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21 high protein foods you should be eating

 

We all know that protein is good for us, forming the foundation of our skin, organs, hormones and muscles. While children require protein for growth, as adults, your body needs it to maintain and repair tissues.

Studies have shown that protein has other benefits too, including aiding weight loss and belly fat, while also increasing strength and muscle mass.

It has also been said that a high protein diet can help lower blood pressure, combat diabetes and benefit metabolism.

While the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for men is 56 grams and 46 grams for men, there are some fitness experts that believe those levels could be higher for optimum function.

If you’re looking for the best sources of protein, check out our list of 21 protein-rich foods you can get started with right away.

OATS

Oats are considered one of the healthiest grains available, which is why nutritionists frequently recommend oatmeal for fitness fanatics, athletes and bodybuilders.

As well as being a great source of protein, oats are packed full of magnesium, thiamine (vitamin B1), manganese and other healthy fibers your body needs.

Magnesium makes oats greats for helping your body recover from an intense workout, while its vitamin B supports muscle function and overall brain health.

COTTAGE CHEESE

High protein and low calorie, cottage cheese is also low in fat.

This popular type of cheese is also rich in riboflavin (vitamin B2), calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12 and selenium.

Having grown in popularity in the last few decades, it comes as no surprise that it’s widely used by weight loss plans and eaten by athletes.

In 226 grams of low-fat cottage cheese (with 1% fat) you can find 163 calories and 28 grams of protein.

EGGS

Much like chicken breast, eggs have long been considered a great source of protein.

Whole eggs are rich in protein, packed full of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that can support eye health and overall brain health.

In one whole egg alone you can expect 6 grams of protein and 78 calories.

If you have an egg allergy, however, you may want to bypass this one!

ALMONDS

Almonds are great for a number of reasons, as well as being an excellent source of protein.

This popular tree nut is rich in fiber, manganese, vitamin E and other essential nutrients.

In just 28 grams of almonds, you can expect 164 calories and 6 grams of protein.

If you have a nut allergy, this one is best avoided – but don’t worry, we have plenty more.

LEAN BEEF

Many lean meats are a good source of protein, with fewer calories than their non-lean counterparts.

As well as being a high protein food, lean beef is also high in vitamin B12, iron, vitamin B6 and zinc.

The protein content of lean, cooked beef is around 26-27% – with one 85 gram serving of lean sirloin steak containing 186 calories and 25 grams of protein.

Lean beef is also great for those following a low carb diet.

PUMPKIN SEEDS

Often forgotten (especially around Halloween), pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein.

As well as their protein qualities, they are also incredibly high in iron, magnesium, zinc and other important nutrients for overall health.

Top tip: If you’re unsure what to do with them, simply roast in the oven with your favourite spice blend for added flavor.

QUINOA

As well as being high protein, quinoa is also gluten-free and contains sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids.

With a similar fluffy texture to couscous, this superfood is often served cold in salads, or hot in breakfast porridges or stuffed inside vegetables.

This high protein food is also rich in antioxidants, minerals, fiber and a whole world of vitamins.

In 185 grams of cooked quinoa, you can expect 222 calories and around 8 grams of protein.

MILK

With nearly every nutrient the body needs found in milk, it’s pretty easy to incorporate this protein-rich food into your diet.

Milk is a brilliant source of healthy protein, as well as riboflavin (vitamin B2), phosphorus and of course, calcium.

If you’re wary about your fat intake, give zero or low-fat milk a try.

Don’t worry, if you’re lactose intolerant or follow a plant-based diet, you can still benefit from protein via milk-free options. With one cup of whole milk containing 8 grams of protein and 149 calories, the differences are minimal between that and a cup of soy milk which contains 6.3 grams of protein and 105 calories.

BROCCOLI

As well as being a good source of protein in comparison to other vegetables, broccoli also provides healthy doses of fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium.

Studies have shown that broccoli’s protein benefits also have links with chemoprevention and cardioprotection, too.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS

A part of the broccoli family, brussels sprouts are a protein-rich vegetable.

As well as being one of the best sources of protein, this popular Christmas dinner vegetable is also high in vitamin C, fiber and other important nutrients.

EZEKIEL BREAD

Made from sprouted and organic legumes and whole grains, including soybeans, lentils, millet, spelt and barley, Ezekiel bread is a little different from other bread choices.

In comparison to many other breads – including white bread – Ezekiel bread is much richer in healthy nutrients and fiber. As well as being a protein-rich food of course!

CHICKEN BREAST

A popular go-to when it comes to high protein and low calories foods, chicken breast is super easy to cook and combine into a range of recipes.

When eaten without the skin, most of a chicken breast’s calories come from protein, too.

Let’s look at it this way, when roasted, one chicken breast (without the skin) contains only 284 calories and 53 grams of protein.

TUNA

Tuna is not only a good source of protein, but it is also low in calories and fat.

A popular choice when it comes to fish, tuna is often eaten cold in salads or as part of hot, baked dishes – making it great for adding an extra boost of protein into your usual meals.

As well as being tasty, this high protein food is also packed with many other health benefits – helping to lower blood pressure, boost your immune system and lower cholesterol.

SHRIMP

Another great seafood, shrimp is both a high protein and low-calorie food. As well as protein, shrimp is also high in vitamin B12, selenium and various other important nutrients.

Much like tuna, shrimp also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve eye health, promote brain health and can help lower your risk of heart disease.

In just an 85 gram serving you will find 84 calories and 20 grams of protein.

FISH (OF ALL TYPES)

Although we’ve already mentioned the benefits of shrimp and tuna, now’s probably the time to mention the health benefits for all types of fish.

As well as being good sources of protein, fish is rich in important nutrients for overall health. Some more than others are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your risk of heart disease.

The protein content of fish varies greatly, but with salmon coming out at 22% protein, it is just one of many fish choices that make for great protein.

LENTILS

A part of the legume family, lentils are incredibly filling and an excellent source of protein.

Often used by plant-based foodies as a meat substitute, lentils are high in magnesium, fiber, iron, potassium, copper and many other nutrients.

Lentils aren’t eaten by just vegans and vegetarians, however, as their huge health and protein benefits are taken advantage of by many.

In just one cup (198 grams), boiled lentils contain 230 calories and 18 grams of protein.

GREEK YOGHURT

Often called strained yoghurt, greek yoghurt is a very thick style yoghurt.

With a creamy texture and high protein content, this healthy food works well with both sweet and savoury dishes.

When choosing greek yoghurt for its high protein, try to avoid those without added sugar. And while full fat makes it a very high protein food, more calories come with it.

TURKEY BREAST

A popular choice for those who also like chicken breast, turkey breast is both high in protein and low calorie.

With very little fat, turkey breast tastes delicious and is high in vitamins and minerals.

Top turkey tip: Remove the skin to remove much of its fat content. One 85 gram serving includes 125 calories and 26 grams of protein.

PEANUTS

If you can’t resist snacking, peanuts act as a great hunger-filler, as well as being high in magnesium, fiber and more importantly, protein.

If you’re looking to shed a couple of pounds, studies have shown that they can also help you lose weight.

The same study also showed that peanuts may lower your risk of heart disease and generally support overall health.

If you have a nut allergy, however, you may want to replace this high protein food.

NAVY BEANS

Whether you’re familiar with navy beans or not, there’s no denying that they are protein-rich food.

Also known as haricot beans, navy beans are an excellent source of vitamin B, fiber and minerals. In just 182 grams of cooked navy beans, they contain roughly 15.0 grams of protein.

Studies have also shown that this healthy bean has helped to lower cholesterol, too.

You can also mash navy beans with garlic and lemon as a hummus alternative.

SOYBEANS

Commonly found in many vegan and vegetarian products, soybeans have become increasingly popular in recent years.

They also contain nine essential amino acids, making them essential muscle food.

As well as having many different health benefits, these little beans are packed with protein.

In just 172 grams of cooked soybeans, you can find 28.6 grams of protein.

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Charlie Meister

Charlie Meister

My name is Charlie Meister and I’m an online personal trainer and content creator. I’m currently 24 years old and I started working out when I was 16 back in high school because I hated the way I looked. I quickly fell in love with the growth and for the last 3 years now I’ve been a personal trainer. I spent the first year working in a gym in central London and now only do online personal training as the results my clients get are significantly better and I can work with anyone in the world.

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