20 easy ways to get more protein in your diet

20 easy ways to get more protein in your diet

This article is going to show you 20 easy ways to get more protein in your diet. I’ve broken the foods down into three categories:

-High protein foods

-High fat, moderate protein foods

-High carbohydrate, moderate protein foods

When you first start tracking macros, one of the most common things you’ll find is that you can hit your fat and carbohydrate target without a problem, but you fall short on protein. 

There are various ways to increase your protein intake. The first step is learning what foods are a good source of protein- you’ll accomplish this if you keep reading. Then it’s a matter of working out what food to add and subtract from your current diet so that you hit both your calorie and protein targets. If you don’t know why both calories and protein are king and queen when it comes to improving your body then you should read this too.


20 easy ways to get more protein in your diet:

Add high protein foods 

This is the easiest way to add protein to your diet. You can choose from any of the following foods that are mostly protein and contain very little fat or carbohydrate. These foods are generally low in calories for the amount of food you get. They’ll also help keep you full which is great if your goal is fat loss.

You may need to remove some carbs and fat from your diet to allow for the protein calories.

1. White meat

100g chicken breast = 105 calories, 22g protein

100g turkey breast = 117 calories, 21g protein

100g white fish = 73 calories, 15g protein

100g shrimp = 90 calories, 20g protein

100g squid = 78 calories, 17g protein

(all figures are for meat weighed raw not cooked)

Potential uses:

-Add to salads or soups or anything you normally eat

-Eat on there own as snacks (season with salt and pepper so they taste better)

-You can just increase your portion sizes if you already eat these and that will help increase protein

2. Egg-whites

100g of egg whites = 47 calories, 11g protein

Potential uses:

-Add to oats and make egg white oats

-Make as an omelette

-Scramble with veggies

-Add to any curry or pasta sauce

-Add to salads

Note: these taste best when seasoned with herbs or salt and pepper. If you want something sweet you can put honey or berries on top. Bottom line is they need something to flavour them! 

3. No fat greek yoghurt

100g of no fat greek yoghurt (Chobani brand) = 57 calories, 10g protein

Potential uses:

-Add to cooked oats to make them creamier

-Add a tiny bit of hot mustard and a bit of water to make runny then use as a salad dressing

-Add berries to make into a dessert

-Add some protein powder to flavour it and have as a snack

4. Whey protein powder 

30g of Whey protein isolate = 119 calories, 23g protein

Potential uses:

-Add to a smoothie

-Can use to make protein pancakes

-Add to oats or cereal for flavour

-Make a warm protein hot chocolate by mixing protein powder with 100ml of milk and then adding warm water (need to stir it as you add water to prevent protein from clumping)

Note: I don’t like protein shakes as such but I like using protein in all the other ways mentioned above to help me hit my target.

5. Tin tuna

100g of tuna in spring water = 110 calories, 24.6g protein

Potential uses:

-Add to salads

-Add to a sandwich or have on rice cakes

-Mix into cottage cheese or light smooth ricotta with some spices and use as a high protein dip

6. Cottage cheese

100g of light cottage cheese = 90 calories, 12.5g protein

Potential uses:

-Mix in finely sliced cucumber, celery or grated carrot and some salt/pepper and eat as a snack

-Use as a topping for pasta instead of regular cheese

-Add to salads instead of dressing or regular cheese

-Add berries and eat as a dessert

7. Bone broth

200g of chicken bone broth = 40 calories, 8g protein

Potential Uses:

-Drink on its own

-Cook veggies in it and have as a soup

-Add some to any sauce you make (like curries or pasta sauces) to water it down instead of water


20 easy ways to get more protein in your diet:

Add high fat, moderate protein foods

Another option is to replace a food that is just fat with a food that is mostly a mix of protein and fat. You won’t get as much protein as you would from one of the foods mentioned above but it might help you get closer to your protein target if you’re only falling short by a bit.

Note that these foods will be higher in calories due to the fat content which means you’ll want to be extra careful of portion sizes to avoid going over your calorie target.

8. Whole eggs

1 whole egg (58g) = 74 calories, 7.3g protein, 4.9g fat

Potential Uses:

-Add to salads

-Poach in stewed tomato and veggies to make shakshuka

-Cook in oven over veggies to make bake eggs

-Add to extra egg whites so you get some of the flavour from the yolk but extra protein (from more whites) without the added fat and calories. Can make omelettes or egg muffins out of this mix.

9. Red meat

100g of fully trimmed steak raw = 122 calories, 20g protein, 4.6g fat

Potential Uses:

-Add to salad

-Eat on its own

-Finely slice and use in rice paper rolls

-Add to stir fry veggies

10. Salmon

100g of raw Atlantic salmon = 208 calories, 20g protein, 13g fat

Potential uses:

-Add to salads

-Eat on its own

-Mix into no fat Greek Yoghurt with seasoning/ spices and make a dip

-Add to egg white omelettes for extra protein and flavour

11. Hard cheese

30g of cheddar cheese = 113 calories, 9g protein, 11g fat

Note the small serving size!

Potential Uses:

-Have as an easy snack

-Add finely grated cheese to salads

-Add to egg white omelettes for extra protein and flavour

12. Tofu

100g of firm tofu = 88 calories, 9g protein, 4.6g fat

Potential Uses:

-Eat on its own with soy sauce

-Add to salads/ soups

-Add to stir fry veggies

13. Tempeh

100g of cooked tempeh = 196 calories, 18g protein, 11g fat, 9g carbs

Potential Uses:

-Eat on its own

-Add to salads

-Add to stir fry veggies

14. Peanut butter

Peanut butter isn’t a great source of protein but it does have protein in it. If you swapped the same amount of butter for peanut butter you’d consume less calories and more protein so it could be useful in that way.

20g Natural peanut butter = 126 calories, 5g protein, 11g fat

Compare that to 20g butter = 145 calories, 0.2g protein, 16g protein

15. Beef biltong

50g of beef biltong = 141 calories, 24.5g protein, 4.6g fat

Potential Uses:

-Eat as a snack.

-Good to take travelling.


20 easy ways to get more protein in your diet:

Add high carb, moderate protein foods

Finally you can eat more foods that are mostly carbohydrate but have significant amounts of protein in them. These foods are especially helpful if you’re vegan or vegetarian, or simply don’t like eating a lot of meat. When combined with some of the other sources above, they can help you reach your protein target. 

16. Pasta/ Grains

100g of dry pasta = 348 calories, 12.7g protein, 68.5g carbs

100g of dry quinoa = 376 calories, 12.2g protein, 61.8g carbs

17. Beans

100g of boiled red kidney beans = 127 calories, 9g protein, 23g carbs

Potential Uses:

-Add to curry, soup or salads

-Make Chilli

-Roast in oven with spices and add to trail mix

18. Lentils

100g of boiled lentils = 116 calories, 9g protein, 20g carbs

Potential Uses:

-Make soup, Dahl, or Chilli

-Can use in place of most recipes that requires mince meat

19. Skim milk

250g of Skim Milk = 90 calories, 9g protein, 12g carbs

Potential Uses:

-Drink it on its own or add to coffee

-Add protein powder for flavour and more protein

20. Edamame 

100g of edamame = 122 calories, 11g protein, 10g carbs, 5g fat

Note that these also have quite a bit of fat in them but are still mostly protein and carbs.

Potential Uses:

-Add to salads

-Have as a snack 

A note on protein bars:

If you’ve made it this far and are wondering why protein bars aren’t on the list, here’s why:

There is nothing wrong with protein bars. They can be an easy way to get more protein in your diet.

However, if fat loss is your goal, you’d be better off getting your protein from protein powder. Protein bars are high in calories for the size and amount of protein you get. Some of them have decent protein but some of them are actually higher in fat and carbs. If you want to include them be sure to check the nutrition label to make sure protein is the main macronutrient provided.

Even if your goal is to build muscle, meaning your calorie needs are higher, I still think you’d be better using a protein powder and then enjoying a chocolate bar (it tastes better for similar calories). The exception to this is if you’re travelling of course and have limited options. A protein bar in that case would be better than a chocolate bar if there’s no other source of protein available. 

Why does protein matter so much?

Protein is essential to the body. It’s used both structurally and functionally.

Whether you want to build muscle, lose fat or be healthy, eating enough protein is important.

If your goal is fat loss, protein will help to keep you full for longer. It’ll also help you to retain muscle when eating in a calorie deficit.

If your goal is muscle gain, protein is necessary to provide the building blocks for new muscle tissue.

Protein plays a role in your immune system, transporting nutrients, and forms the structure of most hormones and enzymes in your body.

I wouldn’t put so much time into sharing easy ways you can get more protein in your diet if it didn’t matter a lot!

If you’re unsure how much protein you need based on your goals you should read this article here.

If you want an exact plan, accountability and guidance in achieving your best body, you can apply for my online coaching program here.