5 Delicious Ways to Get More Protein as a Vegetarian

5 Delicious Ways To get more Protein as a Vegetarian

The first time I switched to a primarily plant-based diet was last Summer during my yoga teacher training. I was doing yoga up to 8 hours per day and combined with a vegetarian diet, had never felt more fit in my life by the time my 200hr training was over. I loved it so much in fact, that I decided to go “weekday vegetarian,” which allowed me to still indulge on the weekends. Unfortunately, over time I did drop that and go back to eating meat nearly every day… that is until my fiancé, Bay, asked if I’d like to go back to being a vegetarian. The catch was that this time he would join me! I of course said yes, and after several months of a mostly plant-based life, I can say I honestly love it so much. We have both felt more energetic, less bloated, and Bay has lost 10 pounds in just a few short months.

As much as I love my switch to a more sustainable and healthy diet, I will say there have been a few challenges that I’ve encountered. As many of you know, after quitting my 9-5 life I’ve been working out a lot more than I used to, sometimes even doubling up on workouts due to different events I’m invited to. As much as I enjoy working out, I recently started fatiguing faster during my fitness classes. So much so that I was beginning to worry that I was experiencing “muscle wasting,” which is when your body starts to eat away at your muscles from lack of protein.

OMG. How terrible is that?

I quickly decided I needed to take a much more proactive approach in ensuring that I’m getting enough protein now that I no longer can rely on meat. Thankfully, through lots of research and a few switches to my diet, I’m feeling so much better!! It’s actually very very easy to get enough protein without eating meat, but it does require a little tweak to your grocery list. Below, I’ve listed out 5 different ways I’ve been able to incorporate more protein into my diet and that I hope will help you as well!

swell ice cream protein shakes

Double Up on Leafy Greens

Greens should always make up a substantial part of your diet but unfortunately that’s not always the case. When I went vegetarian I made sure to always have kale and spinach on hand to throw in my smoothies, scramble with eggs, bake for snacks (kale chips are awesome!) and add to salads. Mindbodygreen has a great article on 10 high protein veggies you should add to your diet!

Legumes are your new bestie

Get ready to stock up on beans and lentils because you should be eating a lot of them. Most legumes are low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in protein, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and fiber which are super helpful for a plant-based diet. Experiment with different chili recipes (I loved THIS one), swap white rice or potatoes for lentils, and try out unique taco combinations!

Don’t skimp at breakfast  

You’ve heard it’s the most important meal of the day but I found this is especially true when you’re primarily plant-based and workout a lot. I personally am super fond of market bowls. The best part is they’re easily customizable and you can prep most of the ingredients ahead of time. I like to fill mine with quinoa, sauteed kale, cherry tomatoes, avocado and feta cheese. I then top it with  fried egg. Other great options include whole grain toast topped with your favorite nut butter, bananas and chia seeds. Or a greek yogurt bowl drizzled with honey and topped with granola and fresh fruit.

Don’t be afraid of Tofu

I never used to eat tofu or tempeh prior to being a vegetarian but now I can’t get enough! Many restaurants offer tofu as a replacement for any meat dishes, which makes it a go-to option when dining out. The thing to keep in mind is that tofu takes on the flavor of whatever you put it in… so be sure to marinate it ahead of time to make it extra tasty! Bay and I made a fried tofu bimimpap that was to die for! (Recipe coming soon)

Drink Protein Shakes

protein shakes

I’ve never been the type to drink protein shakes, mostly because I really can’t stand the grittiness and artificial taste of most protein powders. Thankfully I found a much more delicious solve that I think you all are going to love. You ready for it?

Protein Ice Cream.

Yes. That’s right. On days when I’m not getting enough of the 4 other protein options I mentioned, I like to treat myself to a protein milkshake made with Swell Ice Cream. Swell Ice Cream is most definitely “the next wave” of ice cream — each of their 10 different flavors serve up 10 grams of protein per ½ cup serving with only 120 calories and 9 grams of sugar. To put that in perspective, many popular yogurt brands have less protein and 2-3 times the amount of sugar. I like to add one full cup of ice cream to each shake which brings the protein base count to 20 grams. Once you jazz it up with other healthy ingredients you can easily bring the amount of protein to 35 grams (which is nearly the same as a boneless, skinless chicken breast).

So not only is Swell Ice Cream a great way to get more protein but it also adds such a creamy texture to your shakes that literally make any combo taste just like dessert. When I was doing my taste testing research (best job ever!) I asked you all what flavors you wanted to see me make recipes from and the final winners were: Chocolate Chip Cookie Batter, Vanilla Bean, and Salted Caramel Crunch.

Each of the final protein shakes feature 5-6 ingredients, making them SUPER easy to whip up at home. Ready to try them out for yourself? Pick your favorite recipe below and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram if you make one!

Swell Ice cream shakes

Gramma’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Shake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Protein Shake

This milkshake is packed with protein, heart-healthy fats, and antioxidants, making it a healthier twist on your grandma’s favorite chocolate chip cookies.

1 cup Chocolate Chip Cookie Batter Swell Ice Cream

1 tbsp cashew butter

¼ cup rolled oats

1 tbsp Organic Cacao powder (not cocoa powder)

1 cup almond milk

Lots of ice

Blend on high for 1 minute. Add more nut milk if needed.

(If you’re feeling “extra” you can garnish your shake with dark chocolate chips or even a chocolate chip cookie like me)

Strawberry Shortcake Shake

Strawberry Shortcake protein shake

The perfect option for Summer! The granola is a healthier way to get that cake like taste but if you really want to treat yo self, feel free to swap that ingredient out for Nilla wafers or graham crackers instead.

1 cup Vanilla Bean Swell Ice Cream

10 frozen strawberries

5 fresh strawberries

¼ cup Oats n’ Honey granola

1 tbsp cashew butter

2 cups almond milk

Blend on high for 1 minute. Add more nut milk if desired.

Garnish with a fresh strawberry and crushed granola!

Salted Caramel Banoffee Shake

Salted Caramel Protein Shake

Coffee smoothies have been my favorite for quite some time and I wanted to try making a healthier version of Starbucks Caramel Macchiato. This one might not taste exactly like that but it’s pretty darn close and SUPER tasty! The salted caramel, banana and cold brew come together to create a delightful shake that’s perfect for breakfast.

1 cup Salted Caramel Crunch Swell Ice Cream

¼ cup cold brew

1 tbsp cacao powder

2 tbsp cashew butter

1 cup almond milk

1 frozen banana

Handful of ice

Blend on high for 1 minute. Add more nut milk if desired.

I hope you all found this post to be helpful and will inspire you to add more plant-based meals to your life!! Meatless Mondays are always a great way to experiment with going vegetarian or vegan and I guarantee you’ll feel amazing.

Lots of love,



This post was sponsored by Swell Ice Cream. As always, all thoughts and opinions (and recipes) are completely my own! Thank you for supporting the brands I love. ~ Mel 

One Comment

  1. Gail

    I’m 65 and recently had a colonoscopy. The result is that I have sever diverticulosis. After researching the subject for 2 weeks, I have converted my diet to plant based. However, in an effort to not feel deprived I also include organic flax fed chicken. Corn is FULL of lectins. “The Plant Paradox by Steven Gundry” will tell you all about it. Lectins are the plants defense against predators. Please have a look at the danger of the natural occurrence of lectins in vegetables. This comment is too long, so I’ll end here. ❤️

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