Recently my boyfriend has been hitting the gym hard and is looking to eat a diet higher in protein to build muscle and shed his post-college beer belly. Of course, many associate protein with meat or soy, but there are so many animal-friendly alternatives to check out.  

Here you can see five sources of protein that you can easily incorporate into your everyday life: 

1. Avocados

A complete protein, this sweet little fruit is packed with nutrition and protein.  Depending on the size, the average avocado contains 3-4 grams of protein and is easily assimilated into the body. I can't speak enough about these creamy and delicious fruits! They're a staple in my daily diet and I never get bored of them. Spread them on toast and top with nutritional yeast, make a dip (guacamole anyone?), massage into kale, chop into salads and soups or just eat with a spoon.  

2. Beans 

Chickpeas, black beans, kidney, adzuki etc. Most people are already familiar with beans, but maybe this will inspire you to try a different kind (there are over 1000 bean varieties) or experiment with a new recipe? They're a great staple to have on hand at all times. If you have trouble digesting them, try soaking overnight, draining the soaking water and cooking with a 2-inch piece of Kombu seaweed. You can have a complete meal with beans and rice, make humus, soups, dips, sauces and even brownies. Beans are such a great and underrated source of protein!  

3. Spirulina

Considered a superfood, this potent little green being is packed with nutrients, including highly assimilable protein. Ounce-for-ounce, it contains more protein than meat and soy (60-70% according to NaturalNews.com) and contains all the essential amino acids. You can mix the powder into smoothies, blend it into dips, sprinkle over salads and add to cookies/snack bars. 

4. Almonds 

Ah, the beautiful little almond! So sweet and delicious, I use almonds in a variety of dishes. Of course you can make almond milk, eat them straight, chop them up and throw them in salads, incorporate into dips and sauces, use is raw dessert crusts or make homemade energy bars with an almond base. They are so flavorful and extremely versatile. 1/4 cup contains 8 grams of protein!

5. Hemp Seeds

My favorite little seed! These are so buttery and delicious. I use them in pesto, sprinkle them on salads, blend into dips, and make my own hemp milk as a wonderful dairy-free alternative. They contain 6 grams of protein per ounce and all of the essential amino acids. Yes, please!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com


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