Foods High in Protein: Top 10 Healthy Choices

Foods high in protein should be a staple of everyone’s diet. Besides being absolutely essential in helping your body build big, bulging muscles, a new study proves that even Grandma needs protein to preserve her healthy (no matter how small) muscle mass.

So, the question becomes, “What are the healthiest, leanest, and tastiest protein sources?” Below is a list, in no particular order, of the 10 best foods high in protein. Vegetarian? We’ve got you covered too with a mix of non-meat products, so no excuses!

  1. Chicken Breast – 3.5 oz., 30 grams of protein (Go with the 99% fat-free boneless, skinless variety for the leanest choice.)
  2. Turkey – About 7 grams of protein per ounce
  3. Tuna – 6 oz. can, 40 grams of protein
  4. Salmon – 3.5 oz., 27 grams of protein
  5. Eggs – 1 large, 7 grams of protein
  6. Milk – 1 cup, 8 grams of protein (Go with 1% or skim)
  7. Cottage Cheese – 1/2 cup, 15 grams of protein
  8. Almonds, Peanuts, Cashews – 1/4 cup, 8grams, 9 grams, 5 grams of protein
  9. Peanut Butter – 2 Tablespoons, 8 grams of protein
  10. Yogurt – 8-12 grams of protein per cup
foods high in protein

Add at least a few of these to your grocery list this week, and give your body the tools it needs to grow (or maintain in Grandma’s case)!

While you should get the majority of your protein from whole foods, a protein supplement can provide a quick and convenient source as well. Have a protein shake between meals to keep your metabolism working.

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  • Hi—I would add to your list beans, eggs, rice, pasta, and fresh (organic is best) dark green veggies. Good list if you take away all the meat, meat sucks.

    Happy Monday,
    The Groovy Veg.

  • Great additions Missy, and thanks for the additional vegetarian options, but I still love my Grilled Chicken Breasts! 😉

  • very nice list there but to bad I’m vegan so only 2 on that list apply to me, hehe.

    I wanted to point out that hemp seeds are around 40% protein, spirulina is around 60% protein and spinich is about 50% protein so if your vegan like me, those are really good alternatives.

    Thanks for the daily tips fitbuff!

  • Great additions Alex. Just goes to show that you can get enough protein from your diet, no matter what dietary program you choose.

  • Hey,

    I agree with this list completely, and what’s great is that with protein-packed foods, they actually taste good! Well, except for cottage cheese..=)

    Seriously, though, thanks for this comprehensive list. Take care,


  • I agree Kyle, I’m not a fan of cottage cheese either!

  • I was searching for something just like this, thanks!

  • new here trying to change my eating habbit. can anyone help me get started.

  • @Miriam: No problem, glad you found what you were looking for.

    @Mary: A great place to start is right here on this page. Try out a few of these lean protein sources and combine them with some fruit and veggies.

  • AWESOME blog! This article is important about foods that are high in protein. But people also should know that milk and cottage cheese are high in casein protein which can halt muscle wasting and improve overall protein balance equaling greater gains in the gym!

  • We just got Mom {77} out of the hospital. The doctors want her to be eating foods high in whole cell protien for awhile. Do you have any that you can add to the list of 10?

  • Good almost-complete list of complete protein sources. 🙂

    Really, this list has something good for everyone. Also, oatmeal has good protein in addition to being an excellent source of complex carbohydrates. Delicious food-combining small meal – 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, 1 TBSP peanut butter, 1 TSP honey.

  • Thanks for promoting a healthy life style. I think it is so important. Keep up the informative articles. Adrian

  • i am grateful for this website because it is helping me wit my nutritional science exam

    • Great to hear Rachel, and good luck with the exam!

  • Thank you for the tips! ive lostr almose 45 pounds by eating the top 10 healthy proteins!!!
    id recomend this to anyone who would like to loss weight!
    thank you!~

    • Excellent progress Brooke, keep up the great work!

  • Im currently building muscle mass and cutting my body. This includes abs, forarms, pecks, legs, and biceps. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on a high protein diet i should go on in order to improve muscle gain and rapid growth. Thanks

  • I want to increase my proteein intake, but do not want to lose any weight, I’m 5’2″, 114 lbs. What can I add to balance the weight. Any suggestions for a shake including egg whites.

  • Great tips, I love eggs, cheese and yogurt. Chicken is a great too but not too often.

  • Come on, where’s all the steaks!!

    Haha, it’s funny, my girlfriend has never been able to lose weight effectively until I told her to eat protein. When she started adding protein she started losing weight like magic! Unfortunately she doesn’t like meat very much so that didn’t prove so effective in the long run anyway!


  • Great list of clean protein sources! When it comes to staying lean and building muscle mass, protein is a very important part of the puzzle. I wish more people would realize just how important it is to eat a lot of clean whole food protein sources throughout the day.

  • I have just recently had the Lap-Band surgery. I am told to eat a lot of protein. I am doing that and lost 22 pounds in 2 months. I am so thankful for sites like this. Gives me good idea on what to eat. I also like the comments said and get some good ideas from you all. Thanks and this time next year I should be the weight I want to be..

  • dear sir plz send List of High Protein Foods from Processed & Meat Products

  • Good simple list. So many people do realise how simple eating healthy can be…

  • i want to lose weight the healthy and fastest way,,,

  • This is really helpful. I just started my weight loss journey, I am 5’6″, 149.8 lbs. , and I have big love handles, my goal weight is 125, So I am looking for something like this, to get the perfect amount of protein in my diet.. Hope it will all work! 🙂 Thanks again!

  • Everyone forgot THE most important one :SOY. It is the ONLY plant based protein that is COMPLETE. Soy milk and any of the Solid soy products are great. I mix soy milk, water and at least 6 ice cubes in a BIG glass ( $1.00 store, big handle and “bumps” around the outside. It is OK with boiling water for hot drinks too, just don’t fill it on a hard surface. A wooden cutting board is safest). Soy milk is thick, so even watered down it tastes swell… adding a half spoonful of decafe powder is OK too. I even mix it with tomatoe juice for a between meal pick me up;NO cooking.

  • Thanks for the list I had no idea

  • Can, you tell me? How to combine low carbs with high protein for a balance diet?

  • Any ideas. I want to combine low carbs with high protein intake.

  • Thanks for the list. I eat tons of chicken, eggs and turkey myself.

  • hey i would add some more stuff to your list but,everything else is good
    Everyone should follow this list you will be a healthy person whoever made this list is a samrt person that cares about themselves!!!!!! 🙂

  • I only found this page when I went looking for something specific, I was watching Bear Grylls last night and it was talking about how beef i not as high in protein as larvae grubs and it got me to thinking, what is the food that is highest in protein that is not going to make you sick at the thought of it?

  • What about steak?

  • add beef and chicken liver…those are rich in protein,

  • Great article. As a personal trainer, I often recommend the paleo diet (caveman diet) that is high in protein, and am always looking for good protein sources to share with clients to keep the boredom out of their healthy eating plan. Thank you! For my related post on protein intake, you might find some useful things on my blog about nutrition:

  • steak is high in protin. but id rater chicken r beef, eat protin grow faster///

  • This site seems to recieve a good ammount of visitors. How do you get traffic to it? It offers a nice individual spin on things. I guess having something real or substantial to talk about is the most important thing.

  • Is a chef sald , good to have on a protein diet?

  • quinoa is the most complete protein source i have run across it has all the amino acids not one missing and is rich in vitamins and minerals.the incas called it the mother is versatile for good cooking also.cooks quick(10min)

  • I had absolutely no idea that cottage cheese is such a good source of protien. That’s really helpful info.

    Unfortunately I doubt that I can convincingly satisfy my cravings for peanut brittle under the premise that it’s got “a lot of protien”. 🙂

  • Kale! Omnomnom.

  • Cottage cheese is nasty. Sorry, can’t do it. I can stomach soy but only if it’s well hidden.

    But I can eat plenty of lean meat, cheeses, etc. My favorite breakfast is a protein smoothie. Soy milk (which is awesome, BTW), frozen fruit and protein powder. A quick breakfast on the go.

  • This is absolutely essential list for me…
    this awaken me that veggie and fruits are not the only effective food when dieting,we also need much meat/dairy products to strengthen our immune system.

  • For protien my favs are chick peas, quinoa mixed with amaranth or cream cheese and avo on crackers 🙂 Id like to get into making my own nut butters. Have a machine on it’s way!

  • Great post! What about greek yogurt? I’ve been eating greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt lately. It contains more protein than the regular one. You said 8 – 12 grams of protein per cup of yogurt. Did you mean greek yogurt? The regular one only has 5 – 8 grams of protein per 8 oz.
    Thanks for the list!

  • Nice tasty list! and healthy too.. Cheers!

  • Thanks for sharing such an extensive list of protein rich diet. It is indeed very useful for readers like me. I am surely going to add all of those which are missing from my grocery list. It is without any doubt a very useful post. Do keep up the good work!

  • Nice post! Other than the above the kidney beans are also good source of protein. But I would like to add that we also have to understand the fact that foods high in protein is without much use if we do not utilize them properly and follow a sound nutritional plan. Having a healthy lifestyle is very essential for leading a healthy and happy life.

  • I love the fact that Peanut Butter is high in protein. It feels like a cheat meal!

  • Eggs and Tuna are especially high in protein, however I didn’t know that Salmon is that high in protein. Nice list of top 10 foods that contain protein.

  • This is great! Thanks for the information.

  • Protein style. This is the type of recipe I need because I ‘m trying to cut down on carbs. Thank you for sharing them.

  • This list gives me more options on what to eat. Lately, I have been trying to increase my consumption of vegetables yet do need to have another form of protein intake. Yogurt is a great choice and taking protein shake in between meals can help me! Thanks for sharing!

  • This is usually in powder form and be mixed with milk or water. Perhaps with a beaten eggs or simply mixed with fruit juices. So as you get bigger, your protein needs also change.

  • except for ppl that have metabolic disorders, my son has OTC and he can not eat any protein, it is a mission to keep these kids alive.

  • I will have to use this kind of tips and I am sure that this is helpful in having a balance diet. To be aware of the food we eat, is one way t help our body become healthy.

  • Ι prefer eggs, I believe it’s the most convinient solution