20 Delicious High-Protein Foods to Eat
Protein makes up the building blocks of organs, muscles, skin, hormones and pretty much everything that matters in your body.
For this reason, you should eat high-quality protein at every meal.
A diet high in protein also lowers blood pressure, fights diabetes and more (3).
The recommended daily intake (RDI) for protein is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men.
However, many health and fitness experts believe that we need much more than that in order to function optimally.
Here is a list of 20 delicious foods that are high in protein.
Whole eggs are among the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet.
They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, eye-protecting antioxidants and brain nutrients that most people don’t get enough of.
Whole eggs are high in protein, but egg whites are almost pure protein.
Protein content: 35% of calories in a whole egg. 1 large egg has 6 grams of protein, with 78 calories.
Almonds are a popular type of tree nut.
They are loaded with important nutrients, including fiber, vitamin E, manganese and magnesium.
Protein content: 13% of calories. 6 grams per ounce (28 g), with 161 calories.
Other High-Protein Nuts
Pistachios (13% of calories) and cashews (11% of calories).
3. Chicken Breast
Chicken breast is one of the most popular protein-rich foods.
If you eat it without the skin, the majority of calories in it come from protein.
Chicken breast is also very easy to cook, and tastes delicious if you do it right.
Protein content: 80% of calories. 1 roasted chicken breast without skin contains 53 grams, with only 284 calories.
Oats are among the healthiest grains on the planet.
They are loaded with healthy fibers, magnesium, manganese, thiamin (vitamin B1) and several other nutrients.
Protein content: 15% of calories. Half a cup of raw oats has 13 grams, with 303 calories.
5. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a type of cheese that is very low in fat and calories.
It is loaded with calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and various other nutrients.
Protein content: 59% of calories. A cup (226 g) of cottage cheese with 2% fat contains 27 grams of protein, with 194 calories.
Other Types of Cheese That Are High in Protein
Parmesan cheese (38% of calories), swiss cheese (30%), mozzarella (29%) and cheddar (26%).
6. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt, also called strained yogurt, is a very thick type of yogurt.
It tastes delicious, has a creamy texture, and is high in many nutrients.
Protein content: Non-fat Greek yogurt has protein at 48% of calories. One 6-ounce (170-gram) container has 17 grams of protein, with only 100 calories.
Just make sure to choose one without added sugar. Full-fat Greek yogurt is also very high in protein, but contains more calories.
Regular full-fat yogurt (24% of calories) and kefir (40%).
Milk is highly nutritious, but the problem is that a huge percentage of the world’s population is intolerant to it.
However, if you tolerate milk and enjoy drinking it, then milk can be an excellent source of high-quality protein.
Milk contains a little bit of almost every single nutrient needed by the human body and can provide several impressive health benefits.
It is particularly high in calcium, phosphorus and riboflavin (vitamin B2).
Protein content: 21% of calories. 1 cup of whole milk contains 8 grams of protein, with 149 calories.
Broccoli is an incredibly healthy vegetable, loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber and potassium.
Broccoli is also high in various bioactive nutrients believed to help protect against cancer.
Calorie for calorie, it is very high in protein compared to most vegetables.
Protein content: 20% of calories. 1 cup (96 grams) of chopped broccoli has 3 grams of protein, with only 31 calories.
9. Lean Beef
Lean beef is very high in protein, and also tastes delicious.
It is loaded with highly bioavailable iron, vitamin B12 and large amounts of other important nutrients.
Protein content: 53% of calories. One 3-ounce (85 g) serving of cooked beef with 10% fat contains 22 grams of protein, with 184 calories.
If you’re on a low-carb diet, feel free to eat fatty cuts of beef instead of lean beef.
Tuna is a very popular type of fish.
It is low in both fat and calories, so what you’re left with is mostly just protein.
Like other fish, tuna is also very high in various nutrients and contains a decent amount of omega-3 fats.
Protein content: 94% of calories, in tuna canned in water. A cup (154 g) contains 39 grams of protein, with only 179 calories.
Quinoa is a seed/grain that is currently among the world’s most popular superfoods.
It is high in many vitamins, minerals and fiber, and is loaded with antioxidants.
Quinoa has numerous health benefits.
Protein content: 15% of calories. One cup (185 g) of cooked quinoa has 8 grams, with 222 calories.
12. Whey Protein Supplements
When you’re pressed for time and unable to cook, a protein supplement can come in handy.
Whey protein is a type of high-quality protein from dairy foods, shown to be very effective at building muscle mass, and may help with weight loss.
Protein content: Varies between brands. Can go over 90% of calories, with 20-50 grams of protein per serving.
Lentils are a type of legume.
They are high in fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, folate, copper, manganese and various other nutrients.
Lentils are among the world’s best sources of plant-based protein, and are an excellent food for vegetarians and vegans.
Protein content: 27% of calories. 1 cup (198 g) of boiled lentils contains 18 grams, with 230 calories.
Other High-Protein Legumes
Soybeans (33% of calories), kidney beans (24%) and chickpeas (19%).
14. Ezekiel Bread
Ezekiel bread is different from most other breads.
It is made of organic and sprouted whole grains and legumes, including millet, barley, spelt, wheat, soybeans and lentils.
Compared to most breads, ezekiel bread is very high in protein, fiber and various important nutrients.
Protein content: 20% of calories. 1 slice contains 4 grams, with 80 calories.
15. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkins contain edible seeds called pumpkin seeds.
They are incredibly high in many nutrients, including iron, magnesium and zinc.
Protein content: 14% of calories. 1 ounce (28 g) has 5 grams of protein, with 125 calories.
Other High-Protein Seeds
Flax seeds (12% of calories), sunflower seeds (12%) and chia seeds (11%).
16. Turkey Breast
Turkey breast is similar to chicken breast in many ways.
It consists mostly of protein, with very little fat and calories. It also tastes delicious and is high in various vitamins and minerals.
Protein content: 70% of calories. One 3-ounce (85 g) serving contains 24 grams, with 146 calories.
17. Fish (All Types)
Fish is incredibly healthy, for various reasons.
It is loaded with important nutrients, and tends to be very high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Protein content: Highly variable. Salmon is 46% protein, with 19 grams per 3-ounce (85 g) serving and only 175 calories.
Shrimp is a type of seafood.
It is low in calories, but incredibly high in various nutrients, including selenium and vitamin B12.
Like fish, shrimp also contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.
Protein content: 90% of calories. A 3 ounce (85 g) serving contains 18 grams, with only 84 calories.
19. Brussels Sprouts
The Brussels sprout is another high-protein vegetable, related to broccoli.
It is one of the healthiest foods you can eat, and is very high in fiber, vitamin C and other nutrients.
Protein content: 17% of calories. Half a cup (78 g) contains 2 grams of protein, with 28 calories.
Peanuts are incredibly delicious.
They are high in protein, fiber, magnesium and many studies show that they can help you lose weight.
Peanut butter is also high in protein, just make sure not to eat too much as it is quite “more-ish.”
Protein content: 16% of calories. One ounce (28 g) has 7 grams, with 159 calories.
The Bottom Line
The importance of eating enough protein can not be overstated.
It is the simplest, easiest and most delicious way to lose weight and have a better looking body. Period.
An evidence-based nutrition article from our experts at Authority Nutrition.
Written by Kris Gunnars, BSc