No Chicken? No Problem: Here Are 9 Versatile, Protein-Rich Superfoods To Incorporate Into Your Diet

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While the recent chicken shortage has sparked a major public outcry among KFC-loving locals, it’s undeniable that the meat source, much like your ex, is quite replaceable after all.

In fact, some of the alternative options are a lot cheaper, easier to prepare and less likely to clog your arteries.

To prove it to you, we’ve specially curated this list of unassuming, protein-packed foods along with cool ways to serve them.

Check it out, your inner gym bro will thank you:

1. Mushrooms

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Ah, mushrooms.

We’ll start off with one of the most popular meat substitutes of all time.

With around 3.1g of protein per 100 grams, these fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting fungi are tender, low calorie sources of fibre, protein, and antioxidants.

They may also help prevent chronic serious health issues like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Simply polish them with a light coat of butter and fry over low heat or add garlic for an earthy twist.

You could also whip up a hearty bowl of mushroom soup; quick, delicious and filling too!

Here’s an easy recipe if you don’t vibe with canned soup:

2. Cheese

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Cheese is a food often strayed from as many see it as expensive and fancy.

While its salty, silken texture may be a little too rich for daily consumption, local supermarkets are usually stocked with a brie-lliant variety of versatile cheeses that can serve as bite-sized snacks or an extra condiment to adorn your dish.

And you don’t even need to go all lavish with it – a simple 100g slab of cheddar cheese may contain up to 25g of protein.

We couldn’t decide on just one recipe, so here are 10 of them packed into one video:

You can even melt it down into a sauce to dip your favourite nachos!

3. Salmon

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You probably saw this one coming. Well, an approximate 20g of protein packed into 100g of buttery, zesty goodness is definitely something to brag about.

Salmon is one of the rare foods that tastes great raw, but if sushi’s not your thing, don’t fret.

Bake it, grill it, poach it – the possibilities are endless with this one:

The quick-cook meat of the fish also makes for a balanced, delicious meal that you can whip up within 20 minutes.

Opting for cooked salmon also opens up various flavour possibilities, as it complements the flavour profiles of nearly every condiment – including honey and spice.

4. Wholegrain Breads

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We Malaysians love our rice but wholegrain bread might just be the new alternative.

Basically, it’s a type of bread made with flour that is partially or entirely milled from whole or nearly-whole wheat grains which contains, on average 13g of protein per 100g.

Pair that with a healthy filling like these innovative sandwich recipes, and you’re good to go:

5. Artichoke

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Before you cringe at the thought of ingesting a vegetable, let me explain why they’re probably one of the best options on this list.

3.3g of protein per 100g of raw artichokes may not seem like a lot, but these aesthetically pleasing veggies are packed with nutrients and have even been used across the Mediterranean for its alleged medicinal properties.

According to Healthline, artichokes are not only affordable, but may help to lower blood sugar levels and improve digestion, heart health, and liver health.

And in case you thought they were boring, check out this video compilation of 10 ways you can cook artichoke:

Cheaper, healthier taquitos, fondue and frittatas? Take my money now.

6. Tofu

Ginger sesame fried tofu. (source: Pinterest)

Yep. This mouthwatering, appetite-inducing dish features tofu as its main hero.

At around 8g of protein per 100g, even a simple dish made entirely of tofu and mild ingredients can help you max out your protein intake without depriving yourself of taste and quality.

Another flexible substitute for meat, your tofu dishes could end up saucy and tangy like these:

Or sweet and silky like this:

7. Green Peas

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What you’re looking at is a green pea fritter, popular in North Indian cuisines and commonly paired with heat and spice.

At an estimated 5g of protein packed into 100g of these perky beans, green peas may not seem all that great, but get this – pea protein, unlike most other plant-based proteins, is a “complete” protein.

That makes it roughly comparable to meat, as it contains all 9 essential amino acids required for a healthy, functioning body!

I personally believe that they go best with spicy, flavourful dishes like this:

But they’re not limited to savoury palates; as proven by this creative Youtube chef!

8. Guava

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Okay, enough veggie talk.

Guavas are one of the most protein-dense fruits available. Each cup contains a hefty 4.2 grammes of the stuff, apart from being chock-full of fibre and vitamin C.

Healthline reports that guavas stand at only 37 calories per fruit, yet are rich in vital nutrients, so you aren’t missing out on essentials as you chomp on these natural supplements.

And you don’t necessarily have to eat them crunchy and whole! They can be turned into a jelly:

A fruity jam (for your wholegrain sandwich):

Or a spicy, exotic dish – true to its tropical roots.

9. Sweet Potatoes

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There’s a reason why sweet potatoes have made it to the top of the list of several fad diets worldwide.

Where do we start?

Besides being affordable and tasty, a single sweet potato may contain up to 400% of your daily Vitamin A requirement, along with 2g of protein. (Don’t go too crazy though, as a surplus of Vitamin A may lead to kidney problems and vitamin toxicity).

Here are some cool recipes, from pancakes to fried rice:

And here’s a meme because you deserve it.

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See? Anything is possible in the modern era of poke bowls and air fryers.

Hitting your daily protein requirement (an average of 56g for a sedentary man and 46g for a woman, by the way) doesn’t always require fancy shakes and complicated recipes…

Sometimes it’s whey easier than you think!