Most of the time when we think of protein rich foods, the usual products come to mind. We imagine lean cuts of meat, eggs, and a vast array of flavored whey powders.
It may surprise you to find out that there are many foods that are high in protein that don’t involve meat or dairy.
These high protein sources are also rich in fiber and other nutrients.
Whether you’re trying to enjoy a healthier lifestyle or you’ve begun a new workout routine, protein intake is important.
You can of course take protein using protein powders, we have a great post on top protein powders to advise you on this.
If you would like to broaden your protein horizons, we’ve got a great list for you.
Read on to learn about 10 surprisingly protein rich foods.
Broccoli isn’t just some side dish to the main course. It’s a nutritional powerhouse that is loaded with fiber and offers protection from cancer and other diseases.
What you may not know is that broccoli is very high in protein. Raw broccoli contains three grams of protein per cup.
That’s a huge percentage of protein per serving when you consider that an entire cup has only 30 calories.
Soy is heart healthy, fiber-rich, and delicious. You may be aware that soy products are protein rich foods, but do you know just how rich?
A cup of cooked edamame delivers a whopping twenty-two grams of high-quality soy protein, eighteen grams of fiber, and only five grams of fat.
Soy protein is a complete protein.
This means that it has all nine of the essential amino acids. These are the amino acids that our bodies can’t make and must be obtained through food.
Edamame is a quick, tasty snack that quickly boosts your protein intake.
Kale is another vegetable whose protein content might surprise you.
Its hearty green leaves contain an array of vitamins and nutrients, including substantial amounts of Vitamins A, C, and K.
Kale provides three grams of plant protein in every one cup serving.
Originally grown by the pre-Columbian civilizations in South America, this tiny Andean seed has huge health benefits.
This gluten free superfood is highly versatile.
It can be used to thicken soups, as a substitute for rice and meat, and as a breakfast cereal. Quinoa can also be ground into a healthful flour for baking.
Quinoa has a little over 8 grams of protein per one cup serving. This high-quality protein is excellent for those who prefer a low-fat, cholesterol-free source of amino acids.
It’s also an excellent source of iron and magnesium, among other nutrients.
Most people know about the many benefits of the insoluble fiber in oatmeal.
It’s great for the digestive system and may help prevent heart disease.
It’s also a great source of slow digesting carbohydrates that offer sustained energy long after they’re eaten. You don’t have a noticeable crash when you eat these types of carbohydrates.
But did you know that this common breakfast food is also a great plant-based protein source?
There are nine grams of protein in a cup of cooked rolled oats. This makes it a breakfast worth having, especially if you need long-lasting energy and a solid protein source.
In addition to being cooked and served in a bowl, oats can be added to smoothies before blending for a nutritional upgrade.
Lentils are healthy additions to anyone’s menu, especially if protein boost is the goal.
Lentils are small, flat legumes that grow in pods just like other legumes such as beans and peas.
They come in red, green, black, yellow, and brown varieties. Their nutty, peppery flavor works well in many dishes.
Lentils are an amazing source of muscle-building protein. Just one cup of cooked green lentils contains eighteen grams of protein.
In addition to being protein-packed, lentils are full of satisfying fiber. One cup has fifteen grams. This puts lentils high on the list of incredibly healthy protein rich foods.
The complex carbohydrates and resistant starch in lentils also make them a great source of sustainable energy that won’t spike your blood sugar.
Between the protein and the fiber, this low-fat food will keep you full for a long time after you eat it.
Mushrooms are delicious cooked or raw. They add a rich flavor to many dishes, soups, and salads.
Mushrooms are high in fiber, with more than two grams per serving of cooked white mushrooms.
In a one hundred gram serving of cooked white mushrooms, there are 4 grams of protein.
8. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is considered a supplemental food additive and is sold as dried flakes.
It’s fortified, so it’s extremely high in all B vitamins. It also helps muscles and tissues rebuild and repair themselves with sixteen amino acids.
Its nutty flavor makes it a versatile, delicious pantry item. It can be used:
- To flavor and thicken soups and gravies
- As a substitute for Parmesan cheese on pizza and pasta
- As a smoothie ingredient
- As an ingredient in vegan cheese-flavored sauces
Nutritional yeast has a lot of fiber and it’s also very high in quality protein. There are nine grams of protein in a three tablespoon serving of nutritional yeast.
9. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a staple in most households.
What you may not have noticed is that your peanut butter is a great source of protein. It’s a tasty, versatile food that’s good on its own or used as an ingredient in both sweet and savory recipes.
Peanut butter also goes well with many smoothie recipes and helps you feel full for hours.
10. Whole Wheat Pasta
For another delicious, fiber-rich food that’s high in protein, try whole wheat pasta. Pasta is good plain, in hot dishes, and in cold salads.
One cup of cooked whole wheat pasta has almost eight grams of protein and six grams of fiber.
Great Protein Rich Foods for Optimal Nutrition
Protein is essential for muscle and body tissue growth and repair. You have to make sure you consume sufficient amounts to reach your full health potential.
If you’re looking for protein sources outside of the usual animal sources, these plant proteins are perfect additions to your healthy diet.
If you’d like to learn more about us or how to adopt a healthier lifestyle, please read our blog for great tips and information.