The 11 best protein foods besides chicken

Apr 18, 2018

As we all know by now, protein is absolutely critical when it comes to gaining muscle.

But that doesn’t mean the entirety of your intake should be limited to protein powders and grilled chicken. There are plenty of easy (and delicious) ways to add a little excitement and variety to your food, while still earning that precious protein.

Men’s Fitness asked Willow Jarosh, M.S., R.D., and Stephanie Clarke, M.S., R.D.—both registered dieticians and co-owners of C&J Nutrition in New York and Washington, D.C.—to share their top protein food picks (besides grilled chicken). Consider cooking some of them up in one of these 11 protein-focused recipes.

Here’s the list!

1. Hemp Seeds

Consider sprinkling these hemp seeds onto salads—the fat will help you better absorb the nutrients from dark leafy greens and other veggies in addition to adding a nice crunchy texture and flavor.

They also provide a double whammy of nutrition power of omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

We recommended grabbing them over at Fair Foods

Grams of protein: 13g per 1/4 cup

2. Edamame

This plant-based protein source provides an all-in-one balance of protein, carbohydrates, and unsaturated fat.

Opt for the pre-cooked frozen versions that are still in the pod (as you’d get with sushi). Put a handful or two in a resealable bag, toss in your briefcase, and it’ll be thawed and ready to eat by snack-time.

Grams of protein: 8g per cup (in the pod)

3. Plain Greek Yoghurt

Versatility is the name of the game with Greek yogurt. You can use it in place of sour cream, to thicken soups, in smoothies, on bagels with lox. Basically, there isn’t really anything you can’t pair with Greek yogurt. Instead of sugar-loaded pancake toppings, opt for 0% plain Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts, and a small drizzle of maple syrup to add some protein to a typically carb-heavy meal.

Grams of protein: 18g per 6-ounce container (or 24g per cup)

4. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese helps prevent mitigate blood sugar fluctuation, making it a uniquely beneficial food. Additionally, it is a much richer source of protein than regular-style yogurt. It’s also a different texture than yogurt, so it gives variety in its uses.

Top 1% cottage cheese with a sliced banana and sliced almonds for a work-friendly snack that doesn’t come from a vending machine.

Grams of protein: 21 grams of protein per 6 ounces (vs. 10 grams for a cup of regular, non-Greek yogurt).

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