12 Easy Ways to Get 12 Grams of Protein

For Samson, it was his hair. For Batman, his cape. For Popeye, spinach. But their legendary strength and vitality may have depended more on the amount of protein and nutrients they were getting in their diets.


Proteins are large, complex molecules that play many critical roles in our bodies. We need them for the structure, function and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs.1 Most adults need about 50 grams per day – a bit less if you’re a woman, a bit more if you’re not.2

Check out this list of 12 ways to get 12 grams of protein.3 Each provides nearly 25 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance.

  1. Milk, 12 ounces: Drink plain or add to whole grain cereal.
  2. Cottage cheese, 4 ounces: Make Cottage Fruit Salad or Sesame Feta Veggie Dip.
  3. Yoplait® Greek Yogurt, 6 ounces: Eat straight up or add fruit or granola.
  4. Tuna canned, 2 ounces: Add to a green salad or to Healthified Tuna and Rigatoni Bake.
  5. Ground sirloin, cooked, 2 ounces: Use it in chili, stuff it into a pita, or make a casserole.
  6. Canadian bacon, 2 slices: Chop and use to make Lentil and Canadian Bacon Soup.
  7. Eggs, 2 large: Hardboil, softboil, poach, scramble, or make Healthified Spinach and Cheese Quiche.
  8. Pinto beans, cooked, 1 cup: Eat in a quesadilla or make Bean and Turkey Chili.
  9. >Chickpeas, 1 cup: Add to salad, pasta, or make Healthified Chunky Chickpea and Potato Soup.
  10. Pumpkin seeds, 1½ ounces: Roast, eat plain or sprinkle on top of almost anything.
  11. Edamame (soy beans), cooked, ¾ cup: Add to soup, salsa or salad.
  12. Quinoa, cooked, 1½ cups: Use instead of rice, oatmeal or bread crumbs.

1 National Institutes of Health, 2012
2 Institute of Medicine, Dietary Reference Intakes, Protein
3 USDA Nutrient Database