High protein foods chart [with printable PDF]

Are you getting enough protein? This article highlights the benefits of protein, top protein foods, and includes a high protein foods chart with a printable PDF curated by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

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What is protein?

Protein is a macronutrient. Macronutrients are the nutrients that you need in your diet in the largest amounts. Hence the beginning of the word: “macro”. 

The other macronutrients include carbohydrates and fat.

Every food that you eat is made up of a combination of these. Each plays many critical roles in your body.

Amino acids make up the building blocks of protein. Combinations of the 20+ essential amino acids contribute to every cell in the body. This includes the cells that makeup your organs, skin, bones, muscle, hair, etc. Everything!

Benefits of protein

  • Helps you feel full and satisfied longer. This may help support weight loss or weight management goals.
  • Regulates blood sugar levels.
  • Builds and maintains the body’s cells.
  • Maintains cognitive function. Protein helps to create the neurotransmitters in the brain. These help communicate messages from your brain to the rest of your body. Some neurotransmitters include serotonin and dopamine. Studies suggest that ADHD could be linked to a deficiency or dysfunction in dopamine. So protein may be of particular importance for those with ADHD and those looking to support their mental health.
  • Plays a part in a healthy immune system.
  • Maintains muscle mass.
  • Helps with recovery following exercise, injury, surgery, or infection.
  • Supports a healthy pregnancy. Protein helps pregnant people meet the increased demands for blood volume, amniotic fluid and the rapid growth of the placenta and baby.

So, in short: it’s very important.

How much protein do I need a day?

Healthy adults need about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. 

Nutritional needs vary based on a number of factors. These include height, weight, and physical activity.

This amount increases for individuals who are pregnant, recovering from physical activity, injury, surgery or infection. 

High protein foods on a chalkboard with a muscle drawn on it.

How do I calculate how much protein I need?

Example calculation for a healthy adult:

0.8g x weight in kg = grams of protein per day

0.8g x 75 kg = 60 g of protein/day

What is considered a high protein diet?

A typical healthy diet contains anywhere from 10-35% of calories from protein. 

A high protein diet is often considered to be one that contains 20% or more of its calories from protein. 

Therefore, a high protein food is usually one that contains 20% or more of its calories from protein. 

Of course, people will have different ideas of what they consider high protein. Different countries even have different labeling standards when it comes to what can be labeled “high protein” on food products. 

So, the definition may vary based on who you ask.

The high protein foods list below does contain some foods with less than 20% protein. This was done to show you the difference between certain types of protein sources. 

For instance, the difference between the protein content of soy milk and almond milk might surprise you.

Best sources of protein 

Those who follow a high protein diet may include additional protein in their diets in many different ways. However, some are better sources of protein than others. 

What are the top 10 best protein foods?

  • Lean meats
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Fish
  • Legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils
  • Tofu
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Seeds
  • Some whole grains

Grain products tend to be lower in protein. Whereas, fruits and vegetables often have no protein.

Not all protein sources include all 20+ essential amino acids. For this reason a variety of protein foods is recommended to ensure optimal protein intake

High protein foods chart

Below is your high protein food list – with a free download and printable PDF version at the end of this article.

All foods listed will have a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. I have only included the portion sizes, grams of protein, and caloric value for simplicity. 

All values are based on the Canadian Nutrient File and the FoodData Central database, unless otherwise indicated. 

The values are averages and will vary depending on the product. Check the nutrition facts label on the foods you consume for more accurate numbers.

This list includes common foods. If there are any other foods that you would like me to add to this list, please leave a comment at the end of this article!

Protein Content of Foods Chart

Meat, poultry, & eggs
FoodPortion sizeProtein amount (g) Calories (kcal)
Chicken breast75 g25119
Turkey, roasted75 g21116
Beef, steak75 g20230
Beef, lean ground75 g22194
Hamburger90 g patty12275
Beef jerky20 g781
Pork tenderloin75 g21108
Pork, lean ground75 g19175
Ham, cured75 g17124
Lamb, shank75 g21182
Egg1 egg, large678
Egg whitesFrom 1 egg, large316
FoodPortion sizeProtein amount (g) Calories (kcal)
Salmon, baked 75 g17155
Salmon, pink canned75 g17102
Rainbow trout75 g18127
Tuna, light canned75 g1987
Sardines, canned in oil and drained106 g can26220
Shrimp30 g, 6 medium630
Lobster77 g1675
Scallops78 g, 6 medium1887
Imitation crab meat67 g868
FoodPortion sizeProtein amount (g) Calories (kcal)
Milk, skim250 mL988
Milk, 1%250 mL9108
Milk, 2%250 mL9129
Milk, whole250 mL8155
Nonfat yogurt175 mL879
Greek yogurt, plain, 8-12%175 mL12314
Kefir175 mL6104
Sour cream, 5%15 mL121
Cottage cheese, 1%125 mL1586
Cream cheese, regular30 mL2103
Ricotta cheese125 mL15181
Cheddar cheese50 g12202
Feta 50 g7132
Parmesan, grated 15 mL227
Plant-based foods
FoodPortion sizeProtein amount (g) Calories (kcal)
Tofu, firm150 g21189
Tofu, soft150 g783
Tempeh150 g27296
Peanuts60 mL9217
Walnuts60 mL4166
Cashews60 mL5199
Almonds60 mL8208
Pistachios60 mL7177
Hazelnuts60 mL5215
Brazil nuts60 mL5233
Pine nuts60 mL5230
Sunflower seeds60 mL6189
Flax seeds30 mL4112
Chia seeds30 mL4106
Hemp hearts30 mL7118
Pumpkin seeds60 mL9189
Peanut butter, natural30 mL7184
Almond butter30 mL5205
Tahini30 mL5181
Black beans175 mL11162
Red kidney beans175 mL10161
Navy beans175 mL15219
Soy beans175 mL21220
Pinto beans175 mL9153
Fava beans175 mL10134
Refried beans175 mL10175
Black eyed peas175 mL8135
Lentils 175 mL13170
Lima beans125 mL6100
Green peas125 mL466
Edamame125 mL9100
Chickpeas175 mL9211
Hummus60 mL494
Falafel1 ball or 17 g257
Quinoa125 mL270
Oats175 mL499
Cream of wheat175 mL246
Rice, white125 mL2109
Rice, brown125 mL3115
Barley125 mL2102
Couscous125 mL393
Popcorn, airpoped500 mL265
Dry cereal, Bran Flakes250 mL5185
Egg noodles250 mL8225
Pasta, white250 mL7209
Pasta, whole wheat250 mL8183
Bread, whole wheat1 slice386
Bagel, plain1 bagel7195
Naan½ slice7192
Pita, white1 pita5165
Tortilla, wheat20cm tortilla4159
Asparagus6 spears218
Avocado½ avocado2161
Beets125 mL240
Broccoli125 mL327
Brussel sprouts4 sprouts333
Spinach125 mL322
Plant-based beverages (values from Silk)
FoodPortion sizeProtein amount (g) Calories (kcal)
Almond milk, unsweetened250 mL140
Oat milk, unsweetened250 mL170
Soy milk, unsweetened250 mL785
Protein powders
FoodPortion sizeProtein amount (g) Calories (kcal)
Whey protein powder50 g, ~1 large scoop39176
Plant-based protein powder50 g, ~1 large scoop28194

Download this high protein foods chart in PDF format. 

It’s a great resource to refer to if looking to increase the protein in your diet. You can post it on your fridge, use it to help with meal planning, and/or bring it with you to the grocery store.

Pinterest pin with high protein foods that says "Printable PDF - High Protein Foods Chart".

Bottom line

  • Protein is a macronutrient needed by the body.
  • The benefits of protein include keeping you full longer, regulating blood sugar, helping with recovery and maintaining the body’s cells, as well as cognitive function, immune system, and muscle mass.
  • The amount of protein that you need a day depends on your height, weight, and activity levels.
  • The best protein sources include lean meats, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds, and some whole grains.
  • A variety of protein sources is best for overall health and in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Did you enjoy this article & high protein foods chart? Please comment below!

If you want to read more, check out my article on Meal Replacement Shakes vs Protein Shakes or my article on the ADHD Diet.

Join the Conversation

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