Protein is an important part of our diets, with far-reaching benefits. It features in every cell of your body and helps with building tissues and repairing them, as well as making various other bodily chemicals like hormones and enzymes. When we think of protein, chicken and eggs often come to mind, but it’s good to know there are various sources out there that you might not have considered to be such great providers of this vital goodness. This brilliant guest post will look at 5 often overlooked sources of protein.
When looking for strong sources of protein, most people will immediately think of meat and particularly lean chicken, when it comes to adding in protein to a fitness and diet routine, but there are many other sources of protein out there which are often overlooked.
Although protein shakes or powders are a great way to supplement your protein intake, there are other ways to add more protein into your diet – there are many non-meat foods which also provide strong sources of protein to help support your body and encourage muscle growth.
If you are training for a specific event or activity like a marathon, then you will need to increase your protein to support the training, but that doesn’t need to mean a boring diet – check out all of these alternative protein sources which you can add to your daily intake.
1. Beans and Pulses
Beans – beans are a great source of protein and there are many varieties out there and hundreds of recipes to choose from, including the traditional beans on toast, to more tasty chillies and salads. A cup of cooked beans will give you around 15 grams of protein.
Peas – the great thing about peas is it doesn’t matter if they are frozen or fresh; they provide an easy cheap source of protein and taste great at the same time! It’s easy to add a handful of peas to a meal, or make up some pea-specific recipes. A cup of cooked peas will provide around eight grams of protein.
Chia Seeds – a very versatile food group, these seeds help to fill you up and are good for your digestion as well as providing a great source of protein. They can be sprinkled on any food, or used in particular recipes to create sweet dishes. Around two tablespoons of chia seeds gives you around four grams of protein.
Lentils – lentils are a very versatile ingredient and can be added to meat dishes or curry-based dishes for an easy protein boost. A cup of cooked lentils packs around 18 grams of protein and most supermarkets now sell them without the need to pre-soak, making lentils much easier to include into a daily food routine.
Quinoa – this popular grain packs a good protein boost with around eight grams per cooked cup so try using it instead of rice or pasta in main meals for an extra protein intake.
2. Dairy Sources
Cottage Cheese – with 26 grams of protein per cup of cottage cheese this is a great source of protein and can be used in a variety of recipes, bringing a creamy but low-fat ingredient to pasta dishes or other nutritious meals. A tasty alternative to having to eat chicken breast every day.
Greek Yoghurt – Greek yoghurt has almost double the amount of protein compared with normal yoghurt – around 15 -20 grams per individual serving pot. Its creamy texture makes it easy to combine with other ingredients to create tasty recipes.
Peanut Butter – peanut butter or if you prefer, almond butter, can be added to food if you want a different way to eat nuts. Around two tablespoons of each nut butter would provide around eight grams of protein, so a perfect way to top up your protein levels quickly and easily.
Avocado – as well as two grams of protein for every 100 grams of the avocado, one of these pears will provide healthy fats and vitamins so a great choice to add to your meal, as part of a salad or other tasty recipe.
Brussels sprouts – these little green vegetables provide a staple source of protein, with 3.5 grams for every 100 grams consumed, as well as delivering valuable vitamins.
5. Seafood sources
Mussels – while many people think of salmon or other fish as a source of protein, muscles actually deliver a whopping 24grammes of protein per 100grammes, so a great alternative. They also contain vitamins and minerals making these shellfish the perfect addition to any diet if you want to increase your protein intake.
Spirulina – while not technically from the sea, spirulina is an algae that grows in lakes and has long been recognised as a super food – but it also holds an enormous amount of protein – 60 grams per 100 grams – so it’s a great source for anyone looking to boost their protein levels.
While white meat and eggs have always been the traditional choice for fitness fanatics trying to increase their protein intake, hopefully this list has provided some food for thought and proves that protein can be found in many other, potentially more interesting food groups.
No need to resort to eggs for breakfast and chicken breast for lunch any longer – just adding some of these foods, like a handful of chia seeds, to each meal, you can increase your protein intake easily while exploring new and tasty recipes.
[ This is a sponsored guest post and as such the ideas and opinions expressed are of the writer. ]