11 Easy Sources of Protein You Could Be Missing Out On

Protein Matters?

Protein is a necessary element of a healthy and balanced diet. And it’s also one of the factors which often comes up when we discuss different TYPES of diets. Mainly plant protein choices that eliminate meat and animal sources. According to the Institute of Medicine, the current Recommended Dietary Allowance for this amino acid is 0.8 g/kg/day for adults over 18 years old.

The IOM defined this intake as the level required to meet sufficient daily needs for most healthy individuals. However, this recommendation is to prevent deficiencies rather than support optimal health.

Protein gets broken down into amino acid building blocks in your digestive tract, which is used to synthesize hormones, support proper organ function, repair damaged cells, and even generate new ones. But enough of the technical talk. Let’s see what protein in a healthy lifestyle looks like. Here are 11 important protein-packed foods you should be consuming.

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Although some people can’t include milk or other dairy products in their diet, it’s an inexpensive source of highly absorbable protein for those able to digest it. Milk comes in many fat percentages and can be found in any grocery store, making it a convenient choice. A half-gallon of conventional milk has an average price of around $2.50, while organic milk costs about $4.

One glass of whole milk contains over 8 grams of highly absorbable protein, along with loads of other vitamins and minerals. It’s incredibly high in the minerals calcium and phosphorus, which help keep bones strong and healthy. Since milk is a liquid, it can be even be used as a base for smoothies and soups.

Whole milk also makes an excellent high-calorie, protein-rich ingredient for those who are trying to gain weight and muscle mass. Unfortunately, we should also mention that milk is a somewhat old-school option as a source, but it DOES work better than almost anything else.

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Eggs, especially those that are pastured or enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, are possibly one of the most efficient protein sources. They are also excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. You can usually find pre-made hard-boiled eggs at the grocery store. But if you have some time, we recommend making your own.

Just place the number of eggs you want in a pot with water. When the water comes to a rolling boil, turn off the heat, cover the eggs, and let them sit for about 10 minutes, depending on how you like them. Then, strain the water, run cold water over the eggs, and peel off the shell.

You can find them in abundance in any market or store for only a few bucks. One egg crams 6g of high-quality protein, along with the other nutrients present in the egg. You can enjoy them hard-boiled, scrambled, poached, or in whatever way you like!

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Peanut Butter

The peanut butter sandwich has been a childhood favorite for as long as we can remember. And what you might have thought was an unhealthy creamy spread is actually packed with high amounts of protein due to its peanut content. A standard sandwich prepared with one tablespoon can contain up to 7g of it, which isn’t too bad for a sandwich spread!

You can also use PB as a protein-rich ingredient for various kinds of desserts or snacks. Try banana slices dipped in creamy peanut butter. You’ll get the added energy too! It is also budget-friendly, with an average cost of around $2.50 for a 16oz jar. Aside from being a great aid to your health, peanut butter can be used in many delicious ways.

We recommend adding it to your favorite smoothie for a significant boost. Also, studies have shown that people who include peanuts and peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop certain chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Just be sure to opt for natural peanut butter whenever possible to avoid unwanted ingredients like sugar and oils.

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This is a wonderful source of protein, and the canned version is no exception. If fresh fish is too expensive for your budget, canned tuna is an excellent way to boost your intake without breaking the bank. Many people can’t handle tuna because of its notorious smell.

But if you don’t have a problem with tuna, make sure to eat it as a source of high amounts of protein. A typical can of tuna that serves one can have up to 30g of it. And, it’s pretty easy to prepare too!

Most brands of tuna cost around $1 per 5oz can. Additionally, tuna is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation in the body. However, canned tuna may contain high levels of mercury, so adults should limit their intake to a few servings each week.

Whey Protein Shake

A whey protein shake is an effortless way to reach your daily protein needs. You can either buy a pre-made one or add protein powder to a glass of water, milk, or any other favorite drink.

Whey protein is particularly adequate because it’s a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the EAAs, including the branched-chain amino acids.

It’s associated with increased muscle mass and strength, faster metabolism, fat loss, and lower blood pressure. It’s also more easily and quickly absorbed than other forms of protein. There are three main types of whey protein.

The first is whey protein concentrate. This type of whey is about 80% protein and contains some lactose and fat. The second is whey protein isolate. This type is higher in protein, 90% or higher, and has less lactose and fat. However, it’s not as nutrient-dense as whey protein concentrate.

The third is whey protein hydrolysate. This type of whey is pre-digested, meaning that it’s easier for your body to absorb. Egg and pea protein are great alternatives if you can’t tolerate whey protein.

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Brown Rice

Brown rice is a healthy, whole-grain option that will give you a good start toward meeting your body’s daily protein requirements. If you’re thinking about your health long-term, it would be safe to presume that you’ve given up white rice at this point.

If you haven’t yet, you should stop eating white rice and substitute it with brown rice or, better yet,…have you heard of red rice? Brown rice is much higher in fiber compared to plain old white rice.

According to the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory, long-grain brown rice contains 5 g of protein in one cup, and a cup of medium-grain cooked brown rice has 4.5 g of protein.

But what people usually miss out on is the fact that it’s also higher in protein compared to white rice, which basically has no protein. So, if you haven’t already, consider switching to brown rice to get the most protein value out of your carbohydrates.

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Like peanut butter and peanuts, almonds, cashews, and even walnuts are also loaded with protein. Almonds and cashews even make for an amazing side snack to munch on throughout the day. Along with the protein, they also provide reasonable amounts of healthy fats to the body.

They also make for a delicious, protein-rich feast when added to your meals. They’re universal, easy to eat on the go, and a good source of plant-based protein, especially for people who eat few or no animal products.

Eating nuts can help you meet your daily needs, which is vital for building muscles, bones, and skin. Protein also increases feelings of fullness, helping you stay satisfied and energized. While all nuts contain protein, some are better than others.

What’s YOUR favorite nut?

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Protein Bars

While this one may be a no-brainer, hear us out. Protein bars are the ultimate easy “on the go” source of protein. We recommend a bar that’s higher in protein and fiber and doesn’t include a ton of sugar, artificial sweeteners, or carbs, such as a quest bar. These bars were literally invented to be easy and quick sources of protein.

Thousands of different brands worldwide make them, so they should be pretty easy to find at your nearest supermarket. The main difference between them all is the amount of protein they have. It can range from as low as 5-10g per bar to as high as 40-50g in bigger and denser bars.

Therefore, the price varies a lot too. In any case, protein bars aren’t exactly easy on your wallet. Due to the complex work companies put in to find and compress high-protein ingredients in a single bar, they usually have the power to sell them at a pretty high price.

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Fish Oil

We know what you’re thinking… fish oil is not a source of protein! But, we’ve added it to our list because fish oil complements protein and speeds up any type of recovery. It’s also been known to fight any muscle or tendon inflammation you may be experiencing.

Fish oil also promotes muscle growth since it has Omega 3 fatty acids and DHA.

Sidenote: Those fatty acids are also good for the brain, by the way. Fish oil is a must-take supplement for any gym-goer out there. It is perfect for speeding up recovery and helps you advance smoother and faster.

Chicken Breast

Chicken breasts have been a primary source of protein for many centuries. A slab of white, lean, and tender chicken breast can have up to 35g of protein, with minimal fat to go with it. This makes chicken one of the best protein sources since it’s light on your body.

Chicken breasts are also very easy to cook, unlike their beefier competitor, the beefsteak. Tip: Marinate your chicken breasts with papaya and cook them in a bit of butter instead of oil to make them softer and juicier.

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Often seen as a mere dairy dessert, Yogurt is seriously high in protein. Especially if we’re talking about Greek yogurt, it’s an alternate form of milk in essence, so it’s naturally high in protein. Not only that, but the cultured bacteria in this treat also does a great deal of good to your digestive system!

The best part is there’s no cooking time involved. They’re usually affordable and come in small cups, typically with around 5g of protein. You can eat it plain, in a smoothie, creamed into a tasty dip for vegetables, or added to baked items.

Look for brands with the “live and active cultures” label, meaning that it contains beneficial probiotics that can also improve your gut health and even help you lose weight. As an added benefit, choosing a plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt is a great way to keep your added sugar intake to a minimum.

Sidenote: buying larger sizes is a great way to save money because 24oz of plain Greek yogurt costs around $5.

If you enjoyed this topic, we have many other ones that may interest you. For example, check this out!

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