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The 5 Best Carb Sources For Extra Protein

Written by Mark Johnson

Looking to get more protein into your diet but struggling? Whether you simply aren’t a fan of most high protein foods out there or you don’t have time to be cooking up chicken breasts or eggs multiple times per day, the following food sources will be perfect for helping you get your intake up.

These traditional carbohydrate sources are some of the highest protein sources out there, so by adding them to your plan, you can see your numbers go up.

These foods are also all jam-packed with wholesome nutrition as well, so will do your health proud.

They’re also terrific options for those who might be utilizing a vegetarian meal plan.

Let’s have a look at the five best carbohydrate sources you need to consider.

Black Beans

Topping the list are black beans.  These will come in at around 227 calories per cup serving, which is quite similar to a cup of any cooked grain as well. They’ll provide 40.8 grams of carbohydrates with 15 of those being dietary fiber and then give you 15.2 grams of protein as well.

Black beans are a very low fat food, containing just 0.9 grams per one cup serving, so can be ideal before a workout session.  Naturally low in sodium, they’ll also help with regulating your blood pressure levels.

Black beans are also very rich in folate, so are an excellent food for any women of childbearing years to consume, especially if they plan for kids in the near future.

This bean is also well-known to help improve your digestive tract health by helping you maintain healthy levels of micro-organisms in your gut. This in turn helps ensure that you are able to break down all the foods you eat properly and avoid symptoms such as gas, bloating, and indigestion.


The second carbohydrate source to consider turning to more often is cooked quinoa.  This grain is great because unlike most others, it’s a complete source of protein.  This means that you won’t need to worry about combining it with other foods to get the full spectrum of amino acids in.

Per one cup of cooked serving of this grain you’ll take in 222 calories, 3.6 grams of fat, 39.4 grams of carbohydrates, 5.2 of those dietary fiber, and 8.1 grams of protein.

Quinoa can be easily used in place in any recipe where you would otherwise use brown rice, so a very easy grain to work with.

If you happen to suffer from gluten intolerance, you might also consider swapping out your morning breakfast cereal with a bowl of hot quinoa instead. It can work great here and is naturally gluten free.

This grain also contains a good dose of phytonutrients, which can help to combat inflammation in the body.

Finally, it’s also going to contain a small dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which are key for regulating body composition, boosting brain health, improving cardiovascular health, and for keeping diseases at bay. As your body cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids on its own, it’s imperative that you take them in through food sources or supplements. Most people are currently not getting enough, so quinoa can help you bring your intake upwards.


If you want a lower calorie carb source that contains a good dose of protein, consider oatmeal.  With one cooked cup containing just 166 calories, it works great for anyone who’s currently trying to cut body fat.

Oatmeal is ranked very low on the GI index, so it’ll be excellent for helping control blood glucose levels, combating diabetes as well as fat gain.  It’s also a very heart food, so you’ll find you feel quite full after eating a serving.

You’ll take in 3.6 grams of fat per cup of cooked oatmeal along with 28.1 grams of carbohydrates, with four of those being fiber.  It’ll also provide 5.9 grams of dietary protein, helping you get your daily intake up.

For those who are actively looking to build muscle and require more calories, not fewer, consider eating your oats raw. This will make them far more calorie dense, helping you meet your daily needs.

Be sure when purchasing oatmeal that you do purchase a non-sweetened variety however.  If you opt for the flavored ones, you’ll take in far more sugar – reducing the high protein benefits you get with this food.

When you opt for the natural variety, you’ll also get a good dose of manganese, phosphorus, copper, biotin, vitamin B1, magnesium, and chromium.

Wild Rice

Wild rice is the next healthy carbohydrate source that also doubles as a good protein choice.  It contains the same calorie value as one cup of cooked oatmeal at 166 calories and is virtually fat free, containing just 0.6 grams of fat total.

Wild rice provides 35 grams of carbohydrates per cup cooked and 3 grams of dietary fiber, with just 1.2 grams of sugar per serving. This also helps it digest very slowly in the body, providing an even release of energy over time.

Per one cup serving, you’ll take in 6.5 grams of protein as well, so a good dose to help meet your daily recommendations.  Wild rice is another very low sodium food and is also going to offer a decent dose of potassium as well.  You’ll also get a healthy dose of selenium in wild rice along with phosphorus and vitamin B3.   The selenium is especially important to note as it plays a key role in regulating your thyroid hormone, helping to maintain a proper metabolic rate, boosting your immune system, as well as providing antioxidant benefits to your body as well.

It’s highly versatile and can be used as a side dish, in casseroles, in soups, or even in salads.


Finally, the last carbohydrate source that’s also going to double as a great source of protein as well is chickpeas.  This carbohydrate source packs in 269 calories per cooked cup and will provide a whopping 14.5 grams of protein as well.

This makes it ideal for anyone who is eating a vegetarian diet, or who simply prefers a few non-meat meals throughout their week.

It’s also a very high fiber food containing 12.5 grams of fiber per serving and is relatively low in fat, containing 4.2 grams. The fat it does contain will be heart healthy, cholesterol lowering fat, so not fat that you need to be concerned with.

This bean is also going to provide an excellent source of iron in the diet, giving you 26% of your daily needs per one cup serving. Iron is important for maintaining proper red blood cell count, which is necessary for helping transport oxygen throughout the body as you do your workout sessions. Those not getting in enough iron may start to find they fatigue prematurely during each session they do.

So there you have some of the best carbohydrate sources to consume if you want to boost your protein intake up without meat.  Remember that you do still need to count total calories of these foods.  If you don’t, they can add up quickly and soon could put you over your carbohydrate limit for the day.

Balance is key.


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