Best Non-Meat Protein Foods
If you are a herbivore, or an omnivore looking to increase your protein intake, try out these high protein food sources (other than meat!).
So a quick background on protein before I go into the foods. Protein is SUPER important if you are trying to lose weight. Eating a sufficient amount of protein will help boost your metabolism and reduce your appetite.
Additionally, protein is significant in muscle building. As you may know, muscles are made of protein. During exercise, your muscles are being broken down and rebuilt. So for your body to preserve that muscle, and gain new muscle, you must be synthesizing more muscle protein than you are breaking down.
The USDA recommended amount of protein is about 0.8g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, or 0.36g per pound of bodyweight. It should make up 20-35% of your total daily calories. If you are bulking, or trying to gain muscle, it is said that 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight is sufficient. So for example, if someone is 180 pounds and they are trying to lose weight or just maintain, they should be eating around 65-70g of protein a day. If someone is 180 pounds and they are an athlete, or if they are trying to gain muscle, they should be eating around 180g of protein.
Everyone knows that meat has the highest protein content. But what if you STILL aren't meeting your protein goal or you don't eat meat? Add these foods to your diet to get the benefits of higher protein.
There are 6g of protein per 1oz of almonds. Add them to your yogurt, or have them as a part of a snack. But be careful, they are VERY calorie dense. So I wouldn't recommend just eating handfuls at a time. Make sure you watch your intake!
Half a cup of oats contains 6g of protein. That plus ALL the additional benefits of oats makes them one of the healthiest foods out there. Add them to your breakfast in the morning to keep you awake, focused, and satiated until lunch!
3. Greek Yogurt
One container of greek yogurt has anywhere from 15-17g of protein! I eat greek yogurt everyday. It makes an awesome snack, it tastes like a treat because of the different flavors and creamy texture, plus you can load it up with a variety of toppings (i.e. fruit, almonds, peanut butter etc...). Just watch out for the ones with a huge amount of added sugar.
One cup of broccoli has 3g of protein. Broccoli is an extremely healthy food. It is loaded with vitamins, fiber, and potassium. Additionally, if you are trying to add volume to your meals (more food without all the added calories), broccoli and other green vegetables are the way to go. If you have ever weighed out broccoli, you know that just one cup of broccoli (about 100g total) looks like a HUGE serving.
One cup of cooked quinoa has 8g of protein. It is regarded as one of the most popular "superfoods". It is loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and basically everything your body wants and needs. However, it does taste kind of like... nothing. So to give it more flavor, I cook it in chicken (or veggie broth), add some olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and maybe even some roasted veggies!
Just one cup of lentils has 18g of protein! They are one of the best plant-based protein sources, followed closely by soybeans, chickpeas, and kidney beans. One cup also has around 16g of fiber!
Start adding these foods to your daily diet, and I promise, you'll see great results!