People keep asking me how I’m doing these days, and the answer is this: I’m hungry. I’m hungry All. The. Time. Seriously, from the moment I wake up until about 3pm, I’m eating every 60 – 90 minutes. And when I eat it goes something like this: feeling full –> full –> full –> full –> full –> maaaaaaybe I’m getting hungry again –> HUNGRY! –> EMERGENCY HUNGRY!!! And the time between maaaaaaybe hungry and EMERGENCY HUNGRY is sometimes less than 2 minutes!
It’s crazy. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I’m very, very lucky in that the company I work for provides a generous breakfast, which includes amazing fresh bread delivered to the office each morning. So when I was still figuring out this hunger thing and was getting hit with emergencies left, right, and centre, there was thankfully toasted rye bread and peanut butter and a good amount of other choices easily within reach.
I decided the thing to do was to put on my nutritionist hat and become my own client, and when I took a deeper look at my diet I realized that I was struggling to meet my increased protein needs. So I embarked on Project Protein, becoming very conscious about my daily intake, and trying a good number of different things to sneak extra bits in here and there. And I’m very good at sneaky protein from dealing with nutrition clients who are extremely picky eaters, but I even went so far as to try out some commercial protein powders, which are normally outside of my personal nutrition paradigm, and I’ll share my feelings on that in another post, but you know, desperate times.
One morning I started layering things into a jar, and these kvarg and quinoa breakfast pots were born. Let me tell you, I haven’t looked back since. Not only are they delicious, satiating, and packed full of good things, but they deliver a whallop of protein, up to 30g per serving depending on how you top them.
But what is this kvarg, you ask? It’s a Swedish thing, but before you accuse me of sending you on a wild goose chase for impossible to find ingredients, let me tell you there are lots of analogues you can substitute. Kvarg is a fresh dairy product common in Germanic countries. It’s known as quark in Germany, and is also similar to the French fromage frais. It could be described sort of like a thick and smooth version of cottage cheese, only it has a good amount more tang to it. Icelandic skyr and Arabic labneh are both cousins of kvarg, though these are strained yoghurts whereas kvarg, quark, and fromage frais begin with sour milk. A thick, strained or high protein Greek-style yoghurt would be a good substitution if you’ve got this far and still don’t know what the heck I’m talking about.
And truth be told, I’m using kvarg and not Greek yoghurt simply because the Greek yoghurt available in Stockholm just doesn’t have the protein profile I’m after. Kvarg on the other hand has a tremendous amount of protein, 12 grams per 100g serving, and when I dribble a little bit of jam in the bottom of a glass jar and then scoop 200g of kvarg over top (about 3/4 cup) I’ve already got 24g of protein in a single serving. Topped with a few tablespoons of leftover quinoa, a handful of chopped nuts the protein gets bumped up to around 30g, and this is a mid-morning snack that keeps me going all the way until lunch.
I like to serve these little protein pots with a bit of fruit on top. Sometimes I add fresh fruit at the last minute, but I also love them with chopped dried figs or prunes. And since constipation is a super common yet seldom talked about pregnancy symptom, I’m all about the prunes these days. These protein pots take about 2 minutes to throw together in the morning, but I’ve gotten into the habit of assembling them the night before, at the same time as I make my overnight oats. The oats are my first breakfast, then the kvarg and quinoa pot is a second breakfast / mid-morning snack. And I tell ya, it’s working for me. I hope you’ll give it a try too.
One year ago: Apple Pie Overnight Oats and Pear, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Pita Pizzas
Two years ago: Kale and Black Bean Breakfast Tacos
Three years ago: Barley Salad with Charred Corn and Tomatoes
Four years ago: Perfect Hardboiled Eggs
Five years ago: Curious Porridge (another quinoa breakfast!)
- 1 tsp blackberry jam
- 200g (3/4 cup) kvarg, quark, skyr, or Greek yoghurt
- 3-4 Tbsp of cooked and cooled quinoa
- 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
- 4 prunes, chopped, or fresh or dried fruit of your choice
- Spoon a teaspoon of jam into the bottom of a clean glass jar.
- Top with kvarg, cooled quinoa, nuts, and prunes.
- Serve immediately, or seal with a lid to pack to school or the office.