Exploring 5 Unique Protein-Packed Foods

When we talk about protein, we are not only talking about the most expensive part of the grocery trip but also the part of the meal that offers some significant nutrients and satisfaction.

5 protein-packed foods

But some people get tired of the same chicken again and again. Trying new protein sources could help to rejuvenate your meal planning efforts. Plus, these 5 less-common sources of protein won't break the bank! Check out these protein sources that often go unnoticed!

1. Lentils

A bag of lentils is a healthy protein option. At 8 grams of protein per ¼ cup of uncooked lentils, plus 7 grams of fiber per serving, these tiny powerhouses are a great "outside the box" protein option.

Consider recipes such as lentil soup with vegetables, lentil enchiladas, or even topped on a salad. Yes, lentils are legumes and, therefore, contain carbohydrates. So, when choosing lentils, ensure you're balancing your meal with fiber as well.

Choosing lentils as your complex carbohydrate at a meal may be beneficial when living with diabetes. They are also highly budget-friendly at less than $2 per 1-pound bag.

2. Meat jerky & cheese sticks

Some people forget that beef or turkey jerky are dynamos for protein sources. At 9 grams of protein per stick, these are great for quick snacks or meals on the go.

It's important to remember that many jerky snacks are high in sodium, so if you monitor your salt intake due to hypertension, consume them in moderation.

Cheese sticks are another quick and easy snack or meal to grab. With 5 grams of protein per stick, they are a great way to stretch your fullness until your next meal.

3. Hemp seed hearts

Nuts and seeds are another "outside the box" protein source. Hemp seed hearts are tiny but mighty! A 3-tablespoon serving contains 10 grams of protein! Hemp seed hearts are also full of healthy fats and fiber.

These 3 nutritional benefits mean you will be left feeling satisfied! Consider sprinkling hemp seed hearts on salads, soups, or even yogurt. The flavor is mild, and the slight crunch offers a great texture.

4. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese has recently become a trendy food; it has found its way into all kinds of recipes, including pasta dishes and even ice cream.

½ cup of cottage cheese contains a whopping 12 grams of protein! Talk about satisfying! Some ideas for eating it are mixed with fruit, with tomatoes or cucumbers, atop a salad, and even on its own. Truly, there are so many possibilities with this excellent protein source.

5. Plain Greek yogurt

A large, 32-ounce container of plain Greek yogurt costs under $6. It is a great way to boost protein in any recipe.

Consider adding Greek yogurt to smoothies, pancake batter, frozen fruit pops, muffin batter, or on its own for a snack. With 16 grams of protein and 90 calories per serving, a ¾ cup serving provides tons of nutrients, such as calcium, and satiety to your day.

If you don't like the tartness of plain yogurt, try mixing in a small amount of fruit or a savory option such as tomatoes and everything bagel seasoning for a more palatable flavor.

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Whether you are living with diabetes or not, these protein options fit the bill for anyone!

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