Protein is essential in your diet and there are some surprising sources of protein that you may not have considered. Protein is an important component in every cell in the body so it's essential for overall health but many people assume that protein equals meat. Not necessarily. Although meat is a source of protein, there are some other foods you may not thought were protein-rich. Here are some great sources of protein you can add to your next meal.
1. Cheeky Chick Peas
I love chick peas and one of my favorite Italian dishes is pasta with chick peas. Yummy. It might sound like a weird combination but it works. In fact, half a cup of chick peas contains more than seven grams of protein. They're so versatile and if you want to benefit from this fabulous source of protein add them to salads or purée them with garlic, vinegar, tahini and some oil to make a delicious hummus. You can also roast them for the perfect on-the-go snack as they're a far healthier alternative to potato chips.
2. Awesome Avocado
Some people are fearful of the humble avocado because of the fat content but it really is the healthy eater's best friend. They're packed with antioxidants, mono-unsaturated fats and are also a great source of protein. Avocado contains over four grams of protein per cup. Add it to salads, sandwiches, smoothies and dips. I like to lay slices of avocado and thinly sliced salmon on toast. Delicious.
3. Quality Quinoa
I love quinoa. Not only is it delicious and versatile, it's a great source of high-quality protein. Originally cultivated by the Incas in South America and gaining popularity worldwide, quinoa is a seed that's commonly thought of as a grain. A quarter-cup of cooked quinoa provides 5 grams of protein. It's also rich in the amino acid lysine, which is important for tissue growth and repair. Quinoa is a great substitute for rice in many dishes and also works well in soups and salads.
4. Give Peas a Chance
Peas are another underrated food when it comes to protein. In fact, a serving of peas contains as much protein as a single serving of peanut butter and we all know how great peanut butter is when it comes to packing a protein punch! Peas are also full of vitamin C and fibre so go on, give peas a chance.
5. Beautiful Bagels
Bagels and protein? How on earth can the two even be in the same sentence, I hear you cry! Well, a typical bagel contains 10g of protein. Spread it with some protein-packed hummus and you will have consumed at least 20g of protein. Bagels are made from a high-gluten type flour which gives them their chewy texture. Gluten is a protein which means you can enjoy a protein packed lunch in the shape of a bagel.
6. Sun-dried Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes are delicious and make me think of the summer. One cup of this protein packed fruit contains eight grams of protein and they're so versatile. You can make a delicious dip by whizzing some sun-dried tomatoes in a blender or add them to any pasta dish.
7. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are loaded with protein and essential amino acids. One ounce of hemp seeds contains six grams of protein which is the same amount that can be found in an egg believe it or not! Hemp is so versatile that it can be added to almost any meal. Sprinkle it over cereals and add it to your salads for a healthy protein hit.
These are some of the sources of protein you may not have considered. Can you think of any other unusual sources of protein?