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10 High-Protein Foods Everyone Should Know About

19 July 2023

Food industry experts recommend high-protein diets to support muscle growth, maintain strong bones, create strong immunity, and encourage satiation. With increased awareness about healthy eating and vegan/vegetarian diets, businesses in hospitality must be more creative with their food offerings.

Healthy fats and carbohydrates can promote overall health, but protein also plays a vital role. It should thus be a priority in any diet.

A study in Frontiers in Endocrinology demonstrated that high-protein diets have many benefits, like managing blood sugar levels, weight management, and assisting with maintaining bone health. Therefore, protein becomes an essential part of one’s overall health.

Protein Defined

While most individuals have heard about protein, many don’t know exactly what it is or how it fits into their diet. Proteins contain amino acids that the body utilizes for various functions. This ranges from building proteins within the body to forming hormones. 

Therefore, when people digest whole proteins from hamburgers, or a hearty soup, amino acids make up that protein absorbed by their cells. They are then later used for several functions.

When it comes to amino acids, 20 comprise proteins. They are categorized as the following:

  • Conditional amino acids: Crucial in times of stress or illness, their classification as an essential amino acid is conditional.

  • Essential amino acids: These are amino acids that the body does not create. They are obtained through our diet.

  • Nonessential amino acids: These types of amino acids are ones that our body does make. Therefore, it is not essential to include them in our diet.

The 10 Most Essential High-Protein Foods

Protein is found in multiple food products, and most are items that we use daily. Protein is a macronutrient and is found in rice, meats and vegetables. However, many other foods contain protein that is useful in promoting a healthy diet. These include the following:

1. Chicken breast

Chicken is versatile and a commonly consumed menu item. It contains a great deal of protein. Chicken breasts are a good source of vitamin B, protein, and contain selenium and zinc.

There are 26.7 grams of protein in one half of a chicken breast.

2. Eggs

Whole eggs provide an absorbable protein. They provide several minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Egg whites contain pure protein. However, whole eggs, which include yolk, generate more nutrients and healthy fats.

A large egg has 6.3 grams of protein.

3. Cottage cheese

This cheese type is low in calories and fat, but high in protein. It contains phosphorus, calcium, vitamin B12, selenium, riboflavin, and other nutrients. 

One cup will give you 28 grams of protein. Other high-protein cheeses are cheddar cheese (3.96 grams per one 17-gram slice) and mozzarella (6.29 grams per one ounce).

4. Almonds

This tree nut is rich in vitamin E, fibre, manganese, and magnesium. They are exceptionally high in plant-based proteins. Eating them lowers heart disease risk factors (high LDL cholesterols) and high blood pressure.

One ounce of almonds gives you 6 grams of protein. Other nuts include cashews (4.34 grams per one-ounce serving) and pistachios (5.73 grams per one-ounce serving).

5. Milk

Milk has every nutrient necessary to promote overall health. It is a source of high-quality protein. It also contains phosphorus, calcium, and riboflavin. Unfortunately, those who are lactose intolerant will have to avoid dairy foods. However, some dairy alternatives are equally as rich in protein.

One cup of dairy milk will provide you with 8.32 grams of protein.

6. Lentils

Lentils are the richest source of plant-based protein. They provide an excellent option for vegan or vegetarian diets. They are a good source of fibre, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, iron, and manganese. 

Studies indicate that those who regularly consume legumes decrease their risk of fatty liver disease and heart disease.

A one-half cup of cooked lentils gives you 9.02 grams of protein. Other legumes are chickpeas (7.05 grams of protein per 100 grams, cooked) and black beans (8.86 grams of protein per 100 grams).

7. Fish

Fish is rich in protein and provides selenium, iodine, and vitamin B12. By consuming fish, risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease are significantly lowered. Fatty fishes like herring and salmon have high levels of omega-3 fats, which benefit overall health, including heart health.

Every fish type is high in protein. One half (124 grams) of a salmon fillet has 30.5 grams of protein. A cod fillet has 41 grams per 180 grams.

8. Peanut butter

This beloved spread is an excellent plant-based protein source, but only as natural peanut butter. It is a versatile topping, as it is enjoyed on a sandwich, used as an ingredient, or in desserts.

However, with growing nut allergies, there is pressure for restaurants and eateries to become nut-free. For patrons suffering from nut allergies or who don’t like peanuts, other options like seed butter or nut butter are similar in protein content.

Two tablespoons of peanut butter provide 7 grams of protein.

9. Pasta

While largely considered a carbohydrate, a two-ounce serving of semolina pasta is the protein equivalent of a large egg. You can top pasta with quick meat sauces, or to add additional protein, try making a one-pot Italian sausage and kale pasta

For additional pairings, look for something meatless. Plant-based toppings can be loaded with protein and provide a delicious flavour. 

One cup of cooked pasta provides 8 grams of protein.

10. Protein powder

To provide customers with a quick yet nutritious meal option, protein powder is handy. It can be added to pea protein and whey for shakes or smoothies. You can place it in yogurt, energy balls, and other food items to increase satiety and protein.

Pea protein powder will give you 15 grams of protein per scoop. Whey has 16.6 grams of protein per scoop.

If you are looking for some other sources of protein, consider adding the following to your menu:

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Ezekiel bread

  • Peanuts

Elevating Your Protein-Rich Meal

As industry food experts, Hela Spice knows how to elevate your next dish with the best and most flavourful spices! Our spices will elevate your flavours with high-quality ingredients. 

With endless flavour applications, you will taste the difference that our spices make to your culinary experience. We cater to various tastes, ranging from browning solutions to smoke and grill to classic recipes. Furthermore, all these great spices are delivered at an affordable cost.

To see what we offer and how we can help create your next great dish, contact us at 905-852-5100 or fill out our contact form here.

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