Want to ensure that your diet is balanced with all important nutrients? You absolutely must add enough proteins to it. Proteins, which are made of molecules called amino acids, help in building and repairing all types of cells in your body. The minimum amount of protein you need to meet your basic dietary requirements will vary depending on the needs of your body. While the generally recommended intake is about 10–35% of your total calorie needs, you are likely to need more if you work out vigorously. If you’re looking for a variety of protein sources to include in your diet, here are 6 great protein-rich foods you can try.
1. Chicken Breast
If you’re looking to build muscle, add chicken breast to your diet. It’s the best lean source of protein because it’s all white meat. 100 g of chicken breasts can give you 16.3 g of protein with as low as 3.2 g of saturated fat.1 The best part about it is that it’s easy to cook and can be consumed baked, broiled, or grilled. You could also shred it up and have it in soup.
2. Ground Beef
Looking for a change from the usual meat choices for increasing protein intake? Try ground beef, specifically the 95% lean variety. This meat source provides as much as 26.2 g of protein with 174 kcal of energy and 2.97 g of saturated fat per 100 g, making it an especially good choice if you’re looking to gain muscle.2 You can add sautéed or cooked ground beef to salads, homemade burgers, or scrambled eggs for a tasty, protein-rich meal. Check with your doctor before adding ground beef to your diet as it could increase your risk of heart disease.3
Eggs are rich not only in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats but also in protein. A large egg provides 6.29 g of protein.4 You can eat eggs in the poached, boiled, or scrambled form to start your day off with a protein boost. Also, if you’ve heard that eating them can increase heart disease risk, you have no reason to worry as long as you eat them in moderation.5
4. Nuts And Nut Butter
Looking to increase your protein intake without too much effort? Nuts are the clear choice for you. Nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pistachios are rich in healthy fats and protein. 100 g of such mixed nuts can give you 19.5 g of protein and up to 35 g of unsaturated fat.6 You can eat them plain or after roasting them lightly with a bit of salt.
If you don’t like eating plain nuts, nut butter spreads like peanut butter and almond butter are also decent choices. However, they’re not as good sources of proteins as actual nuts. Spread your choice of nut butter on bread slices and enjoy a yummy yet nutritious sandwich every now and then. It’s a good idea to get yourself checked for possible allergies to nuts to avoid severe reactions after consumption.
If you’re a vegan and are looking for a meat-free, dairy-free source of dietary protein, your search stops here. Tempeh, which is made from soybeans, is an extremely nutritious protein source because it provides almost 20 g of protein in every 100 g consumed.7 It’s a great replacement option for meat in sandwiches and burgers. You can marinate it in soy sauce to give it a great flavor.
Another great source of protein for those who don’t eat meat, beans come in many varieties – black, white, kidney, and pinto. 100 g of beans can provide around 5.54 g of protein with 155 kcal of energy, which proves that they are a great choice of protein-rich foods for those who work out extensively.8
Consume these healthy sources of protein regularly in consultation with your dietitian to increase your protein intake adequately.
|↑1||Full Report (All Nutrients): 05326, Chicken breast tenders, breaded, cooked, microwaved. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑2||Full Report (All Nutrients): 23558, Beef, ground, 95% lean meat / 5% fat, patty, cooked, broiled. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑3||Sun, Qi, Adam M. Bernstein, Matthias B. Schulze, JoAnn E. Manson, Meir J. Stampfer, Walter C. Willett, and Frank B. Hu. “Red meat consumption and mortality: results from 2 prospective cohort studies.” Archives of internal medicine 172, no. 7 (2012): 555-563.|
|↑4||Full Report (All Nutrients): 01129, Egg, whole, cooked, hard-boiled. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑5||Dawber, Thomas R., Rita J. Nickerson, Frederick N. Brand, and Jeremy Pool. “Eggs, serum cholesterol, and coronary heart disease.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 36, no. 4 (1982): 617-625.|
|↑6||Full Report (All Nutrients): 12135, Nuts, mixed nuts, dry roasted, with peanuts, without salt added. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑7||Full Report (All Nutrients): 16174, Tempeh, cooked. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑8||Full Report (All Nutrients): 16005, Beans, baked, home prepared. United States Department of Agriculture.|