High Protein Foods for Satiety & Health

High protein foods are essential for maintaining muscle mass, supporting weight management, and ensuring overall health.

Foods rich in amino acids are crucial in repairing tissues, producing enzymes and hormones, and keeping you energized throughout the day.

In this article, we will explore a variety of high protein foods that can help you meet your dietary needs.

From lean meats and dairy products to plant-based options like beans, nuts, and seeds, incorporating these high protein foods into your diet will provide numerous health benefits and keep you feeling your best.

High Protein Foods (Per Serving)

Our satiety analysis clearly shows that we have a strong appetite for protein. If we get less protein, we’ll crave higher-protein foods until we get the protein we need. Foods that contain more protein per serving, like the ones listed below, enable us to meet our minimum protein intake.

The serving sizes in the infographics and lists below are based on our analysis of half a million food entries. While various databases contain arbitrary serving sizes, these are the amounts that Optimisers consume.

These foods will empower you to meet your minimum protein requirements.

High-Protein Meat

Lean meats are a great source of bioavailable protein.  Our Optimisers tend to get more of their protein from animal-based sources than other food groups.  

High-Protein Meat

The protein foods list below shows the amount of protein (in grams) you’ll get from some of the most popular protein-packed foods and the typical serving sizes that we eat them in. 

  • turkey breast – 82 g/260 g serve
  • ribeye steak – 69 g/220 g serve
  • lamb roast – 56 g/205 g serve
  • ground beef (lean) – 54 g/120 g serve
  • sirloin steak – 53 g/185 g serve
  • pork chops- 53 g/190 g serve
  • chicken breast – 47 g/110 g serve
  • pork steak – 45 g/140 g serve
  • liver – 40 g/115 g serve
  • leg ham – 39 g/150 g serve

High Protein Seafood 

Not everyone’s favourite, but seafood is a treasure trove of protein and elusive micronutrients. 

High Protein Seafood 

Here are some of the most popular high-protein seafood options that will give you more protein per serving. 

  • salmon (farmed) – 40 g/165 g serve
  • cod – 40 g/150 g serve
  • snapper – 39 g/120 g serve
  • tilapia – 31 g/115 g serve
  • tuna – 25 g/95 g serve
  • mackerel – 23 g/90 g serve
  • shrimp/prawns – 22 g/80 g serve
  • mussels – 19 g/75 g serve
  • oyster – 17 g/165 g serve
  • scallops – 15 g/65 g serve

High-Protein Dairy & Egg

Dairy products aren’t just about calcium; they can also be a fantastic source of protein.

The list below shows how much protein you might get from popular dairy options. 

  • Greek yogurt – 15 g/130 g serve
  • goat cheese – 14 g/45 g serve
  • egg – 14 g/95 g serve
  • Jarlsberg cheese – 13 g/45 g serve
  • Swiss cheese – 13 g/40 g serve
  • cottage cheese – 13 g/90 g serve
  • Edam cheese – 12 g/40 g serve
  • egg whites – 11 g/90 g serve
  • mozzarella – 11 g/45 g serve
  • cheddar cheese – 10 g/45 g serve

High-Protein Legumes, Grains, Beans, Nuts & Seeds

Plant-based foods may have a lower protein percentage and bioavailability, but with some extra effort, you can still get protein on a plant-based diet.   

High-Protein Legumes, Grains, Beans, Nuts & Seeds

However, while plant-based foods provide some protein, the protein per serving is much smaller than complete protein foods like meat and seafood.  

  • natto – 20 g/100 g serve
  • lentils – 13 g/125 g serve
  • lupini – 11 g/65 g serve
  • peanuts – 10 g/35 g serve
  • oatmeal (steel cut) – 10 g/75 g serve
  • whole wheat bread – 9 g/70 g serve
  • pasta  – 8 g/130 g serve
  • pistachio nuts – 7 g/30 g serve
  • peanut butter – 6 g/25 g serve
  • almonds – 5 g/25 g serve

Highest Protein Foods Chart

Curious how your favourite foods stack up in terms of protein?  Dive into our dynamic chart showcasing popular foods, comparing protein % vs. protein per serving.  

  • To boost your protein intake, prioritise foods that contain more protein per serving to the right.
  • To get the protein you need with less energy, you should prioritise the foods at the top of this chart. This will result in greater satiety and fat loss.

For an immersive experience, explore the interactive Tableau version.  

How Much Protein Should I Eat Per Day?

The minimum amount of protein we need is a hotly debated topic.  

  • According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, adults need at least 0.8 g/kg body weight or 10% of total energy intake. 
  • The upper limit of the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range for protein has been arbitrarily set at 35% of calories based on typical intakes. 
  • Meanwhile, 1.0 g per lb or 2.2 g per kilo body weight is a general rule of thumb for bodybuilders who want to optimise their protein intake for muscle building.

As shown in the chart below, our analysis of 1,041,736 days of data shows a bliss point for protein at 12.5%, which aligns with the maximum energy intake—think ultra-processed junk food. If we get less than this, we’ll crave higher-protein foods. But once we get above this, we eat less while meeting our protein needs more efficiently.  

To reiterate, if you’re getting less than 12.5% protein, you need to focus on high-protein foods, like those shown above, which contain more protein per serving. Meanwhile, if your goal is fat loss, once you get the minimum amount of protein, you must prioritise protein-rich foods with a higher protein % to ensure you get the protein you need without excess energy.

Should I Be Concerned About Getting “Too Much Protein”? 

No.  Most people don’t need to worry about consuming too much protein.  Your appetite tightly regulates your protein intake based on your needs.  Protein is a poor energy source, so once you have the protein you need, your appetite for high-protein foods shuts down.   For more details, see Can Eating Too Much Protein Kill You?  The Truth About Rabbit Starvation.

As shown in the frequency distribution chart below, most people gravitate toward the tastiest, most seductive kryptonite foods that align with maximum energy intake.  The average protein intake for the US and other countries where processed food is readily available is around 15%. 

Towards the left-hand side of these charts, the data shows that many people consume less protein than their bodies need.  If this is the case for you, focus on high-protein foods to get more protein. 

However, if you’re already getting enough protein and want to increase satiety to aid weight loss with less hunger, your focus needs to shift to getting the protein you need with less energy.  That is a higher protein % or protein-to-energy ratio.     

You might think that consuming a higher protein percentage equates with more protein.  But the relationship is not that simple.  There seems to be a natural limit to our protein intake, which we hit at around 40% of our total energy intake. 

Based on this analysis, we’ve set our Optimal Nutrient Intake for protein at 40%.  Once you’re getting more than 40% of your energy from protein, it’s time to focus on ensuring you’re getting enough of the other essential nutrients from your food. 

Our data analysis shows that protein intake tops out at 130 g of protein on average.  Once you push your protein above 40%, you’re not eating more protein; you’re just consuming less energy.   

While the data shows trends and gives us fascinating insights about protein, there is no one-size-fits-all prescription.  The amount of protein you need will depend on various factors, such as your activity levels and muscle mass.   

In our Macros Masterclass, we guide our Optimisers to tweak their diet incrementally, shifting their focus from carbohydrates and fats to protein.  The result?  Increased satiety, eating less, and shedding unwanted pounds with less hunger and unsustainable willpower struggles.  Rather than jumping to extremes, we show you how to use your current foods to achieve greater satiety. 

Should I Use Protein Powders to Increase My Protein? 

Protein powder is a convenient way to increase protein intake, especially if you’re active and need more protein. However, protein powders are effectively pre-digested, providing less satiety than protein-rich whole foods. They are also less nutritious and often more expensive.

If, like most people, you’re looking to increase satiety and manage hunger, whole-food protein sources are usually a better option. For more on the pros and cons of protein powders, check out The Best Protein Powder for You: A Comprehensive Guide.

NutriBooster Recipe Books 

Looking for recipes that make nutrient-rich protein foods a star player in your meals?  Download samples of our high-protein NutriBooster recipe books

high protein recipes

High Protein Foods Lists  

Before you go, grab our printable PDF high-protein-diet food lists in our Optimising Nutrition Community here.

Once you get adequate protein and want to increase satiety for weight loss, you can focus on increasing your protein percentage with our protein-rich foods.

protein rich foods

Macros Masterclass

If you’re looking to fine-tune that delicate balance between protein and energy, don’t miss our exclusive Macros Masterclass.  

More Protein Foods

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