Don’t skip the produce section!
Protein is essential to a healthy diet, but the stereotypical sources of protein (meat, eggs, animal products) aren’t necessarily the only ways to enjoy eating protein daily. Plant-based protein is an increasingly popular and great way to eat your daily protein intake. In addition to high-protein vegetables, there are a handful of high-protein fruits you can add to your snacks and meals to boost protein intake deliciously.
While everyone’s personal protein requirement may be slightly different, The Dietary Reference Intake suggests consuming 46 grams of protein daily for the average sedentary woman, and 56 grams of protein per day for the average sedentary man. Of course, high activity may require more protein, and consulting with a doctor or nutrition professional can help you determine exactly how much protein may be right for your body.
If you’re frequently hungry, that may be a sign you need to consume more protein. Every well-balanced diet needs protein, so if you’re looking to switch up what you eat, or just add protein from other sources, consider these fruits.
“While fruits are not typically known for being high in protein compared to other food groups like meat or legumes, a few fruits contain notable amounts of protein,” says Amy Fox, Certified Nutritionist. That is, you probably don’t want fruit to be your main source of protein, but if you’re looking for a snack with just a little bit of protein, or want to add a fruit boost to a salad, this guide can help.
Protein, per 1 fruit: 2.7 grams
“Known for its healthy fats and fiber content, avocado is also a natural source of protein,” says Fox. Eat this healthy fruit straight out of the skin with a spoon and a sprinkle of salt for an on-the-go snack, or use avocado in a slew of recipes like avocado toast, blended in a smoothie, or smashed into guacamole. Try our recipe for chopped salad with avocado dressing:
Protein, per 1 cup: 2.8 grams
Jackfruit is a tropical fruit boasting a texture that can be oddly similar to tender meat, like pulled pork or chicken. It’s tender and just a little sweet, and absorbs a slew of flavors. “Jackfruit is a popular choice among vegans and vegetarians, and has approximately 3 grams of protein per cup,” says Fox. “It is highly versatile, and can be used as a meat substitute in various dishes.”
Jackfruit can be used in nearly infinite ways, including in tacos, stir-fries, or curries. “Add it to desserts like pies, or blend it into smoothies for a unique twist,” Fox suggests. Try our recipe for jackfruit carnitas:
Protein, per 1 cup: 4.2 grams
Guava is a tropical fruit that has one of the highest protein contents of any fruit. And with only 5 grams of sugar, it’s a nice option to add some protein to your fruit salad, sliced onto a grilled cheese, or just cubed to snack on during a hot day. “Enjoy guava as a refreshing snack or incorporate it into your smoothies, salads, or even make a homemade guava jam or jelly,” suggests Fox. Beware of pre-packaged guava products, which may contain a lot of sugar or additives. Try our recipe for tropical fruit salad:
Protein, per 1 cup: 2 grams
Blackberries are a nice source of fruit protein because they’re easy to enjoy, and high in fiber and many more nutrients, including antioxidants. They can be enjoyed by the handful, tossed on top of any breakfast bowl (yogurt, oatmeal, and chia pudding all go well with some blackberries on top), or, of course, blended into a smoothie to add some rich purple color. They also work well with savory foods. Try our recipe for speedy steak and blackberry salad:
Protein, per 1 cup: 1.9 grams
Not only are kiwis just the cutest fruit (we see that fuzzy skin), but they’re super delicious, nutritious, and easy to eat. Just slice a ripe kiwi in half, and enjoy eating the green fruit with a spoon (though you may need a napkin or plate underneath for rogue juices). Kiwi also has calcium, potassium, and some fiber, but is higher in sugar and carbohydrates than other tropical fruits. Still, kiwi can be one of the healthiest daily additions to your diet. Try our recipe for kiwi cucumber relish:
Protein, per 1 cup: 2.2 grams
Apricots are a stone fruit that is high in protein, delicious raw, and can be consumed easily with the skin on, i.e. the perfect portable snack. Apricots are also hydrating and full of nutrients, including antioxidants, potassium, and beta-carotene. Apricots also pair nicely with meat, if you’re trying to add more protein to your meal. Try making Bacon-Wrapped Apricots as a finger food, Sesame-Coated Pork With Apricot Sauce, or Lemon-Pepper Tofu With Apricot-Chickpea Salsa for a fully plant-based protein boost. Apricots are also great in desserts and snacks. Try our recipe for no bake apricot and oat nuggets:
Protein, per 1 fruit: 2.4 grams
For a citrus fruit that’s so juicy, grapefruit is remarkably high in protein. A single fruit packs over 2 grams, and can easily be eaten raw with a spoon or in segments. You can also sprinkle a bit of sugar on top for a sweeter treat. Grapefruit is packed with Vitamin C and more health benefits, and can be used in a wide range of dishes to add flavor and nutrition. Try grapefruit as a salsa, as the star of a tangy fruit salad, or of course in a heartier, more savory salad. Try our recipe for grapefruit and feta fregola salad:
Protein, per 1 cup: 1.5 grams
Yes, tomatoes are a fruit, and they do have some protein, though the content will vary by type of tomato. In season, tomatoes are excellent just sliced and sprinkled with salt, perhaps drizzled with some nice olive oil and vinegar. Of course, tomatoes make an excellent pasta sauce, served as a creamy soup base, or in a curry. Tomatoes’ potential is seemingly endless, and they’re also packed with health benefits, including antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Try our recipe for a tomato tart:
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