If you’re not a fan of cooking meat at home or are struggling to get enough protein into your diet then it might be time to look at other, non-perishable options. These easy-to-store ingredients can be a lifesaver for busy gals who don’t have time to pop to the shops on a regular basis or who can’t be bothered with the schlep of cooking meat. Filling up on energy-boosting protein is essential for building lean muscle and for keeping the hunger pangs at bay but eating your fill of protein doesn’t mean you have to scoff down eggs, dairy and meaty options. There are loads of other, more practical and affordable, options that are packed with protein and that work well in a wide variety of dishes including pastas, salads, stews, and more. Here are just 5 high-protein foods you should always have in your pantry.

1. Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds

Becky Hughes / Via spoonuniversity.com.

They don’t call this a super food for nothing! This popular food offers a whopping 17 grams of protein per 100 grams and is also a great source of healthy fats and fiber. To boost your protein intake try adding Chia seeds to smoothies, yogurt, or even your morning oats. Of course, you could even cook the seeds up as an oatmeal-like substitute for breakfast. For example, this  Chia and Flaxseed Microwavable Oatmeal is super easy to make and packed with all things good for you – click here for the full recipe.

2. Canned Fish

canned tuna

We all know that fish is loaded with protein but it’s often seen as quite an overwhelming choice when cooking at home. But, that doesn’t mean you can leave it out of your diet, when you need your fishy fix reach for a can of your favourite tinned fish. Sure, canned fish might not be the most glamorous food on the market but this old faithful can be used for so much more than just the occasional toasted sarmie. Canned tuna, for example, is super affordable and can be stored for a very long time. Sardines are another great choice for fish lovers and can be added to salads, stews, and more.

3. Nuts and nut butters

Nut Butters

Nuts are pretty much the best thing ever when it comes to boosting your protein intake. Plus, they’re super versatile – almonds, for example, can be enjoyed on their own, ground into a nut butter or even added to cereals, salad, stews, and more. Almonds boast 20 grams of protein per cup and are packed full of healthy fats, fibre, vitamins, and even calcium. What a win!

4. Quinoa

strawberry salad

Recipe and image from damndelicious.net.

As if you didn’t have enough reasons to love quinoa, one cup of this grain has a staggering eight grams of protein! You can try swapping this delight into your favourite rice dishes and serve it with stir fry or a stew. Of course, quinoa also goes great with salads and we love this deliciously healthy Strawberry Quinoa Salad – serve it alongside your main or enjoy it on its own at lunch time. Click here to get the full recipe now.

5. Lentils

Lentil Tacos

While this super popular pulse may take a while to cook, it is so worth your while keeping it in your pantry. That’s right, Lentils aren’t just for using in soups, they are a great way to add a meaty flavour to vegetarian meals and are a great substitute for meat in Mexican dishes like nachos and tacos or even in pastas like spaghetti bolognese and mac and cheese. Just one cup of lentils offers 18 grams of protein to your dish – wowza!