Good food sources of dietary protein are:
Lean meats – beef, lamb, veal, pork, venison
Poultry – chicken, turkey, duck, goose, game
Fish and seafood – fish, prawns, crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, clams
Dairy products – milk, yoghurt (especially Greek yoghurt), cheese (especially cottage cheese)
Nuts (including nut pastes) and seeds – almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, macadamias, hazelnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
Legumes and beans – all beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, tofu.
Some grain and cereal-based products are also sources of protein, but are generally not as high in protein as meat and meat-alternative products.
The human body can’t store protein and will excrete any excess, so the most effective way of meeting your daily protein requirement is to spread it out over each meal. That said, you have to have a lot of protein to over do it so don’t Google to find out as this can be very misleading. I have never come across anyone that eats too much protein. Use my free calorie calculator to obtain your goal for a high protein diet.
A high protein diet can help with weight loss, increase muscle mass and improve health, to name a few.
Easy ways to eat more protein:
1. Eat your protein first
When eating a meal, eat the protein source first, especially before you get to the starches. Protein increases the production of PYY, a gut hormone that makes you feel full and satisfied.
In addition, a high protein intake decreases levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin. I hate that hormone and it plays havoc with me when I don’t eat enough protein! A high protein intake also increases your metabolic rate after eating and during sleep as well as repairing muscles and it should be prescribed as a medication for so many illnesses and injuries (in my opinion as well as many others).
2. Replace cereal with eggs
Many breakfast foods are low in protein, including toast, bagels and cereals.
Although oats contain more protein than most cereals, it still only provides about 6 grams in a typical 1-cup serving.
On the other hand, three large eggs provide 19 grams of high-quality protein, along with important nutrients like selenium and choline. You can keep your calories down by opting for whites only – the protein is in the whites!
3. Top your food with chopped almonds
Almonds are incredibly healthy. They’re high in magnesium and fibre and heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fat yet low in digestible carbs.
Almonds also contain 6 grams of protein in a 28g serving, which makes them a better source than most nuts.
And, although a serving of almonds contains around 167 calories, studies have shown that your body actually absorbs only about 129 of those calories because some of the fat isn’t digested – interesting huh?
Sprinkle a few tablespoons of chopped almonds over yoghurt, cottage cheese, salads or oats to increase your protein intake and add flavour and crunch.
4. Choose Greek yoghurt
Greek yoghurt is a versatile, high-protein food.
A 240g serving provides 17–20g of protein, depending on the brand. This is about twice the amount of traditional yoghurt.
Greek yoghurt is made by removing whey and other liquids to produce a richer, creamier yoghurt.
Greek yoghurt goes well with berries or chopped fruit. It can also be used as a substitute for sour cream in dips, sauces and other recipes.
I love hummus and often mix a tablespoon with Greek yoghurt. You still get the flavour but with far less calories and it’s higher in protein.
5. Add protein-rich foods to your salad
Salads are loaded with vegetables that provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help protect you from disease.
However, they often contain only a few grams of protein, which will lead to hunger after an hour or two.
To add protein to your salad, top it with any of the foods below. A 100g serving of these foods will give you the following amounts of protein:
Chicken or turkey breast: 30 grams.
Tuna: 26 grams.
Salmon: 25 grams.
Cheese: 22 grams.
If you’re looking for a good plant-based option, chickpeas are a great choice that will give 15g of protein per cup (165g).
6. Have a protein shake or bar
A shake or smoothie can be a great breakfast, depending on the ingredients. Many smoothies contain a lot of fruit, vegetables or juice but little protein.
Protein powders make it easy to create a high protein shake. There are several types on the market including whey, soy, egg and pea protein.
I always recommend whey protein powders as they make you feel fuller for longer.
To boost the protein content even more, use more protein powder or add peanut butter, almond butter, flaxseeds or chia seeds.
If you like protein bars just be careful of the added sugar. In some bars this can be higher than a Mars Bar! I personally like Grenade, Fulfil, Pro Nutrition, Womens Best.
Why not try this great Whey Protein Shake? Simply process in a blender until smooth 225g unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop of whey powder, 1 cup of fresh berries, Stevia sweetener (if needed) and 1/2 cup of crushed ice.
I also like to add protein powder to my oats in the morning.
7. Include a high-protein food with every meal
When it comes to protein, it’s not just the total amount you take in every day that matters. Getting enough at each meal is also important.
Consuming a minimum of 20–30g of protein at each meal promotes fullness and preserves muscle mass better than smaller amounts eaten throughout the day.
8. Choose leaner, slightly larger cuts of meat
Selecting leaner cuts of meat and increasing portion sizes slightly can significantly boost the protein content of your meal.
What’s more, your meal may even end up being lower in calories. For example, compare these two steaks:
Ribeye steak (fatty): 18 g protein and 274 calories per 100g
Top sirloin steak (lean): 24 g protein and 225 calories per 112g
9. Pair peanut butter with fruit
Fruit is rich in antioxidants, nutrients and fibre. However, it’s very low in protein.
I love peanut butter – not only is it delicious, it’s high in protein with a creamy texture that complements firm fruits such as apples and pears.
Be mindful and go steady with the portions though! I have to banish nuts, peanut butter and other high calorie, high protein food sources so I don’t eat the lot!
10. Eat lean jerky
Lean jerky is a convenient way to get more protein into your diet.
However, it’s important to choose a healthy type.
Many types of jerky contain sugar, preservatives and various questionable ingredients.
Lean jerkies or snack sticks contain about 7g of protein per 28g. They can often be stored for several months without refrigeration and are ideal for travel.
11. Indulge in cottage cheese at any time
Cottage cheese is a tasty food that’s also very high in protein. 225g serving contains 25g of protein and 220 calories.
Not a fan? I know what you mean! But try it with chopped nuts or seeds, cinnamon and Stevia or another sweetener for a quick breakfast. Additionally, smaller amounts of cottage cheese make a great snack.
12. Eat canned fish
Canned fish is a fantastic way to boost your protein intake.
It requires no refrigeration so it’s wonderful for taking to work and eating as a snack or a meal.
I have client that loves the John West Infusions Tuna – 20g of protein for a small 80g pot and less than 200 calories.
Hope this helps!