Protein builds your body. It creates muscle. It controls hunger. It's a win-win! Eating enough protein is key, but so is variety, since each kind has its own amino acid profile. Go beyond chicken and protein powder with these great high-protein foods.
Protein Content: 6 g per 1 large egg
These white orbs are one of the most perfect high-protein foods at the supermarket: cheap, versatile, low-carb, and packed with branched-chain amino acids. Look for eggs fortified with extra omega-3 fatty acids to give your breakfast scramble an extra nutrition boost.
High Protein Dairy
Protein Content: 23 g per 8-oz. serving
Greek yogurt has become such a popular choice because it has twice as much protein as other types of yogurt. It's also rich in bone-building calcium and probiotic bacteria, which is great for gut health. Look for plain Greek yogurt to keep sugar—and your weight—in check.
Protein Content: 14 g per 1/2-cup serving
Make cottage cheese your go-to protein for a healthy late-night snack. It's high in casein, a dairy protein that digests more slowly than whey. Slow-digesting protein feeds your muscles all night so they don't catabolize, and it keeps you from waking up starving at 3 a.m.
Protein Content: 8 g per 1-oz. serving
Ounce for ounce, Swiss cheese provides more protein than other varieties commonly available in the supermarket, making it a muscle-friendly option for your sandwiches and burgers. If you're concerned about the calorie density of full-fat Swiss, low-fat versions have a protein-to-fat ratio of around 8-to-1 while still providing good flavor.
Protein Content: 8 g per 1-cup serving
You could chug watery, flavorless skim milk, or you could enjoy the richer taste of 2 percent while getting a little extra fat to help you absorb the milk's vitamin D and get you closer to your macro targets.
Organic milk has the highest nutrient content, including protein and omega-3s. Mix it with protein powder for a revved-up shake.
Whey Or Casein Protein Powder
Protein Content: 24 g per scoop, on average
Whey protein powder is clean, fast-digesting, and most of its calories come from protein. It's also convenient—just mix it with water in a shaker bottle. Reach for protein powder whenever you need quick, no-prep protein, like after a workout, for an on-the-go breakfast, or alongside a low-protein meal.
If you need something that'll help you hide from hunger a little longer, go for slow-digesting casein powder instead of whey. It won't hit your muscles as fast, but it can keep you full for hours and can help you lose fat without losing muscle mass.
You can also use protein powder to make high-protein pancakes. They make a great pre-workout or post-workout snack if you need a break from shakes.
If you're sensitive to artificial sweeteners, look for an unsweetened protein powder or one sweetened with stevia.
Protein Content: 16 g per 1-cup serving, on average
Up your protein-shake game by blending casein or whey protein powder into a smoothie with fruit for its vitamin content. You can also buy premade smoothie drinks, but make sure they have a substantial dose of protein (at least 20 grams for a 2-cup bottle) and not just fruit, which can send you into sugar overload.
To make a plant-based smoothie, substitute a vegan protein powder in place of animal-based casein or whey. A blend of rice protein and pea protein is a good option for muscle growth.
Frozen Greek Yogurt
Protein Content: 6 g per 1/2-cup serving
Frozen Greek yogurt is frosty and creamy like ice cream, but contains about twice as much high-quality protein. Compare brands and look for those with the lowest sugar levels (or make it yourself). Some brands actually list fruit before sugar in the ingredient list, which is a plus.
High Protein Seafood
Protein Content: 25 g per 3-oz. serving
This meaty swimmer delivers a boatload of easily digested, high-quality protein. You'll also benefit from the healthy amount of vitamin B and the potent antioxidant selenium, making it a great nutrition choice.When possible, look for troll- or pole-caught tuna, which are considered the most sustainable options.
Protein Content: 23 g per 3-oz. serving
Among white fish species, halibut reigns supreme when it comes to the protein you need to build muscle like a champ. Each 3-ounce serving also has a mere 2 grams of fat, making halibut an even better catch of the day.Pacific halibut is generally considered a more sustainable choice than Atlantic.
Protein Content: 23 g per 3-oz. serving
Not only does wild salmon like sockeye taste better than its farmed cousin, it also supplies more protein. In addition, you'll reap the benefits of its plethora of fat-fighting long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Look for salmon with the skin still intact, as it provides added flavor during cooking.
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