Expert Nutrition

High Protein Foods

In this article we provide a list of high protein foods to assist athletes to meet their protein requirements and aid muscle growth.

As discussed throughout this chapter athletes and bodybuilders require higher amounts of protein to reach optimal muscle mass and peak performance. To assist athletes to reach their daily requirements of protein the following table helps to summarise more than 60 high protein foods. To benefit readers we have also included a number of good vegetarian sources of protein, which are often overlooked.

Note: Given the difference between brand name products readers are encouraged to use this information as a guide only and check food labels for accuracy.

List of High Protein Foods

Food Source

Protein Content

 

Beef (average of all sources, lean)

 

Raw 100g

21g

Cooked 100g (130g raw)

27g

 

Steak (average of all cuts, lean)

 

Small 120g

25g

Medium 150g

37g

Large 220g

54g

Extra large 300g

74g

 

T-bone (with bone)

 

Medium 250g

55g

Large 350g

77g

 

Mince

 

Beef mince (regular) 100g

17g

Beef mince (lean) 100g

20g

 

Chicken

 

Chicken (lean) 100g

28g

Chicken (with skin) 100g

25g

 

Pork

 

Pork (lean cooked) 100g

23g

Bacon (3 medium slices)

6g

Ham (average 2 slices)

8g

 

Game Meat

 

Kangaroo 100g

21g

 

Fish (average of all types)

 

Small serve 100g

25g

Medium serve 150g

38g

Large serve 200g

50g

Seafood (prawns, crab, mussels, oysters etc) 100g

17g

Salmon (100g can) 80g drained

17g

Tuna (100g can) 75g drained

20g

 

Eggs

 

1 egg

6g

Eggs scrambled (2 eggs with milk)

13g

 

Milk

 

Full cream (1 cup) 250ml

8.5g

Low fat (1 cup) 250ml

10g

Soy Milk (1 cup) 250ml

5.5g

Yoghurt

 

Natural 200g

8g

Low fat 200g

10g

 

Cheese

 

Cheddar 30g

7.5g

Cottage 30g

4.0g

Ricotta 30g

2.5g

 

Bread

 

White (1 slice) 30g

2.5g

Brown (1 slice) 30g

3.5g

Wholemeal (1 slice) 30g

6.0g

Rye bread (1 slice) 30g

3.0g

Multigrain (1 slice) 30g

3.0g

Soy and linseed (1 slice) 30g

4.5g

 

Rice, Barley and Pasta

 

Rice, white (cooked,1 cup) 150g

4g

Rice, brown (cooked ,1 cup) 150g

5g

Barley (raw) 100g

8g

Spaghetti/ Macaroni / Fettuccine (cooked, 1 cup) 150g

7.5g

 

Cereal

 

Weetbix (2 biscuits) 30g

4g

Sultana bran (1cup) 48g

4.5g

Nutrigrain (1 cup) 40g

9g

Muesli (untoasted, 1/2 cup) 45g

5g

Rolled oats (raw, 1/4 cup) 30g

0.5g

 

Nuts and Seeds

 

Almonds (25-30 nuts) 30g

6g

Cashews (12-16 nuts) 30g

6g

Pine nuts / macadamia 30g

4g

Peanuts 30g

7g

Linseed (2 tbsp) 25g

8g

Pumpkin seeds (3tbsp) 30g

7g

 

Lentils, Beans and Peas

 

Lentils (raw) 100g

29g

Chickpeas (raw) 100g

20g

Soy beans (cooked, 1/2 cup) 100g

16g

Baked beans (1/2 large can) 210g

9.5g

Baked beans (large can) 420g

19g

Bean salad (1/2 cup) 120g

12g

 

Fruits and Vegetables

 

Fruit, per serve

0.5 - 2.0 g

Mixed vegetables (frozen 1/2 cup)

2.5g

Side salad (average)

0.5g

Brussel Sprouts (4-5 medium) 120g

4g

Peas, fresh (3/4 Cup) 100g

5.5g

Potato (medium)

3g

 

Tufu and Tempeh

 

Tofu (firm, raw) 100g

12g

Tempeh (1 piece) 85g

16g

Miso (1/2 cup) 140g

16g

Source: Allan Borushek's Pocket Calorie Fat and Carbohydrate Counter, 2006.

Once you have determined how much protein you need, the above table can help you to create a diet that contains high protein foods to assist you to meet your daily requirements.

It should be noted that whilst the foods above generally contain high amounts of protein, a number of them also contain a high percentage of saturated fat (eg full cream milk, cheddar cheese, bacon etc) and therefore these foods should only be consumed in modest amounts to prevent complications associated with rising cholesterol and heart disease.

In the past, athletes and bodybuilders were encouraged to eat a large portion of dairy products as they contain whey protein, which is arguably one of the best sources of protein for muscle growth. Additionally because dairy products are typically high in calories they can assist athletes to gain weight and / or assist weight maintenance.

Whilst dairy products can assist in both muscle growth and weight gain, full cream dairy products are also high in saturated fat. Diets high in full cream dairy products have been associated with a significant increase in blood lipids and in particular LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. A diet high in saturated fat also makes athletes feel sluggish, reducing the quality of their training sessions. To overcome this, all athletes (and the adult population in general) should switch to low fat dairy products, which contain a higher protein content and less fat. Additionally lean cuts of meat (either fat removed or sources of game meat)are also recommended for the same reason (reducing saturated fat).

This is not to say that all fat should be removed from high protein foods, eating oily fish for example should be encouraged as the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish are an important nutrient that reduces inflammation, assists recovery and aids muscle growth. For more information refer to the article on foods for muscle growth.

High Protein Foods for Vegetarians

In the above table there are a number of vegetarian food sources of protein. Whilst there are some high protein foods that are plant based (in particular legumes such as peanuts, lentils, beans and chickpeas), proteins found in plant foods are generally not as complete as those found in animal foods such as meat and dairy. Therefore as a general rule vegetarians are encouraged to eat greater amounts of foods that contain plant proteins to ensure that the meet their body's structural requirements. Additionally given that soy is considered the most complete of the plant based proteins, vegetarians should consume soy based products on a regular basis.

Related Bodybuilding Articles

Nutrition for Bodybuilders, Gym Junkies and Beach Bodies

Resistance Training 101

Muscle Building Nutrition Advice

Protein Powder and Gym Supplement Advice

Muscle Building Training Advice

Fit Body Photos and Images

These articles will provide you with the necessary tools to start a successful gym training or bodybuilding program. These principles are only the beginning. Remember that discipline, knowledge and consistency are the keys to achieving your goals. Good luck!

Over the coming months we will be developing this chapter. Please visit our blog and subscribe to our rss feed such that when new articles are added to this chapter you will be notified.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us for advice.

References:

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