I have been a veggie lover my whole life (I was the kid who loved broccoli) – raw meat has always made me scrunch my nose and try to look the other way when I have eaten it… I’d have to confirm with my mother, but I don’t think I cooked or touched raw meat until I was well into my college years. I would eat it, but looking at it raw and realizing that it is the innards of an animal just made me cringe… still does.
So combine my lifetime of raw meat confusion, completing the Ultimate Reset back in December (which calls for a full Vegan diet for the final two weeks), and reading the book ‘Skinny Bitch’ while Vegan for those two weeks… and here I am! Two months later and I still haven’t touched meat (and don’t plan to). It’s my choice, I don’t care what others do, and I am not some animal rights person – I do love animals, but I am not going to judge anyone on their decisions. So with that preface, get ready to behold my favorite Vegetarian hacks that I have developed over the past 2 months!
Before I get into my daily breakdown, let me just tell you that I am also counting my macros and I workout 6 days a week with relatively heaving lifting and running 3 miles 4-5 of those days. This means I need to maintain my protein levels and also eat for energy to ensure I can get through my run. Alright lets go!
Ranked in order of my favorites – note that I am not currently eating eggs, so add in your eggs for breakfast if these are in your diet! They are a good source of protein:
- Tempeh with 1/4 avocado
- See my “how to make tempeh blog” for the recipe I use… I LOVE THIS STUFF. I used to have tempeh for dinner 3-4 nights per week, but when I started counting macros, I swapped my daily oatmeal for tempeh so I could get all of my grams of protein for the day. The only issue with tempeh and avocado first thing in the morning is the fat content – I need to be sure to keep a low fat content the remainder of the day (typically isn’t too much of a problem, as you will see below)
- Protein Pancakes
- My favorite breakfast on the weekends – I have yet to find the perfect recipe, but the way I have made these has been low in carbs (aside from the maple syrup) and high in protein and even higher in deliciousness.
- Chocolate Shakeology with 1 tsp peanut butter
- This is my go-to when I was too lazy to prep my tempeh. It gets me a decent amount of protein first thing in the morning, but shakeology is also relatively high in carbs (about the same amount of grams as the protein), so just beware of this. Make sure you aren’t using too much peanut butter, it is uber high in fat.
- Oatmeal with flax seeds, cinnamon and pure maple syrup
- My old favorite (sigh). Delicious and cozy oatmeal is great before a weekend when I have some long runs, but the lack of protein is certainly not macro counting friendly.
- Non-fat greek yogurt – this is a great source of protein and has been incorporated into my daily diet – I eat the vanilla or peach Light N Fit
I ranked these in order of most often eaten. As you can see, I typically eat a salad for lunch.. I am a creature of habit.
- Salad with either 1/4 cup of quinoa or 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds, 9 carrots (not sure why I count 9), and 1-2 tbsp low fat balsamic (I try to get the one with the lowest carbs and fat)
- I stay away from cheese because of the fat content and add pumpkin seeds when I have them in stock to ensure I have some protein in there
- Spaghetti Squash and spinach
- Lately I have strayed away from this one for lunch since it has limited grams of protein… but it sure is delicious – I’ve added it to one of my potential snacks in the afternoon instead
>>Afternoon Snack Time!
I love all of these equally:
- Baked Sweet Potato
- On Sunday meal prep day, I typically bake 4-6 sweet potatoes for the week for me and my fiancé – which usually isn’t enough for both of us for the week. We eat them plain and they are delicious treats that feel like a filling cheat meal…but they aren’t! 1 cup of a baked sweet potato is only around 115 calories!!! WINNING
- Quinoa and Spaghetti Squash Fritters
- I love these little guys. Made with quinoa, spaghetti squash, flour, parmesan cheese and an egg white (I’ll bake with eggs but wont eat them by themselves yet…) – I’ll make about 20ish of these on a sunday and bring 3-4 of them each day for a snack – i’ll typically eat them an hour before my workout for a bit of carbs before my run
- A bag of frozen green beans or broccoli
- Like I said, I love vegetables. And nothing is easier than microwaving a bag of frozen veggies and chowing down.
- 1/2 scoop protein powder
- This is a new one, and I have been having this daily so I can keep my grams of protein up for the day
- Spaghetti squash and spinach – see lunchtime above 🙂
I’ll run typically 1.5 – 3 miles each day and then do one of my lifting workouts. I LOOOOVE Amino Energy, which is from Optimum Nutrition and gives me a boost of energy in the afternoons – it has way less caffeine than pre-workout and has the benefit of adding BCAA’s, so I love it in the afternoon before I workout.
>>Post Workout (and typically my drive home)
- 1 Scoop of protein powder
- This is essential for my macros – protein and recovery all in one yummy shake
- 1 apple
- When I run more than 3 miles, I always need some sugar after my workout, so I love my apples. During the week, I don’t usually eat apples because I am running 3 miles or less and don’t need the extra carbs
>>Dinner (more like a light snack since I’ve been eating all day long)
- Morningstar Black Bean Burger with katsup (no bun)
- This has been my ‘almost-daily’ dinner for a few weeks now. I absolutely love these things and the make me very happy. I used to crave burgers and fries when I got home, and this 10000% satisfies my craving, even without the bun
- I’ll also add in one of the following:
- Stoned Wheat Thins with home-made guacamole
- Quinoa and Spaghetti Squash Fritters (3-4) with katsup
- Sliced sweet potato fries (prepped on the weekend with literally nothing but some non-stick pan spray)
- Anything that gets me to my macros but still keeps me under my 1500 calorie goal
Two days a week I also get wine 🙂 Our goal is to only drink two days per week, and on these two days, we have to workout prior to our beverages. It has worked so far for 2017!
Item to note – I do count my macros, but I also have a calorie goal. If I am still hungry after I eat my dinner, I will eat more, but I try to stay under 1500 calories as long as I don’t feel famished. This has worked for me, and it will be different for everyone.
I have loved making new vegetarian friendly things when time allows and my fiancé loves eating them, even though they are meat free. The meal plan above is my typical Monday-Friday, and on the weekends, I usually make something fun for dinner, like our new favorite Pesto Pizza.
I am digging the vegetarian life – and feel free to re-check above – I am not eating crap loads of nuts or high-fat protein to meet my macros! It IS possible to workout like a beast (#girlswithmuscles), be a vegetarian and meet your macros – let me know if you have questions 😉