5 Overlooked Food Sources of Protein

A birds eye view of a black plate with food. Nuts to the side, and peanut butter with crisp breads to the right. Overlaid is the title: 5 overlooked sources of protein.

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. It’s important as part of a healthy balanced diet, and it’s good to know that 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.

The Varied Food 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 out there which are often overlooked.

Although nutritional shakes or powders are a great way to supplement your protein intake, there are other ways to add more into your diet – there are many non-meat foods which also provide strong sources of these nutrients 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 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.

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.

Green peas.

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.

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 these nutrients 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 of Protein

Cottage Cheese – with 26 grams of protein per cup of cottage cheese this is a great source 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.

Dairy as a source of protein, with a bowel of yoghurt with oats and strawberries.

3.  Nuts

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.

A photo of peanut butter and toasted bread.

4.  Vegetables

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 per 100 grammes, 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 intake.

Mussels in a bowl.

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 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 it can be found in many other, potentially more interesting food groups.

Giving Your Protein A Boost

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.

A black scroll divider.

[ This is a sponsored guest post and as such the ideas and opinions expressed are of the writer ]



  1. March 17, 2018 / 6:59 pm

    This is really interesting for me as a vegan. Thanks. Lots of ideas here. Anita

    • March 18, 2018 / 4:33 pm

      I love that there are various options for various dietary requirements, so hopefully there are enough ideas for you as a vegan too. Glad you liked the post and thanks for the comment, Anita – hope you’re having a lovely weekend 🙂

  2. March 17, 2018 / 7:13 pm

    Cannot begin to tell you how perfectly timed this post is! I have started using an app to track my food and my protein is always too low. This is exactly what I needed! So informative, thank you lovely xx

    • March 18, 2018 / 4:32 pm

      Brilliant timing indeed, Ella, that’s really good to hear! I hope this gives you a few ideas and suggestions to open up your food options a little so you can increase your protein =]

  3. March 17, 2018 / 7:22 pm

    Protein has been drilled into my head. You covered a great amount I’m sure others have overlooked as I’m sure I have too! HA! Protein is so necessary for our bodies for healing purposes! Great post, Caz! Kim

    • March 18, 2018 / 4:31 pm

      Protein really is so important, and it’s quite reassuring to know there are lots of good sources out there that suit various dietary requirements (ie. nut allergies, vegans & vegetarians, those who don’t eat fish etc). Glad you liked the post, Kim – have a lovely weekend! x

  4. March 17, 2018 / 8:03 pm

    Yep, except for the nuts (which I can’t have) I know about all of these. Very good sources of protein.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥.

    • March 18, 2018 / 4:29 pm

      I’m glad you know of these, as many don’t (myself included). Thanks for taking the time to read & comment =]

  5. March 17, 2018 / 10:20 pm

    This is brilliant post. I often think of protein such as chicken eggs etc…Its good to know other sources…

    • March 18, 2018 / 4:29 pm

      I definitely agree. It’s quite interesting to see other foods that are such good sources to add a little variety to your protein intake! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  6. March 18, 2018 / 2:26 am

    I was recently told by my physical therapist to increase my protein intake a lot!
    When ever I’m running low on it, I eat some Greek yogurt, I”m amazed at how much protein you can get from that.
    You listed some times I didn’t know had protein, like avocado and Brussels Sprouts? Who knew?
    Thanks for the info.

    • March 18, 2018 / 4:39 pm

      Some of these were new to me too, but it’s great to know there are lots more options out there for good protein sources. Hopefully that’ll give you some more ideas your increasing your protein 🙂
      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Wendy – have a great day! x

  7. March 18, 2018 / 1:52 pm

    That’s interesting, I saw some Spirulana supplemments in Holland & Barrett, had no idea that it was a source of protein. Also didn’t realised that peas were a source of protein, guess that makes them one of the best vegetables to eat on the side.

    • March 18, 2018 / 4:42 pm

      I had no idea about Spirulana either, I’ve never tried it before so had no clue about the stuff. I wonder what benefits H&B are promoting it as having..? I love peas & it’s good to know there’s even more of a reason to eat them with how much goodness they can offer =]

  8. March 18, 2018 / 4:41 pm

    Very informative. For instance, I like lentils, but had no clue that they are also a good protein source.

    • March 18, 2018 / 7:14 pm

      I must admit lentils don’t feature in my diet but I’ve made a note for my next grocery shop! =]

  9. March 18, 2018 / 8:24 pm

    wow youre blog is so professional and beautiful, like i cannot explain it but it looks so cut crisp and clean!
    I loved this post, i am trying to be healthy and i made so many notes, i like eating nuts with my meals to keep me full longer!
    Thanks for sharing these tips!
    sareena x

    • March 19, 2018 / 6:35 am

      Aw that’s very kind of you to say, thank you! I recently renovated the blog a little & invested in a paid template, which I think makes it a little easier to read, but I’m still looking at ways to improve it. I’m glad you liked the post & hopefully found some extra options for your meals when it comes to protein =] Thanks for taking the time to comment, Sareena! 🙂

  10. March 19, 2018 / 4:57 am

    Lots of great protein suggestions that I often forget about! I make “protein balls” – just nut butter, oats, chia seeds, ground flax, honey, a little coconut oil and i sometimes add protein powder, then roll in little balls. It’s a great snack when I need a quick protein boost.

    • March 19, 2018 / 3:31 pm

      Ooo protein balls with those ingredients sound pretty tempting! A great way to combine sources to pack a punch when you want to up your protein 🙂

  11. March 19, 2018 / 9:34 am

    Love this post and the fact you have shown that it’s possible to get enough protein without meat. I get plenty of it through most of the sources you’ve mentioned.

    • March 19, 2018 / 3:27 pm

      Yes, it’s quite eye-opening to see the different sources so most people, whatever their dietary requirements, should be able to get some decent protein intake. Glad you liked the post – thanks for commenting! 🙂

  12. March 19, 2018 / 4:07 pm

    A very interesting post. I am almost a vegetarian and find lentils a great source of protein especially through the winter. I have still to try spirulina. ?

    • March 20, 2018 / 4:33 pm

      Must admit I don’t eat lentils but they’re something I’ll have to look at trying again because I think I’ve only had them once or twice in the past. Glad you liked the post =]

  13. March 21, 2018 / 11:25 am

    Truly brilliant content on this post and has made me think differently about what I’m eating.
    Lots to think about and plenty to learn. Thank you for this fabulously informative post. ~ Cobs. x

    • March 22, 2018 / 4:32 pm

      It’s always good to get a few new ideas I think – glad you liked the post, and thanks for the fab comment! =]

  14. April 8, 2018 / 8:14 pm

    How did I miss this wonderful post? Thank you for this great list! It’s tremendously encouraging for me. 🙂 <3

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