The incredible edible egg is an extremely popular protein that goes well with virtually any dish — stir fry, salad, casseroles, and toast (of course) to name a few. With 6 grams of protein and 13 essential vitamins and minerals — including brain-healthy choline and vitamin D — one large egg boasts a pretty impressive nutrient profile. Since the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans did away with cholesterol recommendations, there are zero reasons to avoid eggs. (In fact, .)
But while it’s tempting to opt for eggs all day every day, there are a surprising number of foods to consider if protein is what you’re after. The macronutrient is vital for building and maintaining muscle mass, satisfying hunger, boosting your immune system, and aiding in injury recovery. So if you’re looking to switch things up beyond your scramble, check out these foods that pack more protein per serving than a whole egg.
Balance out your carb-rich sushi rice with a side of protein-packed edamame. This green soy bean has 9 g of protein and roughly 100 calories in a ½ cup serving. What’s more, you’ll also get a dose of fiber, potassium, and vitamin A.
Power up your protein: Whip up a batch of this from Living Well Kitchen at the beginning of the week for a hunger-squashing work snack.
Cottage cheese doesn’t get nearly enough love. At roughly 12 g of protein and 100 calories per ½ cup, it’s a satisfying midday snack and a great source of calcium.
Power up your protein: Cottage cheese tastes great paired with fruit, but you can get creative with it. Try sneaking it into foods that are otherwise low in protein, like with this recipe or topped on toast instead of your go-to avocado.
Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Regardless, this bird is one of the most versatile lean proteins with 25 g in just 4 ounces (about the size of your palm). It can stand alone as the base of a dish or it makes a great addition to salads, soups, tacos, quesadillas, grain bowls — you name it!
Power up your protein: Sick of your go-to chicken dish? Make things exciting again with one of these .
You can always use more protein options that don’t require any cooking, and black beans fit the bill. Keep a few cans in your cupboard so you can drain and rinse when you’re ready to add them to tacos, nachos, and soup. Each ½ cup serving has 7 g of protein, about 100 calories, and 2 milligrams (mg) of iron, making them a good option for vegetarians and vegans.
Power up your protein: Spice up the standard black bean with this from Sara Haas, culinary dietitian.
This fatty fish serves up more than heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. A 3-ounce serving of raw tuna has 20 grams of protein, and one can of cooked tuna has a whopping 33 grams of protein. Either way, this tasty fish should be top of mind for restaurant ordering or pantry stocking.
Power up your protein: Try your hand at making this from Cape Fear Nutrition at home, or even better, for our twist on the classic benedict.
Tofu is one of the cheapest and most malleable protein ingredients. This soy-based protein takes on the flavor of any marinade, comes in a variety of textures, and can’t be over or undercooked. A 3-ounce serving has 9 grams of protein and 90 calories, along with fiber, iron, and calcium if it’s fortified.
Power up your protein: If you’ve had unappetizing tofu in the past, try these from Rachael Hartley Nutrition for a total game changer. Craving takeout instead? This will get the job done.
This bird isn’t just for Thanksgiving. Turkey may not get the same love as chicken, but it’s nutrition profile is pretty darn similar. With 25 grams of protein in a 4-ounce serving, it’s a nice alternative to chicken in virtually any dish.
Power up your protein: Try something simple like this from Teaspoon of Spice, which can be made in batches and frozen for lazy (but cozy) days.
If you’re unfamiliar, tempeh is a fermented soybean product with a chewy taste that mimics meat. It serves as the base for vegan sandwiches and makes a nice addition to Buddha bowls, with 170 calories and 16 grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving. Plus, the fermentation process creates good-for-your gut probiotics.
Power up your protein: Tempeh can serve as the focal point of any vegan dish, so try it in this or throw it into a with tons of veggies and beans.
It’s amazing how much protein can be packed into one snackable container. Just about 1 cup of plain low-fat Greek yogurt has a whopping 20 grams of protein for roughly 150 calories. You’ll also punch up your meal or snack with probiotics and calcium.
Power up your protein: If the taste of plain Greek yogurt is too tangy for your liking, try using it as a replacement for sour cream in savory dishes, or make your own with this recipe from Jackie Newgent, RDN. You can also sweeten it yourself by piling fruit on top.
Lentils pack quite the nutritional punch, with 9 grams of protein in a ½ cup cooked serving. What’s more, you’ll get 8 grams of filling fiber, 3 mg of iron, and a healthy dose of potassium for around 115 calories.
Power up your protein: Switch things up and use lentils as the base for your grain bowl, toss them onto your salad, or try a more traditional .
One thing good old cow’s milk has over your favorite almond milk? You get 8 grams of protein per 8-ounce serving. Not to mention, nine essential vitamins and minerals, including bone building calcium and vitamin D. (If you’re vegan, soy milk contains about the same amount of protein.)
Power up your protein: If drinking a glass of milk doesn’t tickle your taste buds, opt for chocolate milk after a workout to maximize your recovery. suggests it might even reduce muscle soreness.
This unfamiliar gluten-free grain looks like a smaller couscous and cooks up to a slightly gummy consistency. Offering 9 grams of protein in 1 cooked cup, amaranth is a bit of an imposter grain, since it’s actually derived from a seed. Still, it’s often referred to as one of the ancient grains, and contains a good amount of fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Power up your protein: Sick of quinoa? Use amaranth as the base for this from Simple Swaps.
Whether you roast them for a snack or toss them into your salad, chickpeas are an excellent way to sneak in extra protein at nearly 15 grams per cooked cup, as well as fiber (12 grams) and iron if you prefer to skip out on beef (nearly 5 grams).
Power up your protein: Chickpeas are super versatile, since they really take on any flavor you prefer. They taste amazing in a or . Looking for a healthier sweet treat? Try these surprisingly .
Nuts and seeds make great snacks because they offer healthy fats, which are super satiating. But they also contain protein, which works to keep hunger pangs at bay. Take ever-popular and versatile pumpkin seeds, for example. One ounce contains 8 grams of protein, some iron, and magnesium for under 200 calories.
Power up your protein: There’s no limit to what you can do with these crunchy seeds. From homemade granola to pesto, here are seven .
As long as you keep your portions in check, cheese can be a great way to add extra protein, calcium, and vitamin D to a meal. Just 1 ounce of grated Parmesan delivers 8 grams of protein at roughly 120 calories, along with tons of added flavor.
Power up your protein: Sprinkle parmesan onto your salads, pasta dishes, or even eggs to add depth to your meal. Better yet, try out this better-for-you .