QUICK + EASY PROTEIN SOURCES FOR VEGETARIANS

**Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by CedarLane.  I received 2 samples of CedarLane’s Egg White Frittatas in exchange for a review on my blog.  As always, all opinions are my own.**

One of the things I struggle with more than anything in my eating is making sure I’m getting enough protein.  As a vegetarian, it is a daily struggle to get in all the protein I know I NEED to be eating.

Why is protein so important?

Protein is what helps to build + restore your muscles.  Every time you workout, whether it’s lifting weight, running, swimming, etc., you are literally putting tiny tears in your muscles.  (We typically feel this in the form of delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.)  In order for our muscles to repair themselves, we need to be eating a good amount of protein.  The more active you are, the more protein you need also.

Protein is made up of amino acids.  There are 20 total amino acids.  There are 9 essential amino acids – meaning our body cannot produce these amino acids themselves and we have to get them from food sources.  Foods that contain all 9 essential amino acids are called Complete Proteins.  These are typically found in animal products (meat, poultry, pork, fish, and dairy), but there are some plants that also contain all 9, such as quinoa, tofu, and tempeh.

But, I can honestly tell you, we buy very little tofu + tempeh, nor is it easy for us to make on a regular basis.  We do eat a lot of quinoa, but I simply cannot eat it every single day.  I like a little more variety than that, and am always looking for quick + easy meal ideas, especially for my lunches.  (OK, so Matt is actually in charge of dinner, so I really don’t even care how long it takes to make it…)

I’ve been a vegetarian for 9 years now.  The first 6 years, I ate ZERO meat, but continued to eat eggs (not my favorite) + dairy products.  The last 3 years, however, I’ve started incorporating fish into my diet as well.  The reason I originally became a vegetarian was for health reasons, and in order for me to continue to get enough protein in my diet since I knew, as a runner, my body desperately needed it, I had to start finding ways to get more protein.  So, fish has become a staple in our household.

But, again, fish is not always an easy thing to prepare (although I do enjoy my tuna packets for lunch), so we usually only have fish for dinner once a week.  My other go-to protein source that I’m trying to incorporate more into my diet is eggs.  But, as I said, eggs are definitely not my favorite.  Not only can I not really eat them plain, but they’re not exactly the easiest thing to make + take.  Matt makes quiche about once a week, but that’s like an hour and a half ordeal (again, I am thankful I am not the cook in the house) and we never have leftovers.  And hardboiled eggs are just NOT my thing.

Thankfully, I’ve discovered CedarLane Egg White Frittatas.  These little guys are great for quick and easy lunches.  They are the perfect serving size and they boast 10 grams of protein per serving!  All you have to do is pop them in the microwave for 2 minutes, and they come out hot + delicious!  I was able to try both the roasted chile and cheese and the spinach and roasted tomato frittatas.  Both we so good, but the spinach + tomato one definitely was the BEST!  I absolutely LOVE the scalloped potato crust too!

I know I really need to start analyzing my protein intake a lot more (I absolutely HATE tracking calories and/or macros), so I know exactly WHAT I need to be eating in order to hit those protein goals.  I’m so thankful for those little frittatas for giving me another easy way to increase my protein intake!