Food & Recipes

7 Surprising Sources Of Protein That You Might Not Know About

Check out these clever ways to add protein to your meals!

When most people pick their source of proteins for their meals, they often think of to meats like chicken or turkey.

And if they’re vegetarian, more common choices will include beans or legumes. Although these foods all do contain adequate sources of protein, there are other, healthy foods that are far more neglected that also happen to be sufficient protein sources, and they can help round out your diet.

Protein is an important nutrient, as it helps build and repair tissue, as well as make enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals in the body. We often hear how important it is to include protein in every meal, but the exact amount is never really specified. According to WebMD, reports:

  • Teenage boys and active men can get all the protein they need from three daily servings for a total of seven ounces.

  • For children age 2 to 6, most women, and some older people, the government recommends two daily servings for a total of five ounces.

  • For older children, teen girls, active women, and most men, the guidelines give the nod to two daily servings for a total of six ounces.

With this in mind, you can craft your meals around different sources of protein so you don’t feel like you’re eating turkey slices all day long. If you’re looking to switch up your meals while keeping your nutrients balanced, try these seven surprising sources of protein.

1. Green Peas

You may be used to eating peas as a vegetable side dish, but one cup of green peas contains eight grams of protein. Toss them in some pasta or add them to a salad for extra nutrients, including fiber, lutein, and vitamin C.

green peas photo
Photo by fred_v

2. Hemp Seeds

They may sound like some weird hippie-dippy health food, but these high fiber seeds contain 10 grams of protein in just three tablespoons, along with a hearty dose of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, iron, and vitamin E.

Sprinkle them on top of salads or smoothies for an added, protein-filled crunch.

hemp seeds photo
Photo by JeepersMedia

3. Edamame

Little did you know that your sushi appetizer was actually filled with a good source of protein. One cup of edamame has a whopping 17 grams of protein, along with fiber, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin A.

edamame photo
Photo by Vegan Feast Catering

4. Pumpkin Seeds

They may not be your first idea when it comes to protein, but pumpkin seeds pack five grams of protein in just one ounce. They are also high in fiber, magnesium, and potassium, and they can be added to salads, trail mixes, or even in yogurt.

pumpkin seeds photo
Photo by cdsessums

5. Sun-Dried Tomatoes

One cup of sun-dried tomatoes contains six grams of protein, making them a great supplement to your meals, whether it be a salad, pasta, or omelette. Sun-dried tomatoes are also high in fiber and antioxidants.

sun-dried tomatoes photo
Photo by Lenny Montana

6. Quinoa

Although quinoa is often eaten as a grain, it is actually a seed that contains eight grams of protein per every cup. Use it as a base for breakfasts, lunches, or dinners, and load it up with your favorite vegetables for even more nutrients.

quinoa photo
Photo by Daquella manera

7. Greek Yogurt

Unlike regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is loaded with protein, with 25 grams of protein in just one cup. Look for unsweetened brands, since they can be loaded in sugar, and fill up your yogurt with other foods such as fruit, nuts, and seeds for added nutrients.

greek yogurt photo
Photo by ninacoco