Unlike other plant protein sources, quinoa is a complete protein, meaning not only does it have a high protein content, but it also contains all nine of the essential amino acids. So nutritionally, the ancient grain doesn’t disappoint. One cup of fluffy, cooked quinoa provides 8.14 grams of protein, along with magnesium, iron, fiber, and zinc—all things our bodies need. Serve it as a side dish, swap it for brown rice, or even eat it cold as a salad.* (4)
Great for adding to stir-fries or eating as an appetizer, edamame is a vegan food that really delivers in the protein department: One cup of cooked and shelled edamame has 18.5 grams of protein. Edamame is also a good source of fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate. * (5)
Small but mighty, two tablespoons of chia seeds provide 4 grams of protein, as well as fiber, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. What makes chia seeds superstars, though, is their versatility: You can add them to smoothies, homemade strawberry lemonade, overnight oats, or even popsicles. You can also mix them with your favorite nut milk to make a delicious pudding.* (6)
If you want to step up your protein intake, enjoying a bowl of oatmeal is an excellent way to go. One cup of raw oats contains 26.3 grams of protein. Oats are also full of magnesium, fiber, and folate. That said, if you eat oatmeal regularly, it can quickly become a bit boring. The solution: Dress up your oat bowl with different toppings such as granola or fresh fruit. And if you want to add additional sources of protein and some crunch, top your oatmeal with peanuts, almonds, pistachios, or cashews. A spoonful of creamy peanut butter or almond butter will also do the trick.* (7)
- Polak, Rani et al. “Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake.” Clinical diabetes : a publication of the American Diabetes Association vol. 33,4 (2015): 198-205. doi:10.2337/diaclin.33.4.198
- “Chickpea Nutrition.” FoodData Central, USDA.
- “Hemp Seed Nutrition.” FoodData Central, USDA.
- “Quinoa Nutrition.” FoodData Central, USDA.
- “Edamame Nutrition.” FoodData Central, USDA.
- Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica): health promoting properties and therapeutic applications – a review. Retrieved from the National Institutes of Health
- “Oat Nutrition.” FoodData Central, USDA.