Small, perfectly portioned, and super convenient—eggs are an ideal protein delivery system.
They might be humble in size, but being packed with healthy fats, minerals, and essential vitamins means the mighty egg can easily anchor a breakfast, liven up a frisee salad for lunch, and slide on top of a burger for dinner. And its impressive 6 grams of lean protein make it an exemplary food for those who want to get bikini-ready for summer.
That's because eating protein-rich foods helps to boost your metabolism, prolong feelings of fullness, and maintain muscle mass to help your body scorch fat. One study found that women who ate a high-protein afternoon snack had lower levels of hunger and ate less at their next meal than those who ate an equal-calorie, low-protein snack.
Although immensely versatile, eggs aren't the only way you can boost muscle mass and blast fat. In fact, there are a number of unsung (and some surprising) superfoods that pack even more protein than an egg. To even the playing field, we made sure to keep everything to a reasonable, single serving. Fit these foods into your diet, pair with a few sweat sessions a week, and you'll be saying goodbye to those pesky hunger pangs—and your love handles. For more info about one of our favorite macronutrients, don't miss our exclusive report, The Ultimate Protein Guide.
1. Hemp Hearts
Protein, per 2 tablespoons: 6.3 grams
Compared to the arguably more popular chia seeds, hemp hearts are lower in calories and higher in protein per tablespoon. Each seed also comes packed with heart-healthy, alpha-linoleic acid, an omega-3. Studies suggest that hemp seeds can help fight heart disease, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, likely because they're rich in fiber and omega-3s. You can eat them straight from the bag, sprinkle a handful on salads, in your morning oatmeal, or your post-workout smoothie. Find them in your local health food store or grab a bag online from retailer Manitoba Harvest.
2. Edamame Beans
Protein, per ½ cup: 6.6 grams
These steamed soybeans make a great snack to throw in your gym bag. That's because they're one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein, which means they provide all essential amino acids—including the branched chain amino acids that aid in muscle building. Not to mention, they're also a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that plays a role in energy production, carb metabolism, and lean muscle development. If you want to get more bang for your buck, grab some tempeh. Fermented from soybeans, this Indonesian product packs in a whopping 21 grams of protein in a half a cup serving.