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Health and Fitness News

More Than Meat

Believe it or not, there are plenty of other quality sources of protein besides meat. Here are eight of them.

Maybe you want to eat less meat for health reasons or because you’re going vegetarian. Perhaps you want to increase the amount of protein in your diet to help you lose weight or gain muscle. When people think of foods high in protein, meat, poultry, and fish are the first to come to mind, but there are other great sources of protein.

Though meat is a good source of protein (just 3 ounces of ground beef contains 22 grams of protein, pork has 23 grams, and chicken 28), don’t get stuck relying only on meat for your daily protein requirements. Try these other sources as well.

Protein 1: Quinoa

It’s pronounced KEEN-WAH and it’s a great way to get your protein. Packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and iron, quinoa also contains each of the nine essential amino acids, meaning it’s a “complete” protein. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein. Eat it in place of rice, in a salad, or instead of oatmeal for breakfast.

Protein 2: Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt typically contains twice as much protein as regular yogurt. With 29 grams of protein in a single cup, eating Greek yogurt is a great way to start your day or as a mid-morning pick-me-up snack. Look for varieties that are low in added sugar and mix in some fresh fruit or granola for fiber. You can even swap out high-calorie condiments like sour cream and mayonnaise for Greek yogurt.

Protein 3: Lentils

A type of legume, lentils are a favorite source of protein for many vegetarians. They’re small, round, come in a variety of sizes and colors, and are an inexpensive way to get your recommended amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. One cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein. Add them to your soups, pastas, or tacos and enjoy!

Protein 4: Tempeh

A soybean cake that’s rich in protein, tempeh is similar to tofu yet firmer in texture. The cake can be sliced, crumbled, or cooked whole. Ready to eat from the package, tempeh is often used in sandwiches, stir-fry, or pastas in place of meat. One cup of tempeh contains 31 grams of protein.

Protein 5: Cottage Cheese

Looking for a snack that’s high in protein? Try some cottage cheese. Also full of calcium for strong bones, cottage cheese is great paired with fruit, vegetables, or even cinnamon. Providing 13 grams of protein in just a half cup, keep cottage cheese on hand for an easy dose of protein.

Protein 6: Chia Seeds

Seeds, nuts, and beans are all meatless sources of protein. Chia seeds may be small, but they’re powerhouses of protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Just two tablespoons contain more than 9 grams of protein. Add chia seeds to smoothies, yogurt, salads, or oatmeal.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter sandwiches aren’t just for kids. Peanut butter, or any other nut butter, is a yummy and simple way to get more protein. Whether you prefer creamy or crunchy, peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein in 2 tablespoons. So top whole-grain toast, whole-wheat crackers, or apple slices with nut butter for a pick-me-up afternoon snack.

Protein 8: Edamame

Edemame are young soybeans that haven’t reached full maturity. These beans can be purchased fresh or frozen and in the pod or shelled. They provide a complete protein in addition to calcium, iron, fiber, and other valuable vitamins and minerals. One cup of shelled edamame contains a whopping 16 grams of protein. You can eat the bean as a snack or added to soups, salads, or other dishes. Regardless of how you choose, just eat ‘em!