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Non-traditional protein sources

Published on September 05, 2018

Non-traditional protein sources

Jessica George, Registered Dietitian
CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center

Non-Traditional Protein SourcesWhether it’s for building up strength or feeling full after a meal, protein is a vital building block for your body.

Protein isn’t just used for your muscles. It’s also used in your hair, skin and helps your cells function.

While meat, poultry and seafood are well-known traditional sources of protein, there are other foods that are good protein sources.

You don’t have to be on a vegetarian or vegan diet to appreciate these foods. Keep the following foods in mind when grocery shopping to help you make healthy meals and snacks for the whole family.

Dairy-based protein sources

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese

Soy and plant-based protein sources

  • Tofu
  • Soy beans
  • Edamame beans
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas and other dried beans
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Quinoa and other grains
  • Seeds (chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, etc.)
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale

Recipe ideas

For some meal ideas involving non-traditional sources of protein — check out some of the following ideas from our online list of recipes. These recipes — like all of those listed online at — aim to be part of a heart-healthy diet and have been reviewed by one of our registered dietitians.

Health information accessed through is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We strive to present reliable, up-to-date health information on our web site and “For the Health of It” blog. However, this information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or prescribing. Please contact your health care provider if you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health. Log in to MyChart to send a secure message to your provider.

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