1. Nuts and butter OR Peanut Butter
Whether you’re munching on peanuts during your afternoon snack, or spreading peanut butter on your morning toast, you are consuming protein to help grow strong and lean muscles. Half a cup of peanuts has 19 grams of protein, making these little wonders packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein, with 14.6 grams found in every cup. Throw them over a salad, eat them on their own for a snack, or puree them to make hummus. Simply throw some chickpeas in the blender with some spices and oil, and you have yourself a delicious home-made spread. Chickpeas should not be overlooked, as they are one of the most protein-rich foods available on the market.
There is a wide variety of beans, packed with protein and fiber. Kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, pinto beans and more. Beans make a very hearty addition to soups, wraps, and rice. You can also add them on top of a salad or baked potato, for a mess-free addition to your favourite dish. Simply add them cold or warm, and you’ll instantly be adding a healthy amount of protein. Kidney beans have 14 grams of protein per cup — a large amount for such a tiny legume.
One of the new superfoods that’s sweeping the nation. Technically a seed, quinoa has been described as a cross between rice and couscous. One cooked cup of this wonderful seed packs in a total of 8 grams of protein, as well as amino acids that our bodies cannot produce. Quinoa is an excellent staple that should be added to every diet.
5. Green Peas
Those little peas that your mother used to scoop onto your plate and threaten that there would no dessert until you ate them all, have nearly 8 grams of protein for every cup. Add them to soups, stir-frys, or as a side dish to your favourite meal. They taste great and go well with a multitude of dishes. Buy them frozen, canned, or fresh and you’ll have endless possibilities to add protein to your diet.
6. Non-Dairy Milk
There are an endless amount of different non-dairy substitutes made of seeds, beans, and nuts. Almond milk, hemp milk, soya milk, coconut milk and rice milk are just some of the options available today. Each cup has 7 to 9 grams of protein, making non-dairy milk a fast and low-fat source of protein. Replacing milk for these healthier options is a great way to lower calories, fat and cholesterol from your diet.
7. Brown rice
It’s full of fiber which helps keep our gut clean and running smoothly, and has 5 grams of protein per cup. Simply add two cups of water to every one cup of uncooked rice to a pot and let boil until the rice has absorbed all the water. Mix with soy sauce and fried vegetables for a quick and tasty meal.
Popeye had it right, spinach did give him those big muscles. In 2010, a study showed that children chose to eat more vegetables after watching Popeye on television. Just one cup of this leafy green wonder contains 5 grams of protein. You can also throw in a handful into a fruit smoothie to add raw and unprocessed protein. Spinach is fat-free and low in calories making it a great option if you’re trying to watch your figure. You can also add it to any dinner meal.
From dips to chocolate pudding, avocados are a delicious option for any meal. Cut it open, remove the pit, and scoop out the ‘meat’. Simply mash the avocado with lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper, and just a little bit a cayenne pepper to make a killer guacamole. You can also blend up avocado with maple syrup, cocoa powder and vanilla to make a thick, healthy version of chocolate pudding.
10. Chia Seeds
These amazing little seeds can absorb water or milk, turning into a thick and jelly-like substance. It’s a texture all on its own and should be tried by everyone at least once! You can make puddings, replace eggs, or thicken smoothies with chia seeds. Two tablespoons contain 4 grams of protein, lots of fiber, and one of the highest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They can also help with weight loss as they make you feel fuller for longer. Chia seeds are a fun way to change up your usual diet.