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10 Best High Protein Foods to Build Muscles


To learn exactly how much protein you should aim for, plug your stats into the protein calculator. Then, choose foods from this list that add up to give you the grams you need to hit your weight loss or muscle growth goals.


1. Green Peas

Protein in green peas: 7 g per 1-cup serving

While protein is not abundant in most vegetables, green peas contain enough that you’ll want to keep a bag stashed in your freezer at all times. They’re also high in fiber, so they help manage your weight and cravings.


2. Tofu

Protein in tofu: 12 g per 3-oz. serving

If you’re looking to go meat-free, slabs of tofu can fill you up with soy protein. Slices of firm tofu work well in stir-fry, or cook them on the grill to infuse them with some smoky flavor. A good marinade goes a long way. You can even blend plain, uncooked tofu into a smoothie.


3. Mixed Nuts

Protein in mixed nuts: 6 g per 2-oz. serving

Nuts (and honorary nuts) like peanuts, cashews, and almonds make for a crunchy way to add more protein and healthy unsaturated fats to your diet. Keep a can in your glove compartment for hunger emergencies. If you’re watching your sodium intake, look for packages labelled “unsalted.”


4. Bean Chips

Protein in bean chips: 4 g per 1-oz. serving

If you’re craving crunchy chips, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better option than the ones made with protein-rich black beans. For a few extra grams of protein, use them as a delivery vessel for a homemade yogurt dip.


5. Peanut Butter

Protein in peanut butter: 8 g per 2-tbsp serving

Though not as trendy as other nut butters like almond, peanut butter still leads the way in the protein department. Make sure to watch labels for sugar, though. Natural versions made from just peanuts are best—some stores even let you grind your own.

If you’re working to get your weight in check, look for peanut butter powder, which has less fat but the same protein content. You can even use the powder for baking. Fun fact: Peanuts are technically a legume, not a nut.

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6. Roasted Turkey Breast

Protein in roasted turkey breast: 18 g per 3-oz. serving

Sliced turkey is an easy way to get a lot of nearly fat-free protein, so pile it high. Steer clear of flavored turkey and other deli meats to avoid bringing home stuff you don’t need, like salt, sugar, and lab-made flavorings.


7. Pepperoni

Protein in pepperoni: 18 g per 3-oz. serving

The stellar amount of protein in pepperoni makes it a surprisingly healthy topping for pizza or salad. Sodium levels can vary widely, so compare brands and look for options with the lowest amount.


8. Canned Chicken

Protein in canned chicken: 21 g per 3-oz. serving

Pop the lid on a can of ground white chicken meat to instantly add a shot of high-quality protein to your sandwiches and salads. Treat it the same way you would canned tuna. Compare brands, looking for those that deliver lower amounts of sodium so you don’t pack on water weight.


9. Anchovies

Protein in anchovies: 24 g per 3-oz. serving

Ounce for ounce, anchovies are the surprising winners when it comes to canned protein. Because of their size, they also don’t accumulate toxins the same way that bigger species do. To reduce their saltiness, soak anchovies in water for 30 minutes, then drain and pat dry.


10. Frozen Greek Yogurt

Protein in frozen Greek yogurt: 6 g per 1/2-cup serving

This sweet treat is frosty and creamy like ice cream, but contains about twice as much protein. Compare brands and look for those with the lowest sugar levels (or make it yourself). Some brands actually list fruit before sugar in the ingredient list, which is a plus.



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