Eggs are prized for their protein content. At 6.29 grams per serving, it’s easy to see why! They’re cheap and easy to cook. But don’t limit yourself to eggs trying to get all the protein as some foods contain higher levels of the nutrient.
Compared to red meat, eggs are low in saturated fat. Instead, you’ll get nutrients like vitamin A, potassium, and folate.1 Although you definitely can benefit from this high-quality protein, to keep things interesting, switch it up with these 5 protein-rich sources.
1. Lentils And Beans
Want the best bang for your buck? Eat lentils and beans, which are cheaper than eggs. A can of cooked kidney beans costs around 99 cents. In one cup of cooked lentils, you’ll get 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber.2 Both nutrients will keep you satisfied for hours, so you won’t feel hungry until much later. It’s a must for any weight-loss plan.
There are also options galore. Beans range from black, pink, white, pinto, kidney, and garbanzo beans, while lentils include red, green, and brown. Toss them in soup, make burritos, or mix with rice – the possibilities are endless.
If you want to eat meat, focus on fish. Fish are low in sodium and high in protein, making them a better alternative to red and processed meat. One serving has more protein than 1 egg. For example, a 3-ounce portion of wild salmon has about 17 grams of protein and also offers heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.3
But, be mindful of mercury, a neurotoxin that damages the central nervous system, in fish. The fish that have the highest levels of this mineral include sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, marlin, and bigeye tuna. Want safer choices? Eat catfish, salmon, anchovy, herring, flounder, and haddock. The Food & Drug Administration suggests 2 to 3 servings of these in a week.4
3. Dried Spirulina
Spirulina, a type of blue-green algae, is another rich protein from the sea. Just 2 tablespoons of dried spirulina have 8 grams! Other nutrients you get from this algae include B-vitamins, iron, potassium, and vitamin A.5
Spirulina does cost more than meat and eggs. But if you’re a vegan or want more options, you can’t go wrong with this.6 Sprinkle it on smoothies, salads, or cookie batter. You can also take it as a capsule.
From walnuts to cashews, nuts pack in the protein. A 1.5-serving of almonds (about 34 pieces) has a whopping 9 grams.7 However, be sure to avoid salted nuts to limit sodium intake.
Aside from protein, nuts have other perks. Substituting 1 serving of nuts for a daily serving of red meat reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 16–35%. Over time, you’ll also gain less weight.8 Remember, nuts don’t necessarily have to be eaten alone. Make fresh nut butter or toss them in salads. In the form of ground flour, nuts can be used in pie crusts or veggie burgers.
5. Mozzarella Cheese
Cheese gets a bad reputation, but the type matters. It can be a rich source of protein – if you know what to eat. One slice of low-sodium mozzarella cheese has 7.7 grams of protein! It also has 205 milligrams of calcium and 147 milligrams of phosphorus in a single slice, two minerals important for healthy bones. It’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol, too.9 Mozzarella tastes great in sandwiches, quiche, and salads. Love Italian food? Pair it with tomatoes and basil for a Caprese salad.
If you’re still ok with eggs in your diet, combine it with these foods. This will make it easy for you to meet your protein needs of 8 grams per 20 pounds body weight.
|↑1||Basic Report: 01129, Egg, whole, cooked, hard-boiled. U.S. Food & Drug Administration.|
|↑2, ↑3, ↑8||Protein. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑4||Eating Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know. U.S. Food & Drug Administration.|
|↑5||Basic Report: 11667, Seaweed, spirulina, dried. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑6||Blue-green algae. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑7||Basic Report: 12061, Nuts, almonds. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑9||Basic Report: 43597, Cheese, mozzarella, low sodium. United States Department of Agriculture.|