What Are Protein-Rich Foods? 8 Protein-Inspired Meal and Snack Ideas

What Are Protein-Rich Foods? 8 Protein-Inspired Meal and Snack Ideas

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Give your body the fuel it needs with these protein-rich foods.

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A skillet with protein-rich eggs in tomato sauce.

MAY 10, 2024   

Key Takeaways

• Protein helps maintain muscle and support weight loss maintenance.
• Aim for about 25-30 grams of protein per meal.
• Choose protein-rich foods for meals and snacks to help meet your daily protein needs.

Protein is having a moment in the nutrition world. It helps with muscle-building, strength and weight maintenance. Protein contributes to satiety, and research suggests high-protein diets are optimal for sustained weight loss. And because you may begin to naturally lose muscle after the age of 30 — as much as 8% of overall muscle mass every decade — getting enough protein as you age is even more important. So how do you know if you're getting enough?

The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities throughout the day to add protein-rich foods from a variety of sources to your diet. Aiming for 25-30 grams of protein per meal can help you meet your needs. If that seems like a lot, consider working in a few protein-rich foods between meals.

What Are Protein-Rich Foods?

If you’re aiming for at least 25 grams of protein per meal, choose protein-rich foods that deliver a significant portion of your goal. Read on for some excellent options.

1. Eggs

One large egg not only has 13 essential vitamins and minerals, it also contains 6.3 grams of protein, making it a great post-workout snack to support muscle growth and repair.

Try it: Start your day with a veggie omelet or opt for a hard-boiled egg with a dash of salt and pepper as a snack.

2. Cottage Cheese

There's no denying that cottage cheese is a protein-filled snack. Just 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese has 12 grams of protein and bone-building calcium. It's a suitable replacement for cream cheese or ricotta in many recipes, as it has fewer calories and less fat.

Try it: Toast up a slice of multigrain bread and top with cottage cheese, sliced pears and a drizzle of honey for a sweet and savory pick-me-up.

3. Protein Shakes

Keep protein on the agenda during busy days by grabbing a PROTALITY™ nutrition shake — a 150-calorie nutrition shake with 30 grams of high-quality protein and 1 gram of sugar. Get targeted nutrition with protein for muscle health and support your nutrition goals during your weight loss journey in an easy, on-the-go option.

Try it: PROTALITY™ comes in milk chocolate or vanilla. Blend it together with your favorite fruits and ice for a delicious, protein-packed smoothie.

4. Edamame

Looking for snack foods that are high in protein? This vibrant soybean isn't just for sushi night. Frozen and prepared edamame delivers about 18 grams of protein, iron and calcium, as well as one-third of your recommended daily fiber intake in just 1 cup.

Try it: Pick up a package of edamame in the frozen section of the grocery store and microwave for a few minutes. Top with chili powder and red pepper for a spicy snack or soy sauce and rice vinegar for a twist on the classic. Or try dry-roasted edamame for an on-the-go option: one 45-gram pack delivers 20 grams of protein.

5. Tuna

Tuna is a convenient source of protein that is easy to keep on-hand. One 6-ounce can contains about 40 grams of protein and your favorite mix-ins can add even more nutrition.

Try it: Drain the liquid from the can and mix tuna with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, chopped celery, and onion. Eat it on crackers for a protein-rich afternoon snack.

6. Lentils

Lentils are an inexpensive way to add ample amounts of protein to your diet. One cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein, more than one-third of your recommended daily iron intake, and 15.6 grams of fiber, making it a great choice for vegans or vegetarians looking to increase their nutrition.

Try it: Blend cooked or canned (and drained) lentils with your favorite seasonings — lemon juice, cumin, garlic, sun-dried tomato — for an easy lentil dip.

7. Almonds

You may associate almonds with "good" fat, but these tiny tree nuts are also a healthy source of protein. If you eat about 23 whole almonds, you'll consume about 6 grams of protein, along with iron and calcium.

Try it: Eat a handful of unsalted almonds as an afternoon snack, or sprinkle chopped almonds on a favorite salad or casserole for some added crunch.

8. Tempeh

This fermented soybean is a natural source of gut-healthy probiotics and provides about 34 grams of protein in just 1 cup. When baked, it can be a great snack or addition to any meal.

Try it: Soak sliced tempeh in your favorite marinade, coat with panko breadcrumbs and bake for delicious, healthy tempeh "fries."

Preserving Muscle When Trying to Lose Weight

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Key Takeaways

• Muscle matters. It helps support your daily activities, movement and energy metabolism.
• During weight loss, it’s common that muscle mass is lost, too.
• Getting plenty of protein can help preserve muscle when losing weight.

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Healthy Foods to Eat Every Day: 365 Days of Nutrition

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A person holds out a bowl filled with vegetables and legumes.


Healthy Foods to Eat Every Day: 365 Days of Nutrition


Key Takeaways

• It's important to eat a well-rounded diet that consists of a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
• Small, incremental changes can make a big difference to your health over time.
• Turning your short-term goals into a long-term lifestyle takes time.

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