Top 10 “Must Have” Protein Foods (Complete 2024 Guide)

If you’re looking for higher protein foods to add to your diet, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 of the best high in protein foods you can find:

1. Eggs:

Eggs are a great source of high quality protein, as well as many other essential nutrients. One egg contains around 6 grams of protein.

2. Chicken:

Chicken is another great lean meat. It’s also low in fat and calories, making it a healthy choice for those looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

A 3-ounce serving of chicken breast contains around 24 grams of protein.

3. Fish:

Tuna fish and other fish are high-quality protein sources and are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining heart health and preventing chronic diseases.

A 3-ounce serving of fish contains around 20 grams of protein.

4. Beef:

Red meat like lean beef is a high-quality protein source that is also high in iron and zinc. A 3-ounce serving of beef contains around 24 grams of protein.

5. Pork:

Pork is a high-quality protein source that is also high in thiamin, niacin, and selenium.

A 3-ounce serving of pork contains around 24 grams of protein.

6. Tofu:

Tofu is a high-protein plant-based food that is also low in fat and calories.

One cup of tofu contains around 20 grams of protein.

7. Quinoa:

Quinoa is a high-protein grain that is also high in fiber and antioxidants.

A 1-cup serving of quinoa contains around 8 grams of protein.

8. Beans:

Plant proteins beans are a high-protein, high-fiber food that are also low in calories. One cup of cooked beans contains around 15 grams of protein.

9. Yogurt:

Yogurt is a high-protein, high-calcium food that can help promote bone health. A 6-ounce container of yogurt contains around 10 grams of protein.

10. Nuts and seeds:

Nuts are a high-protein, high-fat food that should be eaten in moderation due to their high calorie content to avoid weight gain. Even though they are healthy fats, you still have to consider the calories.

However, they are high in protein and high in omega-3 fatty acids, so including them in your diet is worth the extra calories. A quarter cup of nuts contains around 4 grams of protein.

There are so many types of high protein nuts, it could almost be a list by itself! Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds just to name a few, are great sources of protein.

And don’t forget the peanut butter! any nut butter like peanut butter or almond butter is a convent way to add some extra protein to a smoothie.

Try one with full-fat greek yogurt and your favorite nut butter to up your protein intake in a delicious way.

These are higher protein foods that can be added to a person’s diet for added nutrition content and health benefits. They can help promote weight loss when eaten as sources of high-quality proteins instead of other high-fat meats like beef or pork.

One study showed that consumption of eggs for breakfast (an excellent source of high-quality protein) for a period of 8 weeks resulted in significantly more weight loss and belly fat loss than a breakfast of bagels.

Foods and beverages to avoid:

When including high protein foods in the diet, it’s important to be sure to also include plenty of fruits, whole grains, and vegetables to ensure a healthy, balanced diet.

Try to avoid high-calorie, high-fat foods like processed meats and cheeses in favor of healthier options like grilled chicken or fish, tofu, quinoa, and beans. Doing so can help promote weight loss and improve overall health.

High protein diets have been shown to be helpful for weight loss. When compared to a low-protein diet, a high-protein diet has been shown to burn more calories and lead to more weight loss. A high protein diet may also help keep blood sugar and blood pressure levels under control.

Protein and exercise

If you are going to see the full effects of exercise, you have to eat protein.  

Protein is essential when it comes to high intensity or high endurance training, mainly because this kind of training uses the body’s stored energy reserves which are made up of carbohydrates and fat.   

Many protein sources are also high-calorie foods which makes them perfect for building lean muscle mass in conjunction with exercise, but they can also be filling so you don’t have to eat as much carbohydrate-rich food.  

Some high-protein foods are even packed with other ingredients that promote weight loss in addition to being high in protein.

This means you can bulk up on these high-protein foods without worrying about adding too many calories into your diet plan.

The importance of protein-rich foods

In addition to the high protein foods that promote weight loss, it’s good to remember that high protein diets have a host of benefits.

Protein is easy for the body to break down and use as energy so you can stay fuller for longer.  It also helps repair your muscles after a tough workout, according to The UK’s National Health Service website.   

If eating high calorie food is going to help you build lean muscle mass quickly, then why aren’t all high calorie foods high in protein?

Well, high-fat foods are high calorie but they’re not very filling because fat doesn’t have much nutritional value beyond being a source of energy.  

You need carbohydrates because they provide glucose which gives your body fuel- both during high-intensity exercise and throughout the day.  

However high protein foods are also high in fat, high protein diets can still promote weight loss because protein is high-quality energy that’s digested quickly and won’t be stored as body fat.   

The next time you’re looking for a high-calorie food to help you bulk up without adding too many extra pounds, opt for one of these high protein choices:

  • Canned tuna
  • Lean meat
  • Chicken breast
  • cottage cheese
  • soy milk
  • greek yogurt plain
  • pumpkin seeds
  • protein powder

Why is high protein good for weight loss?

Losing weight can be difficult.  If high protein foods promote weight loss, then it’s no wonder that high protein diets are popular among people who are trying to lose weight.   

When high protein foods are high in fat- like beef or pork for example- this high calorie food often leads to more body fat gain than other high calorie food because this type of meat is high in saturated fats which can lead to heart disease and obesity .   

High protein rich foods like eggs, fish, lean meats like chicken or turkey, dairy products (cottage cheese, Greek yogurt), legumes (beans), nuts (pumpkin seeds) and soy milk are all high in protein but low in saturated fats.

This makes them beneficial for promoting weight loss and improving overall health. So, if you are looking to lose weight, make sure to include protein sources in your diet.

Too little protein (protein deficiency)

Protein deficiency can lead to weight loss in adults in women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or on restrictive diets because protein is the building block of lean body mass.  

If you don’t have enough protein your muscles won’t grow and repair themselves well; not to mention that high protein foods also provide other vitamins and nutrients like calcium, B vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin), iron, zinc and vitamin D.

Therefore these foods promote weight loss by keeping you full for longer periods of time while also preventing muscle wasting due to nutrient deficiency.

You can find meal ideas in this list of protein-rich foods that promote weight loss. Always consult a doctor before starting any high-protein diet if you take medications or have any health concerns.

How much protein should you eat daily?

The amount of protein the human body requires daily varies depending on age, activity level, and overall health status.   

For example, a 40-year-old active male that weighs about 180 pounds should eat about 56 grams of high protein foods a day.  The same male should aim to get closer to 63 grams if he’s over 40 years old.   

On the other hand, a high protein diet for women might be as low as 46 grams a day if she is less physically active or around 50 grams if she is pregnant. To find out how much protein you need per day, ask your doctor.  

This type of diet is ideal for women.  It is especially beneficial when trying to lose weight because it promotes increased muscle mass and prevents muscle wasting (which can be caused by caloric restriction).  

However, if you want to lose body fat and build lean mass you’ll need to keep your carb intake high while keeping protein below 20 percent of your total calories.

Also, on the flip side, if you’re trying to build muscle, then you’ll want to consume 1-1.5 gram of protein for every pound of lean body weight.

High protein Vegetarian diet

If you’re a vegetarian or on a vegan diet, you know how hard it can be to increase muscle mass. Finding all plant-based protein isn’t the easiest thing in the world. To get more protein, look for supplements such as soy protein powder and high protein bars that can be great to get the amount of high quality proteins and essential nutrients that promote weight loss while satisfying your appetite. High-protein vegetarian diets can also provide plenty of healthy high-fiber plant foods like beans, legumes, and vegetables which make it easier for you to lose weight and feel full throughout the day.

When should you use protein supplements?

Some high protein foods are high in fat, carbs or sugar.

While you need foods from all the food groups, you need to moderate and strategically plan your calories. This is where you can benefit from using supplements to get more protein on a daily basis.

When choosing a supplement, look for one that is high in protein and that works with a low-carb diet.

If you’re eating a high protein weight loss diet it’s essential to stick within your daily calorie goals.  Therefore supplementing with whey protein supplements can be useful for people who need to increase their protein intake but don’t want to go overboard with fat intake or calories from high-calorie food sources.   

These supplements come in a variety of flavors and forms so if you don’t like cooking with high-protein ingredients or find them difficult to incorporate into your daily meals, consider adding a high-protein supplement instead.

Protein powders, bars, and shakes are all easy to fix using water or milk and then you get the added benefit of consuming more high-quality proteins that promote weight loss while satisfying your appetite.

Supplements can also be a great way to get in your essential amino acids. These are the nine amino acids that the human body cannot create on its own and must come from food.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are important for muscle growth, tissue repair, and overall health.

There are two types of essential amino acids: those that the body can make from other nutrients (non-essential) and those that must come from food (essential amino acids).

Most high-quality plant proteins, like beans, legumes, grains, and nuts, are low in one or more of the essential amino acids. This is why it’s important to combine different plant proteins at each meal to make sure you’re getting all of the essential amino acids you need.

When looking for a high-quality plant-based protein supplement, choose one that is high in all nine essential amino acids.

This will ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to improving your health and promoting weight loss.

One of our favorite recommended supplements is Dbal Max which includes many of what we’re referring to here all in one supplement (See these results).

In addition, men in there mid 30-40’s and older that are looking to lose weight will often have a harder time unless they boost their testosterone.

What does LDL cholesterol have to do with protein?

LDL cholesterol is the bad kind of cholesterol and high levels of LDL increase your risk for heart disease.

Protein, especially animal-based protein, has been linked with high levels of LDL cholesterol.

This doesn’t mean that you need to avoid high-protein foods or supplements altogether, it just means that you need to be mindful of how much protein you’re consuming and make sure you’re also eating plenty of healthy fats and fiber to offset any potential negative impacts on your health.

When choosing a high-protein supplement, look for one that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. This will help to keep your LDL levels in check and reduce your risk for heart disease.

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