Whenever you walk into the supermarket these days on the shelves you will find tons of items that are advertised as “high protein”. It seems like more and more items are now packed with extra protein, but why?
Well, recently diets that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates have been getting more and more popular. Not only that a lot more people are starting to become more health conscious so people are trying to find ways to lose weight, gain muscle, look more toned, and get that summer body. Protein just happens to be one of the things you need.
You can meet your daily protein intake various of ways, but the main source of protein is from what you eat. There are a ton of foods that are high protein, from meat to veggies, even nuts, and certain grains. I have researched some of the best sources of protein in everyday foods and their individual benefits for you so you can plan your meals accordingly and makes sure you are getting enough protein every day.
What is Protein Exactly?
Protein is a macronutrient, which essentially our body requires a lot of it in order to keep itself running efficiently. Everything in our body is made up of protein. It makes up the entire body structure which includes your bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, blood, nails, hair, everything you can imagine.
Chemically, proteins are made up of smaller amino acids and are joined together in chains. There are a total of 20 different types of amino acids and they combine into various different combinations. The way these amino acids combine defines what type of protein they end up being and it determines what its specific function is. Out of these 20 essential amino acids, 9 of them your body can not manufacture and therefore would have to come from your diet.
These amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and proteins are the building blocks of muscle mass. It helps your body build, repair and maintain muscle tissue.
Does it Help Me Lose Fat?
It most definitely does! Protein is great at helping you lose fat if that is your goal. Protein is normally associated with muscle building, but that isn’t the only thing that protein does for you when it comes to fat loss.
Protein curbs your hunger. There have been numerous studies that have shown that people who get more protein tend to eat less because they feel more full. Now being more full doesn’t always translate into not eating more but for the most part, people do eat less when they feel more full.
Another benefit of protein is that it increases your metabolic effect that continues to last even through your sleep. This increased metabolic rate could be increased even more from a good strength training routine.
So What Kind of Food Has High Protein?
There is plenty of food that is high protein. These foods include eggs, red meats, chicken, turkey, nuts, seeds, cheese and much more. You could use protein supplements to increase your daily protein intake, but at the end of the day, most of your protein intake will be from the food that you eat throughout the day. So Let’s take a look at some food and their protein content.
Serving Size: 1 Large Egg Boiled | Calories: 78 | Total Fat: 5g | Cholesterol:187mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 63mg | Total Carbohydrate: 0.6g | Protein: 6g
Eggs are a great source of high-quality protein. There are two parts the of the egg, the egg white, and the egg yolk. While a lot of people like to just have the egg white and avoid the yolk because the yolk contains the cholesterol we shouldn’t forget that all the other nutrients are in the yolk as well. Eggs are very filling and could help you reduce your food intake overall.
1-large egg contains approximately 6g of high-quality protein.
Eggs are also a good source of vitamin B-12, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, calcium, iron, magnesium and much more.
Lean Beef 85%
Serving Size: 1 serving (3oz)(85g) | Calories: 213 | Total Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 61mg | Potassium: 270mg | Total Carbohydrate: 0g | Protein: 22g
I personally don’t go any higher than 85% lean beef. Just my opinion but it starts tasting so bland if there is too little fat in my meat.
Red meat is a great source for your protein. The protein that you get from red meat contains all the essential amino acids that your body needs to create the proteins that are needed for the various different parts of your body. Remember the 9 amino acids that I told you your body could not manufacture them? Well, you can get all 9 of these amino acids from red meat.
A 3-ounce serving of lean beef contains approximately 22g of high-quality protein.
Red meat also contains a good amount of vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, Iron, magnesium and best of all creatine.
Serving Size: 1 serving (5oz)(140g) | Calories: 231 | Total Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 104mg | Potassium: 358mg | Total Carbohydrate: 0g | Protein: 43g
Chicken breast is packed with protein. Not only that chicken breast is really lean and is low in fats, that’s if you toss the skin.
Chicken breast is a great addition to any diet, especially if you want to consume a lot of protein but don’t want to worry about the calorie content. Chicken breast is also relatively low in sodium depending on how it is prepared.
A 5-ounce serving of chicken breast contains a whopping 43g of high-quality protein.
It also contains a good amount of vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 magnesium, and more.
Serving Size: 1 serving (3oz)(85g) | Calories: 122 | Total Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 48mg | Potassium: 357mg | Total Carbohydrate: 0g | Protein: 22g
Depending on which cut you decide to go with, pork can be a great source of high-quality protein and low fat. For this article, I have decided to look at the pork tenderloin. This cut of pork is very lean and only carries 3g of fat per 3oz serving. Not only is this cut of pork super lean but it is one of the most tender cuts as well.
A 3-ounce serving of pork tenderloin contains approximately 22g of high-quality protein.
Pork is also a great source of vitamin b-12, vitamin B-6, magnesium, iron and more.
Serving Size: 1 serving (3.5oz)(100g) | Calories: 189 | Total Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 103 mg | Potassium: 239mg | Total Carbohydrate: 0g | Protein: 29g
Turkey meat is also up there as one of the healthiest meats that you can eat that is rich in high-quality protein. Just like chicken, you must ditch the skin of the turkey if you are looking to cut down on the amount of fat you are consuming.
You must keep an eye on the nutritional facts of some turkey that you purchase from the market as some could be high in sodium
A 3.5-ounce serving of turkey contains approximately 29g of high-quality protein.
Turkey is also a good source of vitamin B-6, vitamin b-12, magnesium, selenium and much more.
Serving Size: 1 serving (3oz)(85g) | Calories: 177 | Total Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 309mg | Total Carbohydrate: 0g | Protein: 17g
Although Salmon is higher in fat than other fish, Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that are very healthy to your heart and could lower your risk of heart disease. The fact that is in Salmon is in the form of unsaturated fatty acids while beef and chicken have more fat and in the form of saturated fat.
Salmon also gives you all the high-quality protein that contains all the essential amino acids that you need.
A 3-ounce serving of salmon contains approximately 17g of high-quality protein.
It also is a good source of vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorous.
Serving Size: 1 serving (3oz)(85g) | Calories: 157 | Total Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 43mg | Potassium: 275mg | Total Carbohydrates: 0g | Protein: 25g
Tuna is naturally very lean and low in fat and calories. It is another source of food that contains high-quality protein and contains all the essential amino acids that you need. It could also be a good source of the good omega-3 fatty acids.
Tuna cannot be eaten in excess however due to the mercury content.
A 3-ounce serving of tuna contains approximately 25g of high-quality protein.
It is also a great source of vitamin A, a lot of vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, magnesium, iron and much more.
Serving Size: 1 serving (3oz)(85g) | Calories: 158 | Total Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 39mg: | Sodium: 68mg | Potassium: 228mg | Total Carbohydrate: 0g | Protein: 12g
Like the other fish on this list, halibut provides complete high-quality protein with all the essential amino acids that you need. Halibut is one of the safer types of fish to eat if mercury is your concern. It has a generally lower level of mercury contamination compared to other fish.
A 3-ounce serving of halibut contains approximately 12g of high-quality protein.
It is also a good source of vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, a little bit of vitamin A, an abundance of vitamin D, iron, magnesium, and much more.
Serving Size: 1 serving (3.5oz)(100g) | Calories: 99 | Total Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 189mg | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 259mg | Total Carbohydrate: 0.2g | Protein: 24g
Shrimp is an extremely low-calorie food that is made up of mostly protein. It could be used as an alternative to other meats as a source of your daily protein. Like other animal-based protein sources, shrimp has all the high-quality proteins and essential amino acids that your body needs to maintain itself.
A 3.5-ounce serving of shrimp contains approximately 24g of high-quality protein.
Shrimp is also a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium and much more.
Alternative Sources of Protein
What if you don’t like to eat meat? You still need your daily intake of protein just like everyone else. Well, I have great news for you, there are a ton of alternative sources that you could use to get your daily intake of protein.
Plant-based diets have been increasingly popular lately so people are looking to avoid meats but they need to be able to replace the nutrients that they would normally get from meat.
Luckily there are some options, Let’s take a look at some:
Serving Size: 0.5 cup (124g) | Calories: 94 | Total Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 150mg | Total Carbohydrate: 2.3g | Protein: 10g
Tofu is a soy-based food that contains high-quality protein and has all nine of the essential amino acids that the body needs. The high-quality protein in tofu is not quite as high-quality like animal sources even though the soybeans from which it is made contains very high-quality protein.
A 0.5 cup serving of tofu contains approximately 10g of high-quality protein.
Tofu is also a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B-6, iron, magnesium, calcium and much more.
Serving Size: 1 serving (6oz)(170g) | Calories: 100 | Total Fat: 0.7g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 61mg | Potassium: 240mg | Total Carbohydrate: 6g | Protein: 17g
It contains almost twice as much protein compared to other yogurt varieties. It is a complete protein due to it having all the essential amino acids your body needs. It also contains probiotics which are beneficial for your digestion system and overall health.
A 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt contains approximately 17g of high-quality protein.
It is also a great source of vitamin B-12, potassium, calcium, vitamin B-6, magnesium and much more.
Serving Size: 1 cup (8oz)(225g) | Calories: 222 | Total Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 819mg | Potassium: 234mg | Total Carbohydrate: 8g | Protein: 25g
Packed with nutrition, cottage cheese is a great source of high-quality protein. Not only does cottage cheese have the high-quality protein that you need for muscle building it contains slow-digesting casein protein which is a great muscle-builder.
One downside to cottage cheese that you might want to keep an eye on is the sodium amounts. Some brands of cottage cheese are higher than others.
A 1-cup serving of college cheese contains approximately 25g of high-quality protein.
Cottage cheese is also a great source of vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, vitamin A, some vitamin D, magnesium, iron, an abundance of calcium, and much more.
Serving Size: 1 cup (8.5oz)(244g) | Calories: 103 | Total Fat: 2.4g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 366mg | Total Carbohydrate: 12g | Protein: 8g
Unless you are lactose intolerant, milk is a great way to add protein to your daily diet. Milk contains two types of protein: whey (20%) and casein (80%). Both of these are considered high-quality protein so they have all the essential amino acids you need as well.
Soy milk can be a good substitute if you are lactose intolerant, Almond and rice milk contain far less protein than cow’s milk and soy milk so is not a good substitute if you are looking to add protein to your daily diet.
A 1-cup serving of milk contains approximately 8g of high-quality protein.
Milk is also a great source of vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, magnesium, an abundance of calcium, and much more.
Serving Size: 1 slice (1oz)(28g) | Calories: 113 | Total Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 27mg | Total Carbohydrate: 0.4g | Protein: 7g
Depending on the type of cheese you choose you could be giving yourself up to 10g of protein per serving. Like all the rest of the previous dairy products that I have mentioned on this list, cheese is a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids.
Different cheeses have different levels of nutrients as well as protein. Generally harder cheeses are higher in protein but this isn’t always the case. Check out this list of different cheeses and their various protein content if you want to know more.
A 1-ounce serving of cheese contains approximately 7g of high-quality protein.
Cheese is also a great source of vitamin B-12, vitamin D, vitamin A, magnesium, iron, an abundance of calcium and much more.
Serving Size: 1 cup (123g) | Calories: 691 | Total Fat: 56g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1,261mg | Total Carbohydrate: 34g | Protein: 25g
Pistachios are one of my favorite mid-day snacks. Like most nuts pistachios are packed with high-quality protein and would give you all the needed amino acids your body needs. Not only that pistachios have a lot of beneficial antioxidants to help your body reverse any cellular damage you may have.
A 1-cup serving of pistachios gives you approximately 25g of high-quality protein.
Pistachios are also a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, iron, calcium and an abundance of vitamin B-6.
Serving Size: 2 tbsp (32g) | Calories: 188 | Total Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 208mg | Total Carbohydrate: 6g | Protein: 8g
Some people tell you to avoid peanut butter when you are a diet, but peanut butter has many nutritional benefits as long as your not using it as your main source of protein. Also, makes sure the peanut butter that you are purchasing does not have too much added sugar or trans fat.
Although peanut butter can be a great plant-based protein, it is low in the essential amino acid methionine so you will have to pair it with some bread if you want to get all nine essential amino acids.
A 2-tbsp serving of peanut butter contains 8g of protein.
Peanut butter is also a great source of vitamin E, vitamin B-3, vitamin B-6, magnesium, manganese and much more.
Serving Size: 1oz (28.4g) | Calories: 161 | Total Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 200mg | Total Carbohydrate: 4.6g | Protein: 7g
Well, we just talked about peanut butter is a good source of protein so let’s mention that peanuts (the only ingredient in peanut butter) is a good source of protein. Just like peanut butter, peanuts are a good source of protein but it is low in the essential amino acid methionine so you will have to pair it with something that is high in methionine.
A 1-ounce serving of peanuts contains approximately 7g of protein.
Peanuts are also a great source of calcium, iron, vitamin B-6, magnesium and much more.
Serving Size: 1oz (28.4g) | Calories: 163 | Total Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 0mg | Potassium: 200mg | Total Carbohydrate: 6g | Protein: 6g
It is no surprise that almonds are a good source of protein. It is after all almond butter that is fighting for market share with peanut butter. Although almonds are a good source of protein it is not a complete protein and does not contain all the essential amino acids that your body needs, so you will have to pair it up to get all your essential amino acids.
A 1-ounce serving of almonds contains approximately 6g of protein.
Serving Size: 1 cup (185g) | Calories 240 | Total Fat: 0.6g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 801mg | Total Carbohydrate: 45g | Protein: 15g
This little bean is a lean high-protein versatile food that could be added to practically anything. The high levels of nutrients in black beans makes it a perfect source of protein for anyone that is following a strictly plant-based diet. Black beans are a complete protein as it contains all nine of the essential amino acids that your body needs.
A 1-cup serving of black beans provides approximately 15g of high-quality protein.
Black beans are also a great source of magnesium, vitamin B-6, iron, calcium and much more.
Serving Size: 1 cup (185g) | Calories: 222 | Total Fat:4g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 318mg | Total Carbohydrate: 39g | Protein: 8g
This little seed is one of those rare plant food that is actually a complete protein source. Quinoa gives you all 20 amino acids, which includes those essential amino acids that our bodies can’t naturally produce. This is also a great source of missing nutrients for people that have a wheat allergy and are following gluten-free diets.
A 1-cup serving of quinoa provides approximately 8g of high-quality protein.
Quinoa is also a great source of manganese, magnesium, iron, vitamin B-6 and much more.
Serving Size: 1 cup (198g) | Calories: 230 | Total Fat: 0.8g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 731mg | Total Carbohydrate: 40g | Protein: 18g
This plant food that has been talked about for as long as I could remember is a great addition to your diet. Although like most plant food lentils are not a complete protein source and you would have to find complementary proteins that contain cysteine and methionine which lentils do not have.
A 1-cup serving of lentils provides approximately 18g of protein.
Lentils are also a great source of vitamin C, iron, vitamin B-6, magnesium, calcium and much more.
Serving Size: 1 cup (145g) | Calories: 118 | Total Fat: 0.6g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 354mg | Total Carbohydrate: 21g | Protein: 8g
When people are talking about upping their intake of certain types of food you never hear someone tell you they started eating a bunch of peas, but why not? Peas are a great source of protein, a lot easier to eat then some plant-based proteins. Although peas are low in one of the essential amino acids that your body needs it is still a great source of protein to add to any diet.
A 1-cup serving of peas provides approximately 8g of protein.
Peas are also a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B-6, a lot of vitamin c, iron, calcium, magnesium and much more.
Serving Size: 1 oz (28.4g) | Calories: 163 | Total Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 223mg | Total Carbohydrate: 4.2g | Protein: 8g
These tasty little seeds can provide a good amount of protein to your daily diet. One of the rare plant foods that is a complete protein, pumpkin seeds contains all 9 essential amino acids that your body needs. Although the total fat in pumpkin seeds is on the higher end, the fats that pumpkin seeds contain is mostly the good fat like omega 3.
A 1-ounce serving of pumpkin seeds provides approximately 8g of high-quality protein.
Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of iron, calcium, an abundance of magnesium and much more.
Serving Size: 1 oz (28.4g) | Calories: 137 | Total Fat: 8.6g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 4.5mg | Potassium: 115mg | Total Carbohydrate: 11.9g | Protein 4.7g
These little seeds pack such a great punch and are so easy to add to literally anything. Chia seeds are one of those rare plant foods that are considered to be a complete protein and contain all the essential amino acids your body needs. Not only that these seeds as little as they contain the good omega 3 fatty acids. Although the amount of protein you get per serving is not really high, chia seeds give you a complete protein and any plant food that gives a complete protein deserves to be on this list.
A 1-ounce serving of chia seeds contains approximately 4.7g of high-quality protein.
Serving Size: 0.5 cup (100g) | Calories: 364 | Total Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 875mg | Total Carbohydrate: 61g | Protein: 19g
With the rise in popularity of hummus, chickpeas have been brought into the spotlight as one of those plant foods that give you a nice boost in protein and many other nutrients. Chickpeas are not a complete protein though and would be needed to be combined with another item to give you all the amino acids you need in a day.
One half-cup serving of chickpea contains approximately 19g of protein.
Chickpeas are also a great source of vitamin B-6, some vitamin A, Calcium, Iron, vitamin C, magnesium and much more.
Serving Size: 1 avocado (201g) | Calories: 322 | Total Fat: 29g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 975mg | Total Carbohydrate: 17g | Protein: 4g
Although the protein content from avocado isn’t extremely high, the nutritional value you get from avocado gives it a spot on this list. Avocado is high in heart-healthy fatty acids, as a matter of fact, a majority of the calories that come from avocado is from the fat.
A serving of 1-avocado would only give you approximately 4g of protein.
Avocado has 20 different vitamins and minerals and is a great source for vitamin K, C, B5, B6, E, and a small amount of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and more.
All these foods are great sources of protein. Some of them give you complete amino acid profiles and others need the help of another food to give you all the amino acids you need daily.
Remember you don’t have to get all of your needed daily intake of protein all from one source. It is alright to mix it up and eat a variety of foods throughout the day to get your daily intake of protein.
What is your favorite food to get your daily intake of protein? Like always give you have any comments leave them below.