High Protein Foods List

100 High Protein Foods – Ultimate List of the Best Protein Sources

Anytime I sit down to write an article, I try to think of things that I have searched for in the past in an effort to produce content that is actually useful to lifters. I thought a massive list of high protein foods covering a number of different categories would be useful to almost anybody that lifts weights. So, here it is! A giant list of 100 protein sources (along with a few other helpful nuggets about protein).

Protein FAQs

1. What is a complete protein?

A protein source that contains all 9 of the essential amino acids is known as a complete protein. Animal sources and dairy are usually complete protein sources.

All proteins are made of varying amounts of amino acids, which are used for a number of functions within your body. 9 of these amino acids are known as “essential amino acids”, which means your body cannot synthesize them by itself so you must acquire them from your diet. 

Many plant sources are incomplete since they may only contain a few of the essential amino acids. Therefore, plant sources must be combined to ensure you are eating all of the amino acids your body needs.

2. How many calories are in protein?

Protein is known as a type of macronutrient and is one of the four sources of energy (calories) for your body. Protein contains 4 calories per gram.

The other sources of energy or “macronutrients” are carbohydrates and fat. Carbs contain 4 calories per gram and fat contains 9 calories per gram.

Alcohol is also technically a macronutrient and contains 7 calories per gram.

3. How much protein do you need?

This amount is going to vary slightly depending on some individual factors including body weight and activity level. However, most experts agree that your protein intake should be in the range of 1.2 – 1.8 grams per KG of body weight if you are lifting weights regularly.

For most people, somewhere around the middle of that range will be sufficient.

4. Is too much protein harmful?

Too much of anything is usually going to have adverse effects at some point. Unless you have a pre-existing condition, even the upper end of the above guidelines should not cause you any trouble.

5. What is the best source of protein?

This is a very difficult question to answer since there are many factors at play and “best” can be very subjective. One way in which protein quality can be judged is by ranking different sources based on their “biological value” (BV).

This rating method has its’ limitations but, essentially, compares proteins against each other depending how much of each source is absorbed and used inside the body.

In all honesty, if you are eating a variety of protein sources, you don’t need to worry much about the biological value but it is interesting information.

High protein foods like whey protein, eggs and soy beans all have very high BVs.

100 High Protein Foods List

Meat and Poultry

FoodServing SizeProtein Grams
1. Steak (top/bottom round)3oz.23
2. Ground/mince beef3oz.18
3. Pork chop3oz.26
4. Chicken breast3oz.24
5. Turkey breast3oz.24
6. Corned beef3oz.24
7. Sliced deli beef3oz.18
8. Canadian style bacon3oz.15
9. Bison steak4oz.23
10. Kangaroo steak1 steak22
11. Horse steak3oz.18
12. Ostrich steak4oz.29
13. Crocodile meat4oz.24
14. Chorizo3oz.21
15. Pepperoni3oz.18
16. Turkey breast deli slices3oz.18

Protein Tip!​​​​​​​​​​

If selecting protein for weight loss goals, select sources with lower fat content. These leaner sources can help cut down your total calorie intake.

Seafood

FoodServing SizeProtein Grams
17. Tuna3oz.25
18. Halibut3oz.23
19. Octopus3oz.25
20. Salmon3oz.23
21. Tilapia3oz.21
22. Anchovies3oz.24
23. Sardines3oz.21
24. Mackerel fillet1 cooked fillet21
25. Shrimp/prawns3oz.18
26. Cod3oz.15
27. Swordfish3oz.20

Protein Tip!​​​​​​​​​​

Protein requires other vitamins and minerals such as calcium so that it can be absorbed and utilized properly. Do not neglect these nutrients in your diet if you are consuming high protein foods.

Protein Bars and Snacks

FoodServing SizeProtein Grams
28. Beef jerky1oz.13
29. Peanut butter2 tbsp.8
30. Ready-made smoothies1 cup16
31. ​​​​Quest bars1 bar20
32. Lenny and Larry’s cookies1 cookie16
33. Bacon jerky1 oz.11
34. Clif builder’s bars1 bar20
35. Nature valley protein granola bar1 bar10
36. Ezekiel bread1 slice4
37. Sprouted wholegrain bread1 slice6

Eggs and dairy

FoodServing SizeProtein Grams
38. Greek yoghurt8oz.23
39. Cottage cheese½ cup14
40. Swiss cheese1oz.8
41. Eggs1 large6
42. Milk (2% fat)1 cup8
43. Whey protein powderPer average scoop20-30
44. Kefir6oz.6
45. Gruyere cheese3oz.24
46. Quark3oz.14
47. Edam cheese3oz.25
48. Feta cheese3oz.14

Vegetarian Protein Sources

Protein Tip!​​​​​​​​​​

Many plant-based protein sources are incomplete. Eating a variety of these sources and pairing complimenting sources together can help achieve a more complete amino acid profile.

Beans, legumes and lentils

FoodServing SizeProtein Grams
49. Navy beans1 cup15
50. Dried lentils¼ cup13
51. Edamame beans½ cup8
52. Tofu1 cup28
53. Tempeh1 cup50
54. Split peas1 cup16
55. Black beans1 cup15
56. Kidney beans1 cup15
57. Pinto beans1 cup15
58. Miso (paste)1 cup32

Nuts and Seeds

FoodServing SizeProtein Grams
59. Almonds1oz.6
60. Pumpkin seeds1oz.5
61. Peanuts1oz.7
62. Chia seeds1oz.5
63. Cashew nuts1oz.5
64. Pistachios1oz.6
65. Sunflower seeds1oz.5.5
66. Flax seeds1 tbsp.1.5
67. Walnuts1oz.4
68. Pine nuts1oz.4
69. Coconut1oz.2

Protein Tip!​​​​​​​​​​

There is research to suggest that distributing protein throughout the day is beneficial for muscle gain (study). Around 40g per meal seems to be most effective.

High protein fruits and vegetables

FoodServing SizeProtein Grams
70. Green peas1 cup7
71. Broccoli1 cup3
72. Brussels Sprouts½ cup2
73. Spinach1 cup5
74. Sun-dried tomatoes1 cup6
75. Guava1 cup4
76. Artichokes1 medium4
77. Kale1 cup1
78. Mushrooms1 cup sliced4
79. Mange tout1 cup6
80. Sweet corn1 cup5
81. Asparagus½ cup chopped2
82. Cauliflower1 cup2
83. Pak-choi1 cup3
84. Mulberries1 cup2
85. Blackberries1 cup2
86. Passion fruit1 cup5
87. Pomegranate1 fruit5
88. Avocado1 avocado4

Protein Tip!​​​​​​​​​​

If selecting high protein foods for weight loss goals, select sources with lower fat content. These leaner sources can help cut down your total calorie intake.

High protein grains

FoodServing SizeProtein Grams
89. Oat bran1 cup7
90. Wheat germ1 gram6
91. Buckwheat1 cup23
92. Quinoa1 cup8
93. Oats½ cup13
94. Teff¼ cup7
95. Triticale¼ cup6
96. Soba noodles1 cup6
97. Wild rice1 cup6.5
98. Millet½ cup11
99. Rye1 cup17
100. Spelt1 cup25

I hope this post has helped give you some extra ideas and information on protein intake. If you found it useful, please do hit one of the share buttons!

For anybody that wants to get all sciencey about protein for lifters and athletes, take a look at this crazy-detailed protein article by Jorn Trommelen.

Laine Norton
 

I am a strength training enthusiast that loves discovering new ways to get stronger. As a certified trainer and powerlifting competitor, I'm always looking for different training methods and advice. I hope to pass some of what I learn on to my fellow lifters.

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