17 Healthy High Protein Foods List
Whether you are on a Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, or High Protein Diet, your body needs protein from a variety of healthy protein sources for optimal health.
Protein is made up of smaller components called amino acids, 12 of these are manufactured by our bodies. Another 9, called essential amino acids, must be obtained from food. A complete protein is a protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. Animal proteins, including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy are complete proteins. Only a few plant-based proteins are complete proteins. Incomplete proteins, such as peanuts, dried beans and whole grains. To become a complete protein, 2 of these incomplete proteins need to be combined.
Each type of protein source has its own benefits. Different varieties of each protein source also have different nutritional values. For example, some types of fish are very lean and low in calories and others have more fat and are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
There is also a difference between organic and non-organic dairy products. The government regulation on organic farming causes organic farms to produce organic dairy products with different, and better, nutritional qualities than conventional dairy products. Organic dairy products contain significantly higher protein, ALA (alpha-Linolenic acid), omega-3 fatty acid and a higher omega-3 to omega-6 ratio than conventional dairy products.
In regard to legumes and grains, dried is much preferred over canned–especially due to the high sodium content in canned foods.
Many fitness professionals consider protein powders (and bars) to be the best thing ever. As a Fitness Professional and Wellness Coach, with a focus on nutrition as well as fitness, I believe some powders and bars can be healthy. However, most are not, so I am not including any in this 17 Healthy High Protein Foods List. If you are interested in a healthy “protein” bar, you can read my review on one HERE.
I have broken down the 17 Healthy High Protein Foods List into 5 categories: Dairy, Fish, Meat, Poultry, and Plant Based Protein. I have also included one or more of the nutritional benefits of each of the individual proteins.
17 Healthy High Protein Foods List
1.Lowfat or Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt: 15g/5 o.z — Contains probiotics and a Calcium
2. Lowfat or Nonfat Milk: 8g/1 cup — Good source of Calcium
3.Egg Whites: 12g/2 egg– egg whites contain all the nutrition of whole eggs with less cholesterol and no fat
4.Halibut: 23g/3oz. — High in omega-3 fatty acids, low in fat
5.Wild Caught Sockeye Salmon: 23g/3 oz. — High in omega-3 fatty acids
6.Scallops: 17g/3oz. — Higher in Iron than fish
7.Yellowfin/Ahi Tuna: 25g/3 oz. — A good source of Omega-3 fatty acids
8.Round Steak: 23g/3oz — Leaner cuts of meat have more protein per ounce than fattier cuts
9.Bison: 18g/3 oz. — Less saturated fat and cholesterol than beef
10.Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast: 24g/3 oz. — Lowfat
11.Boneless, Skinless Turkey Breast: 24g/3 oz. — Almost no fat
Plant Based Protein
12.Dried Lentils: 13g/1/4 cup — High in fiber
13. Dried Navy Beans: 10g/1/2 cup — High in fiber
14. Edamame: 8g/ ½ cup — A complete protein source and a powerhouse of nutrition
15.Natural, Unsalted Peanut Butter: 8g/2 tbsp — High in monounsaturated fat
16.Quinoa: 8g/1 cup — A complete protein grain and a good source of fiber
17.Multigrain/Protein Rich Pasta (Barilla Protein Plus): 10g/2 oz. — A good source of fiber; some protein-rich pastas supply complete protein
No matter what your protein preferences are, if you are looking for healthy protein options, you are likely to find a few choices from the 17 Healthy High Protein Foods List to incorporate (or incorporate more of) into your healthy diet.
Your comments are welcome.
6 thoughts on “17 Healthy High Protein Foods List”
Thank you for sharing this organised list of 17 healthy protein foods. Plant based proteins are highly important as nowadays, lot of people are turning towards them while forsaking meat, poultry and even dairy products. Plants are also a rich source of fiber which does a whole lot of good to the digestive system.
Yes, plant based proteins are becoming more and more a primary protein source for many people. I am now a pescatarian and am always on the lookout for healthy foods high in protein that are not animal based. Stay tuned to protein4women.com–more to come!
Very interesting selection. I keep seeing more and more the recommendation to change the normal yogurt for Greek yogurt. Can you tell me why is better the latest? Eggs are a great source of protein among other things like vitamins. In my opinion, they should always be part of breakfast.
Very informative article.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. In response to your question about greek vs. regular yogurt, it’s the protein. There is more protein in greek yogurt.
Hi Sandra, well written detailed and laconic article on the the nutritional benefits of protein.
Thanks Brad, glad you liked it.