The human body is 45 percent protein, and it uses that protein to regulate certain metabolic processes, to produce enzymes, to repair muscle injuries and build muscle tissue, to give you stamina and help your immune system battle certain diseases, and to keep you from becoming fatigued. The USDA recommends that on average a person should consume .8 grams of protein for every kilogram they weigh. Fortunately, protein is available from a number of food options, animal-based, vegetarian and vegan.
Lean Meats and Fish
Lean meats serve as an excellent source of protein without also providing high levels of fat and cholesterol. Three ounces of lean turkey or chicken provide 25 to 27 grams of protein, while three ounces of lean beef provide roughly 24 grams. Canned or grilled fresh tuna is also good choice, providing 23 and 26 grams of protein, respectively. Three ounces of cooked cod provides 20 grams of protein.
Milk, cheeses and yogurts all provide significant amounts of protein. An eight-ounce glass of milk provides 8 grams of protein, while one ounce of cheese provides 7 grams. Eight ounces of plain yogurt provides 12 grams of protein. Look for reduced-fat or skim milk and reduced-fat cheeses and yogurts. Eggs also pack significant protein into a small package, with one medium egg providing 6 grams of protein. The white of the egg contains a slightly higher amount of protein (3.5 grams) than the yoke.
Beans, Legumes and Vegetables
Soybeans are an excellent source of protein, with a half cup of cooked black soybeans providing 14 grams of protein. Tempeh, a cultured, fermented soybean cake, contains 17 to 21 grams of protein per four-ounce serving, while an eight-ounce glass of soy milk provides 10 grams of protein. Six ounces of soy yogurt provides 6 grams. A cup of cooked spinach contains 5 grams of protein, while a cup of cooked broccoli contains 4 grams. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 8 grams of protein, as does a quarter cup of almonds. A cup of cooked beans contains 10 to15 grams, depending on the type of bean. Cooked lentils are also high in protein, with one cup containing 18 grams. Veggie burgers contain roughly 13 grams of protein per burger. You can also increase your protein intake by tossing ½ cup of sunflower seeds (13 grams of protein) or pine nuts (15 grams of protein) in a salad.