They’re a primo plant source of protein and fiber, which explains why pea-based products are rising to food stardom.

By Marnie Soman Schwartz
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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

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