11 foods that don’t have as much protein as you think

Non-dairy milk doesn’t have as much protein as cow’s milk.

“Non-dairy milk and yogurt often are thought of having equal amounts of protein to animal dairy products, but other than soy-based foods, non-dairy products do not have as much protein,” said registered dietitian Stacy Leung, RDN, CDN, CLT, RYT. Unsweetened almond milk has about one gram of protein per one cup serving, she said, while cows milk has about eight grams of protein per one cup in comparison.

Avocados don’t have as much protein as you may think.

“Avocado has about two grams of protein per 100 grams and the same serving contains 16 grams of fat,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Kristin Koskinen, RDN, LD, CD. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, she said, but it’s important to note that avocado isn’t the protein powerhouse you probably thought it was.

Hummus has a small amount of protein.

“Hummus is the perfect dip for veggies and crackers, but it is not a good protein source,” explained registered dietitian Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD. There are only about two grams of protein in a serving which is considered two tablespoons, she said. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to what the average person needs daily of protein, she added.

Regular yogurt doesn’t have as much protein as Greek yogurt.

Even though regular yogurts do provide calcium and probiotics, Mussatto said it’s protein content is incomparable to that of Greek yogurt. “Many Greek yogurts provide almost twice or more the amount of protein found in regular or non-Greek yogurts,” she suggested.

Baked potatoes have other nutrients, but not much protein.

“Potatoes contain many valuable nutrients such as vitamin C and fiber, but they are not known as a rich source of protein,” Mussatto said. “A medium-sized baked potato provides around 3.6 grams of protein, a small fraction when compared to the 25 grams of protein a four-ounce baked chicken breast contains,” she added.

Peanut butter has protein, but not as much as you might think.

“Two tablespoons of peanut butter only contains seven grams of protein per serving,” said nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH. I recommend sticking to one tablespoon (this results in 3.5 grams of protein) portion whether you are enjoying it in your oatmeal, Greek Yogurt, with fruit, or in a sandwich, she recommended.

Trail mix isn’t the best way to add protein to your diet.

“Trail mix should not be regarded as a high source of protein,” said Batayneh. Whether you are enjoying almonds or peanuts with dried fruit or dark chocolate chips, one 1/4 cup serving of trail mix will only yield about 2.5 grams of protein, she said.

Olive oil contains virtually no protein.

“Olive oil has zero grams of protein,” said ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist Lyuda Bouzinova. “It is super healthy for all of the amazing, unsaturated fats that are in it, but it contains virtually no protein” she added.

Dark chocolate isn’t the best protein source.

One serving of a typical brand of dark chocolate bar has only four grams of protein, which would mean you would have to eat almost half the bar to get those four grams, Bouzinova noted. Sure it probably would taste delicious, Bouzinova said, but it’s better (and not to mention much easier) to choose a better protein source instead.

Eggplant has more fiber than protein.

“While high in fiber, eggplant is pretty low in calories and protein,” said registered dietitian Maya Bach, MPH, RDN.

“One cup of sliced eggplant has less than one gram of protein,” she added. But just because eggplant contains little protein doesn’t mean we should discount this purple food altogether, Bach suggested, as the rich skin color indicates it is full of anthocyanins, a type of phytochemical with antioxidant properties.

Mushrooms don’t have a lot of protein, but they do have antioxidants.

“One cup of sliced mushrooms contains roughly two grams of protein, while one cup of ground turkey has closer to 30 grams of protein in comparison,” Bach suggested. But while mushrooms are not a quality source of protein, Bach noted that they are sources of antioxidants.


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