Protein rich foods list

From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia

Proteins are essential macronutrients required for the building, maintenance, and repair of tissues in the body. A diet rich in protein can also aid in weight loss and muscle building. This article provides an overview of foods that are high in protein, beneficial for those looking to increase their protein intake.

Protein-rich Foods

Importance of Protein[edit | edit source]

Proteins are made up of amino acids, the building blocks that play critical roles in biological processes. They are necessary for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's tissues and organs. For more information on the role of proteins, see Protein metabolism and Protein biosynthesis.

Daily Protein Requirements[edit | edit source]

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein for an average adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. This requirement may be higher for athletes, pregnant women, and in certain medical conditions. Refer to Dietary Reference Intake for detailed information.

High-Protein Foods[edit | edit source]

A variety of foods contain high levels of protein, and they can be sourced from animals or plants.


Animal sources:

  • Beef: A 3-ounce serving of lean beef can provide about 22 grams of protein.
  • Chicken: A 3-ounce piece of chicken breast offers about 27 grams of protein.
  • Fish: Salmon and tuna are excellent protein sources, with a 3-ounce serving providing 19 grams of protein.

Plant sources:

  • Legumes: Foods like lentils, chickpeas, and black beans are high in protein and fiber.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are not only protein-rich but also contain healthy fats.
  • Soy products: Tofu and tempeh are popular soy-based foods that provide a good amount of protein.
Protein rich alternatives for vegans

Incorporating Protein into Your Diet[edit | edit source]

Incorporating protein into one's diet can be done through meals and snacks. Some ideas include:


Starting the day with eggs or Greek yogurt can boost protein intake. See Healthy breakfasts for recipes and ideas.

Lunch and Dinner:

Including a lean protein source at each meal ensures a steady intake throughout the day. Grilled chicken salads, stir-fried tofu, and fish with vegetables are excellent choices.


For snacks, opting for a handful of nuts or a protein shake can be a quick and convenient option. Protein shakes can be made using protein powder mixed with milk or water.

Preparing High-Protein Meals[edit | edit source]

For tips on preparing high-protein meals, see our articles on Cooking techniques and Meal planning.

Potential Concerns with High-Protein Diets[edit | edit source]

While protein is essential, excessive intake may lead to health issues such as kidney strain in individuals with pre-existing kidney conditions. It's important to balance protein with other nutrients. For more information, consult the Diet and Nutrition guidelines.

Color coded list of protein rich foods[edit | edit source]

Here is a list of foods sorted by the amount of protein, sortable in any order, along with the fiber content and total calories per serving size of 100 grams. This list is organized according to the net carbohydrates with the lowest carb foods consided keto friendly coded green and the high carb foods orange.

Use the table colored sorter to re-organize by the protein, calories or carbohydrate content in either ascending or descending order. Generally speaking, for losing weight, foods that are lower in carbohydrates, calories and higher in protein would be recommended.

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External links[edit source]

Nutrition lookup (USDA)


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD