Eating foods high in protein has many benefits, including muscle building and feeling fuller after eating. Though eating lots of protein may be beneficial, eating a balanced diet is an essential part of staying healthy.

Protein is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in many of the body’s functions. It provides the building blocks for cells and helps to maintain muscle mass.

Most healthy adults need to consume at least 0.8 grams (g) of protein per kilogram of body weight (or 0.36 g per pound of body weight). However, an individual’s protein goals may vary depending on physical activity level and medical history.

Because protein promotes a sense of fullness, some people adopt a high protein diet when seeking to lose weight.

The following are some of the best high protein foods that a person can consume.

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Black beans are an affordable source of plant protein.
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Foods that provide protein include:

1. Black beans

Black beans are often an inexpensive source of protein. Black beans can be prepared in a variety of ways, making them a very versatile ingredient when preparing meals.

2. Lima beans

Lima beans can add variety to salads, stir frys, and rice bowls. A 1-cup serving of canned lima beans provides about 12 g of protein.

3. Salmon

Salmon is considered a fatty fish, meaning it is full of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is also an excellent source of protein and can help a person feel more satisfied at meals. Salmon may not be as budget-friendly as some other protein options.

4. Broccoli

Broccoli is higher in protein than many other vegetables. It is not considered a high protein food on its own, but a person might choose it over other vegetables if they are prioritizing protein intake.

One cup of chopped raw broccoli has almost 2.6 g of protein and contains a variety of nutrients such as folate and potassium. This powerhouse veggie only has 31 calories per cup.

5. Cauliflower

Like broccoli, cauliflower offers a lot of protein compared to its low calorie count. One cup of chopped cauliflower has 27 calories and 2 g of protein.

6. Chinese cabbage

Also known as napa cabbage, this vegetable is full of antioxidants.

While it’s not as high in protein as some other sources, 1 cup of cooked napa cabbage adds 1.2 g of protein to your daily intake.

7. Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, nutrients, and healthful fats, with 1 large egg containing about 6 g of protein.

They are also incredibly versatile. Eggs can be prepared in multiple ways such as boiled, scrambled, or poached. They can be incorporated into various dishes such as stir fries, soups, and sandwiches for a boost of protein.

A hard boiled egg makes a convenient high protein snack.

8. Beef

Beef offers high amounts of protein per serving. A 3-ounce serving (85 grams) of ground beef contains about 21 g of protein.

There is a range of different types of beef to choose from. A person should choose lean beef as much as possible to help limit intake of saturated fats to no more than 5%-6% of daily calories for optimal heart health.

9. Chicken breast

Chicken breast is a lean source of protein. The majority of its calories come directly from protein when served without skin. A 100 g skinless chicken breast provides around 22 g of protein.

10. Oats

Oats offer about 13 g of protein per 100g. They are also a source of complex carbohydrates. Raw oats are easy to prepare as oatmeal and people can flavor them with a variety of healthful foods, such as fruits and nuts.

People should read the label carefully for instant and prepared oatmeals, as they often contain high amounts of added sugars or sweeteners.

11. Tuna

Tuna is an excellent and widely available source of protein. It is also a great source of heart healthy unsaturated fatty acids.

Canned tuna is a helpful pantry staple to keep on hand. It is shelf stable and relatively affordable compared to many other animal protein sources.

Add tuna to salads, sandwiches, and snacks.

12. Tempeh

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Tempeh is a popular source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
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Tempeh comes from soybeans, like tofu. However, it has a higher protein count than tofu, offering about 20 g per 100 g. Tempeh can typically be found in the refrigerated produce section at the grocery store, often right next to the tofu.

13. Spirulina

Spirulina is a bacteria that grows in both fresh and salt waters. It offers a variety of nutrients and protein from a small amount of its powdered form.

Powdered spirulina can be added to smoothies, salads, soups and baked goods. Spirulina is also available in tablet form as a dietary supplement.

14. Hemp seeds

People can use hemp seeds in salads as a substitute for croutons. Hemp seeds offer about 9.5 g of protein per 3 tablespoons (30 g). They are fairly easy to find in most grocery stores but can be expensive.

15. Sun-dried tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes are an excellent addition to many dishes and are widely available. They offer protein, as well as additional nutrients and fiber.

One cup of sun-dried tomatoes contains about 7.6 g of protein, though a person is unlikely to eat this many sun-dried tomatoes at a single meal or snack.

16. Guava

Guava is a small tropical fruit with a sweet flavor. Guava is one of the most protein-rich fruits available, with about 4 g of protein per 1 cup (approximately 3 fruits). It also offers additional nutrients, such as vitamin C.

17. Artichokes

Artichokes are high in fiber and offer a good amount of protein. A 1/2-cup of cooked artichoke hearts (84 g) provides about 2.4 g of protein.

This vegetable is very versatile and are suitable for use in a variety of recipes. Fresh artichokes and canned artichoke hearts are typically easy to find in most grocery stores.

18. Peas

Peas are high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Frozen peas are inexpensive, easy to find, and can be used in lots of recipes.

Cooked green peas offer about 4 g of protein per 1/2 cup (80 g).

19. Bison

Bison meat is another excellent source of protein. Bison is lean meat, offering less fat per serving than beef. Bison is becoming more available, and some people use it as a substitute for beef.

20. Pork

Lean pork is a good source of protein. Pork roasts and tenderloin are good choices for meals.

People should avoid processed pork products such as bacon because these are higher in saturated fat and sodium.

21. Turkey

Turkey packs a powerful punch of protein. Cooked turkey breast can provide about 25 g of protein per 3 oz (85 g) serving.

22. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a healthful vegetarian protein that is high in fiber, and full of nutrients that support heart and bone health.

Some studies have suggested that chickpeas may have a protective effect against certain cancers, such as breast cancer and colon cancer.

23. Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the only complete sources of vegetarian protein.

It contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it an excellent choice for vegetarians, vegans, and those who do not eat a lot of protein from animal sources.

24. Greek yogurt

Plain, low-fat Greek yogurt packs as much as 19 g of protein in a 7 oz (200 g) serving.

Flavored Greek yogurts often contain a lot of added sugar, so be sure to read the nutrition label.

For a delicious greek yogurt breakfast or snack with no added sugars, opt for plain greek yogurt and top with your favorite fruits, nuts and seeds.

25. Cottage cheese

This dairy product has an abundance of protein. It also offers a healthful serving of calcium and other nutrients.

26. Almonds

Nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats. They make a calorie-dense, protein-rich snack that can help you stay full for longer.

A handful of almonds (1 oz, or 28 g) contains about 6 g of protein.

To cut back on sodium intake, a person can choose unsalted or lightly salted almonds.

27. Milk

Cow’s milk is an excellent source of protein for people that can tolerate drinking milk. A 1 cup (244 g) serving of milk contains 8 g of protein.

28. Lentils

Lentils pack a hefty dose of plant protein and fiber. They are very affordable and may promote heart health.

29. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are full of protein and minerals, such as magnesium and selenium.

In addition to just snacking on pumpkin seeds, this versatile ingredient makes an excellent topping for yogurt and oatmeal. Pumpkin seeds can also be added to granola, smoothies, and soups.

30. Avocado

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Avocados contain healthy fats, as well as protein.
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Avocados not only contain protein and unsaturated fat, but they also contain good levels of fiber and nutrients, such as potassium.

One cup (230 g) of avocado offers 4.5 g of protein.

31. Pistachios

Pistachios contain a big serving of protein while also being lower in calories compared to many other nuts.

One ounce of pistachios contains about 6 g of protein and a wealth of other nutrients including a high dose of B-6.

32. Chia seeds

This tiny seed packs more than 5 g of protein per ounce, along with omega-3s, fiber, and calcium. Vegans often use chia seeds as an egg substitute, and many people enjoy adding them to smoothies or salads for extra health benefits.

33. Nut butters

Nut butters, including peanut butter and almond butter, are another quick and easy way to add protein into the diet. Use 1-2 tablespoons of nut butter on whole grain toast, in a smoothie, or as a dip for apple slices and fresh veggie sticks for a protein boost.

34. Halibut

This white fish is an excellent source of lean protein with nearly 30 g of protein in half a fillet.

35. Asparagus

Asparagus gets over one quarter of its calories from protein. It is also full of nutrients, including B vitamins and is low in carbohydrates.

This vegetable provides about 2 g of protein per 100 g, which is approximately 6 boiled asparagus spears.

36. Brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts are full of protein, fiber, and vitamins. A one cup serving contains almost 3 g of protein.

37. Spelt

Spelt is a type of hulled wheat that has a very high protein content. It has risen in popularity and is often available with the specialty flours.

Spelt flour contains 14.5 g of protein per 100 g amount.

38. Teff

Teff is a grass that is often ground down to make flour. This gluten-free food has a fairly high protein content with about 13 g of protein per 100 g serving.

39. Whey protein powder

Whey protein powder is a supplement that is popular among bodybuilders and athletes aiming to increase muscle mass and strength. This powder is made from proteins found in the liquid part of milk, which are left over during cheese production. It can add a substantial amount of protein to a person’s diet.

It is essential for people to read the nutrition labels because whey proteins are often full of added sugar and sweeteners.

There are many potential sources of protein people can choose from. Many protein sources offer additional nutrients that benefit overall health as well.

Aiming for a balanced diet with a variety of protein sources can help a person maximize healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

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