And if you ask 10 different people what the BEST source of protein is, you’ll likely get 10 different answers. But before we talk about the BEST protein sources, why does it even matter?
The data continue to mound for the benefits of protein, with the majority now supporting a consistent intake throughout the day whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain muscle. We’d argue that protein timing, meaning the frequency of intake throughout the day, trumps total protein intake (tweet this).
The majority of people eat very little protein for breakfast and lunch, then load up at dinner. Instead, a better approach would be to spread that same total amount throughout the day.
For example, if someone ate 90 total grams of protein in a day, it would be better to have a few meals with 15-30 grams of protein each than just 1 protein heavy dinner and little throughout the rest of the day.
The reason is protein helps fill you, it helps your muscles repair and recover from exercise, and quality proteins, like the worlds best sources of protein listed below, provide the important amino acids we all need to function optimally.
That being said, we now present to you:
The Worlds Best Protein Sources
Whole eggs. While these are in no particular order, if there was a #1, whole eggs could arguably top the list. For the price and quality, it’s hard to find a comparable source of high quality protein out there. And whole eggs is key – while the whites do have some protein, too, you get even more in the yolk, along with a whole slew of other great for you nutrients. Therefore, we put our vote in for whole Eggs are the worlds best protein source.
Wild salmon. Wild salmon is loaded with protein. With around 7 grams per ounce, it’s certainly something to include on the weekly menu. It’s also loaded with great for you omega-3 fats, which are one of the most important nutrients you should eat more of. We’ve often said with animal based proteins, the less legs the better — which means fish are at the top of the list. Yes, yes, octopus and some others are exceptions — in general, stick to that rule of thumb when thinking animal/fish protein.
Cottage cheese. This one is super popular in the Mohr House — though Kara took a little longer to come around to it, the protein packed goodness (16 grams for just 1/2 cup) was hard to resist and she’s now a big fan. I tried something the other day to get away from the basic cottage cheese and fruit — a couple spoonfuls on a Wasa crisp, some cracked black pepper and chopped jalapeno. Awesome! It’s a perfect snack … and if you can’t get over the curds, trying blending it in a smoothie or just blending it with a little fruit. We’ve even added a spoonful to spaghetti (poor man lasagna), oatmeal, pancake batter … or, if you’re like me, by the spoonful out of the container. Mangia!
Beef. It’s hard to knock the quality protein in beef. It’s loaded with quality amino acids (building blocks of protein), zinc, iron, magnesium and plenty of other important nutrients. Stick with some of the leaner cuts like eye of round roast or steak, sirloin tip side steak, sirloin steak, or flank steaks. And it doesn’t have to just be a steak or a burger, try making fajitas with beef or top a salad with sliced flank. It’s good, good stuff.
Greek yogurt. At around 16 grams per cup, this is a no brainer. Greek yogurt came fast and furious on the scene in the US — with basically zero percent market share five years ago to almost 50% to date. And for good reason. With double the protein of "regular" yogurt and half the sugar, it’s a great choice for a snack or even a meal when you mix something with a bit of substance — nuts, fruit, etc.
Sardines. We listed these as one of the best foods you’re not eating in our blog the other day. They’re loaded with protein, but also omega-3 fats and vitamin D, yet low in contaminants that unfortunately permeate our seafood today.
Whey protein. I was told in school that protein supplements created expensive urine. Good thing I always questioned what I learned because that couldn’t be further from the truth. Whey protein is loaded with amino acids, particularly some key aminos called branched chain amino acids, that may specifically aid in recovery and muscle repair. But, honestly, while we can talk about the science with whey ’till we’re blue in the head, it comes down to convenience. Making a smoothie with a little fruit, maybe some veggies and a handful of nuts is a fantastic meal or snack. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s convenient. And at around $2-$3 per 20 grams of protein, it’s high on our list of the best protein sources in the world.
Poultry (chicken, turkey, etc). Remember from above — the less legs the better? Well, these buggers have 2 legs each, so they’re high on the list. We roast a whole chicken at least once per week to have for dinner and have a convenient, quality lunch option for the next day or two. Short on time? Pick up an already cooked rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store. This one is a no brainer. Same with turkey — don’t just save this one for Thanksgiving Day, we’ll often get a boneless turkey breast at the grocery store and roast that on a Sunday for us and the girls to snack on during the week.
Nuts. OK, OK, so these aren’t the highest source of amino acids — in fact, they’re a bit limited. BUT, their convenience helped them make the list of worlds best protein sources. They’re a perfect snack, portable and not perishable. That means you can forget about them in your desk, gym bag or locker and when you find them a month later, they’ll still taste fantastic. They’re also a great source of loads of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber. Eat up!
Quinoa. Another vegetarian based protein, but unlike nuts, this one is a complete protein, meaning it has all the essential amino acids. SCORE! WIN if you’re a vegetarian. WIN if you’re not. I’d call that a "win win" for packing in a serious nutrient punch. We made some the other night, in fact — cooked it in chicken broth, added a handful of toasted almond, some fresh herbs and some raisins. This was a side with chicken breast and some Brussels sprouts.
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