Protein is an important macronutrient for health. Crucial in building lean muscle, weight loss and satiety, far too many people fall short of their daily protein goals. Doctors recommend roughly 46 grams of protein per day for women and 56 grams per day for men, though that might even be too little depending on activity level and other circumstances. Also see best tasting protein powders.
Below is a list of 15 high protein foods that taste amazing and are easy to include into any diet. With both plant-based and meat options, finding the right variety of protein for your diet is simple!
15 High Protein Foods That Taste Amazing
1. Chicken Breast
Chicken breast is one of the most popular protein sources. Though the way it is prepared does have an impact on its nutrition, a boneless chicken breast without the skin provides nearly 53 grams of protein. Compared to other cuts of the chicken such as the leg or thigh, chicken breast contains mostly protein with little to no fat. This large amount of high quality protein will not only help you to build lean muscle mass, but also doubles as a weight loss aid.
Fish is one of the leanest sources of protein available. Though all fish provide a healthy amount of protein, oily fish such as salmon also provide another valuable nutrient – omega 3 fatty acids. Beneficial to both the heart and the brain, many people don’t get enough omega 3 fatty acids into their daily diets without supplementation. Eating salmon a few times a week will not only help to increase your overall protein, but will also help boost your omega-3 levels.
A fillet of salmon provides roughly 24 grams of protein.
3. Pork Chops
Pork can sometimes get a bad rap due to the well known fattier sources of pork such as bacon and ham. Pork is in fact a lean meat that rivals chicken, with a similar amount of protein per chop. Though pork chops are fattier than chicken breasts, the fat can be trimmed off most pork chops and a large chop can provide as much as 52 grams of protein.
4. Ground Beef
Ground beef is a good source of iron as well as B vitamins. While ground beef does provide roughly 25 grams of protein per serving, it can also contain a large amount of cholesterol. This is not necessary a bad thing, but it should be taken into account for the remainder of your day.
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Not only are they loaded with perfect protein but they also contain healthy fats, vitamins and essential minerals. Each whole egg contains 6 grams of protein. Although egg whites are an excellent source of pure protein, they tend to lack the healthy fat as well as crucial nutrients that an entire egg has.
6. Greek Yogurt
If you have no aversions to dairy, then Greek yogurt should be a staple in your diet. A solid source of protein, Greek yogurt contains 17 grams of protein in just 6 ounces. The main downfall to Greek yogurt is the added sugar that tends to be added to the flavored varieties. Some flavors of Greek yogurt can contain as much sugar as a candy bar – that doesn’t seem healthy at all! Choose plain Greek yogurt for a solid protein punch without all the extra sugar and sweeten it yourself with either raw honey, maple syrup or even stevia.
Nuts provide a decent amount of protein per serving. In just a small 1-ounce serving, almonds provide 6 grams of protein as well as healthy fats, fiber and other important nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium and manganese. Pay attention to serving sizes, however. As with all nuts, almonds are high in fat and can become quite caloric. Though the fats provided by almonds are beneficial to the heart and the brain, eating too much can add to unwanted calories and added weight.
8. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is fairly well known as a diet food due to the fact that it is low calorie but high in protein. A one cup serving of 2% fat cottage cheese contains 27 grams of protein with just under 200 calories. Cottage cheese is also a good source of calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and riboflavin.
Oats are one of the healthiest grains on the planet as well as a sneaky source of protein. With 13 grams of protein in just half a cup of raw oats, oats also contain fiber, magnesium, thiamin and several other beneficial nutrients.
Quinoa is an undeniable superfood. Not only does quinoa provide a good chunk of protein at 8 grams per one cooked cup, but quinoa is also a fantastic source of several other nutrients. Loaded with antioxidants, high in fiber and filled with vitamins and minerals, quinoa provides all nine essential amino acids that our bodies need for better health.
Lentils are an excellent source of plant based protein. High in fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, foliate, copper and other nutrients, lentils provide 18 grams of protein in one cooked cup. Similarly to meat, lentils can be used in a variety of ways such as in meatloaf, sauces, and even tacos.
12. Black Beans
Black beans, along with several other beans, are a solid source of protein as well as fiber. What sets black beans apart however is their antioxidant level. Compared to other beans, black beans contain a larger amount of antioxidants, with roughly the same amount of antioxidant activity as apples, grapes and cranberries.
A half cup of cooked black beans yields almost 9 grams of protein.
13. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are packed with beneficial minerals that help to boost health. Two significant minerals, zinc and magnesium, are found in particularly large amounts in pumpkin seeds. These minerals are an essential part of heart health as well as aid in sleep and maintaining a positive mood.
Pumpkin seeds contain 5 grams of protein in a one ounce serving.
14. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are considered to be a complete plant-based protein source. Containing all nine essential amino acids that our bodies need, hemp seeds contain 13 grams of protein in just three tablespoons.
Blend hemp seeds into smoothies or sprinkle over oatmeal and cereals for an added protein boost.
15. Green Peas
Peas are one of those sneaky vegetables that pack in protein. Along with plenty of fiber, peas contain 8 grams of plant protein per cup. Add peas to your meals throughout the day to squeeze in a few extra grams of protein!
There are plenty of ways to increase the amount of protein in your diet. Whether you choose plant-based protein or protein from meat, vary your sources to make sure you are getting a variety of nutrients.