Ah, protein. Looking at the big picture, it’s the building block of life. Looking at a smaller picture, without protein we’re left with distracting afternoon cravings. For the carnivores out there, sometimes there are not enough hours in the day to perfectly cook chicken breast with plenty to spare for tomorrow’s lunch. And nobody is more tired of black beans than vegetarians and vegans. If you’re looking for convenient proteins, you’ll find some on this list. If variety is your goal, you’ll find that, too. From the meaty to the meat-free, here are 7 superfoods to eat for protein.
- Lentils: A half-cup serving of lentils packs about 9 grams of protein. With women and men requiring 46 and 56 grams respectively every day, lentils can chip away significantly at that number in one meal. Other great reasons to eat lentils are its 8 grams of fiber that make up 32% of your daily requirement. These little legumes aren’t joking around with iron either, providing you with 18% of your daily goal. Throw them in minestrone with all of our favorite vegetables for an easy and customizable dinner.
- Trout: No, you don’t need to catch it yourself. Chances are you’ll find it in the seafood case being upstaged by the salmon (which is so been-there-done-that). One fillet alone has 22 grams of protein for its mere 160 calories. Trout fillets are very thin and sauté in less than ten minutes. Would you believe that you can bake them from frozen, too? Because you can.
- Spirulina: Yes, it is seaweed. But hear me out. If you incorporate three tablespoons of the green powder into your daily routine you’ll get 12 whole grams of protein. There probably is no better excuse for making an on-the-go smoothie with a huge glob of peanut butter in it.
- Edamame: These slippery little soybeans make for a great snack, side, or even a lunchtime salad topper. A half cup will earn you about 10 grams of protein. They’re also a good source of fiber and magnesium.
- Quinoa: We are all a little tired of hearing about how great quinoa is. The highlights, however, are its iron, vitamin B-6, magnesium, potassium, fiber and protein contents. Eat a cup of this stuff and you’ve got yourself 24 grams of protein. Modify your favorite rice dish and serve with quinoa instead.
- Nuts: Sometimes the simple and familiar is the best way to go. With varying protein offerings and nutritional details, pick your favorites and get acquainted with what they can offer you. Life hack: Google “almond nutrition” and see the fast facts pop up in a convenient nutrition label.
- Tofu: Tofu is a copycat in the best way. It takes on the flavor of whatever else you’re cooking, which makes it an unobtrusive stir-fry or noodle dish addition. A measly half-cup promises 10 grams of protein.
Leave your favorite protein snack ideas and recipes in the comments section.