Cancer and treatments can increase your need for protein in your meals. If you are a vegetarian, you may find it helpful to plan your menus in advance to make sure you include enough healthy protein. Milk, cheese, nuts, beans, and tofu are good sources of protein. You can also try tempeh, veggie burgers, and other meat substitutes. Vegetables also have 3 grams of protein per serving.

If you struggle to get enough protein through food alone, a protein supplement may be useful. Protein supplements are found both in powder and liquid form. Protein powder can be mixed into a milkshake, milk, smoothies, juices, other beverages, foods, desserts, and side dishes. Also, liquid protein can be purchased in ready-to-drink liquid nutrition supplements or protein drinks. Ask your healthcare team for a referral to a registered dietitian who can suggest which protein supplement is appropriate for you. A registered dietitian can also help you plan meals and snacks within your lifestyle.

PearlPoint’s registered dietitians have developed these three sample menus that each provides about 150 grams of protein a day.

Personalized Nutrition Consultations 

Want to talk one-on-one with a registered dietitian? Free phone consultations are available to patients and caregivers of all cancer types.

LEARN MORE

High-Protein Vegetarian Menu: Day 1

Meal

Suggested Items

Notes

Breakfast

Protein 31 grams

Confetti Breakfast Burrito
4 slices veggie ”bacon”
1/2 cup fruit
2 tsp. canola oil or margarine
8 oz. milk
To add extra protein, stir a scoop of protein powder (about 6 grams) into scrambled eggs.
Morning Snack

Protein 20 grams

1 protein bar
8 oz. beverage
Look for protein bars at the grocery, drug store, or health food store.Stir a scoop of protein powder into beverage.
Lunch

Protein 35 grams

3 oz. veggie burger with hamburger bun
1/2 cup Black Bean and Corn Salad
2 tsp. canola oil, salad dressing, or margarine
1/2 cup mandarin orange sections
6 oz. pudding or custard
8 oz. tea
Stir a scoop of protein powder if needed into creamy items like yogurt and pudding. Try yogurt with live and active cultures.
Afternoon Snack

Protein 17 grams

8 oz. creamy Greek yogurt and 1 scoop protein powder
8-10 animal crackers
8 oz. lemonade
Add a scoop of protein powder to yogurt or beverage for extra protein.
Dinner

Protein 36 grams

Bean and Vegetable Enchilada Casserole
10-12 tortilla chips
1/2 cup salsa
2 Tbsp. sour cream
2 Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
8 oz. milk
Choose low fat cheese for a heart-healthy menu. Add a protein powder to sour cream or to milk if needed.
Bedtime Snack

Protein 19 grams

smoothie: 8 oz. high-protein liquid nutrition supplement and 1 scoop powder with 2 Tbsp. strawberry syrup and ½ banana Freeze the beverage in a cup for a treat that tastes like ice cream. Blend the supplement with sliced fruit, 1 scoop protein powder, syrup, and 2-3 ice cubes for a bedtime smoothie.

High-Protein Vegetarian Menu: Day 2

Meal

Suggested Items

Notes

Breakfast

Protein 22 grams

Zucchini and Onion Frittata
1 orange
2 tsp. canola oil or margarine
8 oz. milk
To add extra protein, stir a scoop of protein powder (about 6 grams) into milk.
Morning Snack

Protein 20 grams

1 cup trail mix: nuts, high-protein dry cereal, dried fruit, and sunflower seeds
8 oz. beverage
Make your own trail mix with favorite nuts, cereals, and dried fruit. Buy trail mix at the grocery or health food store.
Lunch

Protein 37 grams

club sandwich:3 oz. tempeh or soy-based deli slices, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, 2 tsp. salad dressing or mayonnaise on a hoagie roll
2 Chocolate Chip Cookies
8 oz. tea
Tempeh is a soy product that can be purchased pre-sliced in many flavors.
Afternoon Snack

Protein 17 grams

1/2 cup cottage cheese
3 graham crackers
1/2 cup berries
Add a scoop of protein powder to cottage cheese if needed.
Dinner

Protein 42 grams

2 cups Stir Fry Portobello Salad
1/2 cup Roasted Edamame
1 cup cooked rice with cheese
1 Tbsp. oil or margarine
8 oz. Greek yogurt with toppings
8 oz. milk
Make a yogurt parfait by adding chopped nuts, granola, and sliced fruit. Add a protein powder to yogurt if needed.
Bedtime Snack

Protein 21 grams

Apricot Pecan Bars
8 oz. high-protein liquid nutrition supplement with one scoop of protein powder
Freeze the beverage in a cup for a treat that tastes like ice cream. Stir in a scoop of protein powder for extra protein.

High-Protein Vegetarian Menu: Day 3

Meal

Suggested Items

Notes

Breakfast

Protein 38 grams

Baked Oatmeal
2 oz. veggie sausage patties
1 slice toast
½ cup sliced apples
2 tsp. canola oil or margarine
8 oz. milk
To add extra protein, stir extra scoop of protein powder (about 6 grams) into oats.
Morning Snack

Protein 16 grams

2 oz. cheddar cheese
6 crackers
8 oz. juice or beverage
Stir a scoop of protein powder into juice if extra protein is needed.
Lunch

Protein 26 grams

egg salad with protein powder, sliced tomato, lettuce, and pickles, on 2 slices whole wheat bread
2 Tbsp. hummus and carrot sticks
1/2 cup sherbet
fig cookies
8 oz. fruit tea
Stir a scoop of protein powder into salad.
Afternoon Snack

Protein 16 grams

Berry Parfait with Lemon Curd Dip
3 ginger snap cookies
8 oz. beverage with scoop of protein powder
Give your parfait a boost with a scoop of protein powder for extra protein.
Dinner

Protein 42 grams

Cheesy Eggplant Casserole tossed salad with dressing
3/4 cup steamed broccoli
White Bean Pasta
cornbread
1 Tbsp. oil or margarine
8 oz. milk
1 cup sliced fruit or melon
Use low-fat cheese for heart health. Add a protein powder to milk if needed.
Bedtime Snack

Protein 17 grams

8 oz. high-protein liquid nutrition supplement and 1 scoop protein powder
Pumpkin-Orange Muffin
1 Tbsp. cream cheese
1 Tbsp. jelly
Spread cream cheese and jelly on muffin.

* Denotes a PearlPoint recipe.