I just wrote an article about 10 diet options for 2016. A lot of those diets are high in protein and that got me thinking: What options do we have when it comes to protein? What protein rich foods are there? Surely a high protein diet doesn’t mean that you have to have a steak night every night? Not that I’d mind that though… 🙂
And it’s not just people wanting to lose weight that worry about getting enough protein. Protein is a very important part of weight training: you need to get enough protein from your diet in order to build muscle. If you’re not sure how much protein you should be getting a day, Bodybuilding.com has a great protein intake calculator (go ahead, it’s not just for bodybuilders…) and Authority Nutrition has a very good article on why protein is so important to us.
So I decided to compile a high protein foods list and protein rich food ideas for you!
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Here’s a list of 40 high protein foods – take a look:
40 protein rich foods
(All grams of protein are per 100 grams of product unless otherwise stated)
Eating meat is the easiest way to get protein
A turkey breast contains a whopping around 25 grams of protein when uncooked, and as much as 30 – 35 grams when cooked. That’s pretty much the most protein containing animal meat you can possibly get. Turkey mince is a versatile option as well.
Chicken contains almost as much protein as turkey. Breast/mince without fat is a great lean high protein option. You can also combine two protein rich foods by filling a chicken fillet with cheese.
Chicken breast isn’t the only option, mix it up! Chicken leg and thigh contain a lot of protein, just remove the skin if you want to have a high protein low fat meal. Even chicken wings have around 18 grams of protein, cold cuts of chicken contain around 20 grams of protein and my favorite Indian takeaway, chicken tikka has around 25 grams of protein.
Cooked roast beef or a grilled steak has a lot of protein: around 30 grams per 100 grams. Minced beef goes with everything: you can cook pasta sauces and burgers or bake mince pies. A raw beef fillet and cured beef both have around 20 grams of protein. Beef jerky is a great high protein snack.
Roasted ham can contain as much as 30 grams of protein. Pork fillet is another lean protein rich option (with 21 grams of protein when raw) and even pork knuckle and bacon contain a lot of protein.
Sausages as well as other processed meat products have had a lot of bad publicity lately. The fact is though that they can contain a lot of protein and while you might not want to eat sausages every day, they give a nice touch and variation to some dishes.
A low fat salami type of sausage could have as much as 25 grams of protein per 100 grams and even chorizo 18 grams. A meaty grilled sausage can have 15 grams of protein.
A Kebab takeaway might not be such a bad option either with Kebab meat containing 20 – 25 grams of protein.
Lamb contains about 16 grams of protein and a lamb curry usually has more than 10 grams of protein.
8. Other types of meat
All meat contain a lot of protein. Game such as deer or rabbit, or organ meat like kidney and liver all contain over 20 grams of protein.
Fish and sea food bring some variation and healthy fats to your protein rich diet
Anchovies have a lot of protein – canned anchovy contains almost 30 grams of protein and has a lot of other health benefits too. Use in pizzas and a Caesar salad dressing.
Tuna is an old protein classic among body builders. And it is no wonder as it contains a lot of protein and can be easily enjoyed together with other high protein foods such as cottage cheese or eggs. Tuna in oil or water contains 20 – 27 grams and a tuna steak has around 23 grams of protein.
Salmon is a genuine superfood: Not only is it high in protein but it also contains a lot of important omega-3 fatty acids. Oven-cooked or smoked salmon has around 22 grams of protein.
A raw lobster has 19 grams of protein and a boiled one around 23 grams.
A boiled or fried shrimp contains 14 – 16 grams of protein.
14. Caviar and roe
Feeling festive? Have some protein rich caviar 🙂 Caviar (which is a roe from wild sturgeon) and other roe contain over 20 grams of protein.
15. Other types of fish and seafood
Just as with meat all seafood contains a lot of protein. Pretty much any grilled, fried, boiled or oven-baked fish has around or more than 20 grams of protein.
Sardine in tomato sauce has around 20 grams of protein as well. If you weigh your fish raw you can count around 17 grams of protein for seafood such as trout, halibut, eel, cod, redfish and octopus. Raw crayfish has 14 grams and raw mussels have about 16 grams of protein. Even oven-baked fish fingers have around 13 grams of protein.
Cheese and other dairy products are a daily source of protein
16. Medium-hard cheese
Cheeses that have a medium/semi-hard texture include Emmental, Cheddar and Gouda and they contain a lot of protein, around 25 grams.
Use different types of cheese in salads to create high protein low carbohydrate meals. Try halloumi too – it’s a great barbecue favorite with around 20 grams of protein.
17. Blue Cheese
Blue cheese has around 20 grams of protein and goes with pretty much anything but blue cheese and pears make a classic pairing.
18. Chèvre, goat cheese
I absolutely love goat cheese. It has around 20 grams of protein and there are very few nicer things in life than a warm baked goat cheese salad.
Cottage cheese is one of the most versatile protein sources and a stable among people who try to make sure they get enough protein from their diet. Cottage cheese contains 15 – 18 grams of protein and can be eaten by itself, as a side dish to pretty much any meal and together with fruit such as pear or pineapple.
20. Other types of cheese
Italian tomato mozzarella salad is a great low carbohydrate high protein option as mozzarella cheese has 18 grams of protein.
Feta cheese, either in oil or brine, has 16 – 18 grams of protein.
You can even spoil yourself with a pot of fondue and get around 17 grams of protein per 100 grams of this wonderful melted cheese.
Quark, which is a high protein dairy product popular in Europe, seems to finally be making its way to other parts of the world as well. Quark mixed with pineapple is a classic combo among body builders. Quark contains around 10 grams of protein.
22. Milk and yogurt
Milk and yogurt contain “only” 3 – 4 grams of protein but you might get a lot of protein from the sheer volume you might drink them daily.
Remember to always have some protein at breakfast and as snacks – protein will help you feel full
23. Protein bars
Protein bars are a good choice for snacks if you are really busy but need to crab something to eat. There’s a lot of options with varying amounts of protein. I like Oh Yeah protein bars – I know, that they are like chocolate bars – that’s why I like them 🙂 Oh Yeah bars come in different sizes and flavors. The Chocolat Caramel bar contain 26 grams of protein per 85 gram bar.
24. Diet smoothie, soup or shake powder
Again there are plenty to choose from if you fancy a diet smoothie, soup or shake. SlimFast Powder Shake Mix for example contains 10 grams of protein per serving. Nutrilett, Nutrisystem and Nutrifast also have high protein (10 – 15 grams of protein per serving) meal replacement options.
25. Muesli and cereal
There are even grains that contain a lot of protein. For example Kellogg’s all-bran plus breakfast cereal has 13 grams of protein and even muesli has around 9 grams of protein.
26. Oat bran
Oat bran (which has an important role in Dukan diet) has 18 grams of protein.
27. Wheat germ
Adding wheat germ to your breakfast or snacks is a great way to add vitamins and protein to your diet and here’s a reason why: it contains almost 30 grams of protein! So go ahead and sprinkle some to your yogurt, cereal, smoothie or porridge.
Eggs are a great source of protein. Boiled and fried eggs have 12 – 13 grams of protein. If you have just a fried egg yolk, it has 16 grams of protein (per 100 grams).
A ham and cheese omelette has around 15 grams of protein.
Get healthy fats and some additional protein from nuts and seeds
Nuts are great as snacks or a brilliant added crunch to salads. Mix both nuts and seeds to make your own high protein salad mix.
Peanuts pack a lot of protein with around 25 grams per 100 grams (even the salted and honey-roasted varieties).
Almonds have 24 grams of protein and are so versatile. You can have them as snacks or use in cooking if you want to make for example low carbohydrate chicken nuggets with almond flour or smoothies using almond milk.
Even marzipan has 13 grams of protein!
31. Other nuts
Other nuts aren’t far behind when it comes to protein: Pistachio and cashew nuts contain 20 – 21 grams of protein. Walnut, Brazil and hazel nuts have 14 – 15 grams of protein and pecan nuts contain 9 grams of protein.
Seeds are a great source of protein as well: Pumpkin and hemp seeds contain around 25 grams of protein where as sunflower seeds have 20 – 23 grams and pine seeds around 14 grams of protein.
Vegetables, legumes and other plant based products contain protein too
Seaweed for example dried nori contains more than 30 grams of protein which makes it one of the protein richest foods when it comes to plant based products. So go ahead and roll your sushi!
Lentils are a great source of protein: green, brown and red lentils have around 25 grams of protein.
Brown and white beans have 22 grams of protein and dried Adzuki beans have 20 grams.
36. Other legumes
Dried chick pea has 21 grams and dried pea has 18 grams of protein.
Tofu (which is a curd made of soy milk) is a good source of protein as it contains 8 grams of it.
Spices and chocolate – very surprising sources of protein
38. Dry spices
Can you believe that spices have a lot of protein as well? Obviously they don’t weigh much so you are very unlikely to get your daily protein from basil 🙂 However, here are a couple of spices that contain a lot of protein:
Dried basil has 23 grams of protein. Ground paprika has 15 grams of protein. Dried oregano and black pepper contain 11 grams of protein.
39. Dried onion and breadcrumbs
I love dried onion and am happy to add it to any sandwiches or salads. 100 grams of dried onion contains quite a lot of protein, over 10 grams. Breadcrumbs have 10 grams of protein.
Unsweetened cocoa powder has 18 grams of protein and even your average milk chocolate bar contains as much as 10 grams of protein per 100 grams!
As you can see, there’s more protein than meets the eye. Try new things and get your essential amino acids from different sources of protein!
Do you pay attention to your protein intake? How do you make sure you get enough protein?