These low-carb foods pack in a surprising amount of protein

Posted by Anthea England on | Tags: Low Carb & Keto

Add a protein hit to your meals with these nutritious low-carb ingredients.

Brussels sprouts low carbGoing low-carb or keto doesn’t have to mean limp lettuce leaves and some steamed chicken breast. Sure, lean proteins like poultry, red meat, fish and eggs should still be staples of your meals. But it’s essential to get extra protein wins where you can. Unless you’re meal prepping like a pro (or getting our protein-packed ready meals) it can be hard to meet your daily targets. It’s essential to get enough protein in your diet – your body needs it to function! Plus, it helps keeps you satisfied when you’re cutting back on carbs.

Rather than thinking about what you’re taking out of each meal (RIP bread), we like to think about the nourishing elements you can add back in. That’s why we’ve tracked down some rock-star ingredients that are low-carb and contain a surprising amount of protein, too! 

Brussels Sprouts


This underrated vegetable is a surprising source of protein. It’s certainly no chicken breast or steak, but it will add a few bonus grams to your daily intake. 8 medium-sized sprouts pack in about 7g of protein and 4g of carbs for just 63 calories. They’re also rich in fibre that nourishes your gut. Plus, they’re a rich source of vitamin K. This vitamin helps keep your bones strong and healthy, as well as helping with blood clotting (we know, that’s not a very appetising fact…). It’s worth noting that people taking blood-thinner medication shouldn’t suddenly change their vit K intake for this reason!

How to cook it
Brussels have a bad reputation because they’re often served sloppy and boiled for far too long – this is bad for taste and also reduces the nutrients! We prefer to toss them with olive oil and a great spice mix, then give them a little smash with the rolling pin – trust us on this. Roast till deliciously crispy and you’ll become a brussels convert. A little melted parmesan on the top wouldn’t go astray, either…

FYI for your shopping list – the correct spelling is brussels sprouts, not brussel sprouts – a UK survey found that 77% of Brits spell it incorrectly.

smashed avocado low carbHalloumi

All is right with the world – halloumi is low-carb and high protein. 100g of this squeaky cheese gives you around 22g of protein for only 2g of carbs! It’s also packed with calcium for healthy bones. It’s traditionally made from a mix of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk – although some brands now contain cow’s milk.

How to cook it
To serve, grill and toss it through a roast veggie salad. You can also pop it on skewers and grill on the BBQ. It can be salty, so keep your portion small. If halloumi isn’t your thing, ricotta or mozzarella also pack in a decent amount of protein with relatively few carbs.

Avocado

We know avocado as the healthy fat hero. But a lesser known fact is that one avocado packs in around 4g of protein, 1g of carbs and 6g of gut-healthy fibre. Avocado is just showing off now, right?! Along with the healthy fats, avocado is rich in vitamins and minerals. It packs in essential potassium, folate, vitamin C and vitamin E, which helps maintain healthy skin and eyes. Yep, perhaps we shouldn’t be mocking millennials for eating all that smashed avocado…

How to cook it
Well, we don’t need to tell you how to smash or slice an avo for toast or salad. But we love it piled on top of a green shakshuka or blended into a smoothie to make it extra creamy.

Asparagus

It’s often overlooked in the veggie aisle, but asparagus offers a nice hit of protein with plenty of health benefits to boot. 8 spears of the stuff will give you 3g of protein and 2g of carbs for just 28 calories. Sure, this won’t smash your protein targets for the day, but it’s a decent protein content for a vegetable. Like the humble brussels sprout, asparagus is rich in vitamin K. It also contains the B-group vitamin folate, which is essential for healthy growth and development.

How to cook it
We like our asparagus grilled on the BBQ, then topped with feta and sliced almonds. It’s also great in a frittata or steamed lightly and tossed through a salad.

Hemp

This former hippie favourite has now gone mainstream. You can find hemp in most supermarkets. One 30g serving, which is around 3 tbsp, will give you 9g of protein and almost no carbs. You’ll get 2g of fibre and a decent dose of healthy fats, too. Hemp is one of the only plant-based foods that contains all nine essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. It’s also rich in the essential nutrient magnesium. Getting magnesium can help everything from sleep to skin to muscle cramps.

How to cook it
Blend into your smoothie for a nutty flavour profile. Hemp also makes a delicious salad topper. If you’re having some carbs, sprouted toast with a slather of smashed avo, topped with a sprinkle of hemp seeds and a drizzle of olive oil is next level delicious.

Top tip!

Our go-to for a quick low-carb, high protein hit is our THR1VE lean protein. Shake up with almond milk and ice for the perfect snack or meal replacement in a pinch.

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