When you think of protein, probably beef, eggs, chicken or fish spring to mind. But you’ll also find significant amounts of protein in some unexpected foods – like oats, potatoes and even pasta! Here we take a look at surprising sources of protein.
Chicken Stock, 4 grams per cup
Surprised? We were! While the terms “broth” and “stock” are often used interchangeably, they are nutritionally different. Stocks are made when veggies and meat or poultry bones are simmered and strained while broth is made with the same ingredients minus bones. The slow-simmering of bones means that stock has a lot more protein from the bones, while broth is lower in protein. For example, a cup of Pacific Organic Chicken stock packs in 4 grams of protein compared to 1 gram in the chicken broth.
Snack Chips, up to 3 grams per serving (depending on brand)
You wouldn’t think your favorite snack chips could pack in protein too, but the right ones can add surprising amounts of protein to your between-meal eats. For instance, whole grain tortilla chips generally have 2-3 grams of protein per serving (10-12 chips.) For even more protein, look for Crunchmaster’s Popped Edamame chips that have 3 grams protein per serving—that’s 18 chips. (They’re also gluten-free and non-GMO.) Partner them with hummus and you’ll get even more protein (and fiber) to boost the staying power of your snack.
Pasta, 2 oz dry (1 cup cooked): up to 10 g protein, depending on brand
While pasta is known for being rich in complex carbohyrates that are great for providing muscles the energy they need, most people forget that pasta is also a good source of protein—packing in more protein per serving than most grains. A standard pasta has about 5-7 grams per cup, but new specialty blends pack in even more. For instance, one cup of cooked Barilla Plus has a whopping 10 grams of protein, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and 4 grams of fiber. And Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Grain Penne has about 9 grams of protein per 1 cup cooked. That’s more protein than a cup of milk.
Oats, regular and quick, (½ c dry , 1 c cooked) = 5.33 g protein
Oats pack a big nutritional punch. As a whole grain, they’re an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, making them a perfect ‘energy’ food. But they also contain a surprising amount of protein. In fact, a cup of your morning oatmeal has over 5 grams of protein. And if you’re looking for dairy alternatives, try oat-based options as they have more protein than many grain-based beverages. For example, Pacific Organic Oat non-dairy beverage is rich and creamy and packs in 4g of protein per cup
You can also use oats to make muffins, cookies, and even our favorite “protein pancakes.” (See recipe)
Potato – 1 large potato = 6.28 g protein
Often maligned for being a fattening food, potatoes have more to offer than most expect. They are not just carbs – a large potato has about 6 grams of protein. One medium potato has more vitamin C than a tomato and more potassium than a large banana! Be sure to eat the skins for extra fiber and B-vitamins.
Potatoes are perfect as a side or main dish. Try a low-calorie, vinegar-based potato salad, bake your own fries or make mashed potatoes with low-sodium chicken broth. If you’re having a baked potato as a main dish, keep calories under control by loading up with healthy veggies like broccoli or chard.