High Protein Pantry Foods

Your pantry is vital to sticking to a healthy diet. Aside from keeping all your flavor enhancers (herbs, spices, etc.), your cooking oils and grains, your pantry can keep plenty of high protein foods! Many people automatically think of animal meats when talking about protein, however there are plenty more to choose from. These high protein pantry foods are always in my pantry! I also restock and make sure I incorporate these into my weekly meals.

The Best High Protein Pantry Foods

  • Lentils – Lentils are legumes that can be dried or canned. They contain about 23 grams of protein per half cup! You can cook these as a side dish, use them as a base for a buddha bowl or toss them in with a salad.
  • Beans – Beans come in a large variety such as black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, cannellini beans, etc. They contain about 22 grams of protein per half cup. You can use beans similar to how you use lentils.
  • Nuts and nut butters – Nuts and almond or peanut butter are great high protein snack items. Not to mention they contain plenty of healthy fats. Nuts contain between 4-12 grams of protein per quarter cup. Nut butters contain about 5-8 grams of protein per two tablespoons.
  • Quinoa – Quinoa is an ancient grain that is a great replacement for pasta and rice. It contains about 12 grams of protein per half cup. Bonus: quinoa is a complete protein meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids! This is a great protein food for vegetarians.
  • Canned tuna – Canned tuna is one my favorite pantry items. It is so easy to use and great for quick lunches. One can of tuna contains about 41 grams of protein! You can make an easy tuna salad with Greek yogurt, celery, lemon and salt and pepper.
  • Protein powder – Protein powder may not be the most ideal way to get protein, but it’s a must in my pantry. It’s a great addition to smoothies. There are so many options to choose from that range in protein content. Whey protein is highest in protein, but vegan or plant-based protein powders are great as well. My favorite is Perfect Fit!


*Nutrition facts obtained from the National Nutrient Database.

Vanilla Latte Candied Almonds

Almonds are one of my favorite grab and go snacks. I can keep some in my car, in my purse and have a baggie ready to go in the kitchen. A quarter cup of almonds provides you with 214 calories, 8 g protein, 19 g fat and 4 g fiber. They are full of that healthy unsaturated fat found in nuts. Almonds are also packed with biotin, vitamin E, and manganese. This little holiday twist on almonds will give you a little change and a snack to look forward to! These are also the perfect gift for coworkers or any foodie who likes to snack. Stick em in a mason jar with a bow on top and you’re good to go.


Vanilla Latte Candied Almonds


  • 1 lb raw almondsalmonds-4
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp espresso powder


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk egg white until it becomes frothy. Add vanilla extract and continue to whisk. In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and espresso powder. Add almonds to egg white mixture and toss to coat. Next add the sugar mixture and stir to combine. On a baking sheet lined with foil, spread coated almonds evenly in one layer. Bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool before eating!

Number of servings: 16 | Serving size: 1/4 cup almonds
Calories: 235, total fat: 19 g, total carbohydrates: 9 g, dietary fiber: 4 g, sugars: 4 g, protein: 9 g


What is your favorite type of nut during the holiday season? Tell me below!


Keys to the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is heart healthy and based on typical foods and recipes found in Mediterranean cooking. There is research to support that the Mediterranean diet helps to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) which decreases the risk for heart disease. More than 50% of the fat calories in this diet comes from unsaturated fats, specifically monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, fish and nuts. In addition, the Mediterranean diet is also associated with a reduced incidence of cancer and other chronic diseases.

Med Diet

The Mediterranean Diet

  • Plant based foods – this includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Making these foods the main stay of this diet introduces extra vitamins, minerals and fiber. Try to eat 8-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Eat nuts in small amounts. Legumes include beans and lentils which adds protein and fiber.
  • Healthy fats – olive oil, fish and nuts are all high in unsatruated fats. Use olive oil instead of butter to cook with. Fish is a lean protein to be eaten once or twice a week.
  • Herbs & spices – cooking with fresh herbs and spices in place of salt. This naturally creates a low sodium diet. Dried herbs are also used. Look for salt-free herb and spice mixes. Garlic, onions and citrus can also be used to give food flavor.
  • Lean proteins – this includes chicken, turkey and fish and limits red meat to once or twice a month. Avoid high fat red meats such as sausage, bacon and other high fat cuts. Choose low fat dairy such as 1% milk or skim milk and nonfat or low fat yogurt.
  • Red wine – this is clearly my favorite part of the diet. Drink red wine in moderation. It has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease if consumed in moderation meaning 5 ounces of wine daily.
  • Exercise – lifestyle factors such as exercise and social support also play a role. Savor the time you have with friends and family and making eating a social experience. Make sure to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise per week.


Plant Based Protein

Recently, I have been moving towards a more plant based diet. This is not because I have anything against traditional animal protein, but it has been easier to incorporate plant based proteins into my diet. I love cooking with plant based proteins and I enjoy the flavors as well. Of course my other favorite proteins are eggs, seafood, and chicken in that order. I’m not a huge fan of red meat other than the occasional burger, but every protein has it’s place in our diet.


8 Plant Based Proteins

  1. Lentils – These are legumes that are a balanced source of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. One cup of lentils has 18 grams of protein and almost 16 grams of fiber. They are considered a complex carbohydrate as well. Lentils are great as a side dish, in soups and stews, with rice, and on salads. Try my favorite lentil recipe here!
  2. Beans – These are also legumes that have a similar nutrition profile to lentils. There are a large variety of beans including black beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, and garbanzo beans. One cup of beans has about 15 grams of protein. Beans can be used in a similar way to lentils. Check out my favorite bean salad here.
  3. Quinoa – This is a gluten free grain (actually a seed) that is used in a similar way to rice. One cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. I love using this as my grain for any meal or making it the main ingredient. Try this main dish quinoa bowl recipe.
  4. Hemp seeds – These are amazing little seeds since they are complete proteins! Meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids. Three tablespoons of hemp seeds contains 9 grams of protein. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids. I like sprinkling these on top of salads or in smoothies and oatmeal.
  5. Chia seeds – These are a great little seed that do a great job of filling you up! They absorb water and turn into a gel-like substance perfect for making “pudding.” Two tablespoons have about 4 grams of protein. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids. I like mixing them into yogurt and smoothies. Try one of my favorite pudding recipes here.
  6. Nuts – Not surprising, but almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, etc. are a great source of protein and healthy fats. Typically, a 1/4 cup of nuts contains between 7-9 grams of protein. The best and easiest way to enjoy nuts is as a snack! You can always add them into a granola, eat nut butter, or grind them into a flour. Check out my favorite on-the-go snack here.
  7. Seeds – Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. are similar to nuts. They contain about 7-9 grams of protein per 1/4 cup. Seeds have a more earthy taste than nuts, but are also simple to use. Sprinkle them on salads, use them in granola, or eat them as a snack. Try pumpkin seeds for a different snack here.
  8. Tofu – Or edamame. Soy foods contain about 20 grams of protein per serving. That’s a lot! These products can be marinated, baked, grilled, fried, turned into a sauce or burger. Try a few different recipes before you give up on tofu/tempeh. I love using edamame as a side dish or snack. I buy the frozen pods or shelled version.


Get Glowing

The sun is starting to shine brighter and it’s time to start showing some skin and healthy hair is always in season. Vitamin E and biotin are both keys to get glowing. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant. It protects cells against damage caused by free radicals and boosts our immune system against viruses and bacteria, as well as plays a role in red blood cell formation. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for growth and also assists with metabolism. Biotin is found in foods that are good sources of B vitamins. While you can get both of these as supplements I prefer to get my vitamins and minerals from real food! Check out how you can get plenty of both below.


Vitamin E Sources

  • Almonds – the perfect snack or salad and oatmeal topper
  • Avocados – a creamy addition to salads, sandwiches, and sides
  • Spinach, kale, broccoli aka green leafy vegetables – take your pick as a side or salad
  • Sunflower seeds – sprinkle on salads or as a snack
  • Vegetable oils, such as sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean oils – cook with these on occasion

My favorite vitamin E-rich snack: half an avocado drizzled with one teaspoon of honey and topped with one tablespoon of sunflower seeds.

Biotin Sources

  • Avocados – rich in vitamin E and biotin so the perfect excuse for guacamole
  • Chocolate – a one ounce snack with some added antioxidants
  • Eggs – breakfast (duh) or hardboiled for a snack
  • Legumes – beans and lentils as a side or on a salad
  • Milk – drink 8 ounces with breakfast or use in a smoothie
  • Nuts – a handful is always a perfect snack
  • Nutritional yeast – sprinkle on oats, granola, yogurt, salads, or in a smoothie
  • Pork and salmon – both can be the star of your dinner


Go Nuts!

Nuts are the perfect small snack or crunchy topping. They are all packed with healthy unsaturated fats and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Almonds and peanuts have the most amount of protein and walnuts have omega-3 fatty acids! Be aware of your portion size and you’ll get the most bang for your buck. Too many nuts can result in a high caloric intake and a high fat intake. Consuming a moderate amount of fat per day is key. It is recommended that 25-35% of your daily calories come from fat, healthy fats that is! Check out the nutrition (from the nutrient database) below.

Ideas for snacks: 1/4 nuts with dried fruit or cheese, 1/4 cup of chopped nuts on yogurt or a salad, 1/4 crushed nuts on top of fish or chicken, 2 tbsp natural nut butter on fruit or toast.

Almonds – Per 1/4 cup: 214 calories, 8 g protein, 19 g fat, 4 g fiber. Almonds are packed with biotin, vitamin E, and manganese.

Walnuts – Per 1/4 cup: 164 calories, 4 g protein, 16 g fat, 2 g fiber. Walnuts are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, copper, and manganese.

Brazil Nuts – Per 1/4 cup: 219 calories, 5 g protein, 22 g fat, 3 g fiber. Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, vitamin E, and thiamine.

Pistachios – Per 1/4 cup: 172 calories, 6 g protein, 14 g fat, 3 g fiber. Pistachios have plenty of vitamin E, copper, and iron.

Peanuts – Per 1/4 cup: 207 calories, 9 g protein, 18 g fat, 3 g fiber. Peanuts are high in biotin, copper, and manganese.

Cashews – Per 1/4 cup: 197 calories, 5 g protein, 16 g fat, 1 g fiber. Cashews are a good source of copper, phosphorous, and manganese.

Macadamia – Per 1/4 cup: 241 calories, 3 g protein, 25 g fat, 3 g fiber. Macadamia nuts have high levels of thiamine, manganese, and copper.


Three Things


1. Many weight loss tips can be extreme or unacheiveable. These five tips are top notch! Have positive thoughts towards yourself and your body. Take each small goal met as as achievement. Don’t focus on what you think you can’t eat and instead focus on all the delicious things you can eat. Menu planning, grocery lists, and meal prep really do make all the difference. You will be more likely to stick to your plan if you are organized. Make specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals that will help you reach your overall goal. Lastly, eat fresh, whole foods. This will never change! Fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains will always be in style. Don’t fall for packaged diet food that can lead you to overeat.

2. Healthy fats were highlighted in my Mediterranean Pesto Bowl this week. Here are five more recipes showcasing healthy fats. Total fat intake should be between 20-35% of your daily calories. Great sources of unsaturated fats include olive oil, avocados, nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts), seeds (pumpkin, sesame, flax seed), and fish. Specifically, flax seeds, walnuts, and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and cancer prevention.

3. What do you eat when you’re stressed? I tend to go for a cupcake. But, I also go for them as a celebration or needed pick me up. A new poll shows the top five most comforting foods are pizza, chocolate, ice cream, mac and cheese, and chips… Duh. Cravings aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Learning how to work around them and indulge on occasion is key. An ounce of chocolate never hurt anyone – right?!


How To: Add More Protein

What is protein? Protein is a class of organic compounds that are made up of one or more long chains of amino acids and are an essential part of all living organisms. It makes up the structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, and collagen and as enzymes and antibodies. There are nine essential amino acids that we must get from our diet because our body does not make them. Bonus: there are some foods that are “complete” proteins which contain all of the amino acids. Proteins derived from animal foods including meats, fish, poultry, milk and eggs are complete. Complete proteins that are vegetarian are quinoa, buckwheat, hempseed, and edamame.

How much protein do you need? The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein/kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams of protein/pound of body weight. On average this equates to 56 grams of protein for men and 46 grams of protein for women.


There are four main categories of foods that are high in protein. Add these to your diet throughout the day and you’re well on your way to reaching your protein goals. There are some vegetables that are higher in protein than others, but this list contains the most bang for your buck.

One: animal protein. This includes beef, pork, chicken, turkey, game meat, seafood, and dairy and eggs. Choose lean cuts of these choices to decrease the fat and calories while getting the same amount of protein. Do use the egg yolk however you enjoy eggs because that is where most of your protein is! Two: legumes. This includes lentils, peas, beans, such as black beans, kidney beans, white beans, chickpeas, and edamame. One cup of black beans or lentils provides about 18 grams of protein! This is almost half the amount you would get from one cup of animal protein. Plus, as mentioned before, edamame is a complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids. Three: nuts and seeds. All nuts contain at least 4 grams of protein per 1 ounce. Pumpkin seeds have 8 grams per 1 ounce and sunflower seeds have about 5 grams of protein per 1 ounce. Also, hempseed is a complete protein that contains 9 grams of protein in three tablespoons. Four: grains. Quinoa, buckwheat, and wild rice top this list. Both quinoa and buckwheat are complete proteins and wild rice contains 7 grams of protein per one cup. Combine grains with animal protein or legumes to create a high protein meal.

How do you add more protein? Adding more protein throughout the day is essential. Being aware of adding more servings of protein at each meal and snacking smart is simple. Consider adding eggs, milk, or yogurt at breakfast. For lunch and dinner choose an animal protein plus legumes or a high protein grain. Sprinkle salads and other dishes with hempseed or nuts. When snacking think nuts and seeds, yogurt, or cheese along with your regular snacks. If exercise is a large part of your lifestyle consider using whey protein or vegan protein powder after a work out. For a quick and easy protein boost choose a protein bar that has less than 10 grams of sugar and at least 8 grams of protein. Adding one or two more servings of protein a day will help you reach your goal.


Filling Fiber

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate. Fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules like most carbohydrates so it is passed through the body undigested. Fiber helps you feel full for longer by slowing digestion. It also helps lower blood cholesterol and helps keep blood sugar levels normal. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water while insoluble fiber does not. We need enough of both types of fiber in out diet.

Most people need 20-30 grams of fiber each day. Eating whole fruits and vegetables, choosing 100% whole wheat products, and choosing a variety of foods will help you reach your fiber goal. Below are foods to focus on to get enough filling fiber.

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Filling Fiber Foods


  • Black beans 15 g per cup
  • Lentils 15.6 g per cup


  • Artichokes 10.3 per medium artichoke
  • Broccoli 5.1 g per cup
  • Brussels sprouts 4.1 g per cup


  • Apples 4.4 g per medium apple
  • Avocado 6.7 g per half
  • Berries 3-8 g per cup
  • Pears 5.5 g per medium pear


  • Barley 6 g per cup
  • Bran flakes 7 g per cup
  • Brown rice 3.5 g per cup
  • Oats 16.5 g per cup
  • Whole wheat pasta 6.3 g per cup


  • Chia seeds 5.5 g per tablespoon
  • Flax seeds 2.8 g per tablespoon
  • Nuts 2-5 g per 1/4 cup

What are your favorite sources of fiber? Any sources that surprised you? Tell me below!


Healthy Snacks On-The-Go

It seems like every weekend I’m traveling or running all over the city. I’m known for keeping multiple snacks on me at all times. I’m always worried I’ll be stuck somewhere with no healthy snack options! While it is possible to pick up good options on the run I like to be prepared ahead of time. Here I have listed for you the best and simplest healthy snacks for when you’re on-the-go. Don’t forget your water bottle to stay hydrated during your trip!

If you forget to pack snacks – no worries! Don’t be tempted by the sugar-filled, sodium-loaded snacks staring you down in the aisles of a convenience store. Go for snack bars with less then 10 g sugar and at least 3 g protein or a nut mix with dried fruit. Also, many times there is a small refrigerated section with veggies and dip, yogurt, and fruit which gives you some great options.


Top 10 Healthy Snacks On-The-Go

  1. Whole fruit or dried fruit
  2. Nuts/seeds or nut butter
  3. Snack bars
  4. Veggies or edamame
  5. Hummus
  6. Low fat cheese
  7. Granola or popcorn
  8. Hard boiled eggs
  9. Greek or skyr yogurt
  10. Dark chocolate

My favorite healthy on-the-go snack recipe is my Goji-Go Trail Mix. My favorite Siggi’s right now is Pumpkin & Spice, obviously. What’s your favorite snack? Tell me below!