96 High Protein Foods For Every Cause [And For Vegans!]

BY: Aurora Smith

uPDATED ON: May 2, 2021

Did you know that replacing red meat with high-quality vegetarian protein sources reduces your chances of heart disease? Yep, turns out that steak for dinner every night isn’t the best choice (sadly).

The good news is there are plenty of vegetarian sources of protein that are not only healthful but delicious. Say goodbye to the stereotype of bland, soggy tofu. And don’t worry, we include some healthful meat options too, just in case you can’t live without it.


Choose Your Food


Vegetarian And Vegan


1. Eggs – Contains essential nutrients

egg

Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods for you. Yes, they have some cholesterol, but they’re also packed with vitamins, minerals, and — you guessed it — protein. One egg has only 88 calories and a whopping 6 grams of protein.

2. Broccoli – More protein than beef

Yep, broccoli is an excellent source of protein. Per calorie, it even has more protein than beef! One serving of half a cup of broccoli has only 34 calories and 3 grams of protein. Compared to the same serving size of beef, broccoli has 11% more protein per calorie.

3. Brussel sprouts – More delicious than you think

Another vegetable with high protein per calorie is the humble brussel sprout. One serving has almost 4 grams of protein. Plus, they’re fat-free and high in fiber. Try them roasted, steamed, or chopped up in a salad.

4. Potatoes – Not just a carb

Most people lump potatoes into a “refined carb” category, but that’s not the whole story. One baked potato has almost two grams of protein. Keep the skin on, and you’re boosted to 5 grams in a single Russet potato. Impressive!

5. Cauliflower – Our new favorite pizza crust

Cauliflower

Cauliflower weighs in at over 2 grams of protein per 1 cup serving. Though this vegetable is often thought of as broccoli’s bland sibling, there are dozens of ways to prepare it to make it delectable. You can even turn it into a high-protein, low-fat pizza crust!

6. Chinese cabbage – Low calories, high protein

Say goodbye to your notions of cabbage being only for thin, depressing soups. One serving of Chinese cabbage has only 13 calories yet boasts 1.5 grams of protein. That’s an incredible bang for your caloric buck. Add it to your fried rice for a healthy boost.

7. Spirulina – More iron than raw spinach

This superfood is a blue-green algae that comes from bodies of saltwater. Before you turn your nose up at eating algae, hear us out! Just 1 tablespoon of this stuff has a whopping 4 grams of protein! Add it to your next smoothie or blend it into guacamole.

8. Sun-dried tomatoes – Excellent topper

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes aren’t just delicious on pasta and pizza. They’re also an excellent source of protein — one cup has a little over 7 grams. Pair it with hummus in a wrap for double the vegetarian protein.

9. Guava – A South American superfood

Guava is a superfood from South America, and it absolutely needs to be in your diet. It’s packed with antioxidants that help fight diseases and reduce premature aging. Plus, with 1.5 grams of protein per fruit and only 37 calories, it helps boost your fruit and protein intake.

9. Artichokes – An underrated vegetable

Artichokes are loaded with nutrients and are — like most vegetables — fat-free. One serving of 100 grams of artichoke has almost 3 grams of protein. Pair them with sun-dried tomatoes in your next pasta dish to double down on the protein in your recipe.

10. Avocado – Not just for tacos

As if we needed another excuse to eat avocado! Just 1 cup of this mashed fruit has 4.6 grams of protein. Plus, they’re high in monounsaturated fat, which is the good kind. So go ahead, eat that avocado toast.

11. Peanut butter – A versatile condiment

Peanut Butter

There’s nothing quite like a PB&J to take most of us back to childhood. Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein, with one serving containing a whopping 10 grams! The key is to enjoy this nut butter in moderation. It’s not a low-calorie or low-fat food. Also, watch out for brands that contain added sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup) or hydrogenated/palm oils.

12. Asparagus – Can help you lose weight

I hope it’s clear by now that vegetables can be surprising sources of protein. Take asparagus — 1 cup of raw spears has almost 3 grams of protein. Couple that with only 27 calories, and you have a low-cal way to boost your protein intake. Protein is one of the key things to prioritize if weight loss is your goal.

13. Watercress – More than just a garnish

Watercress is a dark, leafy plant that grows in natural spring water. Once thought of as little more than a garnish, watercress is now gaining popularity for its numerous health benefits. In fact, the CDC ranks it #1 in their list of powerhouse fruits and vegetables. A single cup of chopped watercress has only 3 calories and almost 1 gram of protein. Add some to your next salad for an instant nutritional boost.

14. Edamame – A complete protein

We honestly can’t say enough good things about edamame. It’s one of the few vegetarian options with all 9 essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. A 1-ounce serving has 10 grams of protein and only 120 calories. That means a ½ cup serving has an incredible 40 grams of protein!

15. Tofu – Don’t knock it until you try it

Tofu

Tofu gets a bad rap for being bland, but in reality, it’s all about how you prepare it. Tofu is extremely receptive to flavoring and works incredibly well if you marinate it in your favorite sauce overnight. A ½ cup serving has 10.5 grams of protein.

16. Tahini – More than just a sauce

Tahini is a Middle Eastern condiment made from ground sesame seeds. It’s super versatile and surprisingly high in protein — just 1 tablespoon as 2.5 grams. Use it as a salad dressing, spread it in a wrap, or bake with it.

17. Seitan – It’s pronounced “Say-tan” not “Satan”

Seitan is sort of like tofu’s lesser-known cousin. It’s a versatile vegan protein made from rinsing starch from wheat dough. It’s got a mild, savory taste and works well as a meat substitute. You can make your own or find it in both specialty food stores and regular grocery stores as the main ingredient in many fake meats. One 85g serving of seitan strips offers an impressive 21 grams of protein.

18. Nutritional yeast – A vegan cheese flavoring

Long used as a vegan substitute for cheese, nutritional yeast is a surprising source of protein. It’s got a slightly nutty, cheesy flavor. It’s got about as much potassium as a small banana and about ⅓ of the daily recommended zinc. A single heaping tablespoon of it boasts 9 grams of protein. Add it to soups, casseroles, gravies, or pot pies for a tasty protein boost.

19. Soy milk – Healthier than dairy

Noticing how many soy products are on this list? Edamame, tofu, and now soy milk are all excellent sources of protein. Soy milk contains heart-healthy unsaturated fats as well as magnesium, iron, B vitamins, and potassium. One 8-ounce serving contains 6 grams of protein, too, so you basically can’t go wrong with swapping out your dairy for this.

20. Dried chervil - The forgotten herb

Dried Chervil

Dried chervil is related to French parsley. It’s got a subtle flavor that pairs well with more-known herbs like chives and tarragon. A single tablespoon contains about half a gram of protein, which is impressive for a spice. Will it make or break your muscle building? Nope. But if you’re trying to find ways to sneak protein into your diet, it can’t hurt.

21. Dried basil - A surprising source of protein

Similar to chervil, basil is an herb with a surprising amount of protein. A tablespoon of dried basil has an entire gram of protein. Basil is known as the king of herbs and is best enjoyed fresh.

22. Tarragon - A protein powerhouse (for a spice)

Speaking of tarragon, it’s another herb that makes the list. It’s slightly licorice-flavored and is popular in French and Italian cuisine. You can make tarragon butter to drizzle on shellfish or finely chop it and add it to your omelet to boost the protein from your eggs. In terms of protein, 1 tablespoon contains an entire gram.

23. Goji berries - A dried superfood

Goji Berries

Goji berries are small, red berries that are high in antioxidants, B vitamins and are a complete protein. Speaking of protein, a 1-ounce serving contains a whopping 4 grams of protein. That’s a lot for a fruit! Sprinkle the berries on your Greek yogurt or bake them into protein muffins.

24. Ancho peppers - Boost protein and flavor

Ancho peppers are dried poblano peppers with a fruity, smoky taste and mild heat. They’re popular in Mexican dishes and add a wonderful flavor. A single dried pepper has 2 whole grams of protein, making it an easy way to not only spice up your dish but boost your protein levels.

Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, and Grains


25. Almonds - Just a handful boosts protein intake

Almonds

Almonds get a bad rap for taking so much water to grow, but they’re an excellent source of protein. Just 1 ounce (approximately 23 raw almonds) gets you 6 grams of protein. They’re also high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin E. Top your yogurt or cottage cheese with a handful of almonds to enjoy better nutrition.

26. Oats - More than just a carb

Most people think of oats as a pure carb breakfast, and it’s true that’s their main macronutrient. However, just 1 cup of oats gets you 10 grams of protein. If you add a nut butter or almonds, you get even higher protein levels. Oats are also super high in fiber, making them a healthy choice no matter when you eat them.

27. Oat bran - Even healthier than oats

Oat Bran is the outer husk of the oat grain. It usually gets shelled during the milling process. When the bran is left on, it’s called “whole grain oats.” The bran contains most of the fiber of oats, so it’s a good idea to choose this instead of rolled oats. A single cup of uncooked oat bran contains a whopping 16 grams of protein.

28. Quinoa - Basically a superfood

If you haven’t heard of quinoa by now, you must be living under a rock. This whole grain is all the rage in the health and fitness world. It’s technically a seed but is prepared and eaten like a grain. Quinoa is extremely nutrient-dense, including 8 grams of protein in a single cup. It’s also super versatile—use it as a base for a breakfast bowl, swap it in place of rice, add it to your favorite at-home veggie burger recipe, and more.

29. Lentils - Can help you lose weight

Lentils

Lentils are yet another food that’s super versatile and packed with nutrients. Just 1 cup of lentils boats 15 grams of protein, and 13.5 grams of fiber. That same cup also has only about 300 calories, meaning it keeps you fuller for longer without adding a ton of calories to your day. Make a lentil curry, add them to salads, or spice them up with an ancho pepper.

30. Ezekiel bread - Sprouted grains for protein

People are obsessed with Ezekiel bread, and for a good reason. This sprouted grain bread is one of the healthiest options on grocery store shelves. If you put 2 slices together to make a sandwich, you get 5 grams of protein. It’s also a great source of amino acids and fiber.

31. Hemp seeds – High in omega-3s and omega-6s

Seeds are a bit ridiculous in terms of their nutritional value (high in iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and more). Hemp seeds are no exception. A single tablespoon has 4.5 grams of protein. Sprinkle it over your Greek yogurt for a nutritious boost.

32. Pumpkin seeds - Save them next Halloween

Pumpkin Seeds

There are quite a few seeds that are excellent sources of protein, and pumpkin seeds are no exception. A single ounce has less than 100 calories and almost 5 grams of protein. This makes them an ideal afternoon snack or topper for yogurt. Next Halloween, save the seeds from your jack-o’-lantern to roast, or make sure to buy unsalted, whole seeds from your local store. Pumpkin seeds can help reduce the risk of heart disease and are an excellent source of magnesium.

33. Peanuts - Not just a comic strip

Similar to peanut butter, eating raw peanuts as a snack is a great idea. A serving (approximately 1–2 ounces of raw nuts) yields more than 7 grams of protein. That’s more protein than any other nut! Plus, you get vitamin E, magnesium, folate, copper, phosphorus, and fiber. Add a handful of peanuts (raw and shelled) to your diet each day for improved health.

34. Black beans - An excuse to eat more tacos

As if we needed another reason to eat more tacos! Black beans are stellar sources of fiber and protein. A ½ cup serving has an impressive 18 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. Couple black beans with brown rice or quinoa, and you’ve got not only a complete set of protein but also a delicious meal. Or, to shake things up, try a black bean pasta instead of the usual whole grains.

35. Lima beans - Love them or hate them

There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground on lima beans — people either love them or can’t stand them. Either way, they’re a great source of protein with a ½ cup serving containing 5 grams. Get creative with your preparation to jazz up this bean, including serving them with roasted pumpkin seeds for a double whammy.

36. Tempeh - Tofu’s other cousin

Tempeh is tofu’s other, more misunderstood cousin. It’s technically a grain, though it’s made from soybeans like tofu. It’s a whole soybean product that undergoes a fermentation process, meaning it’s easy for your body to digest. Plus, a single cup serving gets you a massive 33 grams of protein! Don’t be intimidated by its preparation either; here are 6 simple ways to cook with it.

37. Pigeon peas - We didn’t know what they were at first either

Pigeon peas are a legume popular in Puerto Rican cuisine. They’re actually quite popular worldwide because they pack a nutritional punch: 1 cup cooked offers 11 grams of protein and more than 100% of your daily intake of fiber. Legumes are super adaptable; mix and match them with quinoa, lentils, or black beans for a super healthy side dish.

38. Chickpeas - Also known as garbanzo beans

Chickpeas

Available fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, chickpeas make a great snack. A 1 cup serving provides almost 15 grams of protein. For a tasty movie snack, try removing their outer layer by rolling them between your fingers. Then coat them with your favorite spices and roast them. They’ll replace popcorn as your new go-to in no time.

39. Pistachios - Can help fight cancer

These tasty nuts are another nutritional powerhouse. Incorporating them into your diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease, respiratory disease, and even cancer. They’re so delicious they can be easy to overindulge, so stick to a 1 ounce serving (about 49 pistachios). That serving yields almost 6 grams of protein. Try buying them in the shell to make it harder to mindlessly snack.

40. Chia seeds - Not just to grow on heads anymore

Chia Seeds

Chia heads were popular in the 1980s, and now their seeds are popular for nutrition. They’re excellent sources of fiber, omega-3s, and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. A 1-ounce serving contains almost 5 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber. Consider sprinkling these seeds on your breakfast bowl or coating energy balls with them.

41. Spelt - A popular ancient grain

Spelt is an ancient grain enjoying a surge in popularity recently. A single cup provides 10 grams of high-quality protein. It’s got a nuttier, more mild flavor than wheat. It’s a great source of carbs, fiber, and minerals. Use it like you would anytime you’d cook rice, quinoa, or lentils to shake up your diet.

42. Teff - Technically a seed

Teff is another grain that’s technically a seed, but you use it in the same way as other grains like rice, so that’s what it gets labeled. It’s similar to spelt in terms of flavor and makes excellent porridge or stew. It’s a super durable crop, growing where other grains don’t thrive. A single cup of cooked teff nets you almost 10 grams of protein.

43. Amaranth - Another ancient grain

Amaranth

This popular ancient grain is an excellent gluten-free option with tons of nutritional value. It’s one of the few complete vegetarian proteins, like edamame, that contains all nine essential amino acids. It also has lunasin, which is a peptide believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help prevent cancer. Serve yourself one cup of this grain and enjoy almost 10 grams of complete protein.

44. Brazil nuts - Cancer-fighting health

Scientists have long studied the relationship between nutrition and cancer. One nutrient in particular — selenium — may play a critical role in preventing certain cancers. Brazil nuts contain the richest source of natural selenium. A 28-gram serving (about 6 nuts) also contains 4 grams of protein. Fight cancer and build your muscles at the same time.

45. Pine nuts - Roast them to perfection

Joining our list of nuts are pine nuts. They’re similar to brazil nuts in terms of protein: a 28-gram serving has almost 4 grams. These nuts are high in fat and carbohydrates, so eat them sparingly and/or mix them up with other nut options. Pine nuts are high in zinc and magnesium and contain iron, potassium, and fiber.

46. Walnuts - Helps you manage your weight

Walnuts

Walnuts are the classic nut to blend into a delicious pesto sauce. They contain essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, biotin, and vitamin E. They’re also super high in fiber, meaning you get full with less and stay full for longer, helping with weight management. Finally, a 28-gram serving gets you just over 4 grams of protein.

47. Cashews - Full of healthy fats

Cashews round out our list of high-protein nuts. These nuts contain roughly the same amount of protein as walnuts, coming in at just over 4 grams per 28-ounce serving. Plus, they’re high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which boost heart health. Basically, if you want to up your daily protein intake, eat a handful of mixed nuts as your snack.

48. Sesame seeds - Yep, the ones on top of some burger buns

They also feature prominently in Asian cuisine as flavor enhancers and in Middle Eastern countries as the basis for tahini sauce. Just 28 grams of this seed packs just over 5 grams of protein. Use them as oatmeal or yogurt toppers or toast them in the oven.

49. Sunflower seeds - For more than just eating at a baseball game

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are a common snack to find at a baseball game. However, these little seeds are handy for more than just a sports snack. A 28-gram serving contains just over 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, making them an excellent part of your diet. Add these seeds into your trail mix or bake with them.

50. Fenugreek seeds - Used in alternative medicine

These unique seeds have been used in alternative medicine for hundreds of years. They’re thought to have antidiabetic, anticarcinogenic, hypocholesterolemic, antioxidant, and immunological properties. (That’s a mouthful!) These seeds are also used as a spice, thickening agent, and for their sweet, nutty taste. A teaspoon contains almost 1 gram of protein, which is high for a spice.

52. Whole grain sorghum flour - Excellent gluten-free option

Anytime you see the words “whole grain” you’re getting solid nutrition. Sorghum is a mild, well-balanced flour that lends itself well to gluten-free baking. It’s high in antioxidants, iron, and vitamin B6. Plus, 1 cup gets you a solid 10 grams of protein. Try making muffins or banana bread with sorghum flour instead of whole wheat.

53. Whole wheat bread - A tried-and-true staple

Whole Wheat Bread

We did just say to try sorghum instead of whole wheat, but this grain still packs a nutritional punch. One slice of whole wheat bread (depending on brand) yields 5 grams of protein plus a slew of vitamins and minerals. The Dietary Guidelines of America recommend that at least half your grains be whole, so reach for that hearty brown bread.

54. Granola - Choose wisely

Granola can be an excellent source of protein if you choose the right one. Your average store-bought brand can have as much as 11 grams of protein per serving. However, they can also be chock full of sugars and way too many carbs. You’re better off making your own granola at home so you can control the ingredients.

Lean Meats & Poultry


55. Chicken breast - A staple in fitness

Chicken breast is what most people think of when they think “fitness,” and for a good reason. It’s a lean (meaning low-fat) way to get a ton of protein in a single serving. A medium chicken breast, grilled with the skin eaten, gets you 33 grams of protein with only 13 grams of fat. Be sure to choose white meat over dark, as dark meat ups the amount of fat.

56. Lean beef - Not all cuts are equal

Lean Beef

When it comes to beef, not all cuts are created equal. It’s best to follow the USDA guidelines to get a lean cut of meat. Options like top sirloin steak, bottom round roast/steak, or top round roast/steak are good choices. A 3.5 ounce serving of sirloin gets you almost 20 grams of protein.

57. Turkey breast - A great alternative to chicken

Turkey is an excellent choice for protein as it’s even leaner than chicken. The same 3.5 ounce serving of turkey breast offers 28 grams of protein with less than a single gram of fat. You can roast turkey with herbs for a delicious, easy way to get more protein into your diet.

58. Bison - A healthier red meat

If you’re looking for an alternative to beef, bison is a great choice. It’s low in saturated fat, and a 3-ounce serving has 21 grams of protein. Use it in all the same ways you’d use beef — ground, in steaks, or grilled.

59. Pork - Again, watch your cuts

Lean Pork Chops

Pork, like beef, can be pretty healthy, but you have to make sure you’re getting a lean cut. Pork tenderloin or pork chops are good choices, as they’re less decadent than the belly or ribs. A 3-ounce boneless lean serving of pork gets you 24 grams of protein and only 3 grams of fat.

60. Lamb - Provides solid nutrients

If you eat red meat, lamb provides some solid nutrients. It’s high in zinc, vitamin B12, omega-3, niacin, and vitamin B6. It’s also got the same omega-3s found in fatty fish. However, this meat is another one where you have to be careful of your cuts. A 3-ounce serving with bone and fat removed will get you 18 grams of protein.

61. Veal - A controversial choice

If you decide to eat veal — which is a baby male cow, hence the controversy for eating a baby animal — you’ll get more than 10% of your daily needed values of zinc, niacin, and vitamins B12 and B6. When you choose a lean cut, you also get 27 grams of protein and only 5 grams of fat.

62. Kangaroo - A unique choice

Kangaroo is a unique red meat choice. If you live somewhere, it’s readily available. It’s high in the healthy fat conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3s. A 3-ounce steak of lean kangaroo meat has 21 grams of protein and barely more than 1 gram of fat, all in slightly less than 100 calories. Basically, kangaroo is an extremely effective protein-for-calorie choice.

63. Emu - Not just for the birds

Emus are a flightless bird similar to ostriches. Like kangaroos, they’re a unique choice for protein if it’s available in your area. A single raw emu patty has 26 grams of protein and only 4 grams of fat, making it an excellent and lean source of protein.

64. Duck - Not Just In Chinese Cuisine

Duck

Duck isn’t served often in America; it doesn’t lend itself well to agricultural practices thanks to their need for more space and water than, for example, chickens. However, if you find duck on your grocery store shelves, you can expect 1 breast to get you about 22 grams of protein.

65. Goose - More iron than beef, pork, or chicken

Looking to up your iron intake as well as your protein? Goose is an excellent choice. Goose meat has more iron than beef, pork, or chicken. Plus, a 3-ounce serving has 19 grams of protein and only 6 grams of fat, so it’s another lean meat that’s great to add to your diet.

66. Venison - Also known as deer

Whether you hunt it yourself or not, venison — also known as deer — is an excellent source of lean protein. Just 3 ounces of roasted venison gets you an impressive 30 grams of protein with only 3 grams of fat, all for barely more than 150 calories. Plus, hunting and processing it yourself can actually save you money in the long run.

67. Buffalo - Not the same as bison

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, buffalo and bison are not the same animals. Buffalo meat is much lower in fat and higher in protein than beef, making it an attractive alternative. A 3-ounce serving yields 15 grams of protein with less than a single gram of fat.

Dairy


68. Cottage cheese - Used to be the dairy industry’s darling

While Greek yogurt gets a lot of attention for protein, cottage cheese is a strong dairy contender. Just 1 cup contains almost 25 grams. If you opt for a low-fat version, you get that protein with less than 200 calories and only about 5 grams of fat. And apparently, it’s surprisingly difficult to make.

69. Greek yogurt - Replaced cottage cheese

Greek Yogurt

Speaking of Greek yogurt, somewhere in the 1980s, it replaced cottage cheese as America’s go-to fermented dairy product. If you opt for fat-free, it’s an excellent lean protein, with 1 cup containing the same 25 grams as cottage cheese. In addition to protein, yogurt is high in calcium and probiotics, the latter of which is excellent for your gut health.

70. Milk - Not as healthy as the dairy industry wants you to think

You’ve heard the slogan, “Milk, it does a body good,” right? Just how true is that? While milk does have a decent amount of protein for a beverage — about 8 grams per cup — it can also be high in saturated fats. Saturated fats are linked to various diseases like cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. If you do drink dairy milk, make sure to choose fat-free.

71. Parmesan cheese - For more than just pasta

Parmesan Cheese

Cheese can be an excellent source of protein. In just 1 ounce of Parmesan, you can get the same protein as milk, 8 grams. Lacto-ovo vegetarians (eat dairy and eggs but no other animal products) should take care, however. Italian cheeses are usually made with animal rennet, which is an enzyme obtained from the fourth stomach of an unweaned calf and technically an animal product.

72. Mozzarella cheese - Pizza can be good for you

We’re not saying rush out and eat pizza for every single meal, but if you get it topped with mozzarella and perhaps meat, it becomes a decent source of protein. Mozzarella cheese has almost 7 grams of protein per ounce. Couple that with a whole wheat or cauliflower crust, pile on the veggies, and you’ve got a decently healthy meal.

73. Cheddar cheese - Not naturally orange

Cheddar is comparable to Parmesan in terms of protein, with 1 ounce containing almost 8 grams. However, that same ounce also contains almost 6 grams of fat, so even reduced-fat cheddar is best consumed in moderation. Did you know it’s also not naturally orange? Cheesemakers dye it using annatto, a seed from trees in Central and South America.

74. Goat cheese - Higher in fat than cheddar

Goat Cheese

Goat cheese is a good source of protein, though it’s even higher in fat than cheddar. A single ounce of goat cheese contains 6 grams of protein and 8.5 grams of fat. Despite the fat, goat cheese can actually be consumed by most people who are lactose intolerant. The fat globules are smaller, making them easier to digest.

75. Romano cheese - Slightly higher in protein

Romano cheese is similar to Parmesan but with a more robust, slightly saltier taste. It’s got 9 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving and 7 grams of fat, making it one of the more balanced cheeses. Romano pairs well with prosciutto, flatbread, and figs.

76. Swiss cheese - Reduced fat has the best balance

If you’re purchasing cheese, swiss cheese has the best balance of protein to fat (when you purchase reduced fat). A 1-ounce serving has 8 grams of protein and only 1.5 grams of fat. Swiss cheese has a long and varied history, including once being accepted as currency in Switzerland.

77. Provolone cheese - Perfect for cheesesteaks

Though most people pair provolone with a hoagie or Philly cheesesteak, provolone is actually quite versatile. It’s delicious on pizza and pasta, too. Plus, if you’re creative, you can even make your own at home. An ounce of reduced-fat provolone has 7 grams of protein and 5 grams of total fat.

Fish And Other Seafood


78. Tuna - Eat in moderation

Tuna is one of the lower protein fish but still fairly healthy for you. An ounce of smoked tuna has 7 grams of protein. It’s one of the most commercially valuable fish, but consume it in moderation. Canned white, or albacore, tuna has high levels of mercury.

79. Bluefin tuna - Higher protein than canned

We’re breaking out a few different kinds of tuna for comparison. A 3-ounce serving of bluefin tuna contains almost 20 grams of protein. Be careful purchasing this fish, however—certain types of bluefin tuna are endangered.

80. Yellowfin tuna - Also known as “ahi”

Yellowfin Tuna

When you order ahi tuna at a restaurant, you’re getting yellowfin tuna. A 3-ounce serving of this fish offers 20 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat, making it an excellent lean choice. Yellowfin are not overfished, so purchase this tuna at will.

81. Skipjack tuna - An excellent lean meat

Skipjack tuna are the most abundantly available type of tuna you can eat. 3 ounces gets you 18 grams of protein and, again, less than 1 gram of fat. It’s one of the lower-mercury fish as well, so it’s safer to eat more frequently.

82. Shrimp - Go ahead and order the cocktail

Shrimp makes an excellent seafood choice if you’re prioritizing protein and want to keep your fat counts low. A single, medium shrimp has almost 1 gram of protein and 0.6 grams of fat. A serving of medium shrimp is anywhere from 7–10, which is a pretty solid protein dose. Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the US.

83. Salmon - Good source of omega-3s

Salmon

Salmon is one of the “fatty” fish that are a good source of omega-3s. Don’t let the classification fool you: there’s barely 1 gram of fat in a 1 ounce serving of salmon. That same serving has almost 6 grams of protein.

84. Halibut - Another good source of omega-3s

Halibut is a second excellent source of omega-3s. It usually costs a bit more than other, more wallet-friendly fish like salmon and tuna. However, a 1-ounce serving has 5 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat, so the extra expense might be worth it.

85. Prawns - A very lean choice

Prawns and shrimp are similar but not the same creature. Prawns have a sweet taste and firm texture, making them a delicious way to get your protein. A 3-ounce serving of prawns gets you 13 grams of protein and basically no fat.

86. Crab - Great for avoiding fat

These crustaceans are great sources of seafood protein. One 3-ounce serving contains 15 grams coupled with less than half a gram of fat. Common types include the Alaskan King crab or the Dungeness crab.

87. Lobster - Very high amounts of protein

Lobster is one of the best sources of protein from the sea. A single medium lobster (about 2.5 pounds when alive) yields an impressive 60 grams of protein! It’s also less than 300 calories and has just over 2 grams of fat. You can’t beat that level of health.

88. Mussels - Consume 20 for adequate protein

Mussels

When harvested from approved waters, mussels are healthy to eat. Small mussels contain just over 1 gram of protein each. There are about 20 mussels per recommended serving, so that protein adds up.

89. Oysters - Good source of minerals

Oysters have an above-average amount of healthful minerals such as selenium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. They’re also high in protein, with almost 3 grams per 1 Pacific oyster. Eat anywhere from 3 to 6 (depending on size) for your serving.

90. Clams - Eaten raw or cooked

You can eat clams, like oysters, raw or cooked. A single, medium clam contains just over 2 grams of protein. Clams are best the day they’re harvested, so make sure you’re getting fresh ones.

91. Scallops - Eat the muscle that opens and closes the shell

Similar to mussels, oysters, and clams, scallops are mollusks that are delicious raw or cooked. A single scallop has almost 2 grams of protein. Scallops have an appealing texture and a somewhat succulent flavor. Enjoy 4–5 large scallops in your serving.

92. Anchovies - On pizza or not

Anchovies commonly come in cans, though you can get them on pizzas too. A 2-ounce can of drained anchovies has 13 grams of protein and less than 100 calories, making them an excellent snack. When not processed, anchovies are pretty delicious.

93. Sardines - Highest recommended by doctors

Sardines

If there’s one fish doctors and dieticians want you to eat more of, it’s sardines. Each 3-ounce serving gives you 2 grams of heart-healthy omega-3s, making them one of the highest levels coupled with the lowest levels of mercury. They’re also high in calcium, vitamin D and contain 13 grams of protein.

94. King mackerel - Try it smoked

King mackerel is most delicious when it’s smoked. It’s also delicious in stake form or flavored with lemon saffron. A 3-ounce serving contains 17 grams of protein and just over 1 gram of fat.

95. Haddock - Focus on the Northeast Arctic

If you care about sustainability, choose haddock fished from seas in the Northeast Arctic using “seabird-friendly” methods. Haddock has a mildly sweet taste and lean meat. 3 ounces of haddock has 13 grams of protein and less than half a gram of fat.

96. Northern pike - High in vitamin D

Northern pike is high in vitamin D, containing more than 100% of your daily requirement. Plus, a 3-ounce serving has 16 grams of protein. Like most fish, you’ll also find omega-3s in northern pike.

Eat Up

Did you enjoy this list of high-protein foods? We hope so! The benefits of getting enough protein in your diet keep your cells in good shape, which wards off disease and cancers. Tell us what you think of this article in the comments and give it a share if you enjoyed it!

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