Top 8 High-Protein Foods to Boost Energy & Build Muscle

Hey Angels and Alphas,

If you keep up with fitness influencers on social media, you’ve probably heard them rave about the benefits of protein, regardless of their specific diet plans.

Even if you’re not active on Instagram or TikTok, you’ve likely encountered the idea that protein is crucial for overall health.

Consuming protein-rich foods throughout the day can help build and maintain muscle mass, keep you feeling fuller longer, and stabilize your blood sugar levels.

With such significant benefits, it’s no surprise that fitness experts frequently highlight the importance of protein. Let’s find out why.

How Does Protein Affect Your Energy Levels?

Protein is a vital macronutrient that keeps your body functioning optimally.

Consuming quality protein consistently throughout the day, with each meal and snack, is an excellent way to maximize energy levels.

Research indicates that a high-protein diet helps maintain stable energy levels in the body. It can also aid in weight management, muscle function, and muscle growth.

Protein slows the digestion of carbohydrates, providing a more consistent energy supply throughout the day. It also helps curb hunger and cravings, preventing the desire for simple sugars that can lead to energy crashes.

Food and energy are closely linked. Carbohydrates, particularly complex ones, play a crucial role in energy production.

Combining complex carbs with good sources of protein and fat can maintain your energy levels longer, keeping you energized throughout your day.

Top 9 High-Protein Foods for Energy According to a Dietitian

High-quality protein is essential for good health. So, what are some excellent sources of dietary protein?

Here are nine fantastic foods for energy, suitable for various dietary preferences, including vegan and vegetarian options.

1. Eggs: Essential Amino Acids

Eggs are a complete protein with an impressive nutrient profile.

A large egg provides all the essential amino acids your body needs, along with 71 calories and 6.3 grams of protein.

Starting your day with quality protein within an hour of waking can help stabilize energy and appetite.

Eggs are a versatile breakfast option that are quick to prepare. Here are some recipes to try:

  • Baked Eggs with Wilted Baby Spinach
  • Smoked Salmon & Brussels Sprout Scrambled Eggs
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Poached Eggs & Bell Pepper Salsa
  • One-Pan Mediterranean Eggs
  • Classic Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise

2. Beans and Legumes: Plant-Based Proteins

Beans and legumes, like chickpeas, lentils, and edamame, are excellent sources of plant-based protein.

These high-fiber, high-protein foods are complex carbs that digest slowly and help maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Adults need 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily, yet most consume only about half that amount.

3. Fatty Fish: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

These healthy fats are vital for heart health and reducing inflammation, which supports optimal energy levels.

Since the body can’t produce omega-3s, it’s important to include them in your diet.

4. Almonds: Sustained Energy

For a natural energy boost, try almonds!

Almonds provide protein, healthy fats, and fiber, which help sustain energy throughout the day.

Snacking on almonds can also help maintain a healthy weight by keeping you full longer and stabilizing blood sugar.

They are also a good source of magnesium, which helps prevent fatigue.

5. Greek Yogurt: Energy and Probiotics

Greek yogurt offers double the protein of regular yogurt and contains less sugar and sodium. It’s a good source of gut-healthy probiotics and is often easier to digest.

Packed with protein and complex carbs, Greek yogurt digests slowly, providing sustained energy. Try these recipes:

  • Chipotle Black Bean Nachos With Greek Yogurt
  • Avocado Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad
  • Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Pancakes
  • Dark Chocolate Yogurt Pudding

6. Quinoa: Complete Protein and Complex Carbs

Quinoa is a seed that makes a great substitute for rice or pasta. It’s a plant-based complete protein with all essential amino acids.

As a complex carb, quinoa releases energy slowly, providing a steady supply.

Quinoa contains 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per serving and is gluten-free.

7. Chia Seeds: Balanced Blood Sugar

With a balance of protein, fiber, and fat, chia seeds help maintain balanced blood sugar and steady energy levels.

Just 2.5 tablespoons of chia seeds provide 5 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of heart-healthy fats.

Chia seeds are a versatile vegan protein source that can be added to salads, oats, and smoothies. Chia pudding is also a great protein-packed breakfast or snack option.

8. Spelt: Long-Lasting Energy

Spelt is an ancient grain that remains largely unchanged over the centuries.

Whole grains like spelt digest slowly, providing long-lasting energy. Spelt offers 25 grams of protein per dry cup, along with complex carbs and fiber.

It’s versatile and can be used in salads, stews, or stir-fries. Don’t hesitate to get creative in the kitchen!