The 7 Best Sources of Protein

Sources of ProteinEveryone looking to improve their body and health wants to know the best sources of protein.

Protein is a crucial part of a healthy diet…

It’s also a great tool for weight loss, appetite control, toning and bulking up.

As a matter of fact, protein is necessary for any healthy, functioning body!

It’s needed for daily functions and regulations of our tissues and bodily organs.

Protein is necessary for heart function, muscle contraction, digestion, metabolism, healing, growth, and countless other areas.

To put it simply, we need protein.

However, of all the wonders of the body, certain proteins called essential amino acids are something our magical machines just can’t make on their own.

(It’s ok body, we forgive you.)

Luckily for us, essential amino acids can be found in certain foods (it’s actually the only way we can get them other than protein powder and supplements!)

Also, our bodies can’t store protein, so we need a brand new supply of it each and every day.

That’s why it’s so important to get adequate protein from the best sources on a daily basis!

With that said, what are the best sources of protein?

Let’s take a look…

1. Poultry

Poultry gives you an incredible bang for your buck when it comes to protein content.

3 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken or turkey breast will provide you with a whopping 24 grams of protein.

*A quick measuring tip for you: 3 oz of poultry is about the size of a deck of cards or your palm (excluding fingers).

Along with protein, boneless skinless chicken and turkey are chock full of zinc, B vitamins, selenium, magnesium, and choline (just to name a few).

Poultry is also low in saturated fat.

We know that if our saturated fat intake is too high, it may lead to high cholesterol and raise our risk for heart disease and stroke. Not good!

So it’s no secret why poultry is so popular among the health and fitness world.

Also, the majority of meal preps I envision usually have some sort of poultry component.

*Bonus points: Poultry is a complete protein – meaning it has a sufficient quantity of all the essential amino acids.

2. Fish

Fish is another fantastic source of protein and nutrients.

Atlantic salmon and halibut both have 19 grams of protein in 3 ounces.

Tilapia has 22 grams of protein per 3 ounces.

Rainbow trout has 17 grams of protein in 3 ounces.

Yellowfin tuna has 20 grams of protein per 3 ounces.

Fish is also rich in vitamin B-12, healthy omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and is a complete protein.

It’s also a great option if you’re looking for protein that’s low in saturated fat.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends making fish the main source of protein on your plate at least twice per week.

Based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eating about 8 ounce of seafood per week can help prevent heart disease.

So definitely show fish some love and keep it in your weekly rotation for a great protein source.

3. Lean Meat

Meat is a total powerhouse when it comes to protein content.

However, we want to opt for leaner cuts of meat to lower that fat content (particularly saturated fat).

Some great choices are 95% lean ground beef, boneless pork chops, and top or bottom round steak.

95% lean ground beef and boneless pork chops both have 18 grams of protein per 3 ounces.

Top or bottom round steak has 25 grams of protein in 3 ounces of meat.

Lean mean is also a complete protein, which is an added bonus.

These choices are also great sources of creatine, which gives energy to our cells, particularly muscle.

4. Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes provide a great source of protein.

Soybeans contain 28 grams of protein in a 1-cup serving.

Edamame has 22 grams of protein in 1 cup.

Black beans have 15 grams of protein per 1 cup serving.

Navy beans have 6 grams of protein per 1 cup.

Beans and legumes are fantastic alternatives to meat, while still providing a great deal of protein.

They are also lower in calories and fat and provide beneficial fiber, zinc, potassium, vitamin B-6, iron, and magnesium.

5. Dairy

Dairy is another solid protein option that contains all 9 essential amino acids.

8 oz of greek yogurt contains 23 grams of protein.

Cottage cheese has 14 grams of protein in a ½ cup serving.

Swiss cheese has 8 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving.

2% milk contains 8 grams of protein in 1 cup.

Dairy products are also beneficial because they are good sources of vitamin D, potassium, and calcium.

They may also help with keeping our bone structure healthy and our blood pressure in a normal range.

Opt for low-fat and non-fat options in order to lower your cholesterol and saturated fat intake.

6. Eggs

Eggs are another complete protein source.

1 large egg contains 6 grams of protein.

1 egg white contains 3.6 grams of protein.

Eggs contain a great deal of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, vitamin A, folate, and riboflavin.

They are also among the few food sources that contain vitamin D.

The yolk contains cholesterol, which The Harvard School of Public Health suggests that you limit your yolk intake to 3 times per week if you have heart disease or diabetes.

However, egg whites are a great alternative and are low in calories and contain no cholesterol or saturated fat.

7. Protein Powders

Protein powders are one of the best sources of protein out there (especially when you don’t have time to prepare all the above-mentioned foods).

They’re super convenient and make it easy to achieve your daily protein recommendations.

On average, whey protein contains 30 grams of protein per scoop.

Soy protein, on average, has about 22 grams of protein per serving.

Pea protein has about 25 grams of protein per 30-gram scoop.

Casein protein contains 24 grams of protein per 33-gram scoop.

Brown rice protein contains 24 grams of protein per serving.

Protein powders tend to be low or free of both cholesterol and fat and are usually fewer calories compared to other forms of protein.

These are major advantages for those concerned with health and weight.

Protein powders are also quicker and easier to digest compared to solid food, which gains them more bonus points.

Powders can also be money-savers compared to the costs of high-protein meats and also have a long shelf life.

Getting nearly half or even more of your daily protein requirements in one fell “scoop” is hard to beat!

In Conclusion…

We know that we need protein to function properly.

We also know that protein can greatly help with our weight loss and fitness goals.

So it’s important that we get our daily recommended amount of protein… which is roughly 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams for women (unless you’re training heavily, then those numbers go up!).

Focus on the best sources of protein out there which come from poultry, fish, lean meat, beans, dairy, and eggs.

If you need help finding the perfect protein powder for you, be sure to check out our list of the 10 best protein powders.