Veg Out! 7 Meat-Free Protein Sources that Satisfy

myfitnesspal seitan with capers

Lorimer Street KitchenIf you’ve checked your Twitter feed in the last few hours, chances are #MeatlessMonday has popped up at least once. The goal of this trend is to kick-start your week with veggies, and become more aware of what you are eating in general, so you can make healthier choices all week. Why go meat-free for the day? Cutting back on your meat intake comes with tons of healthy benefits—to name a few: it decreases your chances of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

If the idea of avoiding meat, even just for one day, leaves you wondering, “How will I get enough protein?” You’re not alone—it’s a worry plenty of people have. But it turns out getting enough of this important nutrient is easier than it seems. There are plenty of plant-based sources of protein that are easy to cook and taste amazing, too.

Tofu & Tempeh Tofu is probably the first food that comes to mind when thinking of vegetarian meat substitutes, and for good reason! Tofu and tempeh are made from soybeans, and they’re incredible sources of protein. Tempeh contains 15 grams of protein per half cup, while tofu offers 20 grams! Both have unique textures that easily absorb the flavor of whatever you are cooking, making them ideal in stir-fries, or seasoned and baked.

Seitan While not as well known as tofu, seitan is a versatile meat substitute made from wheat gluten that packs tons of protein—32 grams per half cup! It’s a great replacement for poultry, and is very simple to cook.

Quinoa Most grains are low in protein, but quinoa has more than 8 grams per cup! Quinoa is delicious as a side dish (try it in place of rice), and works well as a hot or cold breakfast. You can also toss a handful of cooked quinoa into soup or chili to thicken things up.

Beans Beans are little powerhouses of nutrition. High in both protein and fiber, they keep you feeling full longer and provide your body with tons of energy. How much protein are we talking about? 1 cup of kidney beans is loaded with 15 grams of protein, and 1 cup of black beans contains 42 grams! Keep in mind: canned beans tend to be high in sodium, so be sure rinse them before using.

Nuts & Nut Butters Nuts get a bad rap for being fattening, but they are packed with both healthy fats and protein. Most varieties have 5 to 6 grams of protein per ounce, which means you don’t have to eat too many to get a protein boost. To maximize the health benefits, look for unsalted, raw, or roasted nuts, and opt for nut-butters made without any added sugars or oils.

Seeds Like their nutty counterparts, seeds, such as sunflower, sesame and poppy, are filled with protein and healthy fats. Sunflower seeds, for example, have almost 15 grams of protein per cup. They’re delicious toasted and sprinkled on top of a salad.

Greens While green vegetables may not be the protein powerhouses that beans, nuts, and seeds are, ounce for ounce, they still hold their own. Packed with fiber to keep you feeling full, 2 cups of spinach (easy side salad!) contains 2 grams of protein, and a cup of broccoli has 3 grams.

Need help planning a plant-based meal? Try this easy Lemon & White Wine Seitan with Quinoa and Broccolini dish that I created just for MyFitnessPal. (The recipe is in the database for easy logging!)

What do you think of #MeatlessMonday? Are you planning a meat-free meal today?

 

Jennifer Pantin HeadshotWriter, lawyer, and healthy-eating proponent, Jennifer Pantin loves experimenting with new, healthy recipes in her Brooklyn kitchen. Her blog, Lorimer Street Kitchen, is where she shares this passion for food and the belief that healthy recipes can be good for you and delicious, too. Connect with Jennifer and Lorimer Street Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

14 Must-Try Recipes for 2014

14 must try recipes for 2014 myfitnesspal

Here at MyFitnessPal, we’re all about ushering in the New Year with new flavor combinations and healthy recipe ideas. To kick off 2014, here are 14 favorites to try this year. We’ve even added them our Food Database for easy logging.

1. Huevos Rancheros | CookingLight: Spiced up with a little bit of salsa, these eggs make a tasty, protein-packed breakfast that will keep you fueled all morning long.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 222; Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 219mg; Sodium: Carbohydrate: 27g; Fiber: 6g; Protein: 12g

2. Creamy Coconut Steel Cut Oats | Fit Foodie Finds: Slow cooker oats were practically invented for those who can never make time for breakfast in the morning. Set it to low before going to bed and you’ll have a piping hot bowl of creamy oats waiting for you when you wake up.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 285; Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 0g; Sodium: 11mg; Carbohydrate: 34g; Fiber: 5g; Protein: 8g

3. Quinoa Breakfast Bars | The Lean Green Bean: Quinoa is a hot ancient grain that’s packed with protein, fiber and B vitamins. These breakfast bars are great to make ahead and grab on your way out the door in the morning, or for a healthy mid-afternoon snack.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories 398; Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 27mg; Sodium: 194mg; Carbohydrate: 52g; Fiber: 6g; Protein: 12g

4. Eggplant Crostini | CookingLight: These delicious little crostini make for a flavorful, veggie-filled appetizer that will curb those pre-dinner hunger pangs. You could even make a quick weeknight meal out of them!

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 175; Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 4mg; Sodium: 330mg; Carbohydrate: 18g; Fiber: 6g; Protein: 6g

5. Winter Salad with Roasted Beet & Citrus Reduction Dressing | CookingLight: Warm up your tastebuds with this winter salad made with sweet roasted beets, tangy goat cheese and a fresh orange juice reduction dressing.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 127; Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 6mg; Sodium: 253mg; Carbohydrate: 8g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 3g

6. Smoky Sweet Potato Dip | Healthy Aperture: This vitamin-packed, sweet & spicy dip tastes great and, with just 5 ingredients, can’t be much easier to make. Serve it with corn tortilla chips and fresh veggies for a healthy party platter.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 127; Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 13mg; Sodium: 171mg; Carbohydrate: 17g; Fiber: 3g; Protein: 5g

7. Baked Zucchini Fries | Illustrated Nutrition: Perfectly crisp on the outside, and veggie-tastic on the inside, these zucchini fries are the perfect healthy side for a burger or panini, and they make a popular dinner party appetizer.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 141; Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 90mg; Sodium: 230mg; Carbohydrate: 14g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 10g

8. Quinoa Taco Salad | Love & Zest: Fresh mango, black beans, quinoa and crunchy tortilla chips makes this tropical, taco salad the perfect way to get in your greens and whole grains at lunchtime.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 428; Fat: 18g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 270mg; Carbohydrate: 60g; Fiber: 19g; Protein: 14g

9. Kale & Apple Butternut Salad | Love & Lemons: Butternut squash ribbons, sliced apple and massaged kale make for a beautiful and nutrient-packed meal.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 372; Fat: 26g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 110mg; Carbohydrate: 34g; Fiber: 7g; Protein: 7g

10. Black Eyed Peas and Kale Soup | Nutrition Stripped: Black eyed peas are a popular New Year’s tradition. After a bowl of this, you’ll be able to tackle all those 2014 resolutions.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 142; Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 767mg; Carbohydrate: 20g; Fiber: 5g; Protein: 7g

11. Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili | Cookie + Kate: Packed with blackbeans, butternut squash and topped with avocado and crispy tortilla strips, you won’t be missing the meat in this chili. Note: nutrition info below does not include diced avocado or tortilla strips.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 432; Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0g; Sodium: 713mg; Carbohydrate: 72g; Fiber: 25g; Protein: 21g

12.  Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sauteed Apples | Cooking Light: This one-dish pork tenderloin entree is perfect for winter.  Sweet spices coat the lean pork tenderloin, while apples get a savory treatment with shallots and thyme.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 234, Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 89mg; Sodium: 394mg; Carbohydrate: 12g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 24g

13. Shrimp Vodka Pasta | Cooking Light: This simple vodka-marinara sauce is tossed with refrigerated fettuccine and sauteed shrimp for a quick and filling one-dish entree.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 427; Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 184mg; Sodium: 632mg; Carbohydrate: 60g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 25g

14. Blueberry Peach Cobbler | Cooking Light: You didn’t think we’d forget about dessert, did you? This Blueberry Peach Cobbler is a favorite among CookingLight cooks.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 300, Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 58mg; Sodium: 189mg; Carbohydrate: 52g; Fiber: 4g

To record a serving (or two) of any of the recipes above, simply search the recipe name & the source (i.e. Huevos Ranceros Cooking Light) and press Add to Diary. It’s that easy!

Here’s to a delicious and healthy start to 2014!

Photos by: Randy Mayor (1 & 5), Lee Hersh (2); Lindsay Livingston (3) John Autry (4, 12, 14); Regan Jones (6); Kathryn Landel (7); Kristina LaRue (8); Jeanine Donofrio (9); McKel Hill (10); Kathryn Taylor (11); Jose Picayo (13)

Holiday Recipe Remix: Spinach Goatichoke Dip

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For the final installment of the Holiday Recipe Remix series, Elle, our Registered Dietitian tackled one of our all-time favorite cheesy, creamy appetizers. Don’t be thrown off by the name, this twist on the ever-popular spinach artichoke dip will have you more than double-dipping those pita chips.

MyFitnessPal user Susan submitted a classic recipe, laden with cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise which translated into 10 grams of fat in just 1/4 cup. Mind you, that’s only about 4-5 pita chips-worth of dip! As part of our Holiday Recipe Remix Contest, Elle took Susan’s recipe and not only made it healthier but simpler, too.

This Spinach Goatichoke dip contains just 4 ingredients: artichokes, spinach, Greek yogurt, and goat cheese. Elle figured, “why make it complicated when four ingredients satisfies every one of those spinach-artichoke loving tastebuds?”

By substituting goat cheese and Greek yogurt for the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo, Elle was able to keep the tang and creaminess with a lot less fat and calories than the standard dip. It also has way more protein.

Per 1/4 cup serving, this Spinach Goatichoke Dip has:

  • Nearly 40 fewer calories
  • Half the fat
  • 50% more protein – over 7 grams in a serving!

Here, Elle explains how she remixed this recipe:

The recipe is below–just be sure to log your double-dips in MyFitnessPal! To find this food, simply search Holiday Recipe Remix in the food database. There you’ll find the full nutrition info and be able add this delicious dip to your food diary.

Goatichoke nutrition

If you don’t yet have a MyFitnessPal account, you can sign up on the web or by downloading the free app for your iPhoneiPadAndroid or Windows mobile device.

For submitting her recipe, Susan will be receiving a snazzy MyFitnessPal apron, a Withings Smart Body Analyzer scale, a cookbook from Cooking Light, and a Fitbug Orb!

If you missed any of the previous remixed recipes, check them out below!

Spicy, Not Sinful Pumpkin Spice Latte • Sweet Potato Pecan Tart

Sausage Egg Nests • Fresh Green Bean Casserole • Not-So-Naughty Eggnog

That’s a wrap on this Holiday Recipe Remix, but stay tuned – we just might get into some remix action in the ’14.

Healthfully,

The MyFitnessPal Team

Holiday Recipe Remix: Not-So-Naughty Eggnog

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While the name isn’t all that appealing, many of us find eggnog’s sweet, creamy and boozy qualities too good to resist this time of year. Regardless of whether or not yours is spiked with bourbon and brandy though, the nearly 200 calories and 9 grams fat in one small glass of traditional eggnog is enough to make any of us feel a little drinkers remorse the next day.

As part of our Holiday Recipe Remix Contest, we received numerous eggnog recipe submissions from users wanting a little help lightening up their recipe. But in the end, it was Nancy’s Best Eggnog that was just too naughty to ignore. We’re talking heavy whipping cream, half & half, whole milk, and a whole lot of alcohol.

Elle, our Registered Dietitian, was up for the challenge though, and boy did she deliver.

The main ingredient in the remixed nog? Not cream. Not half & half. Good ol’ 1% low-fat milk.

Not only did using milk in place of cream cut major fat and calories, but it more than doubled the amount of protein in a serving.

The remixed recipe tasted identical to the real stuff but, per serving, had

  • 70 less calories
  • 5 less grams of fat
  • More than double the protein – over 5 grams in a 1/2 cup!

Here, Elle explains how she remixed this recipe:

The recipe is below–just be sure to log your nog in MyFitnessPal! Search Holiday Recipe Remix in the food database. There you’ll find the full nutrition info and be able add this delicious holiday drink to your food diary.

Egg nog nutrition

If you don’t yet have a MyFitnessPal account, you can sign up on the web or by downloading the free app for your iPhoneiPadAndroid or Windows mobile device.

For submitting her recipe, Nancy will be receiving a snazzy MyFitnessPal apron, a Withings Smart Body Analyzer scale, a cookbook from Cooking Light, and a Fitbug Orb!

If you missed any of the previous remixed recipes we’ve shared, check them out below!

Spicy, Not Sinful Pumpkin Spice LatteSweet Potato Pecan Tart

Sausage Egg NestsFresh Green Bean Casserole

Healthfully,

The MyFitnessPal Team

Holiday Recipe Remix: Fresh Green Bean Casserole

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Need a delicious and sneakily nutritious side dish for your holiday dinner? Elle, our Registered Dietitian has you covered! 

A few weeks ago we asked you to submit your favorite unhealthy holiday recipes so she could remix them into more nutritious versions of their former selves. MyFitnessPal user Jessica submitted her recipe for a traditional Green Bean Casserole, which called for sodium-socked canned green beans and condensed soup.

This recipe wasn’t the only one of its kind, either. With numerous submissions like it, Elle decided this was one dish in desperate need of a makeover.

Whether your favorite green bean casserole recipe calls for a cheese or cream-based condensed soup, they both usually have one thing in common: really long ingredient lists. And despite what the label might say, those cheesy, creamy canned soups also contain very little real cheese or cream, if any at all. You see, somewhere along the line food manufacturers discovered that thickeners, like modified food starch, are far less expensive and more shelf-stable than cheese and cream, so they started using those ingredients to give their soups that thick and creamy texture.

Elle remixed this recipe by whipping up a homemade cream of mushroom base and by swapping out those canned not-so-green beans for fresh ones. Not only do fresh green beans add crunch and vibrant color, they also contain far less sodium and offer more nutrients than their canned counterparts. She also used greek yogurt and low-fat milk in the base, which adds protein and calcium but not the added fat of cream.

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She improved the sauce and the beans, but Elle thought those tasty French fried onions were just too good to pass up. We’d have to agree. 

Here Elle explains how she remixed the recipe:

The recipe is below–just be sure to log it in MyFitnessPalSearch Holiday Recipe Remix in the food database. There you’ll find the full nutrition info and be able add a serving (or two) of this delicious casserole to your food diary.

Fresh green bean casserole nutrition

If you don’t yet have a MyFitnessPal account, you can sign up on the web or by downloading the free app for your iPhoneiPadAndroid or Windows mobile device.

For submitting her recipe, Jessica will be receiving a snazzy MyFitnessPal apron, a Withings Smart Body Analyzer scale, a cookbook from Cooking Light, and a Fitbug Orb!

Also, if you missed any of the previous remixed recipes we’ve shared, check out the Spicy, Not Sinful, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Sweet Potato Pecan Tart and these delicious Sausage Egg Nests!

Healthfully,

The MyFitnessPal Team

Photos by Elle Penner | MyFitnessPal