Protein is one of the three essential macronutrients that form a healthy diet. It’s possibly one of the most talked-about elements of fitness and weight loss. Especially with those looking to lose weight or gain muscle. Find out how to get more protein in your diet with these easy ways to increase your protein intake.
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How To Get More Protein In Your Diet
When you first start working out you realise how much extra protein you need to take in and it can be a little intimidating. Especially when you want to have a varied diet and not eat chicken breast all of the time.
There are some very interesting foods that you can include in your diet that are packed full of protein and are versatile to complement a range of meals or mix with other things like your protein powder.
Getting more protein in your diet can help you eat less and improve your chances of losing weight. It’ll keep you feeling fuller for longer, speed up your metabolism and make it easier for you to build more muscle.
It might seem like a challenge to increase your protein intake, however using the following ideas can help you to get more protein without unsettling your current routine.
Whey Protein Powder
First on the list is a pretty obvious one but Whey Protein Powder is an easy way to increase your protein intake without sacrificing too many calories. It’s also extremely versatile and aside from just drinking protein shakes you can include whey protein powder in a number of recipes to enhance the flavour while adding a substantial amount of protein to your meals.
You can add protein powder to smoothies, yoghurt, cookies or simply have a shake with water. It’s a really easy way to get more protein without much effort involved at all.
Depending on the brand, you’ll typically get around 20g of protein per 25g scoop and it’s only 100 calories per 25g serving!
My favourite brand is My Protein. They are low calorie with a high amount of protein per scoop and they taste phenomenal!
If you’re in the market for a great tasting protein powder then check out My Protein. They regularly have fantastic discounts to save you at least 25% (though usually more). They offer sample packs so you can try out new flavours to find your favourite and they’ve even got a starter pack that includes 1 kg of protein and a very sleek and durable shaker bottle.
0% Fat Greek Yoghurt
0% Fat Greek Yoghurt is another great option to increase your protein intake. Unlike other standard or flavoured yoghurts, Greek Yoghurt is low in sugars but high in protein.
Depending on the brand you go for, it’s not too expensive and if you typically go for the stores own brand it’s a relatively cheap way to fill out certain meals or create delicious snacks to help you get more protein.
On average, for 100g of 0% fat Greek yoghurt you’ll get 10.3g of protein, 0g fat and 3g carbs in only 54 calories.
Greek yoghurt is a thick and creamy style of yoghurt that can help to fill you up for fewer calories. If you’re used to flavoured yoghurts you might notice the taste is a little bland at first but there are a few hacks you can try that will make all the difference.
You can add Greek yoghurt to smoothies, add it to your morning granola, create a tasty yoghurt bowl with some fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, combine it with some fruit and protein powder then freeze it to make nice cream, add it into jelly to make up a low-calorie mousse, or even add into curries to get more protein in your diet. Even if you just combine it with 25g of protein powder to make a pro-yo you’ll get around 30g of protein for only 154 calories.
Boiled eggs are a really simple way to get more protein in your diet. Yes, the yolk is where all the fat is but one medium boiled egg contains approximately 8.3g of protein in only around 80 calories.
They’re a really easy snack to make up too. Simply boil up a few eggs and keep them in the fridge for up to a week. That way you can have something healthy on hand to grab when you’re feeling peckish.
Liquid Egg White
Eggs are a great source of protein and as I mentioned above, the yolk is where all the fat hides. Therefore if you’re trying to increase your protein intake but also manage your fat intake then you might consider reaching for liquid egg whites instead.
For 100g of liquid egg whites you’ll get 11g protein for only 48 calories.
Simply cook up in a few minutes for an egg-white omelette, or make up some anabolic French toast courtesy of the one and only Greg Doucette or even anabolic blueberry pancakes to keep you going all day.
Beef Jerky is a great snack to help you increase your protein intake without wiping out your calorie count for the day. In a 25g portion you’ll get a whopping 10.3g protein in only 70 calories.
And let’s be honest, you might actually burn a couple of those calories when trying to eat the jerky. You know it’s tough but it’s also pretty tasty.
Although I wouldn’t recommend eating Beef Jerky every day, it can be a good snack to have once or twice a week or when you’re in a hurry and need to grab something healthier that will help you get more protein in too.
Of course, chicken breast was going to make an appearance on this list. It was only a matter of time. And yes, I can feel the eye roll right now but hear me out.
Chicken is a really great source of protein. It is. And I’m not by any means suggesting you need to only eat chicken, broccoli and rice for the rest of your days. More so that you should include chicken in a variety of meals or have it as a snack as a way of increasing your protein intake.
Don’t get me wrong, nothing boils my blood more than supermarket product advertising such as ‘protein pots’ with a price tag of 5 x the value (because of the word protein on the label) when really it’s a plastic container of plain sliced chicken breast that’s probably the size of my baby finger.
Chicken is a pretty bland meat but that’s a good thing sometimes. It lends itself to so many recipes and you can get creative with your flavours.
Per 100g of chicken breast you will get a massive 24g protein in only 106 calories. It’s essentially on par with protein powder and definitely shouldn’t be snubbed as a great way to get more protein in your diet.
Tinned Tuna (In Water)
Ok, I know not everyone likes fish. And even some who do like fish can’t stand tinned tuna but it’s a really excellent source of protein. It’s also pretty cheap too.
Typically, for 100g of tinned tuna you’ll get 27g protein in only 113 calories. There’s no carbs and maybe half a gram of fat. That’s pretty impressive!
If you’re going for tinned tuna, try to buy tuna in spring water rather than sunflower oil or brine (to save on calories of course). Tuna can be a bit dry sometimes but you can liven it up with some low calories sauces to make it much easier to eat.
I prefer to eat tuna in a salad wrap or on top of some toast with some light mayo and sweetcorn. Though it’s pretty versatile and you can really go to town with your recipes.
I’m nuts for nuts. They are a highly nutritious snack and even more so, they can complement many meals. Nuts are a rich source of protein and are packed with antioxidants. Be warned though they are quite high in calories for a small portion, but they do contain a high amount of healthy fats.
A 28g portion of mixed nuts contains 173 calories, 5g protein, 16g fats, and 6g carbs.
Simply have a handful of nuts as a basic snack, or use as a topping for salads and curries to get more protein and healthy fats in your diet.
Chia seeds contain a large amount of fiber, omega 3 fatty acids and of course, protein.
While you might not necessarily want to eat a handful of chia seeds, they are a great ingredient to add to smoothies, porridge or yoghurt. In fact, they’re also great for creating delicious puddings with too.
A simple chia pudding can be made with a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds, 120ml of your choice of milk and a drizzle of honey. Delish! Their ability to absorb liquids makes them incredibly filling for a small portion size.
In one 25g portion you’ll get 4.1g protein, 2g carbs, 8.6g fiber, and 7g fat for only 122 calories.
Another great way to get more protein in your diet is to eat trail mix. Ok, this may seem like a cop out because it’s essentially combining nuts and seeds with some dried fruit but hear me out.
Trail mix is a delicious snack and even more so when you follow my recipe to make these super tasty trail mix chocolate bars inspired by The Body Coach.
For only 185 calories per portion you’ll get 5.4g protein, 12g fat and 11.7g carbs.
These trail mix bars are also an excellent way to curb your sweet tooth with something healthy, and are a delicious not so naughty treat to enjoy with your evening cuppa.
100% Nuts Peanut Butter
100% nuts peanut butter is the best type of peanut butter you can buy. Not only does it provide a great source of protein, it’s ideal for curbing cravings and it’s free from any additives like salt, sugar, preservatives and palm oil. That means you’ll get all the benefits of peanut butter without any of the nasty ingredients added to many standard brands.
You can add peanut butter to many meals or snacks to enhance the flavour and increase your protein intake. Eat it with some celery sticks for a delicious crunchy bite, Make a PB&J sandwich, add to porridge or even curries for a delicious nutty flavour.
My favourite peanut butter is My Protein Smooth All Natural Peanut Butter. Although it’s quite calorie dense, raking up 614 calories per 100g, there’s also a massive 30g protein!
I should mention that you’re unlikely to eat 100g of peanut butter in one go, but even if you have 10g of peanut butter on some toast, it’s only 61.4 calories for 3g protein. Win. Win. Win.
Hummus is a delicious high protein dip made with chickpeas and tahini (and sometimes other ingredients like red onion, peppers and garlic). It’s a great option to have with some vegetable sticks like celery and carrot sticks, or even a limited amount of breadsticks or crackers to provide a high-quality source of protein.
If that doesn’t float your boat, try adding some hummus to your pasta, noodles or even to a flatbread pizza. The options are limitless.
Per 100g you’ll get 7.3g protein, 15.8g fats and 11.3g carbs in 226 calories.
Fat Free Cottage Cheese
Ok, you might think cottage cheese looks a bit… gross. But it’s actually a really great source of protein for very little calories.
While you might not want to eat it on its own, it can be great when it’s added to other foods. Blend with oats and protein powder for a delicious dessert. Combine with sugar-free jelly for another variation of mousse or even make a lower calorie cheesecake. There are hundreds of ways to use cottage cheese to get more protein.
Depending on the brand you use, typically for 100g of cottage cheese you’ll be able to add 10g of protein to your diet and it’s only 62 calories.
Lentils can be a great way to fill out a meal with very little effort. They’re packed full of protein but the best part is they are low in calories!
You might be wondering what can you really do with lentils, well again, there’s a fair amount that you can do. Sub lentils in place of pasta, rice or noodles to make a filling meal. You can also add into salads, soups and stews for a highly nutritious meal.
In 100g of cooked lentils (which is LOADS) you’ll get 9.02g protein, 0.38g fat and 20g carbs for only 116 calories.
Peas are rich in fiber and are one of the best plant-based sources of protein. Also, if you’re vegan, peas are a great source of iron to increase your red blood cells.
Not so surprisingly, peas are a pretty common ingredient for many British meals. They can easily be thrown into soups, salads, and curries or served with classic fish and chips. Or you can even sprinkle a bit of salt, pepper and vinegar and eat some peas as a tasty snack. Maybe this is just a Belfast thing? I don’t know, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
An 80g cooked portion of peas contains 5.4g protein, 1.3g fat and 8g carbs in only 63 calories.
Edamame beans, also known as Soya beans are a fab source of protein. They’re also high in fiber, antioxidants and vitamin K which is an added bonus.
They’re pretty versatile and can be included in many meals to increase your protein intake. Add into your favourite homemade bento box, sprinkle over your salad, blitz into a dip, or simply roast some edamame beans with some salt, pepper and spices to enjoy as a mouthwatering snack.
100g contains 11.7g protein, 6.8g fat, 3.8g carbs in only 131 calories.
Protein is essential to a healthy diet and in particular it’s highly talked about with those looking to lose weight or build muscle. When you first start working out you will realise how important it is to ensure you’re getting enough protein in your diet. It may be intimidating at first but I have covered a number of easy ways to increase your protein intake that won’t blow your calorie count for the day.
You don’t necessarily only need to eat chicken breast as a way to get more protein in your diet, there are a variety of interesting foods that you can include to achieve your protein goals.
By including some or all of these foods into your diet you will guarantee a varied diet full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as quality protein sources without disrupting your current routine.
What’s your favourite ingredient, meal or snack mentioned here? Do you have other suggestions that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know in the comments.