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High protein foods and other sources of protein

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What is a high protein diet?

Eating a healthy and balanced diet will help you to look and feel your best, as well as supporting your body’s natural functions. A diet high in protein will help your body to grow and repair itself, from skin to your blood. Eating foods high in protein are especially important if you are trying to gain muscle or tone the muscles you have.

High protein foods also increase your feeling of fullness after eating, helping to reduce hunger pangs. One way to make sure you are eating enough protein is to layout a diet plan for you to follow, as well as helping you to feel inspired in the kitchen. Creating a diet plan will help you to add more protein into your meals as well as making sure that you’re eating your five-a-day. A diet plan can also help you to plan your shopping trips as well as stock up on your store cupboard essentials.

Foods high in protein

The foods with the highest protein content include meat, fish and eggs. A medium egg has around 6 grams of protein, whereas an average sized chicken breast, without the skin has around 31 grams of protein. If you don’t eat meat then tofu is also high in protein, with roughly 44 grams per block. Make sure to read the labels on products in the supermarkets to see how much protein each item has per serving. It’s also a good idea to limit the amount of processed meat you eat as these can be high in salt, as well as choosing lean meats, or cutting the excess fat off the meat before cooking.

Other good sources of protein include dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt. Dairy free alternatives also provide protein whether you chose nut milks or soya products.

What fruits are high in protein?

As well as helping you get the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs, fruits and vegetables can also provide you with protein. Although some options have more protein per serving than others.

High protein fruit include:

  • Avocados
  • Apricots
  • Dried goji berries
  • Guava
  • Blackberries
  • Dates

What vegetables are high in protein?

High protein vegetables include:

  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Corn
  • Kale

Fruits and vegetables should make up around a third of our diets, and we should all aim to have five portions of fruit or veg a day. Making small changes and additions could help you reach your five a day goal, for example adding a chopped banana to your cereal, a side salad at lunch or an apple mid-afternoon.

Protein rich food for vegetarians

If you’re looking to make high protein vegetarian meals, then you’ll need to add ingredients such as beans, chickpeas and lentils. Adding these to curries, salads and stews will not only help to bulk out your dish but also add that all important portion of protein. Other good sources include nuts and seeds which are easy to add to vegetarian dishes, they’re delicious sprinkled onto porridge or scattered on top of smashed avocado on toast.

Protein rich food for vegans

Plenty of high protein food is vegan and some of the best sources of protein are not from animal products, for example; beans and lentils. Making sure that your meals contain ingredients such as chickpeas, peanuts, tofu or soya alternatives to milk and yoghurts will help you to get the protein you need. Foods such as tofu scramble or porridge made with almond milk will help you to get your daily dose of protein, to boost the protein content of you meals even further add chia seeds or peanut butter. Find out more about protein for vegans here.

High protein breakfast ideas

If you’re looking to boost your protein intake and discover some high protein meals, we’re here to help. With plenty of snack, breakfast and meal idea to get you started.

  • Greek yoghurt topped with almonds and nut butters
  • Omelettes filled with ham, cheese and mushrooms served with baked beans or cooked tomatoes
  • Porridge made with nut milk and quinoa, topped with blueberries and sunflower seeds
  • Banana smoothie made with soya milk and protein powder

High protein meal ideas

  • Salads topped with crispy kale, turkey or chicken slices
  • Vegetable and kidney bean stew with a tomato sauce
  • Lean beef mince chilli filled with beans and chickpeas
  • Grilled salmon paired with steamed vegetables and wild rice
  • Red lentil and chicken soup
  • Cottage cheese flavoured with herbs on top a jacket potato
  • Baked tofu, with steamed broccoli and roasted chickpeas. Add a dash of tahini for a protein punch

High protein snacks

Swapping your packet of crisps for these protein rich snacks will help you to not only up your protein but enjoy a balanced diet.

  • Apple chunks dipped into peanut butter
  • Cheese
  • Steamed edamame beans sprinkled with salt
  • Boiled eggs
  • Humus and carrot sticks

Should I take protein supplements?

Protein is an important part of our diet and is the foundation of maintaining body tissue and muscle. Supplements are available over the counter in the form of bars, shakes and capsules, but they don’t always contain other essential nutrients so should not be used as a meal replacement. The benefits of introducing protein supplements into your diet don’t necessarily outweigh the benefits of introducing high protein foods such as lean meat and pulses, although they are an easy, temporary alternative.

High protein low carb diet

If you’re following a high protein low carb diet then you should aim to add lean meats such as pork, turkey and chicken to your meals. Poultry is incredibly high in protein with little to no carbohydrate content, as well as being a good source of vitamin B6. This vitamin helps the body to store energy from foods and supports red blood cells.

High protein and low carb meals should centre on lean meats, fish, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables. However some vegetables and fruit can be high in carbs, so it’s best to check their nutrient levels so that you can stay within your carbohydrate allowance. Healthy fat sources include nuts, seeds, avocados and coconut oil which is great to cook with.

Including complex carbohydrates will help to keep you feeling full and make sure that you get enough fibre in your diet. These include sweet potatoes, oats and brown rice, although you should weigh these ingredients if you are following a particularly low carbohydrate diet.

  • How much protein should I eat daily?

    Adults should aim to eat 50g of protein a day*. This should come from multiple food sources such as lean meats, eggs, fish and grains, as well as those all-important vegetables.

  • What happens when you eat too much protein?

    Eating too much protein can lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens your bones, as well as worsening existing kidney issues. If you eat too much protein, especially more than your body burns then this excess is converted into body fat.

  • How do I get more protein into my diet? 

    If you want to add more protein into your diet, there are small changes you can make such as adding nuts and seeds to your porridge or salads. When eating a meal eat the protein part first, this will help you feel fuller quicker, you could also snack on cheese, boiled egg and yoghurt.