Sample High-Protein Vegan Menu

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Ever wondered what 70 grams of protein looks like on a plant-based vegan diet? I know I have!

After I wrote my Prenatal Supplement post, I received requests for a post on protein so I thought this would be a good follow up post. When I found out the recommended protein intake for pregnant women is 70 grams I worried how I would fit it all in, but after some trial and error I’ve found a pretty good system most days. In this post I’ll show you a sample breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 snacks taken from my own diet. Keep in mind this is an “ideal” balanced day for me which doesn’t happen every single day and it definitely didn’t happen during the 1st trimester when I had zero appetite + loads of nausea! You win some, you lose some. This isn’t about perfection. Some days are lower, some are higher, but I like to think it all balances out for the most part.

Breakfast: High Protein Green Monster Smoothie {makes one 2.5 cup serving}

Lately, this is my basic, super creamy, go-to green smoothie. It’s rather effortless, the ingredients are always on hand, and I’m in and out of the kitchen in 5 minutes flat. Baby likes to dance after I drink this…it’s pretty cute!

Prep time: 5 minutes

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  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 1 cup almond milk, water, or coconut water (I like 1/2c water and 1/2c almond milk)
  • 1-2 destemmed kale leaves (or 1 cup baby spinach)
  • 1.5 scoops protein powder (Note: I no longer use Sunwarrior protein powder due to recent concerns about heavy metal content in protein powder, so I’m using hemp seeds instead. See smoothie recipe link below!)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chia seeds
  • pinch of cinnamon (helps balance blood sugar levels)
  • 3 ice cubes

 

Total protein @ breakfast: 30 grams – this smoothie takes a massive chunk out of that 70g protein requirement! Three cheers for that.

Protein powder-free smoothie: Not into protein powder? This veggie-packed Green Warrior Protein Smoothie using hulled hemp seeds is another great option and clocks in at a respectable 17g protein.

 

Mid-morning snack: 1/2 cup hummus + veggie sticks/crackers = my fav. snack ever. It tastes even better after a morning workout! Nothing beats crunchy, fresh, water-packed veggies. I feel pretty awesome when I eat this!

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Total protein for AM snack: 10g {8g for hummus + ~2g for crackers/veggies}

Tip: To boost the protein of this snack even more, stir 1-2 tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds into the hummus. This boosts protein another 3.5-7 grams, respectively. I might stir in hemp seeds if my breakfast was lower in protein than normal. Or, if I know I have a carb-heavy meal coming up (for example, a pasta meal at a restaurant), I’ll try to boost the protein in my snacks throughout the day.

 

Lunch: ~2 cups Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato, Kale Soup, 1 slice bread or crackers, 1 cup fresh berries (or other in-season fruit).

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You can play around with this soup recipe as much as you want. I’ve made it countless ways and it’s always turned out great. I added in a chopped zucchini into this batch and it was awesome. Nothing is better than a one pot meal!

Prep time: 20 minutes, Cook time: 20 minutes

Total protein @ lunch: ~20g

Tip: If it’s already too hot for soup where you are (jealous!), you can easily turn this meal into a big summer salad. I usually add 1/2 cup cooked French green lentils and 2 tablespoons hulled hemp seeds on top of the salad. This provides 16g protein from lentils and hemp seed alone. I also add sliced avocado, tomato, cucumbers, red pepper, etc. and my go-to Lemon-Tahini Salad Dressing to make one mind blowing salad. You can cook a big batch of lentils at the start of the week so you have some for lunches all week (and you can freeze them so they keep longer). Is it lunch yet??

 

Mid-afternoon snack: 1 apple with 2 tablespoons nut or seed butter (this snack never gets old either). I rotate almond butter, peanut butter, and sunflower seed butter. This homemade Maple Almond butter with hemp, flax, and chia is also incredible if you want something a bit more fancy pants. It probably goes without saying, but you can stir chia and hulled hemp seeds into your nut butter for a protein/omega-3 boost!

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Prep time: 2 minutes

Total protein: 7-8 grams

Tip: Another great snack is 1/4 cup raw almonds (7-8 grams protein). Soak them in water overnight, then drain and rinse well in the morning.

 

Dinner: Quick & Easy Chana Masala (p.163 from The Oh She Glows Cookbook).

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We are big fans of this quick and easy chana masala recipe. It requires just 15-20 minutes of prep time and it’s total comfort food.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes, Cook time: 20 minutes

Total protein @ dinner: 17g per serving (based on 4 servings)

Other high-protein dinner options: Protein Power Goddess Bowl. Another quick meal is my Marinated Balsamic, Maple, and Garlic Tempeh (p. 199 from OSG cookbook) with 1 cup cooked quinoa and 1 cup grilled/sautéed/steamed vegetables. Also check out my entire entrée category for other ideas!

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You didn’t think I skipped dessert did you? Cue more baby dancing! For the first 4 months of my pregnancy, I couldn’t be bothered with sweets which was really strange because I usually love sweets. Nope, I was much more interested in salt and vinegar chips and dill pickles. However, over the past month I’ve had more cravings for chocolate so I think I’m going to be ok after all. This is a square of my Two-Layer Raw Chocolate Brownies (recipe coming soon). It’s an awesome way to end the day, all-natural, and there’s even protein snuck in there thanks to hemp seeds and walnuts! My rough estimate is that there is around 4g of protein per raw brownie. I’ll take it!

Protein @ dessert: 4g

TOTAL PROTEIN FROM ENTIRE DAY = approx. 88 grams (or 63 without protein powder)

As you can see, I blew by the 70g requirement on this particular day thanks in part to that high protein smoothie I started my day with. Even if I removed the protein powder from the morning smoothie, I would’ve still hit 63 grams which is very close. Some days I might only hit 50-60g of protein while others could be up to 90g…it totally varies (as I think it does for most people). We all have those days when life just gets in the way and it’s nearly impossible to eat balanced despite our best efforts so I try not to stress about it too much. As long as I’m mindful of my nutrition most days I think it all balances out in the end.

Notes:

All of these recipes can be made in advance. An hour of prep work on Sunday goes a long way. You can make a double batch of soup and freeze half of it. Likewise for cooking lentils, grains, and beans! I’m trying to get into the habit of large batch cooking so it helps when the baby is here…I’m sure I’m going to need it.

And yes, the green smoothie can be made the night before. Store the smoothie in an air tight jar in the fridge (travel mugs work nicely and keep it cold) and just give it a good stir before guzzling.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

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parveen ahmad February 17, 2016

Thanks for the protein info. Just curious about the calorie content per meal?

Reply

Angela Liddon February 25, 2016

Hi Parveen, I haven’t calculated the calorie content myself, but free online calculators like Nutritional Data and Calorie Count.com will be able to help you find out the meals’ nutritional information. Hope this helps! :)

Reply

Jade November 30, 2015

Hey Angela! All of these look SO yum!
I am a newly turned vegetarian and am trying to ensure I am getting all of my protein and other nutrient needs. I am worried that my diet is always so high in carbs and fat as I am trying to build the protein levels but I feel like most vegetarian proteins are high in carbs and fat…do you have any info on this! Do you think carbs and fat are fine as long as they are healthy?!
Thanks heaps! I have your book and follow your blog. Love your work! x

Reply

Jessica November 2, 2015

Hi Angela! Do you advise not using a raw vegan protein powder during pregnancy? I just found out I’m pregnant and love Garden of Life’s raw protein powder but am wondering if it’s safe to use? Thanks so much for your help!

Reply

Kristen August 23, 2015

Angela, Hi…I just came across this post from last year. And I just wanted to Thank you! It’s great! I love the meal plan format! With back to school it’s sooo helpful to plan the day/ week! Do you think you will be doing more meal plan blog posts in the future? Or maybe a meal plan that we can subscribe to and pay for? Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication! I use your cookbook all the time and can’t wait for the next one! Kristen

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Susan June 26, 2015

Angela,

Did you track your nutrition intake manually throughout your pregnancy, or do you use an app? I find that most apps are geared toward calorie counting. I would love to know what you have found helpful regardless of your method!

Thanks,
Susan

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Meg March 6, 2015

Did you consume chia seeds throughout your pregnancy? I have been adding them to my breakfasts but then read mixed things about if they’re “safe” during pregnancy (but I don’t have a sense for why they would be unsafe). Thanks!!

Reply

Erika van Amerongen January 28, 2015

Hello! Very very nice recepies! Just one question….I didn’t quit believe the breakfast 30 proteins so I checked it with the cronometer.com and it is weigh beneath the 30 proteins. So….did I do something wrong? Is the chronometer not correct or did you do something wrong with checking out the protein levels?
I hope to hear from you…because I am trying to figure out how to eat enough proteins without eating meat/ fish and other animal proteins.
Greetings, Erika

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