4 Unexpected Ways to Get More Protein In Your Diet

Protein is essential for building muscle, and it helps you feel fuller for longer! It's recommended that you eat between

46-56 grams of protein per day, but this can be a challenge to those who wish to cut back on meat, or who are vegetarian or vegan. So how do you get the protein you need without turning to processed shakes and powders? Here's a few plant-based suggestions to get you started.

Ah Nuts! 

Nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fat. Peanuts, while technically a legume, have a whopping 41 grams of protein per cup. If you prefer actual nuts, then almonds are a great choice with 18 grams of protein per cup. Nuts in their most raw form are your healthiest option. Look for nuts that are certified organic and unsalted.

Gimme Some Lentils

You don't hear about lentils too often, but they should be at the top of your grocery list. Lentils are a plentiful source of fiber, folic acid, and potassium -- all nutrients that support heart health. Lentils are super versatile! You can make them as a main course, side dish, or pop them in a stew or soup. 1 cup of lentils has 18 grams of protein.

Yo, Yogurt!

Your standard yogurt is packed with sugar and lacks protein, so you might as well snack on a cookie. On the other hand, both tofu and Greek yogurt are excellent sources of protein. The tofu variant has 9 grams per cup, while Greek has 22 grams per cup! If you don't like the taste, just add a 1/4 of cup of tofu or Greek yogurt to a morning smoothie.

Bring on the Beans

Beans! They are one of the most underrated foods. Not only are beans a great source of protein, but they make a terrific addition to virtually any dish. If you're making vegetarian chili, you don't have to fret about omitting the meat. Kidney beans have 21 grams of protein per cup. White and pinto beans both have 19 grams per cup, and black beans have 14 grams per cup.