Looking for delicious and healthy high-protein vegetarian snacks that not only cater to your taste buds but also keep you energized and satiated throughout the day?
Look no further.
More and more people are recognizing the importance of getting enough protein, particularly during midlife when our bodies undergo significant changes. Additionally, there’s a growing interest in including more plant-based options into our diets, either for our health, the environment or both!
Read on to discover 11(plus 3 bonus) tasty and dietitian-approved high protein vegetarian snack ideas.
Why Protein is Key
In midlife, due to our declining estrogen levels, our bodies undergo many changes, and getting enough protein can play a vital role in helping us to:
Maintain muscle: Protein (along with adequate calories and resistance training) helps in maintaining muscle mass, which tends to decrease with age.
Keep our bones healthy: Getting enough protein is essential for bone health, especially important as the risk of osteoporosis increases.
Keep blood sugars stable: Protein plays a crucial role in stabilizing blood sugar levels. By slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates, it helps prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar, which is particularly important during menopause when your body’s insulin sensitivity might alter.
Feel full and satisfied: One of the great benefits of protein is its ability to keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer periods. This is because protein takes more time to digest, which helps curb hunger and reduce the urge for frequent snacking.
Eat enjoyable and tasty foods: Protein-rich foods are not just about nutrition; they are also incredibly versatile and delicious. There’s a wide variety of protein-rich vegetarian options that can be prepared in numerous tasty ways, ensuring that your diet remains both enjoyable and varied.
High-Protein Vegetarian Snack Ideas
Here are some high protein vegetarian snacks that are as scrumptious as they are nutritious. These simple-to-make snacks each contain at least 10 grams of plant-based protein. They are an excellent choice to help you fulfill your daily protein requirements:
1. Nut Butters on Whole Grain Toast: Spread almond or peanut butter on whole grain toast for a balance of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. 3 Tbsps. of nut butters will give you 10 grams of protein.
2. Popcorn with Nutritional Yeast: Sprinkle air-popped popcorn with nutritional yeast for a yummy cheesy treat. 3 Tbsps. of nutritional yeast mixed with 3 cups of popcorn provides 10 grams of protein.
3. Trail Mix: Combine pumpkin seeds with almonds, dried cranberries, dark chocolate chips, and coconut flakes for a satisfying trail mix.
4. Edamame: Those little green pods of joy – salt ‘em, pop ‘em, love ‘em. 1 cup of these protein powerhouses (unshelled in the pods) will provide 10 grams of protein as well as 4 grams of fiber.
5. Protein Smoothies: Blend together plant-based protein powder, a banana, spinach, and almond milk for a quick, protein-rich smoothie.
6. Roasted Chickpeas: Season chickpeas with your favorite spices and roast them until crunchy. They make a great on-the-go snack. 1 cup provides about 10 grams of protein.
7. Peanuts: Plain, simple, and straight to the protein point. ¼ cup will get you there.
8. London Fog Latte with Soy Milk: Earl Grey Tea and frothed soy milk. It’s like a hug in a cup, with protein. Chilly winter day, sorted.
9. Baked Tofu Bites: Marinate cubes of extra firm tofu in your favorite seasonings and bake or air fry until crispy. ½ cup of crispy goodness with provide 11 grams of protein. Try this recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, Sam Turnbull, at It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken (no relation :)).
10. Pumpkin Seed and Dried Cranberry Mix: Mix pumpkin seeds with dried cranberries for a sweet and crunchy snack that’s easy to pack and eat anywhere. 2 Tbsps. of pumpkin seeds provides 10 grams of protein.
11. Soy Nuts: These crunchy delights pack a substantial protein punch. ½ cup provides 18 grams of protein and a whopping 8 grams of fiber.
And for the Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Enthusiasts:
12. Cottage Cheese Bowls: Mix cottage cheese with your favorite fruits like pineapple or peaches. ½ cup of cottage cheese can provide 10 grams of protein per serving. You can also add a sprinkle of chia seeds for extra fiber and protein.
13. Greek Yogurt with Nuts and Berries: A cup of Greek yogurt can pack up to 20 grams of protein. Top it with a handful of almonds and some fresh berries for added nutrients and flavor.
14. Hardboiled eggs: Sprinkle chopped herbs like chives, parsley, or dill over your hard-boiled eggs. Adding spices like curry powder or cumin can also give them an interesting twist. 2 large, hard-boiled eggs will get you 12 grams of protein.
Integrating high-protein, vegetarian snacks into your diet can be easy and really help to make a significant difference in how you feel. Delicious and beneficial for your health. Win-Win.
Protein – The Vegetarian Way
Protein is a vital macronutrient, essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. It’s composed of amino acids, which are the building blocks of our muscles, skin, enzymes, and hormones.
Complete proteins contain all nine essential amino acids that our body cannot produce on its own. Animal products typically offer complete proteins. Incomplete proteins are usually plant-based proteins that lack one or more of the essential amino acids. However, combining different plant-based protein sources throughout the day can provide all the essential amino acids we need.
Vegetarians can enjoy a variety of high-protein foods, such as:
Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans)
Dairy products (Greek yogurt, cottage cheese)
Nuts and seeds (almonds, chia seeds)
Whole grains (quinoa, amaranth)
Soy products (tofu, tempeh, edamame)
Protein needs vary depending on our age, gender, physical activity level, and health status. Generally, women in midlife are recommended to consume about 1.2-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram per day, but this can increase based on individual health needs and activity levels. It’s best to consult with a healthcare provider or a dietitian for personalized recommendations.
Are you a woman navigating the complexities of midlife and looking to optimize your diet for this new chapter? You don’t have to figure it out alone. I offer personalized nutrition counseling tailored specifically for midlife women. Together, we can create a diet plan that meets your unique needs, supports your health goals, and fits seamlessly into your lifestyle. Take the first step towards a healthier, more balanced you. Contact me today to schedule a one-on-one consultation.