Up Your Intake! 10 Foods High in Protein
To build muscle you need protein. Pretty simple, right? Maybe in theory, but the actual practice is where most of us seem to fall short.
The prevailing belief of getting in one gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight we possess can get a bit daunting and downright tough. Day in and day out you try to cram in as much protein as you can still feeling like you come up a bit short. What are you to do?
Do you eat more chicken breasts and down even more protein shakes? Do you suffer through even more bland, boring meals only in hopes to ingest more protein? What kind of life is this?
Let’s look at a few ways you can add protein to your diet without overthinking this whole thing. You do want to have a life outside of the gym and kitchen, right?
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10 Foods High in Protein
#1 – Whey protein powder
As one of the most versatile protein sources, it’s old news to think it’s only reserved for your shaker cup. Whey protein can easily be added to some of your favorite fitness-friendly foods without much fuss.
Simply add a scoop to a fruit smoothie, oatmeal, pancakes, healthy cookies, and yogurt and even make it into a pudding-like food while adding a little water and peanut butter. Convenient, easy to use and portable, whey is a go-to when it comes to getting a quick shot of protein when you need it most.
#2 – Nuts
Ah nuts! One of the most overlooked bodybuilding-friendly foods around. Since they don’t exude the images of protein like a steak does, many relegate nuts by not including them on the protein priority list.
Packed full of healthy fats (especially walnuts, almonds and chestnuts) they also boast a significant dose of protein as well. Add them to salads, oatmeal, yogurt, pancakes, and smoothies or pack them by themselves in times when you are on the go or on the road.
Nuts are also great to have on hand at your desk or when you are away from food and you need that little fix to get you to your next meal especially when dieting.
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#3 – Yogurt
If you haven’t boarded the yogurt bandwagon yet then it’s time you stepped up. Specifically the Greek kind, yogurt has a myriad of benefits including active cultures for gut and digestive health, plenty of vitamins and minerals and not to mention a hefty dose of muscle-building protein.
Use it either as a standalone protein snack, an additive to a smoothie or mixed with berries, granola, nuts or whey. Yogurt is fast and portable and a convenient way to get in some quality protein.
#4 – Meat salad
A salad is a salad, right? Normally packed with greens, other veggies and a healthy, oil-based dressing it’s a great side to any complete meal. But what about jacking up your salad to muscle-building status?
Adding in ground meat, ground turkey, deli meat or chicken breast will make your mundane salad into a serious mass-gaining weapon. So, instead of sweating a meal of a variety of different foods all prepared differently simply fill a huge bowl of plenty of veggies, some low-fat cheese and the meat of your choice. Top it with an olive oil dressing and you will have a meal that is ideal for those wanting to stay lean and build some muscle.
#5 – Cheese
Once vilified for its fat and lactose content cheese has a made a comeback thanks to the peace we’ve made with fat intake and the health benefits that are now known. Adding a serving of low-fat cheese to many meals will instantly up the protein factor.
Add to salads, meat dishes, scrambled eggs, or just have it in the form of cheese sticks, it will provide plenty of both whey and casein forms of protein.
#6 – Milk
Milk has been another vilified food as of late. Aside from specific milk that are nut-based (such as almond milk), there have been a few brands that are now lactose free but still pack a plentiful amount of protein per serving.
Add it to oatmeal, protein shakes and as an additive to eggs and pancakes. Milk, much like cheese, contains both whey and casein forms of protein so you have extra insurance during those long periods between meals.
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#7 – Fortified breads
Not a huge or exclusive source of protein but fortified breads do have significant amounts of protein per slice. With some containing up to 5 grams per slice, replacing your old, tired zero-protein bread for sandwiches can give you an additional 10 grams per meal.
These breads oftentimes also contain additional vitamins and minerals as well. Just be sure you find breads that state 100% whole grain and that the first ingredient is wheat, not bleached flour.
#8 – Eggs
Eggs were once the benchmark regarding quality of protein. Its bioavailability is superior to many other protein sources meaning that little is lost or burned in digestion and more goes to where it needs to go – recovery and building muscle.
As a convenient, easy digestible source of quality protein, eggs also contain key types of fat to help regulate important hormones such as testosterone. Add them to oatmeal and pancakes or add in some cheese, add hardboiled eggs to salads, rice and salads.
#9 – Beef jerky
By far the most convenient on the portable protein list, beef jerky requires no refrigeration just a pocket and an appetite. Although not necessarily touted as a staple protein source it does provide a significant amount of the muscle-building stuff; enough to warrant it as an option during times of travel or holding you over until your next regular meal.
Found in many different forms and flavors beef jerky also comes in low sodium varieties.
#10 – Casein protein powder
Much like its whey protein powder relative, casein is much more slowly digestible making it great for when you will have a chunk of time between other protein-rich meals. Mixed in water, milk or added to other foods such as yogurt casein is a perfect food to have just before bed when building muscle is on your to-do list.
It’s also super-convenient when you need something long-lasting and portable at work or on the road.