How to Incorporate Best High Protein Foods into Your Diet

Choose lean meats, fish, low-fat or nonfat dairy, eggs, nuts and seeds. You can also try guava, which contains more protein than other fruits and has less sugar.

How to Incorporate Best High Protein Foods into Your Diet

Protein is an important part of a healthy diet. A high-protein diet may help you feel full and boost your energy.

You can add protein to your meals and snacks in many ways. Choose lean meats, fish, low-fat or nonfat dairy, eggs, nuts and seeds. You can also try guava, which contains more protein than other fruits and has less sugar.

1. Chicken

Chicken is one of the most affordable Best High Protein Foods sources of protein and can be incorporated into almost any cuisine. Opt for skinless cuts to lower your calorie intake and maximize protein intake.

Beef is another protein-rich food and it can be prepared in a variety of ways, including ground beef and steak. Try to avoid fatty meats as they contribute excess calories and saturated fats to your diet.

Plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh and seitan are calorie-efficient sources of protein that also provide iron, some essential fatty acids, soluble and insoluble fiber and micronutrients. They can be incorporated into meals and snacks to add flavor and bulk. A high-protein diet can help reduce hunger, improve satiety and boost metabolism by preserving muscle mass. Ideally, adults should consume 10%-35% of their calories from protein daily.

2. Eggs

At just 78 calories each, eggs are a high-protein breakfast or lunch option. They are also an excellent source of iron, choline and vitamins A and D. Try a skillet egg omelet or eggs over easy to start your day with protein-packed energy.

While a high-protein diet is beneficial, it's important to moderate the amount of fat and carbohydrates you consume. Choose a healthy balance of unsaturated fats from olives, oily fish and avocado and limit refined carbs like pasta and bread. You can use a variety of whole grains to boost your protein intake, such as quinoa and amaranth, or try a gluten-free flour, such as spelt or teff, to help you hit your protein goal. Protein powders are also an excellent way to get more protein into your diet.

3. Lean Beef

Red meat is often considered off-limits for those trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Choosing lean cuts can be a delicious and flavorful way to add more protein into your meals.

Beef is a “complete” protein, meaning that it provides all of the essential amino acids needed by your body. The amino acid leucine in particular is known for acting like a switch to turn on muscle protein synthesis after a workout.

Pork is another protein-rich choice, but be sure to read nutrition labels since some cuts are higher in saturated fat than others. Opt for pork tenderloin, loin chops, or sirloin roasts if you’re looking for lean options. Avoid processed choices like bacon and spare ribs which are more likely to be high in saturated fat.

4. Lentils

Lentils provide a meatless protein powerhouse, providing 18 grams per cooked cup. The inexpensive legumes can be used in a variety of dishes like soup, stew, dals, stuffed sweet potatoes and salads. They're a great source of folate (B-vitamin), iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc.

They're a sustainable choice for your health and the environment. They grow quickly and don't require fertilizers, so they can help replenish nitrogen-depleted soil, reducing greenhouse gases.

Cooked lentils hold their shape better than beans and other pulses, making them ideal for a salad or veggie burger. They're also a heart-healthy addition to your diet, helping to control blood sugar levels and support normal blood pressure. Add them to salads, dals and grain bowls, or stir them into sauteed greens for a simple lunch.

5. Fish

Chicken and beef may be queens of weeknight dinners, but seafood deserves a regular spot at the table. Fish and shellfish are a lean protein that’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, minerals like iron and iodine, and vitamins B2 and D.

Add grilled salmon, shrimp or tinned tuna to salads or use as sandwich fillings. Look for canned fish that’s low in mercury and sustainably caught.

Edamame (soybeans still in their pods) offers a quick, simple snack that’s packed with protein (18 grams per cup). Or steam whole soybeans and sprinkle with sea salt for a side dish that’s high in fiber and the plant chemical kaempferol, which is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. A cup of ripe cherries packs 2.5 grams of protein and a punch of sweetness to smoothies, desserts or salads.

6. Nuts

Nuts are packed with heart-healthy fats, protein and fiber. Choose raw or dry-roasted nuts, and avoid those soaked in vegetable oils. Finely chop a handful of almonds, peanuts or walnuts to snack on or add to a salad. Mix a tablespoon of nut butters or chia seeds into a smoothie to add protein and a crunchy texture.

A well-rounded high-protein diet includes meat, fish and eggs at most meals, paired with vegetables and whole grains. Aim for smaller servings of beans and legumes (such as garbanzo, pinto, kidney or black-eyed peas), nuts and low-fat string cheese to help fill you up between mealtimes. A registered dietitian can provide more information on a healthy high-protein diet. —Jacquelyn Kirkpatrick, RD, LD, CNSC, AADP, CRNutrition, Inc., Atlanta, Ga.

7. Beans

Beans, peas and lentils, also known as pulses, are inexpensive and easy to cook with. They are filling and low in fat. A half cup of cooked beans and legumes provides 11.9 g of protein. They are complete proteins, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need to function and stay healthy.

These foods are rich in soluble fiber, which helps keep us feeling full and satisfied and aids in maintaining a healthy weight. They are also a good source of potassium and folate.


Incorporate these high-protein foods into your diet in addition to nutrient-packed vegetables and fruits, berries, whole grains and lean meats. A well-rounded high protein diet will help you manage your weight, lower blood cholesterol levels and even fend off certain types of cancer.