Alternative protein sources are often overlooked by their meaty counterparts. When people think of protein, meat is probably the first thing that comes to mind. In reality, however, there are numerous other sources of protein that are just as if not more valuable for you to consume.
The protein food group as a whole provides crucial nutrients that your body needs, and including a variety of protein sources in your diet is important for you to feel your best.
Beans are a protein packed punch! The bean family has one of the highest protein contents within the plant foods. They are nutrient dense legumes that make you feel fuller, faster. In fact, beans shine in terms of their fiber and water content, two necessary ingredients that aid in digestion.
In general, 1/4 cup of cooked beans, peas, or lentils will equate to one serving of protein. Keep in mind that protein content will vary between bean types.
Like beans, nuts are full of protein and have a wide variety within their group. They are versatile, easy to eat on the run, and are loaded with antioxidants.
To read more about nuts as a protein source, as well as which nuts are the best for protein, check out this article by healthline on 8 high protein nuts.
Eggs are one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planed, and they are full of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. In addition to these benefits, eggs are a great source of protein. In fact, one large egg contains six grams of protein.
Incorporating eggs into your diet is a great way to increase your protein intake, and studies show that eating eggs may lead to decreased feelings of hunger and fewer cravings throughout the day, which is a huge plus.
Seafood is a complete source of protein that is wonderful to add in your diet. It is high in protein, low in fat, and contains many vitamins and minerals your body needs. Seafood itself has a wide variation within the classification, so experiment with different types of seafood and see what you like best.
If you are interested in increasing variation in your protein intake, seafood is a strong place to start. To learn more about seafood as a protein source, check out this article by Global Seafoods North America.
Dairy provides a source of protein that most people might not recognize at first glance. However, one cup of milk contains over 8 grams of protein, along with lots of minerals and vitamins that your body needs, like calcium and phosphorus.
Recommended intake of dairy varies by age, so remember to reference healthy dairy consumption recommendations.
Alternative protein sources are a great way to meet your dietary recommendations for protein intake, and those of us who do eat meat should try to incorporate the plant-based varieties of protein in our diets because they help increase the amount of important nutrients your body needs, like unsaturated fats, dietary fiber, and vitamin D.
For more information on the protein food group and for daily recommended intake, check out our article on the protein food group.