When you think of the best protein-rich foods to spoil yourself with, here are the 5 you must try out to give you all the satisfaction you want, according to Prevention.
1. Hemp seeds
Another one of Koff\’s favorites, hemp seeds are actually a complete protein—which means they contain an adequate proportion of all 9 of the essential amino acids necessary for our dietary needs. (One 3 Tbsp serving provides about 11 g of protein.) “Most of my clients don\’t realize that hemp seeds are also an excellent source of fiber, and they\’re loaded with omega-3 essential fatty acids,” says Koff, which promote heart health, proper brain function, and more.
Whether you blend these beans into a tasty hummus, mix them into homemade chili, or sprinkle some on top of a salad (or even use them in a tasty dessert!), chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are an excellent source of protein and fiber, says Koff, which means they are a staple in her pantry. In addition to protein and fiber, chickpeas are also loaded with manganese, folate, copper, iron, and zinc—vitamins and minerals that many Americans don\’t eat enough of, she says.
3. Cottage cheese
“This is one of my all-time favorite protein recommendations,” says Dulan, “because it has a whopping 14 g of protein in just ½ cup.” Don\’t love the taste? Try making it sweet by adding a serving of fruit and a dash of cinnamon on top.
This plant-based protein is one of the few grains that qualifies as a complete protein, packing 8 g into just one cup. It\’s also one of the most versatile grains, says Dulan: You can serve quinoa as a side (it\’s great hot or cold), as a breakfast cereal (cook it as you would oatmeal and top with cubed apples and cinnamon), or even as a delicious, protein-packed add-in to salads, soups, and more.
Before you turn your nose up at these little fish and assume (or insist!) you don\’t like them, Koff says they\’re worth another try because they are that good for you. “One can of sardines has between 20 and 28 g of protein,” she says. “Plus, they\’re also loaded with omega-3s,” says Koff, which have been shown to lower inflammation in the body (a common, chronic condition that has been linked to a number of diseases). Dulan says sardines are one of her top high-protein picks as well, adding that unlike some other sources of protein, sardines pack a big nutritional punch while also being low in calories.