Get Protein From Plants

Here are a few plant-based foods that are excellent protein sources:

  • Hemp Seeds. Hemp seeds contain 10 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons, and this comes with plenty of healthy fat to help the protein absorb. Hemp seeds also contain more fiber than their hulled version called hemp hearts. You can add hemp seeds to your smoothies, use it on top of a salad or oatmeal, add it to any dessert or you can even use it to make hemp seed milk.
  • Lentils. One cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein, which can already be enough for an entire meal! You can eat lentils on its own, you can add it to salads, you can even turn it into vegetarian or vegan burgers.
  • Quinoa. Per cup quinoa contains 8 grams of protein, which makes it perfect to add to your meals. Use it as a substitute for rice, add into your salads, or make a vegetable quinoa bowl with scrambled egg for breakfast. Quinoa has a slight nutty taste but be sure to rinse it before cooking to remove the saponins that make it taste bitter. It is also very versatile so you can find a place to pop it into nearly any meal.
  • Nuts. Some of my favorites are walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and cashews. One fourth of a cup already contains about 8 grams of protein. They’re also rich in minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats. You can eat a handful as a snack or incorporate them into all sorts of dishes. Be sure to watch your portion sizes though as a small handful of nuts can add up those calories very quickly.

It’s important to note that if you’ve switch to a vegan diet (no animal products at all) that you combine various sources of protein throughout the day. This will ensure you get all of the important and essential amino acids for optimal health.

Summer Snacking

Nuts

Nuts are your friend. They pack a good deal of calories, so portion accordingly, but they also have healthy fats, fiber and protein. Pick your favorite and parcel into plastic baggies or just tote the whole darn bag and share with your travel mates.

Dried Fruit

Yeah, I know dried fruit has carbs. They have a lot of carbs. But they also have vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. If you portion them correctly you do not have to be afraid of dried fruit. It too is your friend and makes a great travel companion. They pair fantastically with nuts or other protein options.

Dried Vegetables/Legumes

Dried vegetables? Indeed, I have been seeing more dried veggie options in the stores these days. From kale chips to crispy beets to baked chickpeas, there are more savory dried options that are travel friendly. While some may contain oils and flavorings that might be less than ideal, we are still doing better than chips, candy and fast food, right?

Bars

Bars can be risky. I always hesitate and clarify when I recommend bars. Many are loaded with sugar and beefed up with cheap protein fillers and poor quality vitamins. That being said, there are actually some decent options out there with high quality ingredients and actual nutrition. What do I look for? First off, I check the ingredients. Does the list run 4 lines long and contain many unpronounceable words? Put it back. For me, the less ingredients the better.

Also check the nutrient label. How’s the calorie count? Protein content? Fat? In a perfect world I’m looking for 200kcal or less (could be more if substituting for a meal), 8g of protein or more, and a fat content that does not seem obscene (less than 15g, perhaps?). Then I’m looking for simple, whole foods ingredients that I know are providing my body with nutrients and don’t require the manufacturer to add in a host of artificial vitamins to make sure it’s well balanced. I like to see nuts, seeds, grains, fruit, etc. Some might add whey or plant-based protein to pump up the total protein content, which I am fine with. Avoid soy protein isolate.

Now, there are a bazillion bar options out there and I am no expert on them all. I will list a few options I like here, but do realize this list is by no means exhaustive. If you find a bar that meets your personal criteria and you like it, go for it! Here are a few I’ve found that I will travel with in a pinch. I believe most of these avoid the common allergens as well so great options for those with food restrictions.