The Protein Plane

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Guess where I am?


Oh yes.  The airport.  Again.


In case you’re counting (and I sure as hell am), this adds up to my 11th flight in 15 days.  As of midnight tonight, that’s five hotel rooms, five rental cars, and nine trips through airport security, which means multiple pat downs by many female members of the TSA staff (here’s why I don’t walk through the full body machines).  And as of tomorrow, all this effort will conclude in my 7th Operation Beautiful presentation in a little over two weeks, marking the end of my spring speaking season. 


So, that’s why my posting has been a bit sporadic over the past few days!  I’m just barely keeping my head above water.  Meals have been random, sleep is hard to come by, and exercise beyond walking is practically non-existent.   But you know what?  I’m sad that the big speaking crush is almost over.  I really love to spread the Operation Beautiful message and meeting so many people is loads of fun.  (In case you’re wondering, save for a few local events, I’m not doing any more until October, when BabyHTP will be a few months old.  And I doubt I’ll ever do a slew of events like this once she or he comes into the picture – it’s just too much!).


All that being said, I have been making a BIG effort to eat as healthy as possible.  It’s hard; not going to lie.  I’ve been relying on my tried-and-true airport tricks (How to Eat Healthy in an Airport), but I have a new focus when I seek out goodies – PROTEIN!  Honestly, even as a vegetarian, protein intake is never something I gave much thought to.  Most Americans, especially those who aren’t intensely active, eat far more than their fair share of protein, protein deficiency is rare (but here are the warning signs), and the few times I’ve counted my protein grams over the years, my intake as a vegetarian has been more than adequate.


But one of the big issues discussed during my Bradley Method classes has been nutrition, especially the importance of getting enough protein during pregnancy (here’s a introduction to the topic).  My Bradley instructor told us that one great reason to eat more protein during pregnancy is that protein makes your bag of waters stronger, and if you eat a decent level of protein, your water is less likely to break prematurely.  As a side note, I did some quick Googling to see if I could find a specific study to back up this claim, but I think was too sleep-deprived to search correctly and couldn’t find anything.  Regardless, the theory sounds pretty important to me.  And it was all the motivation I needed to seek out more protein (lately, I’m really scared of going into labor prematurely – completely irrational given my pregnancy so far but a fear regardless).


The exact amount of protein a preggers lady needs varies from source to source, but my Bradley instructor said aiming for 75 grams or so is probably a good goal. 


Here are some protein-rich vegetarian snacks that I’ve been enjoying lately:


Eggs – scrambled, in omelet form, or hard-boiled

Greek yogurt (more protein than regular)


Cottage cheese

Pumpkin seeds (especially because they are high in iron)

This brand of rice protein powder in smoothies

Tofu (I try to limit my intake to a few times a week, though)

Whole grains, especially quinoa

Nut butters


Not all of these snacks travel well or can be carried through security, but some can be shoved in my suitcase.  And I can usually find things like protein shakes or cheese bites in airport kiosks.


So – all that being said – I would love some additional protein snack suggestions to enjoy on the road or at home!  I tend to burn out on my old standbys quickly.  I need some new ideas – and I know you all will have some creative suggestions!


See you in New York!



  • Christine @ BookishlyB March 6, 2012, 9:45 pm

    I thought your Babble article was interesting, and makes sense. Personally, I fly maybe once a year so I don’t worry much about going through the scanners. As soon as I’m flying for two I’ll definitely avoid them. Good info!

    • CaitlinHTP March 6, 2012, 9:46 pm

      Agree – once or twice during pregnancy, I wouldn’t probably worry, but I fly so much in such a short amount of time, it worries me… even though yes, I know I get radiation in flight regardless!

      • Liza April 8, 2012, 9:11 pm

        My dad was an oncologist and doesn’t let me go through those scanners. And I’m not even preggo.

  • Kelly @foodiefresh March 6, 2012, 9:47 pm

    You know something that would pack well? Two protein pancakes sandwich style with PB&J in the middle. I’ve never done it myself but it sounds like a winner. Hope you’re getting some rest!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats March 6, 2012, 9:51 pm

    making your own hard boiled eggs and bringing them on the plane works well, or string cheese if you don’t wait too long to eat it! Also, rather than buying protein bars, I’ve made Jamie Eason’s protein bars from, using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour. Also nuts travel easily!

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) March 6, 2012, 9:51 pm

    The concern about radiation exposure from those imaging devices is unfounded. The “malfunction” argument is erroneous, since they simply do not produce, and are not capable of producing, higher energy waves.

    Radiation exposure doesn’t cause miscarriages, so that observation regarding higher rates of miscarriage among flight attendants is irrelevant.

    Signed, I have two nuclear science degrees from MIT and assert that you need not be concerned about being imaged

    • Victoria (District Chocoholic) March 6, 2012, 9:53 pm

      (I should be more precise and say “non-prompt” radiation exposure doesn’t cause miscarriages – flight attendants do not experience prompt exposure from their work.)

      • Caitlin March 6, 2012, 9:58 pm

        Trust no one 🙂

        Paranoid preggers lady slash former X-files fan

        • Victoria (District Chocoholic) March 6, 2012, 10:02 pm

          Then I’d be careful around nuts (Radium) and bananas and OJ (naturally radioactive Potassium). Also don’t hang out around basements (Radon) or any smokers (Polonium 210). Make the husband chance smoke detector batteries (Americium). And stay away from vintage orange dishes (Uranium).

          Oh, and don’t share a bed with the husband either. He’s putting off quite a bit of radiation every night.

          Signed, Radiation is everywhere and we love it. It keeps us warm!

          • Caitlin March 6, 2012, 10:04 pm

            Noooooooooooooooo!!! *hunkers down in paranoia bunker* lol love you Victoria.

          • Victoria (District Chocoholic) March 6, 2012, 10:07 pm

            Watch it that bunker is probably made out of concrete which has a bunch of uranium and thorium in it.

        • Kristin March 7, 2012, 3:04 pm

          yep, question authority and think for yourself 🙂

          • LizP March 7, 2012, 9:32 pm

            Really? Worried about radiation when you won’t vaccinate your kids?

            I’d really love to see you write a blog post/babble post about your views on that topic using hard science as evidence.

          • CaitlinHTP March 7, 2012, 9:32 pm

            Liz – Definitely never said I wasn’t vaccinating my kids.

          • Krista March 8, 2012, 12:04 am

            “Thinking for yourself” only works if you’ve put in the necessary research.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) March 6, 2012, 9:53 pm

    Great list of protein Caitlin! I’m a protein girl through and through. After studying nutrition for my certification, I realized that I needed way more than I thought. Since I’ve increased my protein intake, my strength has really improved and I have not increased my weights. I can do push ups like a never thought I could before! I eggs and quinoa are my favorites along with nuts/nut butters for some good healthy fats. I love making my protein supplements thicker more like a pudding and dipping protein waffles in them (peanut flour, oats and eggs).

    Have a great trip!

  • Colleen March 6, 2012, 10:02 pm

    I’m with you. trust no one and be careful. Hopefully your last trip goes well.

  • Alina March 6, 2012, 10:02 pm

    Spicy roasted chickpeas! They’re so good and SO easy.
    What you need to do:
    Put a pan of about a T of olive oil in a hot (400F) oven for about 3 minutes.
    Rinse and pat dry chickpeas, then put a teaspoon each of corriander powder and ground cumin seed into a bowl with them and mix.
    Take the hot oil out, pour the chickpeas on the pan and bake for 13 or so minutes. Let cool and use a slotted spoon to move onto paper towels.

    SOOO easy, but so yummy and so protein-filled!

  • Alina March 6, 2012, 10:03 pm

    Also, dried roasted edamame beans- they have about 40% more protein and way less fat then peanuts or other similar nuts.

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery March 6, 2012, 10:04 pm

    As it happens I literally just posted about vegan traveling ( I mixed up some raw vegan (and gluten free) protein powder with some raw cacao powder so that I can buy soy milk at starbucks and make shakes in my blender bottle. I can’t imagine how exhausted you must be. You must have super human strength and patience!

  • shelly March 6, 2012, 10:13 pm

    I carry individual packs of Justin Almond nut butters with me when I travel. I’ve never put them in my “liquids only” baggie and I’ve also never had a problem getting them through security!

  • mary @ what's cookin with mary March 6, 2012, 10:16 pm

    On my last trip to the store I picked up roasted edemame. They are crunchy and have a slightly nutty flavor. I am addicted. There was a blend with goji berries and also one that was wasabi flavored. I went with the lightly salted. I just threw the package away and can’t remember exactly, but I think they were 14g’s of protein in every serving. I’m actually going to try and make my own tomorrow since I’m out.

  • Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction March 6, 2012, 10:20 pm

    Nuts for sure! Easily portable, tasty and filling 🙂

  • M March 6, 2012, 10:37 pm

    Ok ,not for on the road, but just discovered
    how delicious this is-
    heat one cup of skim milk (or vegan milk option!)
    and then stir in one tablespoon of
    (organic)unsulphured blackstrap molasses-soooo
    Blackstrap molasses is high in iron(unfortunately
    calcium like in milk deters iron absorption though!)
    But delish comforting drink at night or late aft(and reminds me somehow of a latte…so a coffee
    I have heard some people drizzle it on oatmeal
    or on their peanutbutter toast too…..

  • Catalina @ Cake with Love March 6, 2012, 10:37 pm

    Caitlin since u are in NY are u planning a blogger meet up? I would love to come, I think you will be very busy but it doesn’t hurt to ask!;)

    • Caitlin March 8, 2012, 10:04 am

      Aw! I was super busy and didn’t have time. I would’ve loved to meet though.

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More March 6, 2012, 10:38 pm

    I always bring bags and bags of trail mix with almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, whatever. That way I get a good mix of protein and something sweet to balance it out. And it’s yummy! 🙂

  • Brooke March 6, 2012, 10:45 pm

    When in a pinch, Starbucks has great snacks and meals that are relatively healthy! for protein i like their “protein plate” which has a justins honey pb, hardboiled egg, pita, cheese, fruit, and raw nuts… its big enough for several snacks or a meal

  • Faith @ For the Health of it March 6, 2012, 10:59 pm

    I know they’re kind of glorified candy bars, but I do like Clif Bars for quick, readily available veg-friendly protein. They’re my go-to airport/gas station snack!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 6, 2012, 11:03 pm

    The biggest way that I get in protein is definitely yogurt and protein powder. BUT the fun thing is to create new, different smoothies with the protein powder!

  • Emily March 6, 2012, 11:07 pm

    You are soooo brave for getting on that many flights in a row. I am deathly afraid of flying and it’s totally inhibiting my desires to see new places. I know all the logical reasoning for it’s level of safety, I just can’t get over the physical feeling of terror. You are awesome.

    • caitie March 7, 2012, 3:02 am

      face your fears!!!!!!

      • Caitlin March 8, 2012, 10:04 am

        Just drink wine 🙂

  • Sarah @ The Strength of Faith March 6, 2012, 11:09 pm

    You should make your own trail mix!

  • Emma Kate March 6, 2012, 11:17 pm

    Thank-you ever so much for posting the link to the ‘5 warning signs…’. I was actually searching yesterday, on Google, what the symptoms are for protein deficiency. The search results didn’t really give me a good answer, but your link totally did! I am a vege and have been getting pretty slack with my protein intake. I have noticed more of my hair has been falling out than usual, and I’m a little weaker than usual too. I just love fruit and veges too much that I have forgotten about beans etc! I’ve been reading comments from others regarding how to get more protein. I will definitely be making sure I’m getting enough. , and all those who posted protein tips 🙂

    • Caitlin March 8, 2012, 10:05 am

      Oh good! I’m glad you’re figuring this out – you might want to talk to a doc to confirm.

  • Emma Kate March 6, 2012, 11:19 pm

    Whoops, I was meant to say thanks Caitlin and everyone else who posted comments 😉

  • Khushboo March 6, 2012, 11:52 pm

    Greek yogurt with protein powder stirred in is my face protein snack…another great one is an oatmeal pancake made with egg whites!

  • Lyndsey March 7, 2012, 12:55 am

    Yummy dry roasted wasabi edamame. Doesn’t need to be refrigerated, is only 130 cals for like 15 grams of protein. Amazing snack!

  • Jaclyn March 7, 2012, 2:24 am

    How ’bout a banana slices and peanut/nut butter roll up wrap, celery sticks stuffed with cream cheese and topped with pumpkin seeds, individual (or big bags, packed in to-go containers) trail mixes (trader joes has some great ones!), almonds mixed with dried fruit, or make a batch of protein muffins (nut butters, pro powders, seeds or nuts, etc) and take a few with you when you travel?? just some ideas!

    wow, that is a crazy busy schedule and a LOT of traveling over the past few days! cool that the hus could come for part of it! it must be fun and rewarding spreading the OB message around the country, though! 😀 Hang in there, almost done!

  • Jaclyn March 7, 2012, 2:39 am

    Oh, also! I’m sure someone has suggested this, but buy a bag of string cheeses – soooo much cheaper and really easy to rip one or a few off and toss them in your bag! also, since they’re sealed, you don’t need to worry about refrigeration! :]

  • Haleigh March 7, 2012, 3:30 am

    Eating healthy while traveling can be tough. But, it looks like you’re doing a great job!

  • Karlee March 7, 2012, 7:11 am

    baked chickpeas

  • faith March 7, 2012, 7:21 am

    I know you already like nutritional yeast so why not add it to more food? It has 8 grams of protein for 2 tablespoons and also lots of B vitamins and a decent amount of iron. You could even bring it on the road to sprinkle on salad, etc.
    Caitlin, you are always an inspiration with your enthusiasm and drive-thank you!

  • Linz @ Itz Linz March 7, 2012, 7:52 am

    almonds! soak them first for 8-12 hours!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin March 7, 2012, 8:20 am

    Greek yogurt is my favourite protein-packed snack! But sometimes I also like to make mini bean burgers and eat them as snacks – they’re so easy to pack up and go!

    FYI, you need normal amounts of protein (0.8 g/kg/day) during the first half of pregnancy and 1.1 g/kg/day during the second half. 🙂

  • Jen March 7, 2012, 8:44 am

    This weekend, I came up with a really delicious crepe recipe, which packs a good amount of protein (about 8 grams I think):
    2 egg whites
    1 tbsp pancake mix
    1 tsp cinnamon sugar

    1. Beat the egg whites lightly and stir in pancake mix and cinnamon sugar
    2. Pan fry on medium heat and lightly brown both sides

    I like mine topped with warmed-up mashed banana, Greek yogurt, and cinnamon. New favorite breakfast!

    • Caitlin March 8, 2012, 10:08 am

      OOoo thanks sounds tasty!

  • Shannon March 7, 2012, 8:54 am

    This is funny/interesting, b/c when I was pg with both my babies, the only things I really craved were protein-centric. And when I say “crave” I really mean that it was mandatory. Like, I’d feel horribly sick and shaky if I didn’t get protein immediately. Clearly a pg body really needs it! With baby #1, I ate zillions of hard-boiled eggs. They were my main snack in my 1st trimester. With baby #2, it was more of a protein/fat combo—I used to almost faint until I inhaled a cheese quesadilla (or two) or a giant baked potato smothered in butter and cheese. I guess it was cheese I needed rather than just protein per se, come to think of it! 😉

  • JenRD March 7, 2012, 9:00 am

    You are doing awesome with your diet and protein intake! While I will not deny that protien is certainly important during pregnancy, from all of the studies I have read, it is moreso for the developing fetus, and not due to any increased chance of preterm labor–I have never read any studies to support that theory.
    Other than the excellent sources of protein which you have listed, beans, peas, and lentils are great sources of protein, fiber, and B vitamins (and I know later in my pregnancy, things tended to move more slowly, if you know what I mean, so fiber is great!). Our favorite grocery store, TJ’s, has some great quick sources. Pre-cooked lentils and edamame in the refrigerated section, canned split pea soup, frozen edamame, frozen quinoa stir fry.
    They also have these yummy mini protein banana chocolate muffins (I think they have soy protein in them?), but I do not think they are gluten free. That said, you could probably make your own high-protein muffins using a GF baking mix, and adding in your own protein powder, or nonfat dried milk powder.


  • JenRD March 7, 2012, 9:02 am

    Oh, and Eden Organic makes these great (BPA-free) canned whole grain ride and bean mixtures–just pop open the can, and heat up for a quick meal.

  • Ashley March 7, 2012, 9:07 am

    Im not pregnant, but i still opt-out. I just dont trust that its safe. Its too new and there just isnt enough solid, impartial evidence yet. we’ll see in a few years. But, some of the security people have been incredibly rude when i opt out.

  • Amye March 7, 2012, 9:26 am

    Thanks so much for the information on the protien when pregnant. My water broke when I was 32 weeks along with my son. I hope to prevent that from happening with my second child even though the doctor’s say it was nothing that I did (it wasn’t premature labor because the labor contractions didn’t start until hours later). My son is actually turning two next week and is healthy!

    • Caitlin March 8, 2012, 10:14 am

      Oh how frightening! I’m glad everything worked out.

  • Charise March 7, 2012, 9:30 am

    Ooh, so many fun ideas in the comments! I’m a fan on chickpeas or lentils mixed with some diced veggies, lemon, olive oil, and a little parm for an easy veg plane snack/meal.

    I love to travel, but I get tired just THINKING about all your airport time lately, especially with you being pregnant!

  • Mel March 7, 2012, 9:34 am

    My fav. protein sources are protein powder in a shake or stirred in oatmeal,split pea, lentil, or veggie chili, beans esp. chickpeas (my fav!), greek yog., temph, edamame (frozen then steamed for a minute), nuts, seeds, peanut butter, quinoa topped with tofu, veggie burgers, etc. You are doing great!

  • Ellen March 7, 2012, 9:55 am

    Thanks for the protein ideas. My husband gave up all meat that has four legs for a year, so we have been eating alot of chicken for our protein source and Im over it. My nurse recommended eating a after dinner snack of beans, with cheese on a tortilla to get the protein and calcium. I also put peanutbutter in my oatmeal and make my own trail mix, but everyones suggestions sound delish and hopefully will get me out of this food rut im in! Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy…im only a few weeks behind 🙂

  • Tammy Root March 7, 2012, 10:20 am

    Not sure if someone said this yet, but chia seeds! You can sprinkle them on anything — yogurt, salad, put in protein shakes, etc. 🙂 And, they are easy to transport.

  • Allison March 7, 2012, 11:11 am

    In general, I try to stay away from granola and protein bars, but Luna Protein Bars are excellent. They are gluten free and have a good dose of protein; I eat one for my morning snack at school almost every day. Think Thin protein bars are another one – I eat them because they are filling and gluten free. The name is stupid, in my opinion. I hate being seen with a product with “thin” in its name.

  • Amanda March 7, 2012, 12:38 pm

    For the longest time I didn’t get enough protein, I attribute it to just poor eating habits and misinformation. Now I watch my intake and I’m shocked to see how much better I feel when I get my protein. If I don’t get a nice protein packed breakfast it feels like my whole day sucks.

  • Kayla @ The Best Things March 7, 2012, 1:16 pm

    I love that you’re not protein paranoid though. As a veg, that’s the first thing people always ask.. BUT WHAT ABOUT PROTEIN? It’s in everything. There’s protein in brussels sprouts for heavens sake!

  • Laura WL March 7, 2012, 1:48 pm

    FWIW I’m not a vegetarian and after tracking my diet for 3 weeks discovered that I wasn’t getting nearly enough protein on a daily basis. What’s been frustrating is figuring out just how much protein I should be getting while marathon training. Some sites recommended 120 grams or more for my weight (140 lbs) others recommended as little as 60-80 grams. I HAD been consistently eating around 40-50 grams. (The hubs and I make buying organic meat and produce a priority &, bc it’s expensive, use meat as more of a garnish that flavors a meal rather than eating a large piece of meat). Lately I’ve been focusing on eating more lowfat protein options. Just wanted to note that if you are a heavy exerciser (I do bootcamp workouts 2x a week, training runs 3x a week and a long walk/hike 1x a week) it might be worth checking your protein intake if you’ve been more tired than usual.

  • Laura WL March 7, 2012, 1:57 pm

    Oh and here’s my recommendations on lowfat protein snack ideas. My favorites lately have been: cottage cheese + sunflower seeds; greek yogurt + granola with nuts in it; blacks beans w/ queso or feta crumbled in + some salsa. To be honest though it has been REALLY difficult to find high protein, low fat foods. (I’ve concentrated my search on lowfat bc I eat a lot of veggies and it’s hard not to eat veggies w/o some fat on it for flavoring, so I get plenty of fat. ;-))

  • Jen @ The Well Read Fish March 7, 2012, 2:19 pm

    I second (or maybe third or fourth by now) the roasted chickpeas. Or really, any chickpea thing (hummus, salads). If you mix some lemon juice, olive oil, chickpeas, and parmesan or pecorino – makes for a goooood dish. And transportable.

    Bean salads in general are probably pretty good since they don’t need to be cold cold.

  • Kate March 7, 2012, 5:50 pm

    I eat cheese and nut butters like it’s my job. (Seriously, everything that doesn’t get cheese on/in it gets PB on/in it.) And while I think that 14 eggs a weeks is seriously overboard (that’s the Bradley recommendation, right?), I’ve found that I can usually sneak one into my morning oatmeal, and a microwaveable mug cake at the end of the day is a good way to get one, too!

  • Leila @ Spinach and Skittles March 7, 2012, 9:47 pm

    I like to mix cottage cheese and salsa together then eat it like a dip with celery. I’ve also been enjoying peanut butter on graham crackers or caramel rice cakes for a sweet protein treat. I hope you do a protein snack round-up post 🙂

  • Lauren @ therawcure March 8, 2012, 5:48 pm

    Is there a reason you limit your tofu?

    • CaitlinHTP March 8, 2012, 5:57 pm

      I’m concerned about taking in too much soy in general. There’s a lot of research that eating it in moderation is prob the best.

  • Kayla @ Sprouty Buns March 10, 2012, 9:31 am

    roasted chickpeas and roasted edamame are two of my favorite snacky sources of protein!

  • Winnie April 8, 2012, 10:23 pm

    My favourite: cottage cheese froyo (dry 0.1% cottage cheese blended with either frozen banana or frozen mango)! Tastes just like frozen yogurt but cheaper & faster 😛

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