It’s not uncommon to see people slamming down protein drinks and supplements after an intense workout of pumping iron at the gym. While protein products can help boost muscle mass, there are a lot of high-protein foods that can provide similar results. Check out 15 of the best high protein foods.


The 15 Best High Protein Foods To Ramp Up Your Results

Gaining and retaining muscle is essential for people of all ages, and even more so for individuals who body build. While there are dozens of protein supplements and shakes on the market to conveniently give you a protein boost and get faster results, there are plenty of delicious natural and healthy foods that offer the same.

Even if you enjoy a protein shake after a workout, we will give you 15 of the best high protein foods to eat to help you gain muscle and see faster results when you work out.


How Much Protein Do You Need?

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Before we talk about foods that are loaded with protein, it’s a good idea to talk about how much protein you need.

If you’ve ever tried to figure out how much protein is really necessary, particularly if you lift weights, you’re not alone. When you try to find out how much protein you need, you’ll find that a lot depends on how much you weigh and other factors. Let’s check out what some health experts have to say.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, healthy individuals that want to increase their muscle mass when working out need to consume between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day; this breaks down to 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.

Considering this recommendation, an adult who weighs 150 pounds would want to eat between 75 and 120 grams of protein each day. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults, who participate in bodybuilding, should have a diet that consists of 25 to 30 percent of protein. If you consume 3,000 calories a day, then the protein goal should be about 188 to 255 grams.

According to the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), extremely active, healthy adults can eat up to three grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you want to know how much is truly the perfect amount for you, talk with a nutritionist or your doctor. It’s also important to be aware of the signs that you’re eating too much protein. Some signs include, but are not limited to:

  • Bad breath
  • Weight gain
  • Frequent dehydration
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    Digestive problems

Want To Get Better Results When Lifting? Eat These Foods

Now that we’ve covered how much protein you should consider consuming on a daily basis, let’s discuss the 15 best high protein foods that are worth adding to your diet to ramp up your results.

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Whether you eat them over-easy, poached, or hard-boiled, eggs are delicious as they are and versatile. One large egg contains six grams of protein. Eggs also contain the amino acid, leucine, which plays an integral role in building muscle.

Eat them plain or in an omelet with other protein-packed foods; you can’t go wrong with an egg.

Walnuts, Almonds, and Peanuts

Not only will a handful of mixed nuts give you a boost of energy and keep hunger pangs at bay, but they are an excellent example of some high-protein foods and will help to build muscle. Not only do nuts have lots of protein, but there’s also a perfect balance of fiber and healthy fats.

One-ounce of peanuts contains seven grams of protein, one-ounce of walnuts contains a little over four grams of protein, and one ounce of almonds contains six grams of protein. If you want to keep your nut blend healthy, go light on the salt or skip it all together.

Cottage Cheese

Lots of active people avoid cheese, but cottage cheese is loaded with protein. One cup of 1% fat small curd cottage cheese contains about 26 grams of protein. Not only will you stay full longer, but you’re also benefiting your gut-health with the live cultures.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is not only packed with protein, but it’s also versatile. Eat it plain, add it to a breakfast smoothie, or make a healthy dessert parfait with chia seeds and fruit, there are about 17 grams of protein in a 6-ounce container of plain Greek yogurt. While there are plenty of flavored yogurts available, be careful not to indulge too much due to the high sugar content.

Meat and Fish

When people think of high-protein foods, they often think of meat and fish. Depending on how you prepare your favorite meat will determine how healthy it is, but let’s take a look at some of the protein you can expect from three-ounces of your favorite meat or fish:

  • Bison: 18 grams
  • Skinless chicken: 27 grams
  • Turkey: 25 grams
  • Lean beef steak: 23 grams
  • Lean pork loin: 24 grams
  • Salmon: 17 grams
  • Scallops: 20 grams
  • Tuna: 25 grams


Beans are a popular protein choice for vegetarians or vegans, but you don’t need to abstain from meat to benefit from their high content of protein. Whether you prefer black, kidney, or navy beans, you expect around 21 to 25 grams of protein for 100 grams of beans.

Like other protein-packed foods, be careful of how you prepare your beans to get the most nutrients from them. Avoid salt, sugar, and other ingredients that aren’t particularly beneficial to your daily diet.


Another meat-substitute that’s loaded with protein is tofu. Not only does this unique soy product contain 10 grams of protein in each half-cup serving, but it’s also an excellent source of calcium.


If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’ve probably heard of another popular soy product called tempeh. Since it’s fermented, tempeh has excellent probiotic properties, and 100 grams contains nearly 20 grams of protein. Remember, meat eaters can still benefit from a healthy protein-packed vegetarian diet.

Peanut Butter

Who can say no to a childhood lunchtime favorite, peanut butter and jelly? While you’re probably thinking about skipping the jelly and looking for natural peanut butter with no added sugar, two tablespoons can provide about 8 grams of protein. Want an option with less fat? Try almond butter.

Green Peas

You’ve probably heard of protein powder, as it’s becoming a popular source of easy, “go-to” protein options. One cup of cooked green peas provides about 8 grams of protein and is loaded with Vitamin C.


Looking for a healthy carb? Lots of people turn to brown rice, and while there are about 5 grams of protein in a one cup serving, you can get nearly twice as much protein with quinoa. This “ancient grain” has a unique taste and is versatile in a variety of recipes.

Beef Jerky

If you’re on the go, beef jerky (or jerky made out of another kind of meat) can be a great source of protein, especially if you’re planning on working out. Before you grab any jerky stick from your local convenience store, you’re better off paying a little more and getting some all-natural jerky from your food co-op or health foods store.

Not only are you likely to find something a little healthier, but be prepared to find 10 grams of protein or higher.


Even though many people have mixed feelings about adults drinking milk (as many think that only children benefit from it), one cup of milk contains 8 grams of protein. Whether you enjoy a glass as is, add it to a smoothie, or pour it over a bowl of granola, it’s an easy way to get some extra protein and build your muscles.


Looking for something other than choice cuts of meat and delicious dairy? Edamame, which is an immature soybean, is an excellent source of protein. You can enjoy edamame shelled or unshelled, and one cup of frozen edamame is about 17 grams of protein.

Protein Powders

Since we’re on the topic of foods with a high level of protein, it’s important to mention protein powders. Whether you’re going through an intensive weight training program or you just lift a few times a week (in addition to other types of exercise), protein is important; sometimes the easiest way to get protein is by using protein powders.

Protein powders are best suited for days when you know you won’t get enough protein in your foods; powders should not be your primary source of protein.


Some Final Thoughts On High-Protein Foods

tasty high protein meal

If your goal is to build muscle and see fast results, eating a diet rich in protein can help you reach your goals. It’s important to keep in mind a “healthy” and a reasonable amount of protein when meal planning and don’t forget to maintain a good balance of other essential nutrients.

While we’ve given you a variety of options, it’s important also to keep variety in your daily meals since protein-packed foods provide a variety of minerals and vitamins. Afraid you might get bored? There are plenty of recipes online that combine many of your favorite proteins.