These Vegan Gingerbread ‘Buttermilk’ Pancakes Are Stacked With Protein

Whether you’re following a vegan diet or not| these pancakes are a must. You won’t be able to resist this fluffy and sweetly spiced veganized buttermilk stack ¡ª just one pancake is 77 calories and offers four grams of protein. These are also sweet enough on their own so you can skip the 200 calories of maple syrup and top with a few berries instead ¡ª it’s about 30 calories for half a cup.

Aside from being a healthier| low-cal version than regular buttermilk pancakes| the gingerbread flavor beats any traditional flapjack. These are also made with a vegan egg that’s made with flax meal and water ¡ª so you can skip the cholesterol and get a little extra fiber. That coupled with the added protein powder is the perfect combination for weight loss. They taste amazing hot off the griddle but also refrigerate well if you want to save a few for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Vegan Gingerbread Pancakes

From Jenny Sugar| POPSUGAR Fitness

Vegan Gingerbread Pancakes

Vegan Pancakes

Ingredients

Vegan egg:1 tablespoon ground flaxseed3 tablespoons water

Dry ingredients:1 cup whole wheat flour1 serving vanilla plant-based protein powder1 teaspoon baking powder1/2 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2 teaspoon ground ginger1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Wet ingredients:1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar1 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk1 tablespoon canola oil1/2 teaspoon vanilla1 tablespoon real maple syrup

3 Ways the ‘Magical Fruit’ Can Help You Lose Weight

Beans may be known mostly for their unpleasant odiferous side effect when eaten, but beans are actually nutritious little gems. If you follow these tips, you can eat beans without the bloat, which means you can reap these weight-loss benefits. Here are three reasons to plate-up with beans.

Hello, Fiber!

While the fiber content of beans helps keep things moving, it also gives you that “I’m full” feeling. Satiating your hunger is the key to preventing overeating and consuming too many calories for the day. But you don’t just need to eat a plate of plain beans; in fact, you can add beans to smoothies ¡ª you won’t be able to taste them at all. Or throw them in your scrambled eggs, add them to soups, pasta dishes, or as a topping on homemade pizza.

Related: High-Protein Vanilla Milkshake Smoothie Made With Tofu

Protein Punch

Beans aren’t just for vegetarians. Omnivores can soak up bean protein as well. High-protein beans help keep energy and blood-sugar levels stable, which helps prevent cravings for sugary pick-me-ups that tend to be high in calories and void of nutrition. Since a couple hours between meals tends to be common crash times, including beans for breakfast and lunch will keep you peppy until your next meal. Whip up a sweet potato, chickpea, and quinoa veggie burger, a plate of polenta with beans, or a satisfying bowl of slow cooker chickpea coconut curry.

Related: Satisfy Chocolate Cravings With This Low-Calorie Chocolate Chickpea Snack

Smart Snacking

When trying to beat the scale, you need to make sure that you’re eating quality foods low in calories and high in nutrition. Beans make perfect snacks too, so look beyond the typical carrot sticks and hummus pick-me-up and try pairing your fruit with this chocolate hummus. You can snack on honey-roasted cinnamon chickpeas, veggies with creamy white-bean dip, or these delicious edamame pear crostinis. You can also enjoy a low-cal dessert with fortified with beans, like these peanut butter oatmeal raisin cookies or black bean brownies.

Related: Best Healthy Snack Recipes

Image Source: Jenny Sugar

3 Ways the ‘Magical Fruit’ Can Help You Lose Weight

Beans may be known mostly for their unpleasant odiferous side effect when eaten| but beans are actually nutritious little gems. If you follow these tips| you can eat beans without the bloat| which means you can reap these weight-loss benefits. Here are three reasons to plate-up with beans.

Hello| Fiber!

While the fiber content of beans helps keep things moving| it also gives you that “I’m full” feeling. Satiating your hunger is the key to preventing overeating and consuming too many calories for the day. But you don’t just need to eat a plate of plain beans; in fact| you can add beans to smoothies ¡ª you won’t be able to taste them at all. Or throw them in your scrambled eggs| add them to soups| pasta dishes| or as a topping on homemade pizza.

Related: High-Protein Vanilla Milkshake Smoothie Made With Tofu

Protein Punch

Beans aren’t just for vegetarians. Omnivores can soak up bean protein as well. High-protein beans help keep energy and blood-sugar levels stable| which helps prevent cravings for sugary pick-me-ups that tend to be high in calories and void of nutrition. Since a couple hours between meals tends to be common crash times| including beans for breakfast and lunch will keep you peppy until your next meal. Whip up a sweet potato| chickpea| and quinoa veggie burger| a plate of polenta with beans| or a satisfying bowl of slow cooker chickpea coconut curry.

Related: Satisfy Chocolate Cravings With This Low-Calorie Chocolate Chickpea Snack

Smart Snacking

When trying to beat the scale| you need to make sure that you’re eating quality foods low in calories and high in nutrition. Beans make perfect snacks too| so look beyond the typical carrot sticks and hummus pick-me-up and try pairing your fruit with this chocolate hummus. You can snack on honey-roasted cinnamon chickpeas| veggies with creamy white-bean dip| or these delicious edamame pear crostinis. You can also enjoy a low-cal dessert with fortified with beans| like these peanut butter oatmeal raisin cookies or black bean brownies.

Related: Best Healthy Snack Recipes

Image Source: Jenny Sugar

Nutritionist Recommends How to Get All the Protein You Need, Minus the Meat

There are plenty of reasons to eat lower on the food chain, but you don’t need to sacrifice your protein intake. Nutritionist Julie Upton, MS, RD, of Appetite For Health is here to help with recommendations of high-protein foods minus the meat.

More than half of all Americans are trying to pump up the protein in their diets, according to the NPD Group, but recent headlines based on a World Health Organization report that classified processed meats as “carcinogens,” like tobacco and asbestos, have many protein-seekers looking for more meat-free protein alternatives.

The World Health Organization’s report, published in The Lancet Oncology, included more than 800 previously published studies about diet and cancer and concluded that processed and red meats, like beef, bacon, and deli meats, increase risk for colorectal cancer and possibly prostate and pancreatic cancers. They wrote that for every two-ounce portion of processed meat eaten daily, you could increase your risk for colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

While you don’t need to give up processed meats or red meat entirely, there are no downsides to cutting down on the amount you eat. What’s more, the American Cancer Society recommends eating more plant-based foods and minimizing animal-based products to reduce the risk for cancer.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is .36 grams per pound of pound weight (47 grams for a 130-pound woman), but The American College of Sports Medicine recommends much more. They recommend that endurance athletes obtain .6 grams protein per pound and strength athletes about .75 grams per pound.

As an active “flexitarian,” some of the ways I ensure that I get the protein I need to build and maintain muscle mass is with Greek yogurt, beans, nuts, and soy. I also use some of the protein-enhanced options in the supermarket like legume-based Tolerant pasta, which has more protein per ounce than beef, and pea-protein-infused breakfast cereals that have more protein per serving than an egg. I try to make sure my snacks include nuts, like pistachios, which a new study in the British Journal of Nutrition shows has more protein, six grams per ounce, than most other nuts, and they are considered a “complete” protein with all nine essential amino acids.

Here are some of the best plant-based proteins to enjoy in place of red and processed meats and how I get ample quality protein in my diet without eating meat.

Meat-Free Choice Grams of Protein/Serving*

Split Peas24 grams per 1/2 cupGreek Yogurt (plain)20-22 grams per cupTolerant Lentil or Black Bean Pasta21-22 grams per 3 ouncesCottage Cheese13 grams per 1/2 cupLentils9 grams per 1/2 cupChickpeas20 grams per 1/2 cupProtein-Enhanced Cereal (i.e., Great Grains Protein Blend, Kashi Go Lean, Cascadian Farm Protein Granola)8-10 grams per cupBeans (Navy, Pinto, Black, etc.)7-10 grams per 1/2 cupWhole Grains (Quinoa, Kamut, Barley, Oats, Buckwheat, Wild Rice)7-10 grams per cupSeeds (Hemp, Chia, Pumpkin, etc.)5-9 grams per ounce (about 1/4 cup)Firm Tofu9 grams per 3 ouncesNut Butters (Peanut, Almond, etc.)6-8 grams per 2 tablespoonsSoy Milk8 grams per cupPistachios6 grams per ounce (49 kernels)Eggs6 grams per large egg

*Check Nutrition Facts labels of products for grams of protein per serving.

A Sample Menu

Here’s a one-day eating plan with about 2,000 calories and 85 grams of meat-free protein:

Breakfast

Overnight yogurt, berry, and oat parfait: 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt with 1 cup fresh berries and 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats. Layer yogurt, berries, and oats in a jar or bowl and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy in the a.m.

Protein = 22 grams

Snack1 slice whole-grain toast with 1 tablespoon nut butter and 1/2 banana

Protein = 6 grams

Lunch

1 cup lentil soup with 3-4 whole-grain crackers

Tossed salad with 1/4 cup chickpeas

Protein = 20 grams

Afternoon Snack

Wonderful Pistachios 100-calorie pack (about 30 nuts)

1 soy latte

Protein = 12 grams

Dinner

1 cup Tolerant Lentil Pasta topped with marinara sauce

2 crostinis topped with fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese

Tossed salad with 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Protein = 25 grams

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

Nutritionist Recommends How to Get All the Protein You Need, Minus the Meat

There are plenty of reasons to eat lower on the food chain| but you don’t need to sacrifice your protein intake. Nutritionist Julie Upton| MS| RD| of Appetite For Health is here to help with recommendations of high-protein foods minus the meat.

More than half of all Americans are trying to pump up the protein in their diets| according to the NPD Group| but recent headlines based on a World Health Organization report that classified processed meats as “carcinogens|” like tobacco and asbestos| have many protein-seekers looking for more meat-free protein alternatives.

The World Health Organization’s report| published in The Lancet Oncology| included more than 800 previously published studies about diet and cancer and concluded that processed and red meats| like beef| bacon| and deli meats| increase risk for colorectal cancer and possibly prostate and pancreatic cancers. They wrote that for every two-ounce portion of processed meat eaten daily| you could increase your risk for colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

While you don’t need to give up processed meats or red meat entirely| there are no downsides to cutting down on the amount you eat. What’s more| the American Cancer Society recommends eating more plant-based foods and minimizing animal-based products to reduce the risk for cancer.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is .36 grams per pound of pound weight (47 grams for a 130-pound woman)| but The American College of Sports Medicine recommends much more. They recommend that endurance athletes obtain .6 grams protein per pound and strength athletes about .75 grams per pound.

As an active “flexitarian|” some of the ways I ensure that I get the protein I need to build and maintain muscle mass is with Greek yogurt| beans| nuts| and soy. I also use some of the protein-enhanced options in the supermarket like legume-based Tolerant pasta| which has more protein per ounce than beef| and pea-protein-infused breakfast cereals that have more protein per serving than an egg. I try to make sure my snacks include nuts| like pistachios| which a new study in the British Journal of Nutrition shows has more protein| six grams per ounce| than most other nuts| and they are considered a “complete” protein with all nine essential amino acids.

Here are some of the best plant-based proteins to enjoy in place of red and processed meats and how I get ample quality protein in my diet without eating meat.

Meat-Free Choice Grams of Protein/Serving*

Split Peas24 grams per 1/2 cupGreek Yogurt (plain)20-22 grams per cupTolerant Lentil or Black Bean Pasta21-22 grams per 3 ouncesCottage Cheese13 grams per 1/2 cupLentils9 grams per 1/2 cupChickpeas20 grams per 1/2 cupProtein-Enhanced Cereal (i.e.| Great Grains Protein Blend| Kashi Go Lean| Cascadian Farm Protein Granola)8-10 grams per cupBeans (Navy| Pinto| Black| etc.)7-10 grams per 1/2 cupWhole Grains (Quinoa| Kamut| Barley| Oats| Buckwheat| Wild Rice)7-10 grams per cupSeeds (Hemp| Chia| Pumpkin| etc.)5-9 grams per ounce (about 1/4 cup)Firm Tofu9 grams per 3 ouncesNut Butters (Peanut| Almond| etc.)6-8 grams per 2 tablespoonsSoy Milk8 grams per cupPistachios6 grams per ounce (49 kernels)Eggs6 grams per large egg

*Check Nutrition Facts labels of products for grams of protein per serving.

A Sample Menu

Here’s a one-day eating plan with about 2|000 calories and 85 grams of meat-free protein:

Breakfast

Overnight yogurt| berry| and oat parfait: 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt with 1 cup fresh berries and 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats. Layer yogurt| berries| and oats in a jar or bowl and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy in the a.m.

Protein = 22 grams

Snack1 slice whole-grain toast with 1 tablespoon nut butter and 1/2 banana

Protein = 6 grams

Lunch

1 cup lentil soup with 3-4 whole-grain crackers

Tossed salad with 1/4 cup chickpeas

Protein = 20 grams

Afternoon Snack

Wonderful Pistachios 100-calorie pack (about 30 nuts)

1 soy latte

Protein = 12 grams

Dinner

1 cup Tolerant Lentil Pasta topped with marinara sauce

2 crostinis topped with fresh tomatoes| basil| and mozzarella cheese

Tossed salad with 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Protein = 25 grams

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

Post-Workout Protein Balls – Just 3 Ingredients!

When you need a quick post-workout snack, something with protein and carbs, look no further. Made with only three ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, these protein balls couldn’t be easier to whip up. At 47 calories per ball, a three-piece serving is 141 calories and offers 8.1 grams of protein and 24 grams of carbs. Yet a serving is also low in sugar ¡ª just 5.1 grams.

Made with plant-based protein powder, they’re vegan, and they can also be made gluten-free if you use gluten-free oats. If nuts are off limits, you’ll be happy to know there are no almonds, peanuts, or the like. They’re subtly sweet, oh so soft, and doughy, and because they’re made with just a few simple ingredients, this snack is also gentle on the stomach.

Of course, feel free to jazz up this basic recipe by mixing in a little dried fruit, chopped almonds, or dark chocolate chips ¡ª if you do, just add a little extra banana to maintain the pliable consistency.

Vegan Banana-Oat Protein Balls

From Jenny Sugar, POPSUGAR Fitness

Vegan Banana-Oat Protein Balls

Vegan Protein Balls

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats1 serving vegan vanilla protein powder1 large banana

Post-Workout Protein Balls – Just 3 Ingredients!

When you need a quick post-workout snack| something with protein and carbs| look no further. Made with only three ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen| these protein balls couldn’t be easier to whip up. At 47 calories per ball| a three-piece serving is 141 calories and offers 8.1 grams of protein and 24 grams of carbs. Yet a serving is also low in sugar ¡ª just 5.1 grams.

Made with plant-based protein powder| they’re vegan| and they can also be made gluten-free if you use gluten-free oats. If nuts are off limits| you’ll be happy to know there are no almonds| peanuts| or the like. They’re subtly sweet| oh so soft| and doughy| and because they’re made with just a few simple ingredients| this snack is also gentle on the stomach.

Of course| feel free to jazz up this basic recipe by mixing in a little dried fruit| chopped almonds| or dark chocolate chips ¡ª if you do| just add a little extra banana to maintain the pliable consistency.

Vegan Banana-Oat Protein Balls

From Jenny Sugar| POPSUGAR Fitness

Vegan Banana-Oat Protein Balls

Vegan Protein Balls

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats1 serving vegan vanilla protein powder1 large banana

Nutritionists Reveal the Perfect Weight-Loss Smoothie

Nutritionists Reveal the Perfect Weight-Loss Smoothie

Whether you’re new to the smoothie-making scene with a barely-out-of-the-box NutriBullet in your kitchen or your blender has hundreds of smoothies under its blades| you can easily learn how to make a delicious| satisfying smoothie that can also help you slim down. We’ve enlisted the expertise from three nutritionists u2014 Stephanie Clarke| RD| and Willow Jarosh| RD| of C&J Nutrition and Elyse Wagner| CN| from My Kitchen Shrink u2014 to share the perfect equation for how to make a filling| lip-smacking-good smoothie that will help you lose weight.

Source: Jenny Sugar

| Calories

Smoothies are a great choice for breakfast| since they’re fast and easy and you can take them on the go. Be mindful of just how many healthy ingredients you’re shoving into your blender u2014 it’s easy to make an over 600-calorie creation! When you’re first beginning to make smoothies for weight loss| it’s best to measure ingredients instead of eyeballing them. Willow and Stephanie note that everyone’s daily calorie needs are different depending on height| weight| and amount of exercise. In general| aim for a 300- to 400-calorie breakfast smoothie.

This chocolate banana cashew smoothie is 375 calories.

Source: Jenny Sugar

| Fiber

Getting your fill of fiber is essential for dropping pounds| because it fills your belly and keeps you feeling full longer so you won’t feel hungry. Daily recommendations for fiber are around 25 grams| so Willow and Stephanie suggest trying to fit between five and 10 grams of fiber in at breakfast. Here are some ingredients you can add to your blender to boost the fiber content. The protein content is included to see how one ingredient can offer double the weight-loss power (fiber plus protein!). Aside from the typical fruits and greens listed below| Elyse recommends getting a little creative by adding Swiss chard| arugula| or even romaine.

Ingredient Fiber (g) Calories Protein (g)
1/2 cup blueberries pear berry weight-loss smoothie offers above and beyond the recommendation of fiber for breakfast u201419 grams u2014 just in case you know you have a hard time getting enough later in the day.

Source: Jenny Sugar

| Protein

Getting enough protein in the morning is also essential for weight loss. Since protein takes longer to digest| it also takes more calories to burn| so you’ll shed pounds faster. Consuming 15 to 25 percent of your total daily calories from protein each day is a healthy spot to aim for| which would be 60 to 100 grams. Willow and Stephanie say that the lower-mid end of that range is perfect for most people| so let’s say 65 grams of protein each day| which would be about 10 to 15 grams in the morning. While yogurt and milk are great options for protein-packed smoothie ingredients| check out the others below u2014 some offer tons of filling fiber as well.

Ingredient Protein (g) Calories Fiber (g)
1 cup skim milk 17 90 3
1 tablespoon almond butter vegan vanilla milkshake smoothie offers 17.4 grams of protein.

Source: Jenny Sugar

| Healthy Fats

Don’t avoid fats because you think they make you fat. Although they can be high in calories| small amounts are essential. Willow says| “”Not only does the fat help your body fully absorb all of the nutrients you’re getting from the other ingredients (fat-soluble vitamins A| D| E| and K need fat in order for our bodies to use them)| but fat helps a meal feel more satiating.”” Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) also have the added benefit of raising good HDL cholesterol| lowering bad LDL cholesterol| and helping prevent belly fat. Almonds| cashews| peanuts| peanut butter| flaxseeds| chia seeds| and avocados are excellent sources; just go for small amounts| since they’re calorie-dense.

This clear-skin smoothie is made with both avocado and almond butter.

Source: Jenny Sugar

| Carbs

When trying to slim down| carb intake can be a major concern for many individuals. Since smoothies tend to include fruits| the high-sugar content may worry you. Willow| Stephanie| and Elyse agree that an all-fruit smoothie wouldn’t be the best idea| since it’s a large dose of sugar coming at you at one time with not a lot of protein or healthy fats to satiate you and balance out the meal. Plus your energy levels will soon plummet as your pangs of hunger rise. As long as you include 10 to 15 grams of protein and add some other ingredients besides fruit such as kale| avocado| and nuts| these nutritionists say not worry about overdoing it on the carbs.

This chocolate milkshake smoothie is loaded with sweet| dessert-like flavor and has just over 15 grams of sugar.

Source: Jenny Sugar

| Hydration

Aside from fiber| liquid can also offer that full feeling| as well as prevent the bloating that accompanies constipation. Aside from hydrating fruits and veggies| go for low-cal options like straight-up water| coconut water| green tea| or unsweetened almond milk (it’s only coconut-water ice cubes| Willow suggests cutting down slightly on the fruit when using it as an ingredient.

This debloating pineapple-papaya smoothie is made with cucumbers| coconut water| and ice cubes.

Source: Jenny Sugar

| Smoothie Recipe 1 (Dairy)

Now that you’ve got a handle on the perfect smoothie equation| here are two perfect examples to get you started on dropping pounds.

Pineapple Kale Smoothie

Ingredients:

2 cups kale

1 cup frozen blueberries

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

3 ounces plain Greek yogurt

1/4 avocado

1 cup water

Source: Calorie Count

Source: Jenny Sugar

| Smoothie Recipe 2 (Vegan)

Strawberry Banana Spinach Smoothie

2 cups spinach

1 banana

1/2 cup strawberries

1/5 container soft tofu

1/2 tablespoon almond butter

1 cup unsweetened soymilk

1/2 cup coconut water

Source: Calorie Count

Source: Jenny Sugar

Honey-Roasted Chickpeas Make the Perfect Sweet (Protein) Treat

If you’re craving something sweet, but know inhaling candy will have you feeling flat, reach for this warm, low-cal option instead: honey-roasted cinnamon chickpeas. High in protein and fiber, chickpeas offer a satisfying crunch when roasted, and if you toss them with a little honey and cinnamon, you’ll have a sweet treat that will also give you a boost of energy.

Honey-Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas

From Modern Parents Messy Kids

Honey-Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas

Roasted Honey Cinnamon Chickpeas

Ingredients

15-ounce can organic garbanzo beans1/2 tablespoon olive oil1 tablespoon honey1/2 teaspoon cinnamon1/8 teaspoon nutmeg1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Honey-Roasted Chickpeas Make the Perfect Sweet (Protein) Treat

If you’re craving something sweet| but know inhaling candy will have you feeling flat| reach for this warm| low-cal option instead: honey-roasted cinnamon chickpeas. High in protein and fiber| chickpeas offer a satisfying crunch when roasted| and if you toss them with a little honey and cinnamon| you’ll have a sweet treat that will also give you a boost of energy.

Honey-Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas

From Modern Parents Messy Kids

Honey-Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas

Roasted Honey Cinnamon Chickpeas

Ingredients

15-ounce can organic garbanzo beans1/2 tablespoon olive oil1 tablespoon honey1/2 teaspoon cinnamon1/8 teaspoon nutmeg1/8 teaspoon sea salt