Easily Hit 100 Grams of Protein Without Meat, Supplements, or Frankenfoods
“How to Hit 100 Grams of Protein Without Meat”? If you’re reading this post and feeling a little déjà vu, you’re not wrong.
Something horrible happened this weekend – my website crashed.
Fortunately, I had a backup, but I did lose three months of blog posts, which was probably the saddest part – and one of the casualties was my Friday blog post about protein!
I have spent about two days rebuilding the Fit Smart Fast 12-Week Program, which – while it was pretty much destroyed – I fortunately had notes on in Google Sheets, so I was able to cobble it back together faster than I built it the first time.
Unfortunately, I’m not so fastidious with my blog posts. The blog post that I sent out last Friday about protein, for example, didn’t make it, and because I got a good response and lots of questions on that post, I decided to re-write it.
So here goes!
(and hopefully it’s even better this time around!)
Why I’m Writing This Blog Post
First off, why?
Why should we aim for 100+ grams of protein per day?
It doesn’t need to be literally 100 grams. However, most people thrive when their protein needs are 1.1-1.4 times their pounds of lean body mass in grams.
While I would have you calculate this exactly in Month 2 of the FSF program, for the purpose of this blog post, we’re going to keep it simple.
Simply take your bodyweight and divide it by two. A good goal for you is to eat between 0.5 and 1 times your bodyweight in protein grams.
For example, if you’re 150 pounds, this means that you would eat at least 75 grams of protein per day, and hopefully often closer to 150.
Therefore, a fairly average goal to aim for would be 100 grams.
For most women, eating close to 100 grams of protein per day leads to:
- Fat loss
- Muscle retention
This happens for several reasons, but notably because:
- Protein digests more slowly and sends fullness signals to your brain, delaying the onset of hunger… this means less cravings, less mindless eating, and an easier time staying in a caloric deficit for fat loss without feeling hungry!
- Protein is also essential for the building and maintenance of lean muscle mass. This means that as you lose weight, you look fitter and stronger, instead of just a shrinking version of you that’s losing muscle right along with fat (what I’ve heard people call “skinny fat”).
As you can see, protein, in the context of a whole foods diet, is essential for a healthy, successful, sustainable approach to weight loss.
But I have seen protein intake decline for many women, for reasons ranging from ethical concerns to environmental unease to health precautions.
But it’s unfortunate that when most people hear the word “protein,” they immediately think meat.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In fact, it can be quite easy to get your protein intake up to 100 grams of protein per day without meat (although, admittedly, it would be easier with meat!).
Even more importantly (in my book), you can also do it without protein powders, energy bars, and processed foods (I’m looking at you, replacement chicken patties and your ilk).
With the right planning, nailing your protein goals is easy even if you’re busy and on-the-go all the time. Here are some ideas for convenient, portable protein sources that get the job done!
How to Hit 100 Grams of Protein Without Meat
Mix and match to make sure you’re getting in at least 20-40 grams per meal, to add up to 100+ per day!
To make this list, I tried to think about my busiest clients, who are either stuck at work a lot, driving kids around a lot, or both.
What I like about the list below is that it requires minimal preparation and minimal refrigeration! I also tried to include brand recommendations where I think it’s helpful to be specific.
- Canned Salmon (Trader Joe’s “Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon – Boneless/Skinless” as example) – one 6-oz can – 39 g
- Canned Tuna (Trader Joe’s “Albacore Solid White Tuna” as example) – 26 g
- Lentils – one half cup (in raw form) – 24 g
- Smoked Salmon (Vita Classic “Atlantic Nova Salmon” as example) – 4-oz serving – 24 g
- Good Culture Cottage Cheese – one 5.3-oz container – 19 g
- Greek Yogurt (Fage “Total 0% Plain” as example) – one 6-oz container – 18 g
- Egg Whites – one half cup from a carton – 15 g
- Icelandic Yogurt (Siggi’s “Vanilla 0%” as example) – one 5.3-oz container – 15 g
- Black Beans – one half of a can (drained and rinsed) – 14 g
- Greek Yogurt (Fage “TruBlend” as example) – one 5.3-oz container – 13 g
- Trader Joe’s “Yellow Tadka Dal” (Lentils) – whole pouch – 12 g
- Eggs – two hardboiled or scrambled – 12 g
- Chick Peas – one half of a can (drained and rinsed) – 12 g
- Hemp Seeds – three tablespoons – 10 g
- Peanut Butter – natural two tablespoons – 8 g
- Almonds – one quarter cup (whole) – 8 g
- Milk – one cup – 8 g
- Mozzarella Cheese – part-skim, one quarter cup shredded – 7 g
- String Cheese Stick – part-skim mozzarella – 7 g
- Quinoa – one quarter cup (in raw form) – 6 g
- Feta cheese – one ounce – 4 g
- Chia seeds – two tablespoons – 4 g
When you look at it this way, it’s easy to hit your protein goals even if you don’t eat meat other than fish.
But even if you skip the fish, you could have:
- A Siggi’s vanilla yogurt for breakfast with three tablespoons hemp seeds, with a piece of fruit with two tablespoons of peanut butter (at least 33 grams)
- A cold lentil and quinoa salad for lunch (at least 30 grams)
- Good Culture cottage cheese with a piece of fruit for snack (at least 19 grams)
- Shakshuka with two eggs for dinner, with one ounce feta and toast (at least 16 grams)
- Fage TruBlend Greek yogurt for dessert, with two tablespoons chia seeds (at least 17 grams)
With a little planning, it’s easy!
And if you eat fish, the options are even easier.
Most of my clients aren’t vegan or vegetarian, but on the other hand, most of them always don’t want to feel like they’re constantly eating meat. I feel the same way. For omnivores, being intentional and creative about non-meat protein intake can help to diversify your diet and increase the amount of fiber you take in, as well.
The benefits of eating more whole-foods-based protein are boundless. You feel fuller longer, you experience less cravings, and you help yourself out on the path to your physique goals.
If you need more ideas for recipes, download my free cookbook! About half of the recipes are vegetarian, and it’s full of ideas for protein-rich breakfasts like the Herbed Ricotta Toast, Apple Breakfast Hash, Oatmeal Crunch, and Smoked Salmon Tartines!