The (somewhat) comprehensive list of protein sources

No intro needed – here is your somewhat comprehensive list of protein sources (even vegetarian protein sources!) to save you the next time you’re staring at your food tracker and wondering how to make your macros for the day.

Excellent Sources of Protein

These are nearly 100% protein!

  • chicken – breast meat
  • lean red meat
  • turkey breast
  • pork chops
  • egg whites
  • whey protein (ask me if you need a shake recommendation)

Good Sources of Protein

These have a lot of protein but also bring along some fat and/or carbs (not a bad thing, just different nutrients).

  • fish (tuna, salmon, tilapia)
  • chicken – thigh meat
  • eggs
  • cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • tempeh
  • fermented/sprouted tofu
  • mozzarella cheese
  • low-fat cheese
  • some protein bars (check the label to see if the bar contains more protein than fat or carbs – you might be surprised by what you see)

More Sources of Protein

These contain a good amount of protein but pack a lot of carbs and/or fat as well.  They are still excellent, nutritious foods – it’s just that this list is focused on protein rather than overall nutritional contributions.

  • nuts
  • nut butters
  • seeds (chia, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin)
  • oats
  • quinoa
  • beans
  • peas
  • edamame
  • plain yogurt
  • milk
  • kale
  • spinach
  • broccoli

But what about…

Other soy products (soy milk, regular tofu, TVP, meat substitutes…)?

Let’s chat about these if you have a specific question! I can’t make a blanket recommendation for soy foods overall because the quality varies so widely – and many are highly processed and full of sugar and/or sodium – but you can always consult with a registered dietitian if you have questions or concerns.

Beef jerky?

Yes, it contains a lot of protein, but the quality varies from brand to brand.  I have a hard time recommending any food with added nitrates.

This special product with protein added?

If it’s highly processed or comes in a 100-calorie pack, I have my doubts about its real nutritional value to your body…but feel free to ask me about any specific foods you’re scoping out.


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