In the Mix: 3 High-Protein Food Items to Add to Your Diet

Quinoa

Trying out new food items is always a discovery waiting to happen. Since protein is an essential part of a healthy and balanced diet, adding food items with high protein can boost health.

Healthy protein sources include both plant and animal-based foods. Although animal products are more common protein sources, plant-based protein sources are becoming more popular, especially for vegetarians and vegans.

1. Quinoa

Although treated as a grain, quinoa is a seed from a plant related to spinach. It’s a popular staple food in many countries worldwide, including ancient civilizations that existed in the past. Today, quinoa is a rich protein source for vegans and vegetarians. 

A cup of cooked quinoa contains eight grams of protein. It’s a good source of fiber, iron, and magnesium. Unlike other grains, it is considered a complete protein as it contains all nine essential amino acids. Not all plant sources of protein contain all the essential amino acids or the exact amounts.

People with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity can consume quinoa since it’s gluten-free. However, not all foods containing quinoa are gluten-free. Therefore, it’s important to still check for the meals you’re taking especially if they’ve been bought from outside. Overall, quinoa works best when added to savory dishes. However, quinoa bowls are perfect for breakfast for a rich, plant-based meal that boosts your day.

2. Amaranth

Amaranth is a pseudocereal popular in countries like Peru, India, Mexico, and Nepal. It is used as a grain, often grouped with other grains due to a lack of a similar nutritional profile. Amaranth is perfect for breakfast, used like oats in breakfast porridge or hot cereals. Sometimes, people also substitute amaranth to popcorns as it yields a puffed grain that can be consumed or incorporated into other recipes.

Like quinoa, amaranth is considered a complete protein for plant-based diets. A cup contains nine grams of protein and other essential nutrients such as fiber and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. Amaranth is not as popular as other grains. But it’s a delicious and healthy addition to many dishes. It’s gluten-free and can be used in grains containing gluten, such as wheat, barley, and rye.

3. Kamut

Kamut is an ancient grain that dates back to the Mesopotamia period and Ancient Egypt. Also called Khorasan wheat, it was named after a large region known today as Northwestern Iran, Southern Turkmenistan, and Northern Afghanistan. A cup of Kamut contains almost 10 grams of protein while being a significant source of fiber, zinc, and magnesium.

Compared to other grains, Kamut contains more naturally occurring sugar. It has not been tested for its glycemic index, but it is closely related to barley, a low glycemic food. Today, Kamut is not a common ingredient in modern diets. However, it can be found as an ingredient in products available in the natural foods section in groceries.

Conclusion

It’s easy to get tied to food items that you’re used to. However, it’s also great to discover new food items that can substitute everyday items to have a more varied protein source. Aside from animal products, other food items rich in protein are legumes, tofu, nuts, seed, and grains. Some fruits and vegetables also contain an ample amount of protein. If you’re trying to eat fewer animal products, try out Quinoa, Amaranth, or Kamut. They can be food items you can switch to as a better protein source.

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