Whether you’re a busy mum juggling family and fitness, going through peri-menopause, or anyone seeking tasty and satisfying snacks, prioritising protein can make a big difference in your daily life. The right amount of protein helps you stay full, focused, and fuelled for whatever the day brings, whether that’s looking after children, enjoying a fitness class, or a long day at work. Depending on your specific circumstances, you might need anywhere from 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily.
What is a protein boost?
A protein boost is often a convenient way to add extra protein to your diet. For example, you might take a protein smoothie after a workout – that’s a protein boost. These, however, are 5 quick and easy veggie protein boosts for you to try. You can add these as a snack into your day, as a side with a meal, for breakfast… they’re all very versatile.
When people often think of protein, the first thing which comes to mind is meat. Meat meat meat. And more meat. Meat is a fantastic source of protein, but it’s important to realise it’s not the only one and there are plenty of quick and easy veggie protein boosts too.
It can feel daunting to try and pack a huge amount of protein in at one go, but the key is to space it out. Give these 5 quick and easy veggie protein boosts a go and see how effective they are for staving off hunger and helping with post-workout recovery.
Why do you need protein?
Edamame (young soybeans) are a nutritional powerhouse. They’re a fantastic source of plant-based protein, packing around 17 grams of protein per cup when cooked. What sets edamame apart is its complete protein profile, containing all nine essential amino acids necessary for our body’s functions. This makes it an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans. Edamame is also rich in dietary fibre, which aids digestion and helps maintain steady blood sugar levels. Furthermore, these green gems are packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, folate, and manganese. Additionally, edamame provides antioxidants like isoflavones, which have been associated with various health benefits, including reduced menopausal symptoms.
You can buy them easily from most supermarkets now, often frozen – either shelled or still in their pods. They only take a few minutes to cook and are also delicious just sprinkled with a little bit of salt.
Peanuts are a popular and protein-rich snack option. A half-cup serving of dry roasted peanuts contains approximately 20 grams of protein. Beyond their protein content, peanuts are a great source of healthy fats, primarily monounsaturated fats, which support heart health. They are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, niacin, and magnesium. Additionally, peanuts contain antioxidants like resveratrol, which may have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Including peanuts in your diet can help you maintain energy levels and stay satiated, making them an excellent snack for busy mums and anyone seeking a protein-packed snack with numerous health benefits.
When choosing peanut butter, aim for one which doesn’t have added salt or oil.
Greek Yoghurt and Soy Milk
Combining Greek yogurt and soy milk in a smoothie provides a powerful protein punch. Greek yogurt, known for its creamy texture and high protein content, offers about 10 grams of protein per half-cup serving. Soy milk, especially when fortified, provides an additional 8 grams of protein per cup. This dynamic duo offers a complete source of protein and is rich in calcium, which supports bone health, a concern for many women during menopause. Furthermore, the probiotics in Greek yogurt contribute to a healthy gut microbiome, aiding digestion and overall well-being. The smoothie’s protein content helps keep you full and satisfied, making it an ideal snack to curb hunger and maintain energy levels throughout the day.
Add flavour and additional benefits by adding a tablespoon of peanut butter, spoonful of chia seeds, berries, even spinach!
Roasted crunchy chickpeas are a tasty and nutritious snack, boasting both protein and fibre. A half-cup serving of chickpeas provides around 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of dietary fibre. This fiber content aids in digestion, helps manage blood sugar levels, and promotes feelings of fullness. Chickpeas are also a source of essential minerals like iron, magnesium, and potassium. Roasting chickpeas adds a satisfying crunch and enhances their flavour. Furthermore, they can be seasoned to your taste, making them a versatile and customisable snack option. The combination of protein and fibre in roasted chickpeas makes them an excellent choice for sustaining energy levels and supporting overall health.
You can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, and once cooked, you can add a dash of paprika, dried herbs or just snack on them plain.
A Spanish tortilla, a classic dish made from eggs, potatoes, and onions, offers a hearty dose of protein. Yet, you can totally mix things up depending on what you’ve got in your fridge; this dish is ideal for leftovers. I love to save up leftovers from my children’s plates (this can be anything from a spoonful of peas, to part of a jacket potato) and make this in the evening for the upcoming days.
Depending on the size of your serving, a slice of Spanish tortilla can contain around 8 to 10 grams of protein. Eggs, a key ingredient, provide high-quality protein along with essential vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, vitamin D, and choline. Potatoes contribute dietary fibre and carbohydrates, providing a steady source of energy. The combination of protein, healthy fats from the eggs, and complex carbohydrates from the potatoes makes Spanish tortilla a balanced and filling snack or meal option. Did I mention you can literally put ANYTHING in? Other suggestions are bits of cheese, leftover chicken from a roast, sweetcorn, sweet potato and more.
If you’re starting from scratch and want to roast some veg first without adding to your washing up, place a silicone baking sheet in a baking pan and roast your veg. Then crack in the eggs, mix it all up and put it back into the oven – you don’t have to cook this over the stove.
With a little foresight and planning, you can make some delicious and healthy