Protein is important for muscle growth, but many people think the best source of protein comes from meat. However, there are a number of non-meat foods that provide large amounts of protein that sometimes outnumber the amount of protein in meat. Not only are these foods packed full of protein, but they also provide other valuable nutrients and vitamins.
Most diary products are high in protein and many cheeses are a good source for the muscle-building compound. Parmesan cheese provides some of the most protein of any cheese with 41.6 grams of protein per 100 grams of serving.
9) Greek Yogurt
Like cheese, Greek yogurt is another dairy product that is high in protein. One six-ounce container of Greek Yogurt, which contains less fat and calories than other yogurts, has 18 grams of protein. Mix fruit into the yogurt and you’ll have a good source of vitamins as well.
Oats are cereal grains that contain a concentrated source of fiber and nutrients. They can lower cholesterol levels and are high in protein and manganese, which keeps bones strong and healthy. One packet of instant oatmeal has about five grams of protein, 105 calories and only two grams of fat.
Soy is a wide range of beans and foods including, tofu, tempeh and edamame. In addition, soy protein contains 60-70 percent of the total soybean protein, which is why it is used in many protein shakes. Try a half-cup of edamame and get 11 grams of protein as well as vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber.
Eggs are the best dairy source for protein. Eggs whites are the healthier part of the egg and are fat-and cholesterol free. One egg white has 15 calories and four grams of protein. Mix them with vegetables and cheese to increase the protein and nutrient amount.
5) Nuts, Seeds and Butter
Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein with peanuts providing the most protein at 23.7 grams per 100 gram serving. That comes out to .2 grams of protein per peanut. Some seeds such as pumpkin and squash seeds will up the protein with 33 grams of protein per 100 gram serving.
Peas are part of the legume family that is rich in protein. They are high in potassium, iron, zinc, calcium and a number of other nutrients and vitamins. In one cup of peas you can pick up 35 percent of your daily fiber and 6.4 grams of protein, which is more protein than two tablespoons of peanut butter.
Beans aren’t just a meat substitute anymore. The latest dietary guidelines recommend we triple our intake of beans from 1 to 3 cups per week. Not only are beans a protein-rich food, they also contain high amounts of fiber and antioxidants. One cup of black beans will contain 30 percent of your daily protein value.
Like beans and pears, lentils are part of the legume family that is rich in protein. They are commonly used in Indian cooking, which is where the plant originated. One cup of lentils has about 230 calories, one gram of fat and 18 grams of protein.
Pronounced “keen-wah,” Quinoa is grain that is often called a complete protein, meaning it contains large amounts of all nine of the essential amino acids that are necessary for our dietary needs. Lately, quinoa has risen in popularity in the U.S. as more people learn about the benefits of this little grain.