Protein is a crucial macronutrient for maintaining overall health, repairing tissues, and building muscles. In today’s fast-paced world, canned protein sources can be a convenient and cost-effective solution to help you meet your protein needs. With their long shelf life, they are perfect for busy lifestyles, emergency situations, or simply when you’re in need of a quick, nutritious meal. Here’s our guide to the best protein sources in a can to keep you strong and healthy.
Canned chicken is a versatile and lean protein source that can be used in a variety of dishes. A 100-gram serving contains approximately 24 grams of protein and a mere 2 grams of fat. Opt for canned chicken in water, rather than oil, to avoid excess calories and unhealthy fats.
Recipe ideas: Use canned chicken to make salads, soups, sandwiches, or quesadillas.
Tuna is a popular canned protein source, loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. A 100-gram serving of canned tuna in water provides about 24 grams of protein, making it an excellent choice for those looking to maintain or build muscle mass.
Recipe ideas: Mix canned tuna with low-fat mayo for a sandwich filling, toss it into a salad, or use it as a topping for whole-grain crackers.
Salmon is another nutritious canned fish option that’s high in protein and healthy fats. A 100-gram serving of canned salmon contains around 20 grams of protein, as well as a hefty dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain and heart health.
Recipe ideas: Make salmon patties, add it to pasta dishes, or use it as a topping for whole-grain toast with cream cheese and capers.
Sardines are small, oily fish that pack a nutritional punch in a can. A 100-gram serving of canned sardines contains roughly 25 grams of protein, along with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and iron. They can be eaten straight out of the can or added to various recipes and are great canned protein sources.
Recipe ideas: Top your pizza with sardines, incorporate them into pasta sauces, or add them to a Greek salad for a protein boost.
Beans are an excellent plant-based protein source and a staple in many vegetarian and vegan diets. A 100-gram serving of canned black beans contains around 9 grams of protein, while canned chickpeas boast approximately 7 grams of protein per serving. They are also high in fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes satiety.
Recipe ideas: Create bean-based soups, salads, or dips like hummus. You can also use them as a protein-packed meat substitute in tacos or stir-fries.
Lentils are another great plant-based protein option with a 100-gram serving of canned lentils providing approximately 9 grams of protein. They are also high in fiber, iron, and folate, making them a nutritious choice for any meal.
Recipe ideas: Use canned lentils in Indian-inspired dishes like dal, or add them to salads, soups, and stews for a protein boost.
Canned soy products like tofu and tempeh are excellent sources of plant-based protein. A 100-gram serving of canned tofu contains around 8 grams of protein, while canned tempeh provides about 19 grams of protein per serving. Both options are highly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, making them a favorite among vegetarians and vegans.
Recipe ideas: Use canned tofu in stir-fries, smoothies, or scrambled as a vegan egg substitute. Marinate and grill canned tempeh for a delicious sandwich filling, or use it in salads and rice bowls.
Edamame, or young soybeans, are another protein-rich canned option. A 100-gram serving of canned edamame contains approximately 11 grams of protein. They are also a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Recipe ideas: Enjoy canned edamame as a snack with a sprinkle of sea salt, toss them into salads or grain bowls, or use them as a protein-packed addition to stir-fries.
While not as protein-dense as other options on this list, canned jackfruit still packs a nutritional punch with around 2 grams of protein per 100-gram serving. Jackfruit’s meaty texture makes it an ideal plant-based substitute for pulled pork or shredded chicken in various recipes.
Recipe ideas: Use canned jackfruit to make vegan pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, or nachos.
Quinoa is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids your body needs. A 100-gram serving of canned quinoa provides approximately 4 grams of protein. It’s also gluten-free and rich in fiber, iron, and magnesium.
Recipe ideas: Create protein-packed quinoa salads, use it as a base for grain bowls, or mix it into soups and stews for added texture and nutrition.
With these canned protein sources in your pantry, you’ll be well-equipped to create healthy, protein-rich meals in no time. Whether you’re looking to incorporate more plant-based protein options or simply seeking convenient and nutritious alternatives to fresh meat and fish, these canned protein sources are the perfect solution. Stock up on these shelf-stable options, and you’ll always have a delicious and nutritious meal just a can opener away.
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