15 Foods High in Protein for Energy and Muscle Building

Here are the foods with the highest amount of protein in them. When you’re trying to meet your protein needs it’s good to know which foods will help you along the most. As predicted there are many animal-based foods high in protein, so you’ll want to see our list of vegetarian or vegan sources of protein as alternatives if you’re trying to cut down on meat.

Eat more of these high protein foods for increased energy and muscle building…

The average daily value of protein is set at 50 grams, but you’ll want to use an online protein calculator to come up with a more specific, personalized value based on your age, gender, and intended activity level.

1. Chicken Breast: 30g Protein (60% DV)

Chicken breast tops the list, consisting of 30% protein and giving you more than half of your DV of protein in a 100 gram serving. It’s no wonder why this is a favorite of bodybuilders as well as those looking to add lean muscle to their physique.

Chicken breast is considered a high quality protein, and when compared to other cuts from the same chicken such as the leg or thigh, the breast contains more protein and less fat. So not only will chicken breast help you build lean muscle, it will help you lose fat as well, which is why it is found on many diet programs as a recommended food.

Chicken breast is also a good source of minerals like magnesium and iron, as well as B Vitamins 6 and 12. Chicken breast also contains cholesterol, so you’ll want to watch your intake as to not exceed your cholesterol for the day.

Tips for eating more: Chicken breast is one of the most popular main dishes in America, so it isn’t too hard to find a chicken breast recipe. Several recipes on our list of healthy chicken Crock Pot recipes use chicken breast, providing you with dozens of easy ways to eat more of it.

2. Pork Chop: 27g Protein (54% DV)

Pork chops secure the number two spot for protein rich foods, rivaling chicken breast for the amount of protein they contain.

Pork often takes a backseat to chicken and beef when it comes to popular meat choices, but lean cuts of pork offer plenty of protein without a lot of fat. It’s the fattier versions of pork like bacon and ham that have given it the reputation of being a fatty meat. But just as there are fattier pieces of beef and chicken, you can be selective with your pork and use it as a regular protein source.

Like any meat you’ll want to make sure that you are having a serving of vegetables with it to help your digestive system process it. Animal sources of protein contain no fiber of their own and need an assist in the way of a vegetable.

Tips for eating more: As long as you go with boneless pork chops you’ll be getting similar numbers to chicken breast, and pork chops can be cooked up very similarly to chicken breast, providing your meal with the protein needed to make it complete.

3. Ground Beef: 26g Protein (52% DV)

Ground beef is a protein-packed food that can get you halfway to your requirement in a hurry. It’s also very versatile, and tends to take on seasonings and spices well, making it a favorite go-to in many cuisines.

Beef in general is also a good source of iron, as well as B Vitamins, but it’s also high in cholesterol, so it’s important to consider all factors when it comes to meeting your various requirements and staying below your daily limits in other areas.

Always choose organic grass-fed ground beef to avoid the corn-fed conventional ground beef found in most stores. You’ll have to seek it out, as the majority of beef on offer at the grocery store is conventional, but with a little searching, or perhaps even asking an employee, you can find it.

Tips for eating more: Use lean ground beef in a wide assortment of recipes. Everything from Taco Night to chilis and casseroles can be made with ground beef. 90% lean ground beef will be much less oily than fattier cuts, creating lighter tasting dishes with all of the flavor.

4. Swiss Cheese: 25g Protein (50% DV)

Swiss cheese is a protein powerhouse, but you probably won’t want to eat a 100g serving in order to meet half of your protein needs. That would be a lot of cheese in one sitting, and you have to factor in the other qualities of cheese when thinking of your protein needs.

Swiss cheese and other cheese are also a good source of calcium, so you’re not only helping to meet your protein requirements, you’re getting a good amount of calcium. Just one ounce of Swiss cheese gives you a fifth of the calcium you need for the day.

Many cheeses in addition to Swiss cheese are high in protein. Consider mozzarella, which at 22g protein from the same 100g serving is no slouch in the protein department. Just be aware of the fat and cholesterol content of whichever cheese you go with and balance the pros and cons of using it to meet your protein needs.

Tips for eating more: Cheese helps improve the taste of many foods and is often added to the top of chili, Mexican dishes, and more to give them their distinct flavor. Make a Protein Pizza with lean meats found on this list as well as protein-packed vegetables for the toppings, and shredded mozzarella used for the cheese.

5. Lamb Loin: 25g Protein (50% DV)

Lamb makes it onto the top 5, and provides you with half of the protein you need for the day with a 100 gram serving. It’s easy to see how you could make up the other 50% with other foods throughout the day, and of course each person’s protein needs are a little different.

Users Comments:

  • Rahul

    Nice suggestion about the source of the protein food
    please suggest us vege food …

  • Live Peachy

    I never knew Swiss cheese was so high in protein! Now if I could only bring myself to enjoy it, I would eat it with my eggs! Thanks for the list!


  • Henk Meevis

    Thanks for the tips above.
    I am one of the smaller group who wants to gain weight.
    Would you, or someone, be in a position to advice what i should go for to achieve that.
    I am a small eater, never feel hungry and the years are creeping up on me.

    Thanks, for sure.

  • malathi

    Such a lovely site to know more about each ingredients. first time into your space.its stated in pumpkin seeds that melatonin signals sleep . I would like to know whther melatonin induces sleep or the hormone seratonin 🙂

  • Weightever

    This was such a great list of high protein foods and I really like the fact that you tell about other health benefits too, not just about the amount of protein!

    I actually compiled a list of 40 high protein foods myself a few days ago. It doesn’t go as much to detail as your list does but I think you might find some of the ones not mentioned here useful. Take a look if you get a chance: http://www.weightever.com/protein-rich-foods/

  • Herblady

    Under ham you mentioned thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin as being minerals. Actually they are B vitamins .
    Love your articles!

  • Edgar @ GarageGymPlanner

    Being a pro bodybuilder myself, I would suggest you include less animal protein and more of vegetarian protein to save yourself from the common NV side effects. I take 40 egg whites and 100 grams of sunflower seeds everyday. I’ve seen remarkable results in less than 24 months!

  • Dr Elizabeth Powers

    Top 05 Protein Foods to Include in Your Diet:

    The data is selected carefully from extensive database of *United States Department of Agriculture (‪#‎USDA‬).)

    1. Grass-fed beef (4) — 3 ounces: 19 grams (46% DV)
    2. Whey protein (organic, ideally from raw goat milk) (5) — ¼ cup/ about 1 serving: 19–20 grams
    3. Lentils (6) — 1 cup: 18 grams (36% DV)
    4. Wild fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, etc.) (7) —3 ounces salmon: 17 grams (40% DV)
    5. Organic chicken (8) — 1 chicken breast: 16 grams (38% DV)

    For More:
    Get the list right here at Google Playstore: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bitapp.high.protein

  • Shyman

    Tofu is more than likely made from genetically modified soybeans. So I would be very careful when eating it.

  • Julia Kruz

    Of course Swiss cheese high in protein (25g/100g) but it contains fats. My personal trainer told me about it. So don’t abuse cheese as main source of protein. Eat it in the morning and not more than 30 grams. Thanks for sharing useful post!

  • Bella Hardy

    Ye, Chicken breast is most popular food of bodybuilders! My husband love it. 30g Protein absolutely leader here)

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