Protein Content: 6 g per 1 large egg
These are one of the most perfect high-protein foods cheap, versatile, low-carb, and packed with branched-chain amino acids. Look for eggs fortified with extra omega-3 fatty acids to give your breakfast an extra nutrition boost. I eat them pretty much on a daily basis and love making omelettes and mini quiche in a non stick muffin tin. Great for on the go! Hard-boiled eggs are one of the most portable protein foods as well… I also use eggs when making my protein pancakes that are so delicious, so Enjoy!
Wait, aren’t eggs high in cholesterol? Yes, eggs contain a high amount of cholesterol. One large egg has about 200 mg of cholesterol. A few things on that:
– Dietary Cholesterol Isn’t Bound to Blood Cholesterol. There is little-to-no relation between dietary cholesterol and higher blood cholesterol levels, nor any legitimate link between dietary cholesterol and the incidence of heart disease.
– The Human Body Makes Cholesterol.Your liver makes 3-6 times more cholesterol than you can get eating eggs and/or other animal products.
– Cholesterol is Vital To Your Body. You need it for the production of steroid hormones like testosterone and also to build & repair cells (which is a perpetually occurring process in the human body).
So yes, eggs themselves are high in cholesterol, but no, consumption of eggs does not cause a spike in human cholesterol levels.
High Protein Dairy
Protein Content: 23 g per 8-oz. serving
Greek yogurt has become such a popular choice because it has twice as much protein as other types of yogurt. It’s also rich in bone-building calcium and probiotic bacteria, which is great for gut health. Look for plain Greek yogurt to keep sugar—and your weight—in check. I will often times have some plain Greek yogurt with berries and a few sliced almonds – and to sweeten it a little, either some all natural maple syrup, honey or Stevia.
Protein Content: 14 g per 1/2-cup serving
Make cottage cheese your go-to protein for a healthy late-night snack. It’s high in casein, a dairy protein that digests more slowly than whey. Slow-digesting protein feeds your muscles all night so they don’t catabolize, and it keeps you from waking up starving at 3 a.m. I enjoy cottage cheese with cantaloupe or berries – a great snack or lunch idea.
Whey Or Casein Protein Powder
Protein Content: 24 g per scoop, on average
Whey protein powder is clean, fast-digesting, and most of its calories come from protein. It’s also convenient—just mix it with water in a shaker bottle. Reach for protein powder whenever you need quick, no-prep protein, like after a workout, for an on-the-go breakfast, or alongside a low-protein meal.
If you need something that’ll help you hide from hunger a little longer, go for slow-digesting casein powder instead of whey. It won’t hit your muscles as fast, but it can keep you full for hours and can help you lose fat without losing muscle mass.
You can also use protein powder to make high-protein pancakes. They make a great pre-workout or post-workout snack if you need a break from shakes. If you’re sensitive to artificial sweeteners, look for an unsweetened protein powder or one sweetened with stevia.
Protein Content: 16 g per 1-cup serving, on average – Up your protein-shake game by blending casein or whey protein powder into a smoothie with fruit for its vitamin content. To make a plant-based smoothie, substitute a vegan protein powder in place of animal-based casein or whey. A blend of rice protein and pea protein is a good option for muscle growth.
One of my favorites is blending some unsweetened coconut milk, water, 1 scoop whey protein powder, 1/2 cup berries, handful of spinach, 1/2 cup kefir or Plain Greek Yogurt, some ice and blend.
Frozen Greek Yogurt
Protein Content: 6 g per 1/2-cup serving
Frozen Greek yogurt is frosty and creamy like ice cream, but contains about twice as much high-quality protein. Compare brands and look for those with the lowest sugar levels (or make it yourself). Some brands actually list fruit before sugar in the ingredient list, which is a plus.
High Protein Seafood
Protein Content: 23 g per 3-oz. serving – Among white fish species, halibut reigns supreme when it comes to the protein you need to build muscle like a champ. Each 3-ounce serving also has a mere 2 grams of fat, making halibut an even better catch of the day.Pacific halibut is generally considered a more sustainable choice than Atlantic.
Protein Content: 23 g per 3-oz. serving – Not only does wild salmon like sockeye taste better than its farmed cousin, it also supplies more protein. In addition, you’ll reap the benefits of its plethora of fat-fighting long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Look for salmon with the skin still intact, as it provides added flavor during cooking.
Protein Content: 21 g per 3-oz. serving – Commonly available at most fish markets, protein-packed tilapia is a mild-tasting fish that will keep your muscles well fed.Look for American-farmed tilapia, which is a safer fish choice than tilapia imported from Asia.
Protein Content: 24 g per 3-oz. serving – Ounce for ounce, anchovies are the surprising winners when it comes to canned protein. Because of their size, they also don’t accumulate toxins the same way that bigger species do. To reduce their saltiness, soak anchovies in water for 30 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
Protein Content: 22 g per 3-oz. serving – Frugal shoppers, rejoice! Less-pricey canned light tuna actually provides a little more protein than more expensive canned white tuna. To save yourself some calories and fat- opt for water-packed tuna. Canned tuna is a very low-calorie food.
Protein Content: 21 g per 3-oz. serving – Humble canned sardines are making a comeback! This high-protein fish is full of omega-3 fats and vitamin D, and is relatively low in mercury since it’s small and low on the food chain. Try stirring them into mashed potatoes or cauliflower to cut their strong taste.
High Protein Meats
Steak (Top Or Bottom Round)
Protein Content: 23 g per 3-oz. serving – These leaner cuts of steak provide a fantastic 1 gram of protein for every 7 calories; rib eye, on the other hand, delivers roughly 1 gram of protein for every 11 calories. Plus, round steak is considered one of the more economical cuts. Leaner cuts of steak like round and loin will become drier than the Sahara with overcooking, so prepare them quickly over high heat to medium-rare.
Ground Beef (90% Lean)
Protein Content: 18 g per 3-oz. serving – Using 90 percent ground beef provides just the right amount of fat so your burgers and meatloaf won’t taste like cardboard. Beyond raising your protein intake, this red meat is also a good source of the almighty creatine. If you have some extra cash, opt for grass-fed beef, which is more nutrient-dense than its factory-farm counterparts.
Chicken Breast (Boneless And Skinless)
Protein Content: 24 g per 3-oz. serving – This bodybuilding and weight-loss staple is a better protein source than other poultry cuts, which is why it should remain a constant presence in your shopping cart. To save money, stock up on this staple when it’s marked down for quick sale. Mike and I always find the sales on Chicken and load up the freezer! Great to pre cook and cut up to top on salads, make stir fry and much more…
Protein Content: 24 g per 3-oz. serving – As with chicken, this big bird can flood your muscles with protein while keeping the calorie count low. Like pork chops and chicken breast, turkey breast can benefit from a pre-cook brining. If you’re concerned about antibiotic use in large-scale poultry farming, you can look for turkey breast labelled “antibiotic-free.”
Protein Content: 18 g per 3-oz. serving – Roast beef is leaner than you’d think, and higher in amino acids than other deli-counter picks. As with steak, pasture-raised roast beef is more nutritious.
Protein Content: 15 g per 3-oz. serving – Canadian-style bacon is a better high-protein food than regular bacon since it has about six times less fat. And yes, we just gave you permission to eat bacon… Of course, not in high amounts
Protein Content: 13 g per 1-oz. serving – Cleaning up your diet might mean saying goodbye to potato chips and microwave popcorn, but you can still enjoy jerky for a salty treat that doesn’t derail your goals. Keep some in your desk at work for an afternoon snack. Look for healthier brands that are free of MSG and nitrites.
High Protein Plant-Based Foods
Protein Content: 20 g per 1-cup serving – Heart-healthy beans are a fantastically cheap vegetarian protein source, and of the most commonly available canned legumes, navy beans lead the way. They’re also rich in fiber, which is important for healthy eating. Mash navy beans with garlic and lemon as a hummus alternative.
Protein Content: 13 g per 1/4-cup serving – Inexpensive dry lentils are a sure-fire way to ramp up your intake of protein, fiber, and a range of vital minerals. Unlike other dried beans, lentils don’t require an annoying presoak. Simply simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. For a nutritious lunch, toss cooked lentils with chopped chicken breast, diced vegetables, and a lemon vinaigrette.
Protein Content: 8 g per 2-tbsp serving – Though not as trendy as other nut butters like almond, peanut butter still leads the way in the protein department. Make sure to watch labels for sugar, though. Natural versions made from just peanuts are best—some stores even let you grind your own. If you’re working to get your weight in check, look for peanut butter powder, which has less fat but the same protein content. You can even use the powder for baking.
Protein Content: 6 g per 2-oz. serving – Nuts like peanuts, cashews, and almonds make for a crunchy way to add more protein and healthy unsaturated fats to your diet. Keep a can in your glove compartment for hunger emergencies. If you’re watching your sodium intake, look for packages labelled “unsalted”.
Protein Content: 4 g per 1-oz. serving – If you’re craving crunchy chips, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better option than the ones made with protein-rich black beans. For bonus points, use them as a delivery vessel for a homemade Greek yogurt dip.
Protein Content: 12 g per 3-oz. serving – If you’re looking to go meat-free, slabs of tofu can fill you up with soy protein. Slices of firm tofu work well in stir-fry, or slap them on the grill to infuse them with some smoky flavor. A good marinade goes a long way. You can even make a smoothie with tofu instead of protein powder.
Protein Content: 8 g per 1/2-cup serving – Another great vegetarian option, these nutrient-packed green soybeans will give your diet a boost of plant protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.To avoid snack boredom, prepare shelled, frozen edamame according to package directions, then season with fresh lemon juice, smoked paprika, and a pinch of salt.
Protein Content: 7 g per 1-cup serving – While protein is not abundant in most vegetables, green peas contain enough that you’ll want to keep a bag stashed in your freezer at all times. They’re also high in fiber, so they help manage your weight and cravings.
Protein Content: 6 g per 1-oz. serving – The wheat grain is made up of three components—endosperm, bran, and germ. The germ is the most nutrient-dense part and includes notable amounts of plant-based protein. You can use it to add a protein boost to your oatmeal, pancakes, and even shakes.
Protein Content: 8 g per 1-cup serving- Among whole grains, South American quinoa (technically a seed) is a rarity in that it contains a full arsenal of essential amino acids, meaning that it’s a complete protein with muscle-building potential.Toasting quinoa in a dry skillet or saucepan before simmering it in water can enhance its natural nutty flavor.
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- Palupi, E., Jayanegara, A., Ploeger, A., & Kahl, J. (2012). Comparison of nutritional quality between conventional and organic dairy products: a meta‐analysis. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 92(14), 2774-2781.
- Daley, C. A., Abbott, A., Doyle, P. S., Nader, G. A., & Larson, S. (2010). A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition Journal, 9(1), 10.