grains for protein

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Trying to picture a high protein meal or snack probably brings to mind a plate with a hefty portion of chicken, beef, or pork. But whether you’re a vegetarian, trying to cut back a bit on meat, or just sick of having chicken for dinner every night, protein-rich foods can be found far beyond the meat section of the grocery store. From grains and dairy products to vegetables (yes, they can have protein too) and nut butters, you have more options than you think.

The right amount of protein can vary based on your weight and activity levels, but the USDA recommendation of 46 grams per day for women 19 years and older is a good target to aim for. It’ll help you maintain your energy, rebuild your muscles after exercise, and keep your immune system humming along. And unlike fats and carbohydrates, your body doesn’t store protein, meaning it’s essential to get the recommended amount each day. Here are 37 surprising sources that make great additions to a healthy diet.

Great Grains
1. Spelt—10.67 grams in 1 cup, cooked

2. Teff—9.75 grams in 1 cup, cooked

3. Amaranth—9.35 grams in 1 cup, cooked

4. Quinoa—8.14 grams in 1 cup, cooked

5. Farro—7 grams in ¼ cup, uncooked

6. Buckwheat, the main ingredient in Japanese soba noodles—5.77 grams in 1 cup of soba noodles, cooked

7. Barley
Hulled—5.74 grams in ¼ cup, uncooked
Pearled—3.55 grams in 1 cup, cooked

8. Bulgur – 5.61 grams in 1 cup, cooked
dairy for protein

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In the Dairy Aisle

9. Cottage Cheese—11.81 grams in just 4 ounces of 2 percent milk fat cottage cheese

10. Greek Yogurt—9.95 grams in 3.5 ounces of plain, low-fat Greek yogurt

11. Eggs—6.29 grams in 1 large hardboiled egg
steak tacos

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Small but Mighty Seeds

12. Pumpkin Seeds—8.8 grams in ¼ cup, roasted without salt

13. Sunflower Seeds—6.19 grams in ¼ cup, dry roasted without salt

14. Chia Seeds—4.69 grams in 1 ounce

15. Hemp Seeds—3.16 grams in 1 tablespoon, hulled
produce protein sources

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Surprises in the Produce Section

16. Black Eyed Peas—5.23 grams in 1 cup, cooked

17. Green Peas—4.29 grams in ½ cup, cooked

18. Guava, the highest-protein fruit—4.21 grams in 1 cup

19. Spinach—4 grams in ¾ cup, cooked

20. Brussels Sprouts—3.98 grams in 1 cup, cooked

21. Portabella Mushrooms—3.97 grams in 1 cup grilled and sliced

22. Artichokes—3.47 grams in 1 medium artichoke, cooked

23. Kale—2.47 grams in 1 cup, cooked

24. Sun-dried tomatoes—1.9 grams in ¼ cup
nut sources for protein

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Nuts, in Both Whole and Butter Form

25. Peanuts—9.42 grams in ¼ cup, raw

26. Peanut butter—7.11 grams in 2 Tbsp., smooth style without salt

27. Almonds—7.23 grams in ¼ cup, dry roasted with no salt added

28. Almond Butter—6.71 grams in 2 tablespoons, no salt added

29. Pistachios—5.72 grams in 1 ounce, raw (about 49 kernels)

30. Cashews—5.17 grams in 1 ounce, raw

31. Cashew Butter—5.62 grams in 2 tablespoons., no salt added
bean sources of protein

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Get a Lot of Bang for Your Buck with Beans and Lentils

32. White Beans—17.42 grams in 1 cup, boiled without salt

33. Black Beans—15.24 grams in 1 cup, boiled without salt

34. Navy Beans—14.98 grams in 1 cup, boiled without salt

35. Lentils—13.39 grams in ¾ cup, cooked

36. Garbanzo Beans—10.7 grams in 1 cup from a can, drained and rinsed

37. Edamame—9.23 grams in ½ cup, frozen