Top 10 Foods Highest in Protein

Featured Article,Healthy Recipes and Nutrition,Nutrition
January 7, 2012

Find your protein needs in these top choices.

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roast chicken
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Proteins are found throughout our bodies. We eat foods with proteins that are then digested into amino acids. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20 different amino acids combine to make proteins. Our bodies cannot make all the types of proteins we need, so we must get them from our food.

RELATED: Protein-Packed Foods

The healthy choice is to choose protein-rich foods that are also low in saturated fat. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends choosing a 6-ounce piece of salmon with 34 grams of protein and only 4 grams of saturated fat instead of a 6-ounce broiled porterhouse steak with 38 grams of protein and a whopping 16 grams of saturated fat.

The list for the top 10 foods highest in protein only includes protein-rich foods that are also lower in fat and containing other essential nutrients. The top five protein-rich foods include seafood and poultry. Seafood is generally a good source of protein. Of the 22 varieties listed on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration food chart for cooked seafood, only the oyster had less than 15 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving.

1. Turkey. Turkey tops the list because the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) searchable database for nutritional information lists turkey (all classes, meat only, cooked and roasted) as containing 41 grams of protein per one-cup serving. It is also low in fat and contains essential minerals like iron and magnesium.

2. Chicken. Easy to find and versatile to cook, chicken’s protein amount varies depending on the cut of the meat and how it is cooked. Chicken roasted with no skin has 40 grams of protein per one-cup serving. To make it easy, try Tyson® Grilled & Ready® products!  They are pre-cooked with a great grilled taste and ready to use when you are.  These low-fat, calorie smart, preservative-free products can pack in up to 24 grams of protein per serving.  To make it even easier for your busy day, these products are located in your grocer’s refrigerated and frozen sections.  They are the smartest way to help you eat right.

3. Scallops. Six large scallops pack a nutritional punch, with 27 grams of protein and 14 percent RDI of iron.

4. Tuna. Three ounces cooked tuna has only 130 calories but 27 grams of protein. It also contains 14 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of potassium.

5. Salmon. Depending on the type of salmon, its protein amount may range from 22 grams to 24 grams per 3 ounces cooked. Salmon also contains iron, calcium and vitamins A and C.

6. Almonds. While almonds and nuts, in general, are high in protein, they also are higher in fat. Eat nuts in moderation. One ounce of almonds has 21 grams of protein.

7. Cottage cheese. A popular diet food, a one-half cup of low-fat cottage cheese contains 16 grams of protein. That is roughly the same amount found in a 3-ounce serving of orange or swordfish. Regular cottage cheese, one-half cup, has 14 grams of protein.

8. Yogurt. Dairy products are a good protein source, with one cup of nonfat yogurt containing 13 grams of protein. The same amount of low-fat yogurt has less, just 11.9 grams, but more than one cup of skim milk, which has 8.4 grams of protein.

9. Edamame. Edamame or soybeans are a nutritious choice, with 11 grams of protein in each one-half cup cooked serving. Popular in stir-fry, their nutty flavor pairs well with a variety of foods.

10. Tofu. A versatile food that can be added to soups, salads and casseroles, tofu offers 10 grams of protein per one-half cup serving.

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