15 Out-of-the-Box Sources That Pack a Powerful Protein Punch

Let’s be honest. When we think of protein sources, we usually picture the usual suspects like chicken, fish diary, eggs or a big ol’ hunk of beef. And it’s true — animal products are amazing sources of protein when it comes to providing all nine essential amino acids we need to stay healthy and build muscle.

But animals don’t have the corner on the market when it comes to providing protein. Protein, or more specifically, amino acids — the building blocks of protein — are found in lots of foods, which means you can ramp up your protein intake by thoughtfully consuming whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. The trick is eating whole foods as close to their natural state as possible. The more processing a food goes through, the more likely its nutrients, including proteins found in the bran and germ that are most often processed out of refined grains, will be altered or stripped. Check out these 15 unexpected sources of protein to get started. 

Originally published August 2016. Updated July 2017.

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