6 Carbs with More Protein Than an Egg – EatingWell

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It’s no doubt that eggs are an amazing source of protein. But if you’re looking for more sources of protein beyond an egg, you may be surprised about how many options you have—especially if you’re following a plant-based diet .”Some foods that are traditionally thought of as high-carb foods contain a surprising amount of protein,” says Josten Fish, RD, a registered dietitian and owner of Dietitian Meets Mom.

It’s well worth it to include a variety of proteins for your heart health: One study looking at over 12,000 participants found that people who included at least four types of protein in their diets each week (eggs, meat, whole grains and legumes) had a 26% lower risk of developing high blood pressure compared to those who got less variety.

Why focus on protein? All cells in the human body use protein, says Fish. “Protein is a macronutrient made up of amino acids, which are often referred to as the body’s building blocks. Your body uses protein to build muscle and tissue, maintain hormones, make enzymes for digestion and provide energy,” she explains.

For optimal health and to maintain muscle mass, Fish recommends aiming for 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal and 15 grams of protein per snack. You can get to that goal with traditional protein foods (lean meat, poultry, Greek-style yogurt, fish and seafood and eggs, of course), as well as plant-based options, including certain carbohydrates.

There are 6 grams of protein in one egg, so we rounded up six carb-rich foods that have as much or more protein than an egg. If you’re trying to up your protein, consider including these six in your weekly rotation.

1. Beans

Black beans, pinto beans, great northern beans … no matter which you choose, you’ll pack in the protein. Just 1 cup of cooked black beans contains 15 grams of protein, plus 15 grams of filling fiber. In addition, beans provide minerals, such as calcium, folate and potassium. The canned variety is simple and quick, or you can save some money by learning how to cook dried beans.

Beans are affordable and versatile. You can keep some in the fridge or pantry and toss them into burritos, tacos, salads, soups and more. For an easy weeknight meal that’s fresh and full of protein, try our No-Cook Black Bean Salad. Or when you have a few extra minutes and are looking for something warm and comforting, enjoy this Smoky Chicken Stew with Kale & Pinto Beans.

2. Lentils

Like beans, lentils are in the legume family—and they’re packed with nutrition. Just 1 cup of cooked lentils contains nearly 18 grams of protein. Lentils come in several colors, including green, brown, black, red and yellow. Each type is slightly different in flavor and texture, so it’s best to try a few to find your favorite.

If you’re new to lentils, take a look at how to cook lentils perfectly every time. If you love the smell of caramelized onions, try our Bulgur and Lentils. Or for a meal with easy cleanup, enjoy this One-Pot Lentils & Rice with Spinach.

3. Chickpeas

Though they’re also in the bean category, chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are so versatile that they deserve to be highlighted all on their own. One cup of cooked chickpeas provides nearly 15 grams of protein and a whopping 13 grams of fiber. Chickpeas are also a good source of choline, a nutrient important for metabolism function and heart health, and one that most Americans don’t get enough of.

There are so many different ways you can enjoy chickpeas. For a snack with the crunch and satisfaction of nuts but fewer calories, try our Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas. You can toss chickpeas into salads and stews or eat them in the traditional way—in hummus! Learn how to make hummus from scratch. Or for a sweet but healthy treat, try our Dark Chocolate Hummus—you won’t believe there are chickpeas in it!

4. Quinoa

If you like eating rice but need more protein, give quinoa a try. It’s a grain that provides 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber in a 1-cup cooked serving. In addition, you’ll also get a good source of iron.

Quinoa makes a warm, fluffy side dish for chicken, fish or steak. But if you want to get creative, give our Quinotto (Peruvian Quinoa Risotto) a try. Quinoa is even great for breakfast. For a high-protein start to your day, try our Egg-in-a-Hole Fried Quinoa.

5. Farro 

Farro is an ancient wheat grain. There are 6 grams of protein per quarter-cup of dry farro, which equals about ½ cup cooked. Many people describe the taste of farro as nutty, and it’s got a great chewy texture. Versatile farro makes a great salad base—try our Farro Salad with Grilled Chicken. It’s also delicious in a grain bowl. And for a breakfast packed with protein and fiber, prep our Farro, Almond & Blueberry Breakfast Cereal the night before a busy morning.

6. Whole-Wheat Pasta

While not traditionally thought of as a protein-rich food, pasta does pack a good dose: 1 cup of cooked whole-wheat spaghetti provides 7 grams of protein. Whole-wheat pasta has a nuttier flavor than refined, white-flour pasta. It works in a variety of dishes, from pasta salad to spaghetti and meatballs. For an even bigger protein-punch, consider opting for legume-based pastas, such as those made with lentils, beans or chickpeas. Check out all of our whole-grain pasta recipes for inspiration. 

The Bottom Line

Whatever eating plan you follow—vegetarian, Mediterranean, low sugar—everyone getting enough protein in your day is vital to good health and nutrition. The great news is that protein is available in many different types of foods—even carb-rich foods like pasta, beans, lentils and quinoa.

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