Some small ways to increase your protein intake may include replacing cereal with eggs at breakfast, snacking on cheese, or starting your meals by eating protein sources first.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 recommends that adult females get at least 46 grams (g) of protein daily and adult males at least 56 g daily.

However, some researchers suggest that eating more than this amount may help lower your risk of some health conditions, such as:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • cardiovascular disease
  • obesity
  • metabolic syndrome
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • cardiovascular diseases

A high protein intake may also help increase weight loss, enhance muscle growth, and improve your overall health.

Keep reading to discover ways to help you increase your protein intake.

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Here are 15 easy ways to help you get more protein in your diet.

1. Eat your protein first

When eating a meal, eat the protein source first, especially before you get to the starches.

Protein increases the production of peptide YY (PYY), a gut hormone that makes you feel full and satisfied. A high protein may also decrease levels of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone.”

What’s more, eating protein first can help keep your blood sugar and insulin levels from rising too high after a meal.

In a 2015 study, people with type 2 diabetes were served identical meals on different days. Blood sugar and insulin rose significantly less when they consumed protein and vegetables before eating high carb foods, compared with when the order was reversed.

2. Snack on cheese

Many common snack foods, such as chips, pretzels, and crackers, are low in protein. For example, a 1-cup (30-g) serving of plain tortilla chips has 142 calories but only 2.1 g of protein.

That said, choosing high protein snacks can help you get extra protein into your diet.

A 1-ounce (oz) (28-g) serving of cheddar cheese contains 7 g of protein, along with nearly 30 fewer calories and 6 times as much calcium.

Some research suggests that cheese may even benefit heart health.

You can enjoy healthy cheese options with whole grain crackers, tomatoes, or sliced apples for a satisfying snack.

3. Replace cereal with eggs

Many breakfast foods are low in protein, including toast, bagels, and cereals.

Oatmeal contains more protein than most cereals. However, a 1-cup (240-g) serving only provides 5 g of protein.

On the other hand, 3 large eggs provide 19 g of protein, along with important nutrients like selenium and choline.

A 2017 study found that eating two eggs for breakfast instead of oatmeal reduces appetite and keeps you full for several hours. This may help you eat fewer calories later in the day.

4. Top your food with chopped almonds

Almonds are high in magnesium, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, yet low in digestible carbs.

They also contain 6 g of protein in a 1-oz (28-g) serving, which makes them a better source of protein than most nuts.

A 2021 study found that your body only absorbs around 78.5% of the energy in almonds. So, although a serving of almonds contains 170 calories, your body may only absorb 133 calories because some of the fats aren’t digested.

For an extra bit of protein, try adding a few tablespoons (tbsp) of chopped almonds over yogurt, cottage cheese, salads, or oatmeal.

5. Choose Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is a versatile, high protein food. It’s made by removing whey and other liquids to produce a richer, creamier yogurt that’s higher in protein.

A 3.5-oz (100-g) serving provides 10 g of protein, which is twice the amount in traditional yogurt. However, this may differ slightly depending on the specific brand.

A 2015 review suggests that yogurt increases the release of the gut hormones glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and PYY. These reduce hunger and make you feel full.

In addition, it contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to promote fat loss.

Greek yogurt has a tangy flavor that goes well with berries or chopped fruit. It can also be used as a substitute for sour cream in dips, sauces, and other recipes.

6. Have a protein shake for breakfast

Many smoothies contain a lot of fruits, vegetables, or juice, but very little protein.

However, using protein powders makes it easy to create a healthy, high protein shake. There are several types of protein available on the market, including whey, soy, egg, and pea protein.

Whey protein powder is the most popular and may help keep you satiated the longest.

On average, 1 scoop (28 g) of whey powder provides about 17 g of protein.

Here’s a basic whey shake recipe:

  • 8 oz (225 g) of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop (28 g) of whey powder
  • 1 cup (150 g) of fresh berries
  • stevia or another healthy sweetener, if desired
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) of crushed ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

To boost the protein content even further, add unsweetened nut butter, flaxseeds, or chia seeds.

7. Include a high protein food with every meal

Getting enough protein at each meal is important.

Several researchers recommend consuming 30–40 g of protein at each meal. This amount promotes fullness and preserves muscle mass better than smaller amounts eaten throughout the day.

Examples of foods high in protein include:

  • meat
  • fish
  • poultry
  • eggs
  • legumes
  • soy products like tofu or tempeh

5 Delicious High Protein Foods to Eat

8. Choose leaner, slightly larger cuts of meat

Selecting leaner cuts of meat and increasing portion sizes slightly can help boost the protein content of your meal.

What’s more, your meal may even end up being lower in calories.

For example, compare the nutritional value of a 3-oz (85-g) serving of these two steaks:

  • T-bone steak: 21 g of protein and 250 calories
  • Sirloin steak: 26 g of protein and 150 calories

9. Add peanut butter to your diet

Peanut butter is a delicious, high protein food with a creamy texture that pairs well with a variety of ingredients.

Peanut butter has been associated with:

Spreading 2 tbsp (32 g) of peanut butter on sliced fruit can boost the total protein content by 7 g.

That said, it’s important to choose natural peanut butter with no added sugars.

10. Eat lean jerky

Lean jerky is a quick and convenient way to get more protein into your diet.

However, it’s important to choose a healthy type. Many types of jerky contain high amounts of sodium, sugar, and preservatives, and they could be made from low quality meat.

A 2020 review suggests choosing meats that come from grass-fed animals. These may provide better quality meat with higher amounts of healthy omega-3 fats.

Lean jerkies contain about 9 g of protein per 1 oz (28 g).

They can often be stored for several months without refrigeration and are also portable and ideal for travel.

11. Indulge in cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is high protein food. A 1-cup (210-g) serving contains 23 g of protein and 176 calories.

A 2015 study found cottage cheese to be as filling and satisfying as eggs. What’s more, full fat varieties are a good source of CLA, which may promote fat loss and lead to improved body composition.

Cottage cheese is delicious on its own. However, you can also try it with chopped nuts or seeds, cinnamon, and stevia for a quick and easy breakfast.

Additionally, smaller amounts of cottage cheese make a great snack between meals and can be added to fruit salads or smoothies to bump up their protein contents.

12. Munch on edamame

Edamame is the term for steamed soybeans in their unripened form.

Soybeans have more protein than other legumes and are popular among vegetarians and vegans. One cup (155 g) of edamame has 18.4 g of protein and 188 calories.

Edamame is also high in a flavonoid known as kaempferol. A 2021 review suggests that kaempferol may have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and anti-depressant benefits, among others.

Edamame can be purchased fresh or frozen and makes a great snack. It can also be added to stir-fries, salads, stews, and rice dishes.

13. Eat canned fish

Canned fish is a fantastic way to boost your protein intake.

It requires no refrigeration, so it’s wonderful for travel. It can also be enjoyed as a snack or with a meal.

A 3.5-oz (100-g) serving of canned fish contains about 19 g of protein and just 90 calories.

Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel are also excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These may help fight inflammation and improve heart health.

You can combine canned fish with healthy mayo, serve it in a salad, eat it straight from the can, or add it to an omelet, croquette, or pasta dish.

Whole grains are rich in important nutrients, such as:

What’s more, they could also help ramp up your intake of protein.

For instance, a 1-cup (185-g) serving of cooked quinoa contains 8 g of protein, while cooked amaranth provides over 9 g of protein per cup (246 g).

This is more than refined grains like white rice, which contains just 4 g of protein per cooked cup (158 g).

Other examples of protein-rich whole grains include:

Try swapping these ingredients in for refined grains in recipes like pilafs, stir-fries, and grain salads.

Legumes are a great source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

For example, a 100-g (2.45-oz) serving of white beans contains 24.5 g of protein, while 100 g of lentils contains 23 g of protein.

You can add legumes to chillis, sauces, and patties, and you can roast them in the oven to add them to salads.

What foods are high in protein intake?

Some foods that are high in protein include:

  • lean meats
  • seafood
  • legumes
  • cottage cheese
  • nuts
  • whole grains
  • Greek yogurt

How can I raise my protein levels quickly?

Some tips to help you increase your protein intake include:

  • adding a protein source to each meal
  • swapping classic breakfast foods like cereals for eggs
  • eating high protein snacks, such as edamame, nuts, and cottage cheese
  • drinking a protein shake

How can I get 100g of protein a day?

Some studies suggest that you should aim for 30–40 g of protein per meal. Having a high protein breakfast and lunch, as well as snacks throughout the day, can help you get 100g of protein per day.

Getting enough protein in your diet is very important.

A high protein intake can offer numerous benefits, including helping you lose weight, gain muscle, and improve your body composition and metabolic health.

If you need further dietary guidance on your appropriate protein intake or which foods to eat, speak with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian. They can help develop a nutrition plan that’s right for you.