Since protein is well-documented as important for weight loss and muscle building, it’s no surprise many folks are looking for new ideas or sources. Check out these 5 protein sources which are less known or just need some reinventing in your diet.
Cottage cheese. Sometimes I find myself hesitantly asking folks if they like cottage cheese, as if waiting for a recoiling “ick” response. Years of forcing it down as a “diet” food has traumatized people. At 10-12 grams of protein per ½ cup, cottage cheese is a great meal or snack option which can be consumed in either a savory (tomatoes and fresh basil) or sweet (berries and honey) fashion. Can’t handle the texture? Try using it in a smoothie or lasagna dish. The higher salt content makes it a great recovery option for athletes.
Green peas. Admittedly, peas have gotten a little more attention lately. But mostly as powdered pea protein. Guess what – you could actually eat the pea and get the protein, too (and lots of other great stuff like fiber, potassium, and vitamin C). Each 1 cup of peas contains 8 grams of protein. Peas are a great addition to salads or pasta dishes, or you can get creative and make pea-based guacamole.
Seitan. Say-what? Seitan (pronounced say·tan) is flavored wheat gluten used as a meat replacement. I first had it in high school after wandering into a new age restaurant with my mother in Evanston, Illinois. In a world overtaken by gluten-free products, seitan amusingly stands strong as entirely gluten. There are 21 grams of protein in 1/3 cup. It’s tough to find, but can most notably be seen in old-school health food stores or Whole Foods-like establishments. It looks and functions similarly to chicken or beef in a stir-fry.
Edamame. A common appetizer at Japanese restaurants, edamame are soybeans typically eaten directly out of the pod. Most grocery stores now sell them in or out of the pod, but buying them already shelled can make for an easy protein addition to soups, casseroles, salads, or pasta dish. They are also a great snack option. A complete protein source, they contain 11 grams per ½ cup.
Kefir. This fermented milk “beverage” (the consistency is halfway between yogurt and milk) contains gut-friendly probiotics and is 99% lactose-free. It contains a similar protein content to milk (8 grams per cup) but has a unique flavor which some describe as similar to buttermilk. Doesn’t appeal? You can use it like Greek yogurt in a smoothie or buy a flavored version. It’s also great mixed in pancakes.