20 high-protein foods
Nourish your body and delight your palate with our satisfying recipes packed with protein – we have meat, fish, veggie and vegan options to try
Looking for creative ways to add more protein to your diet? Do you want to try some new protein-rich foods? If so, you'll love our recipes below, then take a look at our top 20 high-fibre foods.
Protein is an essential nutrient you can find in every single cell of the human body. It plays vital roles in growth, development and repair. While many of us may associate protein with boosting our energy and supporting muscle growth, the building blocks – amino acids – which make up protein actually help to produce key neurotransmitters or brain chemicals that are critical for supporting a balanced mood and preventing conditions such as depression and anxiety.
20 high-protein foods to try
Eggs are a breakfast staple – they help you to feel fuller for longer so you don't reach for the mid-morning snacks. Try them in our vibrant spring greens shakshuka, packed with veggies.
Brighten up dinnertime with our healthy chicken and black bean stew, a punchy midweek meal that's as nutritious as it is delicious.
Tofu is a great plant-based protein source and is really versatile. Coat it in sesame seeds to add a satisfying crunch to this fiery kimchi and tofu traybake.
Spicy seasoning and rosemary sweet potato wedges bring our cajun salmon recipe to life. It packs in the protein at 39.5g per portion and makes for a quick and easy midweek meal for two.
Oats have lots of health benefits and are super easy to prepare. Mix together the ingredients for this vegan overnight oats recipe in the evening, and you'll have a nutritious breakfast ready and waiting for you in the morning.
Beef up your protein intake by using brisket in our healthy chilli. It's joined by kidney beans and black beans to boost that protein count to more than 40g per portion.
Who says comfort food can't be healthy? This easy tuna pasta bake is full of good stuff – including a decent portion of protein – and is as hearty and filling as you could hope for.
These nutty, subtly sweet bites add to the nutritious benefits of our banana and berry kefir smoothie. Full of plenty of good bacteria, this fruity drink makes a great on-the-go breakfast.
As well as being a great source of protein, lamb also carries plenty of important vitamins and minerals, like B12, zinc and iron. Put it to work in these healthy lamb koftas with kale salad.
If you want to boost your protein intake with plant-based sources, tempeh is a great way to go. Our tempeh and pineapple skewers treat it to a tasty marinade of umeboshi paste, shaoxing wine, Chinese five-spice and chilli.
Broccoli is a healthy source of fibre as well as protein, so whip up these broccoli and peanut soba noodles for a nutritious 20-minute meal one night this week.
Not just for Christmas, turkey is a healthy source of protein. Use it to make this wholesome turkey ragu – it's much like a bolognese, only a little lighter.
13. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is different to regular yogurt because it's strained to remove the whey – this means it's lower in sugar than the standard stuff. Dairy-based, it's rich in protein and is especially great for vegetarian diets. Use it in our recipe for chickpea fritters with green chilli and cucumber salad.
Often underrated, lentils are really affordable and full of nutritional benefits – including plant-based protein. This wholesome spiced squash, spinach and lentil soup is a great way to put them to work in a healthy meal.
Good-quality peanut butter is made solely from ground peanuts, so is a handy way to add protein to smoothies. Try our peanut butter, banana and berry smoothie – perfect to whizz up and go.
Pep up your prawns with chorizo and chilli for a protein-packed dinner that has a real kick. Our easy prawn jambalaya recipe will show you how.
A gluten-free grain and source of all nine amino acids, quinoa is high on the list of healthy protein-rich ingredients to include in a plant-based diet. In our vegan quinoa chilli, it's paired with black beans, chilli and smoked paprika for a satisfying supper.
Like other legumes, chickpeas pack a nutritious punch, with protein, fibre and iron among their benefits. They make a great side to meat but can also form the basis of hearty vegetarian meals, like these Moroccan-style stuffed peppers.
19. Kidney beans
Perhaps best known for their role in chilli con carne, kidney beans are actually very versatile sources of protein. Give them a whirl in this nutrient-packed three-bean casserole – it's vegetarian and super warming for chilly days.
This mild Indian cheese packs in the protein – and it's easy to rustle up a homemade version. Use it in dishes like this mutter paneer, whose protein credentials are bolstered further with the addition of peas.
Tracey Raye is the health editor for olive and BBC Good Food. Tracey, MSc, is a registered nutritionist, holding a master’s degree in personalised nutrition. She is passionate about harnessing the power of all things health and well-being – in a way that enhances, rather than limits our lives. She covers our nourishing recipes and collections, oversees our health strategy and stays adrift of the latest health and lifestyle trends in order to bring you the tools and inspiration you need to find what health means for you.
Comments, questions and tips