They’re a primo plant source of protein and fiber, which explains why pea-based products are rising to food stardom.
Photo: Juj Winn/Getty Images
Everyone can benefit from the health punch that peas offer, but active women may want to pay special attention. In a French study, people who consumed pea protein after resistance training saw the same strength gains as those who drank whey protein shakes post-workout. “Pea protein, like whey, is a great source of branched chain amino acids, which help build muscle,” says study author Nicolas Babault, Ph.D., a sports sciences professor at the University of Burgundy–Franche-Comté. “And since some people may have trouble digesting whey, pea protein is a great alternative,” adds Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D.N., a member of the Shape Brain Trust. (Pea milk is also a thing.)
Peas also help you stay full: A meal with peas and fava beans kept people just as satiated as a dish with meat and eggs with the same amount of protein and fiber, a report in the journal Nutrients found. (Try these plant-based recipes made for vegan athletes.)
We’re seeing a ton of new pea protein-enriched products, from shakes to snacks. These are made from an extract of dried yellow peas, which have 10 grams of protein in a quarter cup, Jackson Blatner says. (Fresh green peas have eight per cup.) Of course, there’s pea protein powder—which has 15 to 25 grams per serving, depending on the brand—that you can mix into smoothies. (Read More: What's the Deal with Pea Protein and Should You Give It a Try?) See our favorite other ways to put peas into your daily meal rotation, below.
Four Ways to Get Pea Protein
- Ripple Greek Yogurt Alternative (price varies; instacart.com) has 12 grams of protein per serving and comes in a tart original flavor as well as maple and fruit varieties.
- Harvest Snaps Green Pea Snack Crisps ($13; target.com) have about 5 grams of protein per serving. Choose from lightly salted, Caesar, black pepper, white cheddar, and more.
- Bolthouse Farms Plant Protein Milk ($5; instacart.com) has 10 grams of protein per serving and delivers more calcium than cow’s milk.
- Dr. Praeger’s new All American Veggie Burgers ($8; outdoorqualityproducts.com) taste meaty and pack 25 grams of protein