What Foods Are High in Protein? 36 Animal & Plant-Based Sources

Protein sources from animal products, like meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, and yogurt. tend to be higher in protein in comparison to plant-based sources of protein. In addition to having higher protein content, the type of protein found in animal-based food is also of high biological value, as these proteins are better quality and are more readily available to be absorbed by the body.  

Plant-based foods that are high in protein include legumes, like peas, soy, and grains. Legumes have great quantities of protein, and they can be added in a balanced diet to promote optimal functioning of the body. High-protein plant-based foods are staples in vegetarian and vegan diets. 

Protein is essential for many mechanisms within the body, such as cellular growth, repair, and maintenance of muscles, tissues, and organs, as well as hormone production.

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Animal protein sources

The following table indicates the quantity of protein per 100 grams of the listed food:


Protein per 100 g

Calories per 100g

1. Chicken

32.8 g

148 cal

2. Beef

26.4 g

163 cal

3. Pork (loin)

22.2 g

131 cal

4. Duck

19.3 g

133 cal

5. Quail

22.1 g

119 cal

6. Rabbit

20.3 g

117 cal

7. Cheese 

26 g

316 cal

8. Skinless salmon, fresh and raw 

19.3 g

170 cal

9. Fresh tuna

25.7 g

118 cal

10. Raw salted cod

29 g

136 cal

11. Fish (all types)

19.2 g

109 cal

12. Eggs

13 g

149 cal

13. Yogurt

4.1 g

54 cal

14. Milk

3.3 g

47 cal

15. Kefir

5.5 g

44 cal

16. Shrimp

17.6 g

77 cal

17. Cooked crab

18.5 g

83 cal

18. Mussels

24 g

172 cal

19. Ham

25 g

215 cal

Protein intake after physical activity is important as it helps to prevent lesions and helps muscle recovery and growth.

Plant-based protein sources

It is especially important to incorporate high-protein vegetables into vegetarian diets in order to ensure the adequate intake of amino acids. This helps to maintain muscle, cell, and hormone production. Check-out the following table to see which plant-based food sources contain high amounts of protein: 


Protein per 100 g

Calories per 100g

20. Soy

12.5 g

140 cal

21. Quinoa

12.0 g

335 cal

22. Buckwheat

11.0 g

366 cal

23. Millet seeds

11.8 g

360 cal

24. Lentils

9.1 g

108 cal

25. Tofu

8.5 g

76 cal

26. Beans

6.6 g

91 cal

27. Peas

6.2 g

63 cal

28. Cooked rice

2.5 g

127 cal

29. Flaxseeds

14.1 g

495 cal

30. Sesame seeds

21.2 g

584 cal

31. Chickpeas

21.2 g

355 cal

32. Peanuts

25.4 g

589 cal

33. Walnuts

16.7 g

699 cal

34. Hazelnuts

14 g

689 cal

35. Almonds

21.6 g

643 cal

36. Brazil nuts

14.5 g

643 cal

How to enhance absorption of plant-based protein

For those on a vegetarian or vegan diet, in order to ensure adequate intake of high-quality protein, high-protein plant sources should be combined with foods that promote absorption of protein in the digestive system. Some examples of food combinations are:

  • Rice and beans (any type)
  • Peas and corn seeds
  • Lentils and buckwheat
  • Quinoa and corn
  • Brown rice and red beans

These food combinations and a varied diet are important to maintain the body’s growth and proper functioning in those who do not ingest animal protein. In the case of lacto-ovo vegetarians, their diets can additionally include protein that comes from eggs, milk, and other dairy products.

Achieving a high-protein diet

When attempting to consume a high-protein diet, you are advised ot have 1.1 to 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day. The exact quantity that needs to consumed should be calculated by a registered dietitian, as recommended protein amounts will vary from person to person. Your adequate amount depends on your age, gender, physical activity, health history and your current health status.

Also recommended: High Protein Diet: What to Eat & Avoid (with 1-Week Meal Plan) tuasaude.com/en/high-protein-diet

This diet is advised for weight loss and muscle gain, and can especially be effective when combined with exercises that promote muscle hypertrophy. Check out our tips for gaining muscle and see which exercises you should be performing.

Are there foods that are rich in protein but low in fat?

All plant-based foods (except for nuts) mentioned in the table above are rich in protein and low in fat. On the other hand, animal-based foods that are low in fat and rich in protein can include low-fat meat like chicken breast (skinless), egg whites, and low-fat fish, like cod fish.