The Top 5 Sources of Quality Protein

Want to build muscle and be as healthy as possible? No matter whether you’re a man, woman, teen or adult; giving your body the building blocks it needs with high-quality protein is the key to success. Protein both gives you energy and is necessary to create new muscle fibers after you work out, so it’s the ultimate foundation for maximum gains.

Although everyone needs plenty of protein every day, there is such a thing as low-quality protein. To give you an example, processed lunch meat is often loaded with salt, which may lead to high blood pressure or other health issues.

Most adults need to eat about 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. So, if you're a 180-pound man, you need to eat 65 g of high-quality protein each day to build muscle and look fit!

Let's take a look at the top 5 sources of high-quality protein you can prioritize in your diet:

5. Beans, Pulses & Legumes

These plant-based powerhouses pack a punch in the protein stakes, as well as containing a bunch of fiber: a key compound for bodily health and improving the health of your gut microbiome.

You can add beans, lentils and chickpeas to a variety of meals like stews, salads, and soups to provide more flavor and texture to your meal. Plus, beans come in tons of different flavors and types, so you never need to get bored on the old “chicken and broccoli” treadmill!

4. Lean White Poultry & Fish

Poultry like chicken and turkey is an excellent source of protein, but it's only good for muscle gains if prepared without the skin (which contains a lot of saturated fat). Prioritize free-range poultry wherever possible, as non-free-range poultry may contain antibiotics or hormones that can really mess with your system.

Fish is also high in protein while simultaneously being low in saturated fat, which optimizes your workout performance. The best species are salmon, sardines, trout, sablefish, and herring. Even better, these protein sources are high in omega-3 fatty acids: key compounds your body needs to produce muscle and be healthy overall.

3. Nuts & Seeds

Don’t forget to eat plenty of nuts and seeds. Many varieties are rich in protein, but they are also high in fiber like beans and have plenty of good fats (rather than saturated fat).

Nuts and seeds are a quick, nutritious snack to grab a handful of during the afternoon slump, and can be used in almost every recipe imaginable. Try scattering walnuts, hazelnuts or pumpkin seeds over salads, topping a bowl of oatmeal with pecans and almonds, or whizzing up some chia seeds in your next power smoothie.

2. Dairy Products

If you’re not following a plant based diet, low-fat dairy products are a good source of protein to bolster your intake.

Milk, cheese, and yogurt all add plenty of protein to your meals and can provide probiotics to your gut. This, in turn, will improve your digestion and make your body absorb other healthy foods more efficiently overall. Just be sure to opt for low-fat versions to keep things friendly with your workout diet plan.

1. Protein Shakes & Supplements

Last but not least, protein shakes and supplements are specially formulated to give you that protein boost in its most ideal form.

Considered a functional food, these nutrient-rich powders are ideal for those supplementing their diet, working out to build more muscle, or trimming down on excess fat. As they’re a complete source of protein, these supplement drinks are ideal for bodybuilders and dieters alike, standing in as a highly nutritious meal replacement if you're making every calorie count. 

You’ve probably noticed that we didn’t add any red meat to our list! Although it can be a good source of protein, red meat doesn’t make the cut as a high-quality, low-fat option you should be reaching for every day if you’re after epic results with your muscle gains.

Of course, don’t feel bad about indulging occasionally, but for all your other protein needs, focus on the foods above to see the best results and most measurable gains after your workouts.

Thanks for reading, 

Justin | Author

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