Protein Content of Foods

Protein is an important part of a well-balanced diet and essential for nearly every process that occurs in your body. Whether you’re looking for ideas to increase your protein intake or simply interested in optimizing your nutrition, this comprehensive guide will address the protein content of foods from several categories, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables, fruits, and protein supplements.

Make sure to download our Protein Content of Foods PDF.

Importance of protein in a balanced diet

Dietary protein is important for:

  • Muscle growth and strength
  • Maintenance and repair of all organs, cells, and tissues
  • Production of enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters
  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Digestion and absorption of nutrients

Essential amino acids & complete proteins

There are 20 standard amino acids. Your body makes 11 of these amino acids, which are called non-essential amino acids. The other 9 amino acids can only be obtained from food, and they are called essential amino acids.

Complete proteins are foods that contain all 9 essential amino acids in a high enough amount for optimal use by the body. These mainly include animal products and some soy foods. Most other plant-based foods are low in 1 or more essential amino acids and are referred to as incomplete proteins.

Incomplete proteins can be combined with other foods containing the missing amino acids to help optimize your body’s use of the amino acids. Generally, if you eat enough total protein each day, you won’t need to worry about tracking amino acids, but if you have a restricted diet or follow a vegan diet, you may want to be aware of the essential amino acids that may be low in your diet.

Protein content of foods

Food sources high in protein

While most foods contain some protein, focusing on foods high in protein can make it easier to meet your protein needs.

Foods that tend to be highest in protein per serving include meat, poultry, fish, egg whites, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, super-firm tofu, textured vegetable protein, tempeh, seitan, and protein powder.

Protein in common foods

Below, we compare the protein content of common foods, sorted by the following categories:

  • Meat, poultry, & fish
  • Dairy & eggs
  • Vegan meats
  • Legumes
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Non-dairy milk (general options)
  • Non-dairy milk (high-protein commercial options)
  • Other vegan foods
  • Protein powders

You can also download our free PDF reference.

Protein SourceServing SizeProtein (g)Calories
Meat, Poultry, & Fish
Beef (ground, 93% lean, raw)4 oz24172
Beef, Ribeye (boneless, trimmed to 0″ fat, raw)4 oz25156
Chicken Breast (boneless, skinless, raw)4 oz25136
Chicken Thigh (boneless, skinless, raw)4 oz22137
Pork Loin Chop (boneless, raw)4 oz25170
Pork Shoulder (boneless, raw)4 oz24145
Salmon (raw)4 oz25148
Shrimp (raw)4 oz2396
Tuna (Skipjack, canned)4.5 oz36150
Turkey Breast (deli sliced)4 oz20120
Turkey (ground, 93%, raw)4 oz21170
Dairy & Eggs
Cheese, Mozzarella (part-skim)1 oz772
Cheese, Cheddar1 oz6.5114
Cheese, Swiss1 oz7.5110
Cottage Cheese (2%)4 oz1390
Eggs1 large (50 g)672
Egg whites3 Tbsp (46 g)525
Greek Yogurt (non-fat, plain)5.3 oz18110
Milk (non-fat)8 oz880
Ricotta Cheese (whole milk)4 oz10200
Vegan Meats
Beyond Meatballs4.3 oz19290
Gardein Black Bean Burger1 patty (67 g)9170
Impossible Burger Patties4 oz19230
Seitan (Vital Wheat Gluten)4 oz37185
Tempeh4 oz24213
Textured Vegetable Protein4 oz26180
Tofu (super-firm)4 oz15130
Legumes (Cooked)
Adzuki Beans1/2 cup8.5147
Black Beans1/2 cup8114
Black-Eyed Peas1/2 cup799
Chickpea Pasta2 oz (uncooked)14190
Chickpeas1/2 cup7134
Edamame1/2 cup9190
Fava Beans1/2 cup6.594
Hummus1/4 cup5155
Kidney Beans1/2 cup8112
Lentils1/2 cup9101
Mung Beans1/2 cup7106
Navy Beans1/2 cup7.5127
Peas1/2 cup459
Pinto Beans1/2 cup11197
Soybeans1/2 cup15149
Nuts & Seeds (Shelled)
Almond Butter1 Tbsp4100
Almonds1 oz6163
Brazil Nuts1 oz4186
Cashews1 oz4162
Chia Seeds1 oz5138
Flaxseeds1 oz6140
Hazelnuts1 oz4178
Hemp Seeds (shelled)1 oz10180
Peanut Butter1 Tbsp495
Peanuts1 oz7166
Pecans1 oz3196
Pine Nuts1 oz4191
Pistachios1 oz6161
Pumpkin Seeds1 oz9159
Sesame Seeds1 Tbsp1.652
Sunflower Seeds1 oz6140
Walnuts1 oz4185
Grains (Cooked)
Amaranth1/2 cup2.5125
Bagel, White1 bagel (2 oz)5150
Bread, Multi-Grain1 slice (1 oz)475
Brown Rice1/2 cup2.5108
Buckwheat Groats1/2 cup2.978
Corn1/2 cup2.576
Millet1/2 cup3103
Oats1/2 cup2.570
Pasta, Whole-Grain (uncooked)2 oz7.5203
Quinoa1/2 cup4111
Rye Flakes1/2 cup498
Spelt1/2 cup5123
Teff1/2 cup5127
Tortilla, Corn1 tortilla (19 g)145
Tortilla, Wheat1 tortilla (50 g)6130
Vegetables (Cooked)
Artichoke Hearts1 cup342
Broccoli1 cup454
Collard Greens1/2 cup562
Mushrooms1 cup3.544
Spinach1/2 cup341
Sweet Potato1 cup4180
White Potato1 cup1.557
Apricot (dried)1/2 cup2157
Banana1 cup (150 g)1.5134
Blackberries1 cup262
Guava1 cup4112
Kiwi1 cup2110
Plantains (cooked)1 cup (140 g)2215
Non-Dairy Milk (General Options)
Almond Milk8 oz140
Cashew Milk8 oz4130
Coconut Milk8 oz045
Flax Milk8 oz350
Hemp Milk8 oz360
Oatmilk8 oz380
Rice Milk8 oz0.5115
Soy Milk8 oz8110
Non-Dairy Milk (High-Protein Commercial Options)
Califia Farms Protein Oatmilk8 oz8140
Good Karma Flaxmilk + Protein8 oz870
Ripple Oatmilk + Protein8 oz6150
Ripple Plant-Based Milk8 oz880-100
Shroom Junkie Original Plantmilk8 oz10140
Silk Protein Nutmilk8 oz10130-150
Other Vegan Foods
Maca Root Powder1 Tbsp360
Nutritional Yeast1 Tbsp215
Seaweed (dried)1 oz568
Spirulina Powder1 Tbsp525
Protein Powders
Beef Bone Broth Powder22 g2090
Brown Rice Protein Powder30 g25120
Brown Rice & Pea Protein Blend30 g23120
Casein Protein Powder30 g26110
Collagen Powder (hydrolyzed)11 g1040
Hemp Protein Powder31 g12120
Milk Powder (non-fat)23 g880
Pea Protein Powder30 g27120
Soy Protein Isolate19 g1670
Whey Protein Isolate30 g26110

Tips for calculating the protein content of foods

If you need more specific nutrition information for certain foods, you can also reference the nutrition label, online databases (like USDA FoodData Central, Nutritionix, My Food Data, or FoodStruct), and mobile apps (like Cronometer or My Fitness Pal).

For the best accuracy in tracking protein in foods, be sure you are using the correct version of the food (i.e. raw, cooked, fried, dried, etc.). Weighing food on a scale using grams also helps with accuracy.

Balancing protein in a healthy diet

A healthy diet includes all three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat), along with vitamins and minerals. When determining your individual macronutrient needs, it’s helpful to first calculate your protein needs. Most adults benefit from 1.2-2 g/kg body weight of protein per day, but you can find more specific recommendations in our article, Recommended Protein Intake.

More resources

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Photo of Collette Sinnott, RD, LD

Collette is a registered dietitian and has over a decade of experience working with athletes, children & adults on tube feeding, and people with chronic health conditions. She has been writing about food and nutrition since she was in high school and has a passion for sharing evidence-based information, especially on the topics of protein and the importance of maintaining muscle mass for healthy aging.

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