10 Foods to Add About 10 Grams of Protein to Your Meals
Pictured Recipe: 3-Ingredient Teriyaki Edamame Sauté
Protein does a lot of good in the body, so it's no wonder it's such a hot topic in the health and wellness world. Whether you are trying to gain muscle, lose weight or heal from an injury, it's important to meet your protein needs. There are numerous foods that contribute protein to our diet, beyond just meat. And research is finding that eating a greater variety of protein-rich foods can improve your health and improve conditions like high blood pressure. Whether you're looking to make your meal more filling or have specific health goals in mind, there are several creative (and delicious) ways to eat more protein without overhauling your diet.
Here are 10 ways to add roughly 10 grams of protein to your meals.
1. Greek Yogurt
One half-cup of Greek yogurt contains about 11 grams of protein.
One of the best things about Greek yogurt is how versatile it. It can stand in for sour cream as a garnish or an ingredient in savory dishes, it adds creaminess and extra protein to smoothies, and it can even stand on its own as a snack (we're partial to our Strawberry-Chocolate Greek Yogurt Bark). Whether you're using it in Tzatziki, to thicken our Creamy Lemon Pasta with Shrimp or in our Banana Protein Muffins, Greek yogurt is a useful ingredient for adding protein to your meals.
One egg contains about 6 grams of protein, so you would want to go for two to add 12 grams of protein.
Luckily, eggs are delicious hard-boiled as a side to a meal, can be whisked into a scramble or an omelet or baked into our crowd-pleasing muffin-tin eggs. But that's not all that eggs are good for. You can add an egg (or two) to a salad or snack plate for a protein boost. Or throw together a frittata with vegetables that you need to use up, and you have a delicious and healthy meal to enjoy all week. They can even be used to make high-protein Two-Ingredient Banana Pancakes when your fridge is running low. Adding eggs to your eating pattern is a healthy, affordable way to get a boost of protein and nutrition.
3. Nut Butter
Two tablespoons of peanut butter adds 8 grams of protein to your meal or snack.
With just 2 tablespoons, you can add 8 grams of satisfying protein to your meal. Chances are that some of us tend eat more than the 2-tablespoon serving at a time, which means you'd get even more protein—plus, healthy plant-based fats. Add peanut butter to sliced fruit like apples or strawberries, or use it to top a piece of whole-grain bread instead of jam or butter to help boost your protein intake. Peanut butter is also a great addition to smoothies and savory dishes like Sautéed Broccoli with Peanut Sauce, Pantry Peanut Noodles and Curried Sweet Potato & Peanut Soup. You can also use it in our Peanut Dressing to give your salad a protein boost.
4. Chia Seeds
Two ounces (or 4 tablespoons) of chia seeds have about 10 grams of protein.
Chia seeds might be small, but they pack a punch when it comes to nutrition. While 4 tablespoons is probably more than most of us eat in one sitting, sprinkling them throughout your day can add up when it comes to protein and fiber intake. Chia seeds are especially great for when you're having issues staying regular, and our Healthy Gut Tonic with Chia is a quick and easy way to up your intake. Similar to overnight oats, chia seeds can be used to make chia pudding using whatever flavors or toppings you like. They can also be added to smoothies, sprinkled on toast or included as a crunchy addition to baked goods, salads and more.
5. Cottage Cheese
One-third of a cup of cottage cheese contains about 9 grams of protein.
While it might not be the most glamorous food in your fridge, cottage cheese is a great thing to have on hand to help boost your protein intake throughout the day. It can be topped with sweet ingredients like fruits, nuts and honey or savory ingredients like avocado, bacon, tomatoes and herbs, depending on your preferences. It can also be a great way to add protein and creaminess to dishes like mac and cheese, creamy dips and even pancakes.
One-half cup of lentils contains about 9 grams of protein.
Lentils are delicious legumes that are packed with protein and other nutrients like iron, potassium, folate and fiber. They're a satisfying addition to soups, curries, salads and even can be added to smoothies like our Chocolate-Banana Protein Smoothie. Plus, they're super affordable, shelf-stable and cook more quickly than other dried beans.
7. Whole-Grain Products
There are several reasons to choose whole-grain products when you can. In fact, the USDA MyPlate recommends making sure at least half of your grains come from whole-grain sources. This can help you add fiber, nutrients and protein compared to refined-grain products. Whole-grain breads and pastas are great choices and typically contain double the protein that their refined-grain counterparts do. Other whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley and farro are great options to include with your meals too.
8. Edamame and Soy Products
Soy is a healthy plant-based protein that is worth a spot on your plate. Not only is it rich in protein, but also soy foods are good sources of fiber, calcium, folate and iron. Edamame can be enjoyed straight out of the pod, or shelled and added to salads, pastas and stir-fries. Tofu also boasts a variety of culinary uses, from replacing eggs in a scramble to adding silky texture and protein to smoothies.
9. Canned Fish
One-quarter of a 6-ounce can of fish, like tuna or salmon, contains 10 grams of protein.
Similar to meat and other fish, a little canned fish goes a long way when it comes to protein and nutrition. Keeping canned tuna in your pantry can make it easy to have high-protein, nutritious meals in a pinch, and is much more affordable than fresh or frozen fish. Add canned fish to top salads or in a sandwich, or use canned fish in a spread to dip vegetables in. Not only will adding canned fish help you boost your protein intake, but also it can improve the nutrition of your overall eating pattern.
10. Nutritional Yeast
One tablespoon of nutritional yeast contains about 8 grams of protein.
If you have never tried nutritional yeast, its flavor is similar to an umami-rich cheese dust—sans dairy. Nutritional yeast can be added to recipes like salad dressings and spice mixes and used as a plant-based substitute for Parmesan. You can even sprinkle it on top of popcorn for a movie- theater-quality snack with a boost of protein and nutrition. As with other protein-packed foods like chia seeds and canned fish, a little goes a long way.