Protein is a fundamental nutrient that plays a crucial role in maintaining and building our body’s tissues, muscles, and overall health. For those seeking to boost their protein intake, meat is often a popular choice due to its rich protein content. However, not all meats are created equal in terms of protein content.
Whether you’re an athlete looking to build muscle, following a high-protein diet, or simply aiming to incorporate more protein into your meals, it’s important to know which meats offer the most protein per serving.
In this post, we’ll explore the world of meats, exploring the top contenders that deliver the most protein. Additionally, we’ll delve into the distinction between lean and fatty cuts of meat, consider seafood as a protein source, and discuss the ongoing debate between plant-based and animal meat protein sources.
Top 10 High-Protein Meat Options
1. Chicken Breast
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Skinless, boneless chicken breast is a lean protein powerhouse, with about 31 grams of protein.
2. Turkey Breast
Similar to chicken, turkey offers a lean protein option that can be used in various dishes. Turkey breast is lean and offers about 30 grams of protein.
Various cuts of beef provide substantial protein, with options ranging from lean cuts to fattier ones. Lean cuts of beef like sirloin contain roughly 27 grams of protein while being relatively low in fat.
Pork is rich in protein, with cuts like pork loin being leaner choices. Cooked pork loin offers around 22-24 grams of protein.
Lamb offers a distinct flavor and a good protein profile. It provides around 24 grams of protein.
As a lean alternative to beef, bison is gaining popularity for its nutritional benefits. Bison meat is lean and protein-rich, with around 28 grams of protein per serving.
Venison is not only high in protein but also provides essential nutrients. It offers about 30 grams of protein per serving.
Duck meat is rich and flavorful, offering about 23 grams of protein per serving. It’s known for its unique taste and is often enjoyed in various culinary dishes.
Salmon is not only rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids but also provides around 25 grams of protein.
Shrimp is a seafood choice with a high protein content, delivering around 24 grams of protein per serving.
Lean vs. Fatty Cuts: Which Is Higher in Protein?
When choosing meat for its protein content, the cut of the meat matters. In general, lean cuts of meat are higher in protein compared to fatty cuts. Lean cuts, like skinless poultry breasts, lean beef sirloin, or pork loin, contain a higher proportion of protein relative to their fat content.
Fatty cuts, on the other hand, have a more significant fat content, which reduces the overall percentage of protein in the meat. While they still offer a good amount of protein, their higher fat content may not make them the best choice for those seeking a higher protein-to-fat ratio in their diet.
The choice between lean and fatty cuts depends on individual dietary preferences and nutritional goals.
Seafood: Fish and Shellfish Protein Levels
Fish and shellfish are outstanding sources of protein that offer additional health benefits. Salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish provide heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids along with protein.
Plant-Based Protein Sources vs. Animal Meats
However, animal meats still tend to have a higher biological value and more complete amino acid profiles, making them valuable sources of protein for those who include them in their diet.
What meats are highest in protein?
Among animal meats, chicken breast, turkey, beef, venison, and lamb are among the highest in protein content.
What food has the most protein?
Which red meat has the most protein?
When it comes to red meat, lean cuts of beef such as sirloin and tenderloin are among the top contenders for the highest protein content.
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Baked Chicken Breast Recipe
- 3-4 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound baby red potatoes halved
- 12 cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 pound green beans trimmed
- fresh parsley for serving
- Preheat oven to 450°F and set your oven rack to the middle of the oven. Set aside a large baking sheet.
- Scatter potatoes and tomatoes across the baking sheet.
- Rub the chicken thoroughly with 1 tbsp oil and add to the middle an inch or so apart.
- Sprinkle minced garlic, oregano and thyme across pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Drizzle the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil across evenly. Toss to mix well.
- Bake for 15-22 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts, adding the green beans halfway through.
- Several minutes before finishing, check the internal temperature using a quick-read thermometer. The chicken is done when it reads 160°F / 71°C.
- Let the chicken rest in the pan for 5 minutes before serving, ideally covered with aluminum foil.
- Garnish with optional parsley. Serve and enjoy!