Eating more protein is an awesome goal for your health and appetite.

That’s why I made this FREE printable list of high protein foods… so you can finally learn how to eat more of this important nutrient.

But as a Registered Dietitian, I know protein can feel hard. Everyone’s pushing protein, there’s so much misinformation about it, and eating enough feels impossible.

Good news: we’re tackling all these challenges and more in this detailed post about high protein foods. You’ll learn what protein is, why it matters, and exactly how much protein you need to eat.

And I included an extensive list of 60 high protein foods so you’ll never second-guess what to eat to get more protein again. 

Lentils in an open fabric bag with a scoop sticking out of it.

What is protein?

Have you ever heard of macronutrients?

These are nutrients we need in large amounts. And unlike micronutrients, macronutrients provide our bodies with energy in the form of calories. They’re our fuel!

Protein is one of 3 macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Protein is unique because it’s made up of building blocks called amino acids. 

When you eat protein-rich foods, they’re broken down into these amino acids. And your body shuttles them off to various tissues and cells throughout the body to be used in different ways.

Why is protein important?

Protein plays many important roles in our body.

Of course, protein helps us grow and maintain muscle mass.

It’s also a very satiating macronutrient; that means when you eat high-protein meals, you’ll feel more full for longer. This can help make weight loss easier and reduce cravings.

Protein is also critical in wound healing and tissue growth. And did you know it’s essential for healthy cells and metabolism? Proteins make up the structure of many enzymes, hormones, and immune cells to keep us feeling healthy year-round.

It’s a mighty macronutrient! To say we should eat more protein is an understatement.

How much protein should you eat?

Weirdly, this question is kind of controversial! 

Many people claim that 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day is enough. But it’s not. This recommendation is based on the recommended dietary allowance or the RDA. It’s not only outdated, it’s meant to be more of a minimum to prevent disease.

Instead, try to this:

  • 0.7-0.9 grams of protein / lb / day (or 1.4-2 grams / kg)
  • OR 30-40 grams of protein per meal to simplify things 

If you weighed 150 lbs, you would want to eat 105-135 grams of protein each day. 

These recommendations come from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), so they’ll be relevant for most people who exercise. 

What factors impact protein needs?

Protein needs are unique to you and depend on many different factors:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Activity level
  • Activity type
  • Health goals
  • Health status
  • Dietary restrictions
  • Environmental factors

With all this in mind, remember that protein recommendations are just that–recommendations! Use them as a starting point and adjust as needed.

Woman in orange leggings and a white tank top doing crunches on a workout mat inside.

What foods contain protein?

Most foods contain some protein. But not every food is high in protein. 

The most protein-rich foods include:

  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish and seafood 
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Soy products
  • Beans and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds

List of 60 high protein foods

Scroll down for a full list of 60 high-protein foods. 

>>> Or download the full (and FREE!) list of 60 protein-rich foods here.

You’ll notice I included calorie information too. That’s because it can help us better understand and compare foods… not because I want you to obsess over numbers.

For example, 100 grams of cooked chicken breast contains 32 grams of protein for 158 calories. To get that same amount of protein from pumpkin seeds, you’d need to eat 600 calories-worth! Regardless of your goals, it can be good to know.

The nutritional information from these foods was sourced from FoodData Central from the US Department of Agriculture.

High protein meat

FoodPortionCaloriesProtein (grams)
Chicken breast, skinless, cooked100 grams15832
Chicken thigh, skinless, raw 100 grams14419
Lean ground chicken, cooked100 grams18923
Canned chicken, drained100 grams18525
Turkey breast, cooked100 grams14730
Lean ground turkey, cooked100 grams21327
Turkey bacon, cooked3 slices90 8
Turkey, deli meat100 grams10922
Turkey sausage, cooked100 grams19624
Beef, t-bone steak, trimmed100 grams21227
Beef tenderloin, cooked100 grams16828
Lean ground beef, raw100 grams18518
Pork tenderloin, raw100 grams11922
Pork chops, cooked100 grams20225
Ground pork 100 grams34619
Pork sausage, cooked100 grams31718
Ham, deli meat100 grams10117

High protein fish and seafood

FoodPortionCaloriesProtein (grams)
Shrimp, cooked100 grams9924
Canned tuna, drained1 can 12127
Salmon, farmed, cooked100 grams20622
Canned salmon, bone-in½ large can 26040
Smoked salmon100 grams11718
Sardines, canned and drained1 can19123
Cod, cooked100 grams8420
Halibut, cooked100 grams23918
Tilapia, cooked100 grams12826
Fish sticks, frozen100 grams27711

High protein dairy and eggs

FoodPortionCaloriesProtein (grams)
Greek yogurt, plain, nonfat1 container (156 grams)9516
Greek yogurt, plain, whole milk100 grams959
Yogurt, plain, nonfat100 grams504
Milk, 2%1 cup1228
Cottage cheese, 2%1 cup18024
Cheddar50 grams20512
Gouda50 grams17813
Mozzarella, partskim50 grams14812
Parmesan, grated2 tbsp645
Ricotta, whole milk 100 grams1588
Eggs, whole2 eggs14412
Egg whites½ cup6313
Whey protein powder⅓ cup11325

High protein plant foods

FoodPortionCaloriesProtein (grams)
Tofu, extra firm100 grams557
Soy milk, unsweetened200 grams767
Edamame1 cup18818
Textured vegetable protein, dry1 cup24935
Seitan100 grams10718
Chickpeas, cooked1 cup26915
Black beans, cooked1 cup24015
Kidney beans, cooked1 cup22515
Navy beans, cooked1 cup25515
Lentils, cooked1 cup22618
Almonds, dry roasted½ cup45014
Pistachios, dry roasted1 oz1616
Cashews, dry roasted1 oz1634
Peanuts, dry roasted1 oz1667
Peanut butter2 tbsp1917
Powdered peanut butter13 grams606
Almond butter2 tbsp1967
Pumpkin seeds, raw50 grams27815
Hemp seeds3 tbsp1669
Quinoa, cooked1 cup2228

12 Dietitian tips to eat more protein

Eating more protein can feel hard. But it doesn’t have to be! 

Try these simple tips to get more protein in your diet:

  1. Stock your freezer. Keep your freezer filled with easy proteins like frozen edamame, frozen salmon, and even chicken nuggets. 
  2. Double-up on protein. Especially if you don’t eat meat! Combine multiple protein sources at meals like beans and tofu, or quinoa and cheese.
  3. Prioritize no-prep proteins. The worst part of protein is the prep! Stock your house with canned tuna, cheese sticks, roasted chickpeas, or other easy options.
  4. Add protein to breakfast. Protein gets harder as the day goes on and life gets busy. Start your day with a high-protein breakfast like this chia pudding!
  5. Keep a list. It’s easy to forget what foods contain protein. Keep a list of your favorite protein sources in the notes on your phone.
  6. Try protein powder or shakes. Sometimes you need a little boost! There’s nothing wrong with protein shakes and powders if you enjoy them.
  7. Try high protein smoothies. Smoothies might be the easiest way to load up on protein and nutrition. Try one of these protein-rich smoothie recipes.
  8. Serve more protein. Usually serve 3 ounces of chicken at lunch? Try 5! Eat 1 egg at a time? Try 2! Simply increasing protein portions can make all the difference.
  9. Choose high protein carbs. Whole grains and beans are awesome carbs that also offer a boost of protein. Choose these over more refined carbs often.
  10. Aim for 30 or more grams per meal. It’s harder to get protein at snacktime. Make sure your meals have enough to take the pressure off your snacks.
  11. Choose lower fat proteins. The less fat, the more protein! Choose leaner proteins when possible and add healthy fats in other ways.
  12. Make it taste good. Protein foods can be bland. Dress them up with sauces, seasonings and toppings so you actually enjoy eating them.

Printable list of 60 high protein foods

Graphic with a photos of high protein foods with text over top stating "Free PDF List of 60 High Protein Foods"

>>> Click here to download your FREE printable PDF list of high protein foods.

This document is totally free! And it contains all the foods and values listed in this article. 

Print a copy and keep it handy when you’re building your next grocery list!

Final thoughts

Protein is important for your health, appetite, and metabolism. 

But eating enough can feel challenging, to say the least!

Bookmark this article so you can remember what protein is, why it matters, and how much you should eat.

And don’t forget to download the free printable PDF of 60 high protein foods so you can eat more protein with ease.