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High Protein Diet

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What is a high-protein diet?

A high-protein diet is a meal plan that includes extra protein. Your body may need extra protein if you have certain health conditions, such as cancer, burns, or injuries. You may also need to follow this diet to get stronger after a surgery or illness. Extra protein helps to heal wounds and form new tissue in the body. Your dietitian will tell you how much protein and how many calories you need each day.

What are some foods that are high in protein?

The average amount of protein is listed below in grams (g). To find the exact amount of protein in a food, read the food labels on packaged items.

  • Dairy:
    • 1 cup of any type of milk (8 g)
    • ½ cup of evaporated canned milk (9 g)
    • ¼ cup of nonfat dry milk (11 g)
    • 1 ounce of semi-hard or solid cheese (7 g)
    • ¼ cup of parmesan cheese (8 g)
    • ½ cup of cottage cheese (14 g)
    • ½ cup of pudding (4 g)
    • 1 cup of plain or fruit yogurt (8 g)
  • Meats and meat substitutes:
    • 3 ounces of cooked freshwater fish (21 g)
    • 3 ounces of cooked shellfish (19 g)
    • ½ cup of canned tuna (14 g)
    • 3 ounces of cooked chicken, turkey, or other poultry (24 g)
    • 3 ounces of cooked beef, pork, lamb, or other red meat (21 g)
    • 1 large egg (6 g)
    • ¼ cup of fat free egg substitute (5 g)
    • ½ cup of tofu or tempeh (10 g)
    • 1 cup of cooked dried beans, such as pinto, kidney, or navy (15 g)
  • Nuts and seeds:
    • 2 tablespoons of almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, or walnuts (5 g)
    • 2 tablespoons of peanuts (7 g)
    • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (8 g)

How can I add extra protein to foods?

  • Add powdered milk to milk, cereals, scrambled eggs, soups, and casseroles.
  • Add cheese to sauces, soups, or vegetables.
  • Add eggs to tuna, salads, sauces, or casseroles.
  • Add nutrition supplements and breakfast drink mixes to milk or shakes.
  • Add nuts to foods or eat them as snacks.
  • Add meat (beef, chicken, and pork) to soups, casseroles, pasta dishes, or vegetables.
  • Add beans, peas, and other legumes to salads.
  • Eat cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.