Which foods have more or less protein than you thought?

These days, many people are seeking out more protein…whether they need it or not. But we may be looking in the wrong places. Here’s a handful of foods with more (or less) protein per serving than you might expect.

MORE than you thought

Lentil pasta. A cup of white pasta has 7 grams of protein. Whole wheat has 8 grams. But pasta made from red lentil flour has a whopping 12 to 15 grams. Try Barilla (13 grams) or Tolerant (14 grams).

Pea milk. A cup of most plant milks has 0 to 3 grams of protein. Exceptions: soymilk (6 to 8 grams) and milks with added pea protein like Ripple (8 grams) and Silk Protein (10 grams).

Pumpkin seeds. Most nuts and seeds range from 4 grams of protein per ounce (hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts) to 6 grams (almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds). But peanuts hit 7 grams, and pumpkin seeds pump it up to 8 or 9 grams.

Edamame. A half cup of most beans offers a perfectly fine 6 or 7 grams of protein. Edamame does a bit better (9 grams).

LESS than you thought

Hummus. Don’t confuse hummus with chickpeas. The hummus’s tahini and oil crowd out some of the beans. A two-tablespoon serving of hummus (70 calories) has just 1 to 2 grams of protein and fiber. A half-cup serving of chickpeas (130 calories) has about 6 grams of each.

Eggs. A large egg has 6 grams of protein (and 70 calories). While that makes it a “good source” of protein, eggs are no bargain among animal foods. Just 3 oz. of chicken breast, for example, have 26 grams of protein (for only 140 calories).

Plant-based cheese. An ounce of dairy cheese has 5 to 8 grams of protein. Dairy-free cheeses like Daiya, Field Roast Chao, Violife, and Follow Your Heart are nearly protein-free. That’s because they’re largely water, oil, and starches. The exception: nut cheese. Treeline Treenut Cheeses, for example, get 3 to 5 grams of protein from cashews.

Photos: Barilla, stock.adobe.com: Denira (hummus).

Nutrition Action doesn’t accept any paid advertising or corporate or government donations. Any products recommended by Nutrition Action have been vetted by our staff and are not advertisements by the manufacturers. The information in this post first appeared in the September 2020 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter.


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