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7 High-Protein Foods You Should Always Keep In Your Pantry

Kick up your meals with these easy-to-store ingredients.


Having trouble working protein into your diet? Filling up on this energy-boosting, lean-muscle building nutrient is definitely important, but getting enough of it doesn’t only have to involve dairy, eggs, and meat. Staples like quinoa, lentils, canned fish, and more are packed with protein, and work well in a variety of dishes from salads to oatmeal. Plus they’re super affordable, incredibly easy to store, and will last for a really long time.

So let’s stock that pantry. These seven need-to-have ingredients—and a handful of recipe suggestions from registered dietitians—will ensure you always get your protein fill.

Related: 4 Sneaky Ways To Eat More Protein (Plus 7 Recipes To Try)

1. Nuts & Nut Butters

Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post / Getty Images

Most nuts are a great source of protein, but Maxine Yeung, M.S., R.D., owner of The Wellness Whisk, prefers to keep almonds on hand because of their versatility. “You can eat them alone, add to your oatmeal or cereal for breakfast, toss them into salads, or chop them up and add to a roasted veggie dish for some texture,” she explains. In addition to having 20 grams of protein per one cup, they’re also full of, “healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins such as calcium,” she says.

Watch This

How To Make High-Protein Oatmeal With No Protein Powder

Not a fan of almonds? Don’t sweat it—Kate Geagan, M.S., R.D.N., also recommends walnuts, pistachios, and peanuts. Opt for nut butters if you’re looking for the same flavor, but a creamier texture.

2. Beans

“Having a can or two of beans in the pantry can be a life saver,” says Yeung. She explains that half a cup of most bean varieties (black beans and chickpeas, to name a couple) can have up to seven to eight grams of protein, and—similar to almonds—they have an extremely versatile flavor profile. She likes to add them to soups, pastas, and dips. “I’ll take some white beans and purée them with garlic, lemon juice, and fresh herbs and spices,” she says.

You can also add them to sweet dishes including gooey brownies and cookies.

3. Lentils

Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post / Getty Images

This popular pulse may take a while to cook, but is so worth keeping in your kitchen. Jessica Levinson, R.D.N., explains that, “They add a nice meaty, umami flavor to meals and can be used in vegetarian tacos and in place of meat in a bolognese sauce.” Oh, and just one cup has 18 grams of protein. Yes please!

4. Garbanzo Bean Flour

Also known as chickpea flour, Geagan likes to use this gluten-free baking alternative in sweet and savory dishes. “I swap out [white] flour for these more protein- and nutrient-rich flours when baking, making pancakes and cookies, or making falafel to top my salad for lunch.”

One cup is packed with 21 grams of protein, so this is a really simple way to kick up foods that don’t normally have a lot of protein—like pancakes or cookies, as Geagan points out.

5. Amaranth & Quinoa

Jules / Flickr

As if you didn’t have enough reasons to love quinoa, one cup of this grain has eight grams of protein. Geagan likes to swap it into dishes like fried rice. You can also eat it like oatmeal, and top it with nuts (more protein, yay!), dried fruits, dairy, or whatever you like.

Amaranth, though a little less widely known, is just as tasty and protein-packed. It has a slightly nuttier flavor and crunchier texture than quinoa, but works well as a rice alternative, too.

6. Canned Fish

Fish is a well-known high-protein player, but canned fish can tend to get left by the wayside. This old school favorite deserves to end up in more than just the occasional tuna sandwich, because it’s incredibly affordable and easy to store for a really long time. Geagan likes to add sardines (which have 37 grams of protein per one cup) or wild Alaskan salmon to Mediterranean-inspired salads that are a mix of, “cannellini beans, chopped tomatoes, and cucumbers.”

7. Chia Seeds

This trendy superfood is popular for a reason: It’s high in protein (4 grams for every ounce) and is also a great source of healthy fats and fiber. Brittany Kohn, M.S., R.D., recommends adding them to smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal. You can also turn the super seeds into a delicious pudding or bake them into a loaf of bread.

Heart 2 Sizes Too Small? Mr. Grinch, See Your Cardiologist

Jim Carrey stars as the title character the 2000 version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

The Grinch’s psychological problems have been pretty well analyzed. He has anger and empathy issues, not to mention sociopathic tendencies. No wonder he tried to steal Christmas.

But what about the Grinch’s defining physical disability: a heart that was “two sizes too small”?

“It’s a tough problem,” says Dr. David Kass, a professor of cardiology at Johns Hopkins University who has been studying the Grinch. “We don’t see this very much.”

There are rare conditions that effectively reduce the size of the heart, Kass says, and they’re no fun.

“You’re going to have that small heart beating twice as fast” in order to supply enough blood, he says. “That means you’re going to feel your heart racing all the time.”

So how could that heart be two sizes too small?

That could make you grumpy. And it would definitely make it hard to perform physical labor, like sliding down every chimney in Whoville to make off with all the Christmas presents.

Kass doubts that sort of exertion would even be possible for someone whose cardiac output was so limited. “He would be doing more traditional Grinchy things, just sitting around moping,” Kass says.

And from a cardiologist’s point of view, the story takes an even more remarkable twist as the Grinch gazes down at the happy Whos from atop Mount Crumpit:

And what happened then…?

Well…in Whoville they say

That the Grinch’s small heart

Grew three sizes that day!

That is possible, sort of, Kass says. “There are situations where the human heart can fairly rapidly get large,” he says. “But you don’t feel good when that happens. This couldn’t be Grinch’s issue.”

So Kass has settled on a different explanation for the Grinch’s fast-growing heart: “He’s really a snake,” he says. “I mean not just any snake, he’s a python.”

Specifically, a Burmese python.

That makes sense, Kass says, because the heart of a Burmese python is designed to grow rapidly after a big meal.

Like a generous helping of roast beast?

“That would do it,” Kass says.

Indeed, Dr. Seuss, author of the 1957 classic book How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, seems to hint at a herpetological explanation in his text. He writes that the Grinch “slithered” around the room where he met little Cindy Lou Who.

But Kass says even the snake-who-had-a-big-meal hypothesis isn’t perfect.

“When a snake like a python has done that, does he like run around lifting sleds?” Kass says. “No. He looks like all of us after Thanksgiving. We’re on the couch. If we can watch TV, that’s about it.”

Kass talks about the Grinch’s cardiovascular health in this video.

And scientists at Johns Hopkins scientists have come up with theories for the condition of other seasonal characters, including Rudolph’s red nose and Ebenezer Scrooge’s time travel.

Elon Musk’s South Australian Battery Responded in Just 140 Milliseconds After a Coal-Fired Power Plant Failed

“That’s a record.”

Elon Musk’s giant lithium ion battery in South Australia has responded in record time to the first power failure since it was installed as a back up power source.

It comes just weeks after Musk won a $US13 million bet that he would supply South Australia with the Tesla battery within 100 days or it was free.

State Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis says the investment in the battery has already proved its worth, exceeding expectations in its first test.

Last week, when the coal-fired Loy Yang power plant in Victoria tripped and went offline, the Tesla battery delivered 100 megawatts into the national electricity grid in 140 milliseconds.

“That’s a record,” Koutsantonis told 5AA radio.

“The national operators were shocked at how quickly and efficiently the battery was able to deliver this type of energy into the market.”

By comparison, South Australia’s Torrens Island power station would take half an hour to an hour to energise and synchronise into the market, according to Koutsantonis.

Following a successful testing period in November, the battery, which is paired with French energy business Neoen’s Hornsdale wind farm 230 km [143 miles] north of Adelaide, was turned on at the start of the month.

The project is part of a $550 million plan by the state government to guarantee energy supply following a statewide blackout last year that turned into a national political debate over energy security and costs.

Does Drinking Alcohol Actually Kill Off Your Sore Throat Germs? Science Explains

Alcohol is a well-known disinfectant and some have speculated it may be useful for treating gut infections. Could alcohol be a useful agent to treat tummy bugs and throat infections?


Wine has long been known for its disinfecting and cleansing properties. According to historical records, in the third century AD Roman generals recommended wine to their soldiers to help prevent dysentery.

Can alcohol kill germs in our guts and mouths?

Wine was examined as part of a 1988 study that tested a number of common beverages (carbonated drinks, wine, beer, skim milk and water) for their antibacterial effect. The beverages were inoculated with infectious gut bacteria such as salmonella, shigella and E.coli.

After two days it was found the organisms fared worst in red wine. Beer and carbonated drinks had an effect but were not as effective as wine.

A number of years later a laboratory study was carried out to work out what in wine was causing the antibacterial effect. The researchers tested red wine on salmonella and compared it to a solution containing the same alcohol concentration and pH level (acidic).

Red wine was seen to possess intense antibacterial activity, which was greater than the solution with the same concentration of alcohol and pH.

Even though a large proportion of the antibacterial effect of red wine against salmonella was found to be due to its acid pH and alcohol concentration, these factors only partly explained the observed effects.

The concentration of alcohol is certainly important for the effect on bugs (microbes). For alcohol hand rubs a high alcohol concentration in the range of 60-80 percent is considered optimal for antimicrobial activity.

laboratory study looked at the penetration of alcohol into groups of microorganismsin the mouth and its effect on killing microbes.

Alcohol concentrations lower than 40 percent were found to be significantly weaker in affecting bacterial growth. Alcohol with a 10 percent concentration had almost no effect.

The exposure time of alcohol was also important. When 40 percent alcohol (the same concentration as vodka) was used the effect on inhibiting the growth of these microorganisms was much greater when applied over 15 minutes compared to six minutes.

It was determined that 40 percent alcohol had some ability to kill oral bacteria with an exposure time of at least one minute.

Can alcohol damage the stomach?

In a study involving 47 healthy human volunteers, different alcohol concentrations (4 percent, 10 percent, 40 percent) or saline, as a control, were directly sprayed on the lower part of the stomach during a gastroscopy (where a camera is inserted down into the stomach through the mouth).

The greater the concentration of alcohol, the more damage was observed in the stomach. Erosions accompanied by blood were the typical damage observed in the stomach. No damage was observed in the small bowel.

Stomach injury caused by higher alcohol concentrations (greater than 10 percent) took more than 24 hours to heal.

So in theory a high enough concentration of alcohol swallowed (or kept in the mouth for at least a minute) would kill a large number of gut and oral bacteria, but it would very likely do some damage to the stomach lining.

Chronic use of alcohol can also lead to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small bowel. This has been thought to be linked to gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, which are frequently noted in alcoholic patients.

So what’s the verdict?

Alcohol consumption can lead to some immediate damage to the gut, with greater damage seen at higher concentrations.

In theory a high enough alcohol concentration with sufficient exposure to gut or oral tissue could kill bacteria but will in all likelihood also damage the gut lining.

The ConversationIt’s not advised alcohol be used as a regular disinfectant to treat tummy bugs or throat infections.

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