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There are lots of wholesome ways to increase your protein intake without resorting to meat.

Brierley Horton, R.D.
September 20, 2017

These days, protein seems to be the superstar nutrient – and for good reason. Gram for gram, it’s more satisfying than carbohydrates or fat – meaning it keeps you fuller, longer. Protein is also essential for repairing and building muscle and keeps your metabolism humming along.

The daily recommended dietary allowance is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For most adult men and women, that translates to 46 to 56 grams of protein each day. For reference, a 3-ounce, fist-sized hamburger delivers 24 grams of protein.

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Some say Americans get adequate or even too much protein; others argue we could safely eat more than what’s recommended (and perhaps should).

If you’re looking to up your protein intake, that doesn't necessarily translate to “eat more meat.” Plus, you’re likely aware of ways to add meat-based protein to your diet – with beef, chicken, turkey, seafood, etc. Though animal-based protein delivers all of the essential amino acids we need, you can absolutely get sufficient protein from plant-based sources.

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Here are 21 easy, alternative ways to add protein to your diet:

  • 1 cup peanuts: 41 grams of protein.
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds: 39 grams.
  • 1 cup cheese (Swiss, mozzarella, Colby Jack): 36 grams
  • 1 cup tempeh: 34 grams
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese: 28 grams
  • 1 cup oats: 26 grams
  • ½ cup tofu: 22 grams
  • 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt: 22 grams
  • 1 cup kidney beans: 21 grams
  • 1 cup white beans: 19 grams
  • 1 cup pinto beans: 19 grams
  • 1 cup lentils: 18 grams
  • 1 cup edamame: 17 grams
  • 1 cup lima beans: 15 grams
  • 1 veggie burger: 11 grams
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter: 9 grams
  • 1 cup tofu yogurt: 9 grams
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa: 8 grams
  • 1 cup skim milk: 8 grams
  • 1 cup soymilk: 7 grams
  • 1 tablespoon miso: 2 grams

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