Getting an adequate amount of protein each day is essential to your overall health.
What we think of as “proteins” is actually a large class of molecules. They provide structure and support for your cells and are essential for immune function, movement, chemical reactions, hormone synthesis, and more (
They are all made up of little building blocks called amino acids. Nine of these are essential, which means your body needs them but can’t make them on its own, so you need to get them in your diet (
How much protein you need to eat per day depends on factors such as:
- body size
- activity levels
- pregnancy status
Some people need more protein than others. However, it is important that everyone gets the optimal amounts of protein for them by eating protein-rich foods regularly.
Not only is protein essential to your health, it’s also the most satiating macronutrient. Consuming it can leave you feeling full and satisfied, which supports a healthy body weight (
The current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein has been set at 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.8 grams per kilogram). Keep in mind that this reflects minimum The amount of protein required to meet your body’s needs (
However, more active people, the elderly, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding need much more.
For example, experts suggest that physically active people need 0.54-0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight (1.2-2 grams per kilogram) per day (
Fortunately, meeting your protein requirements can be easy if you include plenty of protein-rich foods in your diet.
Here are 16 delicious foods that are high in protein.
Whole eggs are among the most nutritious foods available.
They’re a good source of easily absorbed protein, and they’re also an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants.
For example, whole eggs are full of selenium and vitamins B12 and A. They are also rich in choline, which is a particularly important nutrient during pregnancy and breastfeeding because it plays important roles in growth and development (
Keep in mind that egg whites are almost pure protein, but whole eggs that contain the yolk provide many nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.
If you’re concerned about the cholesterol in egg yolks, it’s important to note that a lot of research has disproved the idea that it’s bad for health.
Conversely, several studies have shown that whole eggs are healthy for most people and may actually help prevent chronic disease (6).
Almonds are a nutritious tree nut rich in essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamin E, manganese and magnesium (
It is also rich in vegetable protein.
Eating almonds may benefit your health in many ways, including by lowering heart disease risk factors such as high LDL (bad) cholesterol and high blood pressure (
Try adding some almonds to plant-based meals, such as cereal bowls and salads, for a boost of protein and fibre.
If you are looking to add more nuts to your diet, also consider pistachios and cashews. Each of these healthy nuts are full of protein.
Chicken breast is an excellent choice if you are trying to increase your protein intake. In addition to protein, chicken provides a variety of B vitamins, as well as minerals such as zinc and selenium (
Chicken breasts are also very versatile and easy to cook. It can taste delicious in a wide variety of dishes.
Try adding chicken breast strips to salads, stir-fries, and soups to make these dishes more filling.
Cottage cheese is a type of cheese that is low in fat and calories but rich in protein.
It is rich in calcium, phosphorous, selenium, vitamin B12, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and various other nutrients (
Plus, research shows that cottage cheese is just as filling as eggs, making it an excellent choice for a satisfying meal or snack (
For example, you can pair it with sliced fruit for a protein-rich breakfast on the go.
Greek yogurt, also known as filtered yogurt, is a very thick type of yogurt that is high in protein.
It has a creamy texture and is a good source of many nutrients such as calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin A, selenium and zinc (
Its slightly pungent flavor blends with sweet and savory dishes, making it a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. Try adding Greek yogurt to smoothies, soups, salad dressings, and baked goods, or enjoy it with a little fruit and a sprinkle of ground nuts for a crunch.
When buying Greek yogurt, choose products that do not contain added sugar.
Dairy milk contains just a few of the nutrients your body needs.
It is a good source of high-quality protein, and is rich in vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorous and riboflavin (vitamin B2) (
Many people who are lactose intolerant cannot tolerate milk and other dairy products, and they avoid many foods that contain dairy products (
Fortunately, there are now a variety of lactose-free products on the market, including lactose-free milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Dairy-free milk alternatives, such as cashew milk and coconut milk, can be a good alternative to milk in many cases, but they usually have much less protein and don’t contain the same nutrients.
If you drink dairy milk, including lactose-free milk, it may be a good choice to increase your protein intake.
Lentils are among the richest sources of plant-based protein you can eat, making them an excellent choice if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Plus, they’re loaded with other nutrients as well, including fiber, folate, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese (
Studies show that people who regularly consume lentils and other legumes have a lower risk of developing health conditions such as heart disease and fatty liver disease (
Beef is a rich source of protein. It is also high in bioavailable iron, zinc, selenium and vitamins B12 and B6 (
Red meat can be part of a healthy diet, but it is best to reduce your intake. Consuming large amounts of red meat has been linked to an increased risk of certain health conditions, including colorectal cancer (
Try to cut back on red meat and eat vegetable protein, fish and poultry more frequently.
Fish is an excellent source of protein and provides a number of important vitamins and minerals, such as iodine, selenium, and vitamin B12 (
People who include a lot of fish in their diet tend to have a lower risk of health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes (
Additionally, fatty fish like salmon and herring are high in omega-3 fats, which have powerful benefits for your overall health, including supporting heart health (
We think of quinoa as a grain, but it’s actually a seed, which is why it has been classified as a pseudocereal. Quinoa is very popular in the wellness world.
It’s rich in fiber, folate, copper, iron, and zinc, and it’s higher in protein than many grains (
Quinoa is often referred to as a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot make on its own. However, it actually contains insufficient amounts of some amino acids, such as lysine (
For this reason, experts argue that quinoa should be considered an “almost complete” protein (
This may be important to you if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and are looking to make sure you are getting all nine essential amino acids.
Regardless, quinoa is a good source of protein and is delicious in dishes like cereal bowls, soups, and porridges.
When time is pressed and unable to prepare a meal, protein powder can come in handy.
You can easily add protein powders like whey and pea protein to shakes, smoothies, energy balls, yogurt, and more to increase the protein factor and fullness.
There is a protein powder for nearly every taste preference and dietary restriction.
Pea protein and whey protein are excellent options for those looking for a convenient way to increase their protein intake.
Ezekiel bread is different from most other types of bread.
It’s made with whole grains, organic and sprouted legumes, including millet, barley, spelled, wheat, soybeans, and lentils.
Compared to other types of bread, such as white bread, Ezekiel bread is rich in protein, fiber, and various important nutrients.
Try making a high-protein sandwich by covering Ezekiel bread with turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, and a little hummus.
Pumpkin seeds are very tasty and very nutritious.
For example, they are a great source of minerals such as iron, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc. Plus, it’s loaded with protein and plant-based fiber (
Try adding pumpkin seeds to salads, baked goods, oatmeal, or yogurt, or mix them with unsweetened dried fruits and almonds for a comforting snack.
Turkey breast is similar to chicken breast in many ways.
It consists mostly of protein, with very little fat and very few calories. It is also high in vitamins and minerals, including selenium, zinc, and vitamins B12 and B6 (
Turkey breast is delicious on salads and sandwiches, and you can also add it to soups and cereal dishes to boost the protein content of your meals.
Oysters, including shrimp, oysters, oysters, and scallops, are excellent sources of protein.
Additionally, oysters contain healthy fats and a number of vitamins and minerals, including selenium, zinc, vitamin B12, and iron (
All types of oysters are rich in protein. You can enjoy it in recipes like salads, pastas, and stir-fries.
Although people generally think of peanuts as nuts, they are actually legumes.
Peanuts and peanut butter are packed with nutrients, such as protein, folic acid, magnesium, and vitamin E (
Eating peanuts and peanut butter may help you feel full due to their high protein content. In fact, studies show that adding peanut butter to a carbohydrate-rich meal may help reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes (
For example, putting peanut butter on a piece of bread can help you feel more satisfied and may help keep your blood sugar stable after eating.
Getting an adequate amount of protein daily is essential to health.
People’s protein needs vary. However, experts recommend that the most active people consume 0.54-0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight (1.2-2 grams per kilogram) per day (
Fortunately, there are many protein-rich foods to choose from, including animal and plant sources.
Try adding some of the protein-rich foods on this list to your diet to help meet your daily needs.