There are two very common questions you get when you tell someone you don’t eat dairy or meat. The first is “How do you get your protein?” and the second is “What do you eat then?”. I’ve learned to approach these questions with a sense of humor and I’ve come to enjoy sharing with the non-vegan world about how they can choose healthier snacks for themselves and their families.
Especially since we announced our pregnancy, boatloads of tips, tricks, and comments have flooded our world. Mostly they are encouraging tid-bits and the occasional book recommendation, but the vast majority are uninformed comments pertaining to my eating habits and the health of our baby. I’ve included a few links here and here for books that are about vegan pregnancy for those family and friends who still are doubtful, but for the purpose of this blog post I aim to set your minds at ease.
There are about a billion (not really because if there were over about 200 I would probably get bored with the counting, but just go along with the exaggeration) ways to get protein as a vegan. Its even more important as an expectant mother to get your daily dose of protein, along with calcium, folic acid, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals. These snacks are ones that are tasty, but that I can eat each day to get my count full of the necessary macronutrients.
I’ve included some of the recipes that go along with each snack but most of them are self explanatory. Hopefully this article not only eases the minds of those who love us, but also gives you an opportunity to chose a healthier snack throughout your day. If you are a vegan mother or expectant mother I would love to hear from you! Comment below with your email address or Facebook name. The vegan community is a small one and I’m always excited to meet new people facing similar struggles.
– Bowl of Fruit: This is a daily must for me. Berries are one of the fruits listed by many physicians as one that should be eaten each day. These sugary delights help curb your appetite for sugary snacks (like candy) while also giving you a power boost in the middle of your day. Some great fruits to include in your bowl are berries, nectarines, kiwis, bananas, apples, pineapples, cherries, and peaches.
– Edamame: AKA soybeans. These are an amazingly quick and filling snack. They are also packed full of protein. Just 1 cup of shelled edamame is 20g of protein! You can buy them fresh in some stores, but I prefer to buy them frozen – its cheaper and they are available at most grocery stores. The shelled ones give you more bang for your buck, yet the ones retaining their shells have better flavor. Go easy on the salt though – covering these beans with your daily allowance of sodium no longer qualifies them as a healthy bite. Sure they have tons of protein, but in a world that has sodium on the nutrition label of almost every box, we don’t need salt on our fruits and veggies too.
– Healthy Fried Zucchini: This may seem like a joke, but they really are healthy! I’ve included the recipe below. Very tasty and just the right amount of crunch. The recipe was adapted from this blog.
2-3 small zucchini, cut them into long slices
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 c soy milk
1 -1.5 c bread crumbs – you can make your own but I buy Panko for the crunch and the price
Preheat the oven to 420F. Place a greased or non-stick baking sheet off to the side. Place the flour and garlic salt and powder in one bowl. Then the milk in another separate bowl. Lastly place bread crumbs in another separate bowl. In that order, flour, milk, bread crumbs – dip each slice of zucchini in and place on the baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
These are yummy by themselves, with marinara sauce, or you can make a vegan ranch by following this recipe.
– Baked Kale Chips: This snack is quick and full of green power. Using an olive oil sprayer like this one, lightly coat pieces of kale on a baking sheet. I like to purchase the curly kale – not the dino. It has a better texture and it bakes easier. Shake on some salt if you please and bake these babies at 350F for about 10-14 minutes.
– Biscuits: For the times when you are craving something ‘carby’. We don’t buy bread so these buttery biscuits are great for cold nights when you just want a food that is warm and filling. This recipe is from the Minimalist Baker – she isn’t vegan but makes LOTS of vegan desserts, appetizers, sauces, entrees, the works! Follow the link above for the recipe!
– Soymilk/Coconut Milk and Chia Seeds: suggested to me by my friend Libby (go check out her blog!) this sweet concoction is filling, has lots of protein, and it gives you your daily requirement of Omega-3s, a frequently discussed nutrient in the world of vegans as it is typically derived from fish. Simply add 1 Tbs of chia seeds to a cup (8 oz) of milk (soy or coconut) and let soak for about 10-20 minutes.
– Nuts: be sure to not go crazy here. Nuts are one food that can easily be indulged and that is not healthy. 1 serving as a snack is a great amount – having too much can send you over your daily fat needs in one sitting. Check the label of each nut your enjoy to see how much a serving is. My favorites are cashews and dry roasted peanuts. Another great option are walnuts and pecans. I’m not exactly ‘for’ almonds due to the over production in our country and strain on our bee populations, so our family stays away from all things almond – milk, flour, and whole.
– BBQ Baked Tofu: If you already enjoy tofu this is an easy one to just pop in the oven. You can even make it in bulk and put it in the fridge to eat as a cold snack. Simply preheat the oven to 400F, slice the tofu, place on a non-stick baking sheet, then apply a layer of BBQ sauce. Bake for about 15-18 minutes, remove, flip, and reapply BBQ sauce on the other side. Bake for an additional 10 minutes and you have a yummy, protein filled snack.
Hopefully some of these recipes spark your imagination the next time you are turning to the pantry for something to munch on.