What are protein-rich foods and how much protein should be consumed daily?

As we all might know or remember from the days in school, ‘Proteins are bodybuilding foods’, that provide us with energy when needed, help bulk up on the muscle, lose fat and eventually help us stay healthy. The amount of protein to be consumed daily depends greatly on the age and weight of an individual. According to the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), the daily intake of protein should be at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This guideline is also indicative of the fact that this amount is the bare minimum an individual should consume in order to remain healthy, which also means that an individual should usually exceed this limit and not restrict himself to this particular limit.


Now, the real question is how do you determine what is your current intake? Do you need to increase your intake or your current intake is sufficient enough to cater to the needs of your body?


As recorded in one of the Harvard Medical School’s health blogs, to determine an individual's daily protein intake, all you need to do is simply multiply the individual’s weight in pounds by 0.36. If you wish to avoid this number crunching and cut yourself some slack, you may also look out for online protein calculators that may help you complete this enormous task, with just some simple inputs regarding your diet and weight.


Consumption of foods that contain protein is very crucial to maintain overall good health. Following are the benefits of protein to the body:

  • Tissue Repair
  • Oxygenation of blood
  • Aids in digestion by enzyme synthesis
  • Regulation of hormones
  • Building lean muscle
  • Reduce muscle loss
  • Curbing hunger
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Speedy recovery after exercise/injury
  • Positive impact on resting metabolism
  • Improves bone health
  • Lowers blood pressure

List of 43 protein-rich foods

Now that we have understood the importance of protein and the quantity in which it needs to be included in your daily diet, Now let’s dive into Foods that contain protein. Many times, while planning diets, people tend to confuse themselves between fats and proteins, which leads to miscalculations in the diet plan and overall impact on health micromanagement. Here’s presenting you the list of 43 protein-rich foods that will provide you ample amounts of protein.


Protein-Rich Foods For Vegetarians

(protein content per 100gm serving)


Protein-rich food for vegetarians mainly comprises protein-rich vegetables, nuts, and milk products. Most of the items mentioned here are easily available in a nearby grocery store. 

  1. Lentils
Protein food lentils

Lentils or locally known as ‘masoor ki dal’ are lens-shaped seeds, are rich in dietary fiber like any other pulse seed and are known to greatly benefit the heart health and improve blood sugar levels in the body.

  • Protein Content- 9gm
  • Calorie Content- 115Kcal
  • Diet- Simply baked and lightly seasoned, soup, stew, curry

  1. Edamame Beans
protein edamame beans

Fondly known as ‘bakla ki fali’ in the local markets and stores and is known to relieve as well as prevent the occurrence of prostate cancer, cardiovascular diseases, age-related brain diseases, and inflammation.

  • Protein Content- 11gm
  • Calorie Content- 112Kcal
  • Diet- Roasted and lightly seasoned, hummus, salad

  1. Green peas
source of protein green peas

Green peas or our very own ‘matar’ is not just significant because it gave us the knowledge of the very cherished, Mendelian genetics and heredity but also because it can easily be incorporated in any dish, be it salads, sandwiches, burger patties or the vegetarian delight ‘matar paneer’.

  • Protein Content- 5gm
  • Calorie Content- 84Kcal
  • Diet- cutlets, sandwiches, soup

  1. Black beans
protein food black beans

Black beans or popularly known as ‘urad ki dal’ is the most sought after option when making ‘dal makhani’ and mostly used for making south Indian delicacies like dosa, idli or medu vada. These seeds are instrumental in maintaining healthy bones, managing diabetes, combating heart disease and aids in digestion.

  • Protein Content- 9gm
  • Calorie Content- 132Kcal
  • Diet- burritos, salads

  1. Black-eyed beans
protein food black eyed beans

Commonly known as ‘ Chawli or Lobia’, black-eyed beans make a good choice for curries that are eaten with a hot bowl of rice. Black-eyed beans are known to promote digestive health and support weight loss.

  • Protein Content- 8gm
  • Calorie Content- 114Kcal
  • Diet- curry

  1. Baked beans

It is a good plant-based protein, rich in minerals like zinc and selenium. Baked beans provide energy and highly improve thyroid health and immune function.

  • Protein Content- 5gm
  • Calorie Content- 105Kcal
  • Diet- salads, tacos

  1. Chickpeas

The first picture that comes to your mind when one thinks of chickpeas, also known as ‘chana’ or ‘chole’, is usually a plate of spicy chole and neatly cooked giant-sized ‘bhature’. But chickpeas is not just a one-time appealing snack item but provides benefits like good bone health, cholesterol, prevention of anaemia and management of diabetes in the long run.

  • Protein Content- 9gm
  • Calorie Content- 164Kcal
  • Diet- curry

  1. Quinoa

Quinoa is known to be gluten-free, rich in protein and loaded with minerals. It helps maintain low blood sugar levels and boosts metabolism.

  • Protein Content- 4gm
  • Calorie Content- 120Kcal
  • Diet- salads, upma, soup, pulao

  1. Navy beans

Navy beans or commonly known as ‘white rajma’ are one of the most healthy seeds available for consumption. They are rich in dietary fiber and packed with iron, potassium, which makes them capable of preventing heart disease, maintaining blood glucose levels, improving memory and also providing iron for energy.

  • Protein Content- 6gm
  • Calorie Content- 67Kcal
  • Diet- salads, soup, hummus

  1. Chia seeds

Chia seeds or popularly known as ‘sabja seeds’ are fancy looking seeds that are mainly used in the preparation of juices or milkshake smoothies. Sabja is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid and is rich in iron and calcium. It helps maintain good heart health as well as prevents the incidence of stroke.

  • Protein Content- 16gm
  • Calorie Content-490Kcal
  • Diet- pudding, grounded into smoothies, juices, and salads

  1. 0% Greek yoghurt

This is one of those packed or canned items that can be easily available at the local grocery store. Greek yoghurt has become quite popular of late owing to its health benefits and low-calorie content.

  • Protein Content- 11gm
  • Calorie Content- 69Kcal
  • Diet- eaten as it is

  1. Vital wheat gluten

It is a natural protein found in wheat, which is nearly gluten and almost no starch. It is used as an additive in baking and improves the rise in raw dough, texture and chewiness of the final product.

  • Protein Content- 75gm 
  • Calorie Content- 370Kcal
  • Diet- seitan

  1. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is nothing but our very own ‘paneer’, the vegetarians' most favourite luxury delicacy that can be savoured with almost any dish. So be it ‘paneer sandwich’,  ‘paneer butter masala’, ‘ matar paneer’ or ‘shahi paneer’, cottage cheese in any form is an excellent source of calcium and protein. It prevents osteoporosis, helps maintain good bone health and even promotes weight loss.

  • Protein Content- 12gm
  • Calorie Content-  72Kcal
  • Diet- curry, sandwiches, roasted and lightly seasoned

  1. Tofu

Tofu is simply a fancier version of cottage cheese where both look the same, but differ in their origin with tofu being prepared from soy milk. Tofu is packed with micronutrients in the form of minerals like potassium, magnesium, and sodium along with macro minerals like iron and calcium that help maintain good bone and teeth health.

  • Protein Content- 8gm
  • Calorie Content- 76Kcal
  • Diet- roasted and seasoned with spices, baked

  1. Cashew nuts

Considered to be one of the richest dry fruits when it comes to usage in sweets and confectionaries, cashew nuts or fondly known as ‘kaju’ are packed with potassium, dietary fiber and significant amounts of fats. They can easily be certified as one of the healthiest munching snacks.

  • Protein Content- 18gm
  • Calorie Content- 553Kcal
  • Diet- roasted, salted, spiced, baked

  1. Peanuts

Peanuts or locally known as ‘mungfali’ are packed with carbs, potassium, and fats. They are also harnessed to extract oil, which is often used for cooking. Peanuts are known to promote weight loss as they contain low carbs and high amounts of good fats and protein. Despite being healthy, these nuts can make you gain those extra pounds if over-consumed.

  • Protein Content- 28gm
  • Calorie Content- 599Kcal
  • Diet- roasted, salted, spiced, baked

  1. Almonds

Almonds or ‘badam’ have often been associated with the brain, its sharpness and memory power. Rightfully so, almonds are a rich source of antioxidants, protein, magnesium and Vitamin E and keep your heart healthy, maintain good gut health and highly benefit your skin.

  • Protein Content- 21gm
  • Calorie Content- 575Kcal
  • Diet- roasted, salted, spiced, baked

  1. Peanut butter

One of the most popular snacks, peanut butter is packed with fats, proteins and is low on carbs. Thus it is a great means to promote weight loss.

  • Protein Content- 25gm
  • Calorie Content- 588Kcal
  • Diet- with bread, milkshakes, ice-creams, as it is

  1. Parmesan cheese

One of the members of the extremely famous and highly likeable cheese family, parmesan cheese originated in Italy, is inspired by the original Italian cheese and is also used most commonly in dishes like pizza and pasta.

  • Protein Content- 39gm
  • Calorie Content- 392 Kcal
  • Diet- spaghetti, parmesan butter sauce with roasted vegetables

  1. Cheddar cheese

Cheddar is a versatile cheese from the enormous cheese family and has been known to originate from the United Kingdom. It can be used in the preparation of skillets, straws, appetizers or even desserts.

  • Protein Content- 25gm
  • Calorie Content- 403Kcal
  • Diet- macaroni, sandwiches, burgers

  1. Edam cheese

Edam cheese is a semi-hard cheese that has originated from the Netherlands and is commonly used in preparations of appetizers and desserts.

  • Protein Content- 25gm
  • Calorie Content- 357Kcal
  • Diet- pizza, garlic bread, lasagna, risotto

  1. Tempeh cheese

It is a traditional Indonesian product made of soy that is combined with cheese and can be used as a substitute for ground beef for the preparation of salads or steaks.

  •  Protein Content- 19gm
  • Calorie Content- 193Kcal
  • Diet- mac n cheese, tacos, burgers, stuffed capsicum

Sources of protein for non-vegetarians

(protein content per 100gm of serving)


Sources of protein for non-vegetarians are different from sources of protein for vegetarians. Non-vegetarian foods that contain protein mainly include a mix of all kinds of meat ranging from chicken, pork, beef and fishes like sardines, scallops, shrimps or halibut.


  1. Chicken breast

Chicken breast is the most sought after piece for making fried chicken appetizers or soup. It is loaded with fiber, potassium, cholesterol, and proteins and does not have carbs.

  • Protein Content- 23.5gm
  • Calorie Content- 195Kcal
  • Diet- Simply baked and lightly seasoned, soup, stew, curry, roasted and spiced

  1. Egg Whites

Egg whites are the most preferred over egg yolk as they do not have cholesterol and are loaded with essential minerals like potassium and sodium.

  • Protein Content- 11gm
  • Calorie Content- 52Kcal
  • Diet- boiled, scrambled, souffle

  1. Chicken liver

Chicken livers are also packed with a basket of nutrients including antioxidants, fats, and cholesterol. People who have fine developed taste prefer liver over the breast.

  • Protein Content- 24gm
  • Calorie Content- 167Kcal
  • Diet- fried, roasted and seasoned with spices

  1. Salmon

Salmon or fondly called ‘Rawas’ is a seawater fish that is known to occur in the coastal waters of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

  •  Protein Content- 23gm
  • Calorie Content- 200Kcal
  • Diet- baked and seasoned with spices

  1. Sardines

Sardines are also known as ‘Pedve’ is again a seawater fish, popular in the konkan belt of the country and along the coasts of the state of Kerala.

  • Protein Content- 25gm
  • Calorie Content- 208Kcal
  • Diet- grilled and fried, baked and seasoned with spices, used in tacos and pasta

  1. Halibut

Halibut is also known as ‘bakas’ are ocean fishes that are usually found in the shores of the great Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

  • Protein Content- 27gm
  • Calorie Content- 140Kcal
  • Diet- grilled and seasoned with spices

  1. Anchovies

Anchovies are also known as ‘kati’, they contain the highest amount of omega-3fatty acids along with calcium, iron, and phosphorus. It reduces the risk of heart disease, lowers blood pressure and helps relieve any kind of menstrual pain and discomfort.

  •  Protein Content- 29gm
  • Calorie Content- 210Kcal
  • Diet- salads, roasted and spiced

  1. Cod fillet

Cod is popularly known as ‘gobro’ and is rich in vitamins and essential minerals, especially vitamin D. It helps enrich bone health and regulate body metabolism.

  • Protein Content- 17gm
  • Calorie Content- 97Kcal
  • Diet- crispy fried, baked and seasoned

  1. Tuna

Tuna or locally known as ‘chura’ is one of the most nutritious seafood and is packed with the goodness of omega 3 fatty acids and helps in weight loss, repairs immune function, provides a healthy heart and prevents the risk of cancer.

  • Protein Content- 23.8gm
  • Calorie Content-108Kcal
  • Diet- patties, pasta

  1. Prawns

Prawns are locally more popular as ‘jhinga’ , and are mostly savoured in the southern coasts of Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. It is loaded with high concentrations of zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus and helps improve immune functions.

  • Protein Content- 17gm
  • Calorie Content- 99Kcal
  • Diet- dry roasted, baked and seasoned

  1. Shrimps

Shrimp is a rich source of antioxidants and promotes heart health. Shrimps are originally obtained from Asia including parts of Thailand, India, Indonesia, and China.

  • Protein Content- 18.4gm 
  • Calorie Content- 100Kcal
  • Diet- grilled or baked with seasoning, pasta

  1. Scallops

Scallops are rich in magnesium and potassium and greatly benefit cardiovascular health and Alzheimers.

  • Protein Content- 21gm
  • Calorie Content-  111Kcal
  • Diet- pan-seared or grilled with light seasoning

  1. Turkey breast

Culturally popular in America and other western countries due to the Thanksgiving tradition, turkey or turkey breasts are beneficial in uplifting one’s mood as they promote high levels of serotonin in the body, are a good source of lean protein and hence promote weight loss.

  • Protein Content- 17gm
  • Calorie Content- 104Kcal
  • Diet- oven roasted with filling

  1. Pork loin steak

Being a good source of lean protein, pork loin steak is also essentially rich in vitamins and minerals like Vitamin b12, b6, phosphors, iron, selenium or zinc. It helps maintain good muscle mass.

  • Protein Content- 29gm
  • Calorie Content- 167Kcal
  • Diet- cooked with sauces prepared as per taste

  1. Ground beef

One of the most popular red meats, ground beef is indeed a good protein source yet needs to be consumed in proportions as it also is linked with cholesterol and incidence of heart disease.

  • Protein Content- 28gm
  • Calorie Content- 599Kcal
  • Diet- cooked with lasagna, spaghetti, nachos or burgers

  1. Octopus

Octopus is an excellent source of selenium and Vitamin b12, helps provide a good muscle mass without actually gaining much weight as it is low in fats.

  • Protein Content- 30gm
  • Calorie Content- 164Kcal
  • Diet- boiled, grilled or braised with sauces prepared as per taste

  1. Sausage

It is a rich source of iron and Vitamin B12, helps metabolise fats, plays a role in brain function, prevents nerve damage and enriches the production of haemoglobin.

  • Protein Content- 19gm
  • Calorie Content- 139Kcal
  • Diet- boiled, baked or stir-fried with light seasoning as per taste

  1. Beef fillet steak

Despite being red meat, it can prove to be healthy if consumed in limited proportions as it prevents iron deficiency, boosts mental health, supports metabolism and boosts energy levels.

  •  Protein Content- 27gm
  • Calorie Content- 195 Kcal
  • Diet- grilled or pan-seared

  1. Bacon

Similar to sausage it helps improve brain functions and regulates metabolism. Although it is healthy, it should be consumed in limited amounts as it also contains saturated fats and is known to be linked with increased levels of cholesterol and damage to heart health.

  • Protein Content- 38gm
  • Calorie Content- 533Kcal
  • Diet- cooked with pasta, sandwiches, burgers

  1. Pork chops

It is one of the healthy alternatives to red meat and is loaded with the goodness of essential minerals, and helps control weight.

  • Protein Content- 27gm
  • Calorie Content- 197Kcal
  • Diet- grilled, oven-baked or pan-fried

  1. Tilapia (fish)

Like many other kinds of seafood, it is an excellent source of vitamin b12, selenium, phosphorus and potassium. It is native to the Middle East and Africa and has firm flesh, mild and flaky taste.

  • Protein Content- 21gm
  • Calorie Content- 96Kcal
  • Diet- grilled or baked

So these were the best 43 Protein-rich foods that you can include in your diet. It is important to include protein in your daily diet to maintain a good balance of nutrition that will cater to all your body needs and help you be in good shape.


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