Because fruit is so sweet, you’ve probably never considered that it contains some protein. And while the protein in fruit is definitely not a complete source of protein, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a starring role in your meals and snacks.
All plant foods (like fruit!) contain some amount of protein, according to Whitney English, MS, RDN. “All whole plant foods contain protein, even coffee,” says English. ” A large banana and a cup of blackberries both contain 2 grams of protein. In order to qualify as a good source of something, a food has to contain 10-19% of the daily value for that nutrient. While a single serving of fruit would not meet this criterion, pairing fruit with other plant foods or eating many servings could help you reach that amount.”
To be clear, the recommended daily value of protein is about 50 grams of protein (but this can change based on a person’s height, weight, age and activity levels.)
“A food must have 5 – 9.5 grams of protein per serving to be considered a good source,” says English. Some examples of foods that are good sources of protein include black beans (7 grams per ½ cup), egg (5.5 grams per egg), and peanut butter (7 grams per 2 tablespoons).
So how much fruit should you eat every day? According to English, 3 to 4 servings is a good goal.
“Fruit is a great source of fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals, and it’s something I always encourage people to eat more of,” says English. She also encourages clients to keep their meals and snacks that contain fruit balanced by combining the fruit with other foods that are good sources of protein and fat. “Pairing fruit with protein/fat-rich foods will help make their snack more complete,” she says.
When your snacks/meals are balanced, you’ll stay full longer and feel more energized. “For example, enjoy your banana on a slice of whole-wheat toast with nut butter. Dip your apple slices in some cashew or coconut yogurt. Pair your berries with a handful of nuts,” says English.
Curious about the amount of protein in fruit? Thanks to the data from the USDA National Nutritional Database, we have collected how much protein is in 20 popular fruits, ranked from the lowest amount of protein in fruit to the highest.
The protein in an apple may be low, but they are one of the most popular fruits out there. It’s a good thing that apples taste delicious served with peanut butter or almond butter, because both nut butters contain protein and fat, making it a more balanced snack.
That’s right—dried fruit has protein as well! While dried cherries are not a great source of protein, they make an excellent addition to trail mix. Try adding them into a homemade mix with your favorite nuts and seeds for a balanced, on-the-go snack.
While one of the most convenient and sweet snacks, grapes only contain a little over half a gram of protein per cup. They may not help you build muscle due to their lack of protein in fruit, but pairing them with a protein source like cheese or a hard-boiled egg will help you reach your daily protein goals.
The protein in strawberries may not be much, but they do have vitamin C, potassium, and a good source of fiber. Try adding sliced strawberries to your morning yogurt or smoothie to make sure you’re also getting your protein in.
Dried apricots contain a little over 1 gram of protein per 1/4 cup serving, which isn’t bad for such a small serving size. With its candy-like flavor, dried apricots make a great treat when you’re craving something sweet. Pair with nuts or cheese for a balanced snack, or try adding to a salad for a sweet flavor addition.
The protein in banana may not be much, but paired with a delicious nut butter, it’s not a bad snack that’s portable, tasty, and nutritious.
Whole, fresh oranges contain a little over 1 gram of protein per cup. Even though oranges don’t contain much protein, they do have vitamin C and calcium, making them a smart snack choice. Just be sure to pair your orange with another source of protein or fat to keep your snack or meal balanced.
Did you know avocado is actually a fruit? That’s right, avocado is one of the most popular fruits of the moment. Avocados contain 1.33g of protein per 1/2 avocado and are a great source of healthy fat.
If you love melons, then chances are cantaloupe is one of your favorite fruits. It contains almost one and a half grams of protein, which is not bad for a cup of fruit.
Most people either love them or hate them, but raisins are one of the most popular dried fruits. Whether you enjoy them as a snack, or baked in your favorite treats, they are a quick and easy sweet treat.
Peaches may not contain a ton of protein, but they are a yummy snack that is easily balanced when paired with other protein-rich foods like cottage cheese or yogurt.
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As far as berries go, raspberries are high on the list when it comes to measuring protein in fruit (second only to blackberries!) Raspberries have almost 1.5 grams of protein for 1 cup. Plus, raspberries are lower in sugar and high in fiber, making them a great choice if you love fruit, but want to keep sugar consumption low.
Tomatoes are another example a fruit that you probably thought was a veggie all along. Well, it’s time to get to the bottom of things—tomatoes are in fact a fruit! They are a decent source of protein with over 1.5 grams per 1 cup serving.
Grapefruit is surprisingly one of the more protein-rich fruits with almost 2 grams per 1 cup serving. Many people who are looking to lose weight opt for grapefruit because it’s relatively low in sugar for fruit. It also contains vitamin C and biotin, making it a great choice for supporting skin health.
With about half a gram more protein per cup than raspberries, blackberries are one type of berry with a slightly higher protein amount. These taste great as a snack, blended into smoothies, or on top of yogurt or oatmeal.
Kiwi packs over 2 grams of protein in just one cup, making it one of the top five picks for protein in fruit. And while 2.05 grams is not a ton, it’s a good start as part of a healthy diet.
Apricots make a tasty snack or sweet treat. And with over 2 grams of protein per 1/2 cup serving, it makes a great addition to a balanced snack. Try pairing it with cheese, nuts, or perhaps beef jerky for even more protein.
You may think of them as your grandma’s favorite fruit–but maybe she was onto something! Prunes take the number 3 spot on the list because they pack almost 2.5 grams of protein per 1/2 cup.
Jackfruit is a favorite in the vegan and vegetarian communities for good reason—the versatile fruit contains nearly 3 grams of protein for a 1 cup serving. It’s commonly used as a substitute for meat and is popular prepared in savory as well as sweet dishes.
Guava takes the cake when it comes to protein-rich fruits with over 4 grams of protein for a serving. Who knew 1 cup of guava would contain that much protein? Even then, it’s not a great source of the nutrient, so be sure to serve with other more balanced foods that contain protein and fat.