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

The Easiest Slow-Cooker Breakfast For Weight Loss

If you want a heartier ¡ª and healthier ¡ª bowl of oatmeal, choose less-processed steel-cut oats. The only issue is that they take much longer to cook ¡ª at least 40 minutes. Making a big batch to freeze is a great option, but if you didn’t have time to do that over the weekend, this is the quickest, easiest way to wake up to a warm, comforting bowl.

All you need is a slow cooker and a good night’s sleep. Just pop a few ingredients in, turn it on before bedtime, and the cinnamony smell will lure you out of bed into your kitchen. This is a pretty basic recipe, so you can dress it up however you like. Below, you’ll find nutritional info for a few flavor combinations, but feel free to get creative. This recipe makes four servings, so if you don’t have anyone to share it with, just save the rest in the fridge. Then in the morning, with a few beeps of the microwave, you’ll have breakfast waiting for three more days that week.

Slow-Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal

From Jenny Sugar, POPSUGAR

Slow-Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Notes

To increase the protein, replace almond milk with unsweetened soy milk. Note that this oatmeal is very soft and liquidy when it first comes out of the slow cooker, but after 20 minutes or so, it firms up as it cools.

Serve Up These Creamy Vegan Stuffed Shells Tonight For Dinner

The following post was originally featured on Delish Knowledge and written by Alex Caspero, who is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness.

Get #soyinspired with these vegan stuffed shells with butternut sage cream sauce! Tofu ricotta stuffed into jumbo shells and baked in a creamy butternut sauce.

Day by day, our little house is slowly coming along. My in-laws were kind enough to drive down this weekend to help us with the chores that no one wants to do: painting the downstairs, organizing the basement, and endless amounts of yard work. After condo living for the past decade, it’s easy to forget how much effort goes into maintaining a yard. While I’m ready to try my black thumb at gardening this Spring, I sometimes miss the simplicity of having concrete for a front yard. No overgrown bushes, leaves, and weeds to constantly wrestle with.

The highlight of their trip down was bringing our longly awaited farm table, a massive eight-foot oak table that is sure to be the gathering point of our family. My father-in-law has graciously spent his weekends and free time crafting our handmade table and to say it’s a thing of beauty is a gross understandment. I can’t wait for the coming dinner parties, holidays, and events that will happen around that table in the years to come.

Now that we have our table in place, I’m anxiously ready to entertain. I know that the way into most people’s hearts is through a full belly and I’m hoping that this is true with the few friends we’ve made this far. I’m always slightly nervous when I invite people over to dinner for the first time. Should I tell them in advance that we’re vegetarian? Are they going to be OK with our meatless dinners? Deep down I know that everyone is always more than satisfied, but it’s still a lingering question that pops in my mind when I ask new friends to join us for a meal.

Over the years, I’ve relied on a few showstopper dinners that I know will win over any crowd. As the holidays slowly creep toward us, I want to make sure I’m prepared with gorgeous, seasonally-inspired dinners that are not only delicious ¡ª but healthy as well. I want our guests to focus on how yummy the food is instead of what’s missing.

These butternut-sage stuffed shells are worthy of any holiday table. Tofu ricotta stuffed into jumbo shells and then baked in a savory butternut cream sauce, garnished with fried sage and toasted pecans. They are elegant, fairly easy to assemble, and beautiful.

Ironically, tofu ricotta was the very first thing I ever made with tofu. This was way back in high school when I was a newish vegetarian and still experimenting with meat-free swaps. My mom and I bought a container of tofu at the grocery store in hopes of creating a silky ricotta filling, minus the dairy. We opened the package, stuffed it directly into the shells and hoped for the best. Needless to say, it wasn’t our finest cooking moment.

Thankfully, I now know how to make a killer tofu ricotta that actually tastes similar to its dairy counterpart. Crumbled, firm tofu with a bit of spices, lemon juice and nutritional yeast make for a healthy, protein-packed swap this holiday season.

If you want more holiday vegetarian ideas, follow the #SoyInspired campaign on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.

Vegan Stuffed Shells With Butternut Sage Sauce

From Delish Knowledge

Vegan Stuffed Shells With Butternut Sage Sauce

Vegan Stuffed Shells Recipe

Ingredients

12 ounces jumbo shells1/4 cup toasted pecans, finely choppedButternut Sage Sauce:1 tablespoons olive oil1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage3 cups peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped3 garlic cloves, chopped1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes2 cups vegetable brothTofu Ricotta:1 lb. package extra firm tofu, drained and rinsed1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice1 tablespoon nutritional yeast1 teaspoon dried parsley1/2 teaspoon dried oregano1/2 teaspoon garlic powder1/2 teaspoon salt

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

A 2-Ingredient Snack to Help You Lose Weight

This avocado-based snack will help you lose weight for two awesome reasons: it’s full of healthy fats and fiber. Consuming healthy fats and fiber keeps that “I’m full” feeling going strong, so hunger and cravings will be brushed aside, and you’ll be full for hours. Add the protein, crunch, and saltiness of sunflower seeds, and this snack is a weight-loss superstar. It also helps that you can whip it up in two minutes.

    Cut an avocado in half. Use the side without the pit, and save the other half for later since the pit can help keep the green flesh from browning.Sprinkle one tablespoon of salted sunflower seeds in the middle.Use a spoon to scoop out bites right out of the avocado peel. You don’t even need to bother with dirtying a dish.

Source: Calorie Count

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

A 2-Ingredient Snack to Help You Lose Weight

This avocado-based snack will help you lose weight for two awesome reasons: it’s full of healthy fats and fiber. Consuming healthy fats and fiber keeps that “I’m full” feeling going strong| so hunger and cravings will be brushed aside| and you’ll be full for hours. Add the protein| crunch| and saltiness of sunflower seeds| and this snack is a weight-loss superstar. It also helps that you can whip it up in two minutes.

    Cut an avocado in half. Use the side without the pit| and save the other half for later since the pit can help keep the green flesh from browning.Sprinkle one tablespoon of salted sunflower seeds in the middle.Use a spoon to scoop out bites right out of the avocado peel. You don’t even need to bother with dirtying a dish.

Source: Calorie Count

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

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

Make This Tonight to Prevent Tomorrow’s Bloated Belly

If you’ve yet to hop on the overnight-oats bandwagon, this is the perfect recipe to get you started. It’s not only quick and delicious, but it’s chock-full of ingredients that can offer you a flatter, less-bloated tummy. The oats offer complex carbs that fill you up longer and take a while to digest, keeping hunger cravings at bay. This whole grain is also full of fiber, so it keeps you regular, and is proven to speed up metabolism. The added chia seeds are also high in fiber and, once soaked, develop a gelatinous coating which some raw foodists believe helps them to move swiftly through the digestive track.

The yogurt offers probiotics to boost the good bacteria in your gut (go for dairy-free if you’re lactose intolerant). For added fiber, blueberries are a juicy addition, and the banana is rich in potassium, a mineral that helps your body get rid of excess water weight. Pineapple adds a tropical twist, as well as an enzyme that helps ease digestion and banish bloat. Research shows that the calcium and healthy fats in the almond milk and chopped almonds can reduce belly fat. Sprinkle in some cinnamon to kick up your body’s temperature, speeding up your body’s fat burning process, and skip added sweeteners because the fruit is naturally sweet enough.

See how easy it is to use the first meal of the day to battle bloat? And it’ll only take five minutes to make. Just throw everything in a mason jar, put it in the fridge and tomorrow you’ll be spooning into the sweet flavor of flat-belly goodness.

Flat-Belly Overnight Oats

From Jenny Sugar, POPSUGAR

Flat-Belly Overnight Oats

Flat-Belly Overnight Oats

Ingredients

1/2 cup oats1 teaspoon chia seeds1/4 teaspoon cinnamon1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk1/4 cup yogurt (I used Silk Soy Vanilla)1/4 banana1/4 cup pineapple, chopped (fresh or frozen)1/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)1 tablespoon chopped almonds