Here’s How to Get More Protein (And Why You Need It)

Last Update: March 22, 2024

The average adult needs about 46 to 56 grams of protein per day, according to the USDA. While you can certainly add protein powders or bars into your diet, it’s always best to start with foundational, whole food sources — things like eggs, meat, beans, nuts, and even certain dairy products. 

We’re taking a deep dive into all things protein, covering why protein is so important for overall health, the foods with the most protein, and how to eat more protein if you feel like you’re not getting enough. 

What is protein?

Proteins are found in all living things, from plants to animals to people. They make up your cells, blood, and organs, and they support nearly all processes in the body. 

Proteins are made up of more than 20 types of amino acids. While a plant can synthesize each of these amino acids in order to meet its nutritional needs, there are nine that humans cannot synthesize, so we must eat certain foods to get these essential amino acids. This is why it’s so important to eat food sources of protein, which contain essential amino acids that supplement the ones your body lacks. 

6 High-Protein Foods


One small serving of chicken breast (100 grams) contains about 32 grams of protein, which could meet a significant portion of your daily protein requirements. Chicken drumsticks and thighs contain about 15 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Try: Mary’s Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
Read more:
Meal Prep Tips: How to Make Chicken Last Through the Week, Our Top 15 Best Chicken Recipes


Beef tenderloin contains about 24 grams of protein per 100 grams, while a ribeye steak contains about 19.5 grams of protein per 100 grams. Similarly, grass-fed ground beef contains 19 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Try:  Thrive Market Grass-Fed Organic Beef Tenderloin Steaks
Read more: Best Ways to Cook Beef: Tenderloin, Steak, Ground Beef, and More


Shrimp is a good source of protein, at 20 grams per 100 gram serving. Other types of shellfish also contain protein: clams come in at nearly 15 grams of protein per 100 grams, while oysters contain about 9.5 grams of protein per 100 grams. 

Try: Thrive Market Wild-Caught Shrimp, Peeled & Deveined, 2 Pack
Read more: Healthy Ways to Cook Raw Shrimp


Meat and skin from a roasted turkey (the kind you might have on Thanksgiving) contain 7.4 grams of protein per 100 grams, while the ground turkey you might use for chili or a burger contains nearly 25 grams of protein per 100 grams. You can also get protein from turkey sticks for a convenient, nutrient-dense snack; ours contain 8 grams of protein per serving. 

Try:  Thrive Market Free-Range Turkey Sticks, Original, Applegate Organics Turkey Burgers
Read more: Garlic and Lemon Roasted Turkey Recipe

Edamame (or tofu)

For a meat-free protein source, soybeans are a great option. You can get them in the whole, immature form (known as edamame), which is often served boiled or steamed, or in the form of tofu, which is made from soybeans. Edamame contains 8.6 grams of protein per 100 grams, while a typical firm tofu contains about 17 grams of protein per 100 grams. 

Try: Mori-Nu Extra Firm Silken Tofu
Read more: Crispy Tofu With Sesame-Ginger Dipping Sauce Recipe, How to Cook Tofu

More Foods Sources of Protein 

Aside from a juicy steak, do you know which foods contain protein? Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about protein and food (including some sneakily good protein sources, like your morning oatmeal). 

Do eggs have protein? 

Yes, eggs are considered a good source of protein. One large egg contains 6 grams of protein. Learn how to read the terms on your egg carton to choose the highest-quality eggs with the best animal welfare standards. 

Do bananas have protein? 

A large banana contains 1.5 grams of protein. You can get it from eating a whole banana as a snack, or add even more protein by pairing it with your favorite nut butter

Do mushrooms have protein?  

While the exact amount depends on the type of mushroom, most mushrooms contain similar amounts of protein. Here’s the protein in a few common types of mushrooms:

  • White mushrooms: 3 grams of protein per 100 grams
  • Shiitake mushrooms: 2.2 grams of protein per 100 grams
  • Portobello mushrooms: 2.1 grams of protein per 100 grams 
  • Lion’s mane mushrooms: 2.4 grams of protein per 100 grams 

Does avocado have protein? 

Yes, avocados contain about 2 grams of protein per 100 grams. To get it, top your lunchtime salad or grain bowl with avocado, or combine it with other protein sources, such as a salmon topped with avocado salsa

Does cheese have protein? 

Yes, most cheeses are quite high in protein. Here’s a breakdown of the protein in some of the most popular cheeses: 

Does oatmeal have protein? 

Yes, oatmeal is a good source of protein; 100 grams of plain rolled oats contain about 12.5 grams of protein. Get your protein at breakfast without missing a beat by making quick, easy overnight oats

Do potatoes have protein? 

Yes, some; russet potatoes contain about 2 grams of protein per 100 grams, and sweet potatoes contain about 1.5 grams of protein per 100 grams. Get more by combining them with other plant protein sources, like in this recipe for stuffed sweet potatoes

Does rice have protein? 

While the amount of protein in rice varies depending on the variety, they’re all fairly similar, though brown rice varieties tend to have a bit more protein. Here’s the protein in some common types of rice: 

Do beans have protein? 

Yes, beans are a good source of plant protein. Here’s how much protein you’ll find in some common types of beans: 

Note: All nutritional information comes from the USDA’s Food Data Central 

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before changing your diet or healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

More About Protein

How to Add Protein to Every Meal

63 High Protein Low Carb Foods to Eat on a Diet: Complete Guide

What the Heck is the Carnivore Diet?

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Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts is Thrive Market's Senior Editorial Writer. She is based in Los Angeles via Pittsburgh, PA.

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