6 Simple Protein Sources You May Be Ignoring But Should

Have you seen recent headlines claiming that canned tuna is losing popularity? According to the USDA, sales of this high-quality, convenient source of protein have decreased by 40% in recent years. This appears to be largely due to millennials not purchasing it due to their preference for fresher fare.

If you, too, prefer to avoid canned tuna, you may be looking for quick, easy, and versatile high-protein alternatives. Six foods that you are probably not eating frequently enough, along with easy ways to incorporate them into balanced meals.


Along with canned and frozen lentils, many markets sell steamed, ready-to-eat lentils. A one-cup serving contains approximately 18 grams of protein, 16 grams of filling fiber (more than 60% of your daily fiber requirement), and a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Toss a large handful of leafy greens with a dressing made of balsamic vinegar, stone ground mustard, and Italian herb seasoning for a quick meal. Lentils, a quarter of an avocado, and a few tablespoons of pumpkin seeds should be sprinkled on top.

Burgers made with pea protein

While I always prefer whole foods over processed foods, I am a big fan of pea protein burgers made from yellow split peas. Apart from the fact that pea protein is naturally gluten-free and is not a common allergen, finding pea burgers made with whole food ingredients is simple. At least 25 grams of protein can be found in one patty. I use them in a variety of ways, including crumbled on salads, stir-fries, and collard wraps filled with chopped vegetables and vinegar-based slaw. I also enjoy them whole, sandwiched between lettuce leaves with tomato, onion, and avocado and accompanied by air fries.

Eggs that have been hardboiled

While hard-boiled eggs are extremely simple to prepare, they can also be purchased pre-cooked. Each entire egg contains approximately 6 grams of protein. Additionally, recent research indicates that the cholesterol in eggs, which is entirely contained in the yolk, has a negligible, if any, effect on blood cholesterol. Indeed, one study discovered that eating up to three whole eggs per day increased "good" HDL cholesterol and decreased "bad" LDL cholesterol in healthy adults. Additionally, the yolk contains the majority of the nutrients in an egg, containing at least 90% or all of the choline, vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Salads can benefit from an instant protein boost when hard-boiled eggs are added. I also enjoy chopping a few and tossing them with spinach, tomatoes, red onion, celery, and bell pepper, as well as a small scoop of cooked, chilled quinoa and half an avocado.

Protein powder derived from plants

Another processed food made with simple, clean ingredients that can be used in a variety of ways. One scoop of plant protein powder contains at least 20 grams of protein and has a negligible carbohydrate and fat content. Along with being whipped into smoothies, plain, unflavored plant protein powder can be added to oatmeal and overnight oats, banana pancakes, savory soups, and cauliflower mash to boost the protein content.


If you lack a can opener, as many millennials apparently do, look for beans packaged in shelf-stable, tear-open boxes. 1 cup organic vegetarian baked beans contains approximately 12 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber. Serve beans alongside steamed frozen broccoli tossed in jarred dairy-free pesto for a quick meal. Alternatively, serve them alongside a fresh garden salad dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette made with EVOO.

Yogurt grec

Grass-fed Greek yogurts made with either plant or dairy milk can be a good source of ready-to-eat protein. One individual container of a plant-based variety contains between 11 and 14 grams of protein, depending on the brand. The wonderful thing about plain Greek yogurt is that it can be consumed sweet or savory. Add fresh fruit, nuts or seeds, a drizzle of maple syrup, a dash of cinnamon, and a sprinkle of freshly grated ginger for a sweet version. Add garlic, fresh dill, red wine vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper for a savory option, then toss with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and a pinch of red onion.

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