Protein is an important component of balanced nutrition, and consuming adequate amounts of protein is beneficial to our health. According to recommendations made by the National Institute of Medicine, the average person needs about 50-65 grams of protein per day.
When we think of protein, we typically think of animal sources, like lean meats and fish. But you might be surprised to find there are lots of protein sources that aren’t meat based. Be aware that plant-based protein sources don’t have a full amino acid profile, so if you’re sticking with those, a variety of choices will help ensure you have the proper intake.
1. Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese
Greek yogurt and cottage cheese win the award for highest non-meat sources of protein per serving. A cup of cottage cheese yields 25 grams of protein. Greek yogurt isn’t far behind, with 20 grams of protein per cup. Use either of these as base for a dip, or top with fruit for a tangy, sweet flavor profile.
A fermented soybean cake, tempeh yields a generous amount of protein—16 grams in a ½ cup serving. Not sure what to do with tempeh? Check out this Washington Post article for some basic techniques and recipe ideas.
A ½ cup serving of beans or lentils will afford you anywhere from 7-9 grams of protein. Add beans to salads, make a bean chili, or top with some Greek yogurt and salsa for a filling meal.
Adding a variety of seeds to your diet will boost your protein intake. The winner? Pumpkin seeds, boasting 9 grams of protein in a 1-ounce serving. Seeds make a great snack, or can be added to oatmeal, cereal, salads and more.
Peas provide 5 grams of protein per ½ cup serving. Try this pea hummus or add some fresh peas to asalad.
6. Whole Grains
Wheat berries provide 6 grams of protein per serving, and quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) yields 4 grams. Use these as a substitute for refined carbohydrates. Oats are worthy too, with 3 grams of protein in ½ cup.
Have a favorite snack that packs a powerful protein punch? Please share it in the comments below.