The 11 Best Protein Sources for a Healthy Diet

Looking to supercharge your diet with protein-packed foods? Dive into our guide to the top eleven protein sources that will keep your meals exciting and nutritious. From succulent salmon to versatile tofu, discover delicious ways to fuel your body and elevate your health with these protein powerhouses.

#1 Lean Chicken Breast

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Chicken breast is a versatile and popular protein source, especially for those looking to build muscle or lose weight. It’s low in fat and high in protein, making it a staple in many healthy diets. For example, a 3-ounce serving of cooked chicken breast provides about 26 grams of protein.

Action Step: Grill or bake a chicken breast and add it to your salad or sandwich for a protein boost.

#2 Greek Yogurt

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Greek yogurt is a fantastic source of protein and probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health. It’s thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, with nearly double the protein content. For instance, a 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt contains around 15-20 grams of protein.

Action Step: Enjoy a serving of Greek yogurt with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey for a nutritious snack.

#3 Eggs

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Eggs are one of the most complete sources of protein available, containing all nine essential amino acids. They are also incredibly versatile, suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. One large egg provides about 6 grams of protein.

Action Step: Make a simple omelet with your favorite vegetables and cheese for a protein-packed meal.

#4 Quinoa

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Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs. It’s also a great source of fiber and various vitamins and minerals. One cup of cooked quinoa has about 8 grams of protein.

Action Step: Cook a batch of quinoa and use it as a base for salads, bowls, or as a side dish.

#5 Lentils

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Lentils are a fantastic plant-based protein source, rich in fiber, iron, and folate. They are also very filling and can be used in a variety of dishes. One cup of cooked lentils provides about 18 grams of protein.

Action Step: Make a hearty lentil soup or stew for a satisfying and nutritious meal.

#6 Salmon

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Salmon is not only high in protein but also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart and brain health. A 3-ounce serving of cooked salmon contains about 22 grams of protein.

Action Step: Grill or bake a salmon fillet and serve it with a side of steamed vegetables for a balanced dinner.

#7 Tofu

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Tofu is a popular protein source among vegetarians and vegans. It’s made from soybeans and can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to smoothies. Half a cup of tofu provides around 10 grams of protein.

Action Step: Add cubed tofu to your next stir-fry with your favorite vegetables and sauce.

#8 Cottage Cheese

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Cottage cheese is another excellent source of protein, and it’s also low in fat. It’s a great option for a quick snack or as part of a meal. One cup of cottage cheese has about 25 grams of protein.

Action Step: Enjoy a bowl of cottage cheese with pineapple chunks or a sprinkle of cinnamon for a tasty snack.

#9 Edamame

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Edamame, or young soybeans, are a delicious and protein-rich snack. They are also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. One cup of cooked edamame contains around 17 grams of protein.

Action Step: Steam a bowl of edamame and sprinkle with sea salt for a healthy snack.

#10 Almonds

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Almonds are not only a good source of protein but also packed with healthy fats, fiber, and various important nutrients. A quarter-cup serving of almonds provides about 6 grams of protein.

Action Step: Keep a small bag of almonds in your bag for a convenient and nutritious on-the-go snack.

#11 Chickpeas

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Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a fantastic source of plant-based protein and fiber. They are incredibly versatile and can be used in various dishes such as salads, soups, and stews. One cup of cooked chickpeas provides around 15 grams of protein.

Action Step: Make a batch of hummus by blending chickpeas with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and tahini. Enjoy it as a dip with fresh vegetables or whole-grain crackers.