eat it a lot less now, I'm not parting with meat for good. 

(It ain't a party unless there's a party bagel! With sausage.)