Sources of Protein – What Should You Eat?

Sources of Protein

Quality nutrition is just as important as the exercise that you put your body through. Exercise is the spark, nutrition is the fuel. In combination, the two will transform your body as it recreates itself. Your body will replace ALL of its cells over the course of a year. Without proper nutrition, you will be missing the building blocks of what your body needs. Listed below are the sources of protein from animals and their by-products only. Plant based protein is covered in another post.


poultryChicken and turkey are excellent sources of protein. They are low in fat, high in protein, and are easily found in many grocery stores. They are not seasonal in nature so are available any time of year.  You can roast, grill or saute them. Frying should be avoided (as well as the skin) due to added fat content.

Using ground poultry makes it possible to create tacos, meat loaf or hamburger where beef is the usual meat of choice.

fishFish and Shellfish

Good choices  for fish include salmon, tuna, cod, haddock, halibut, perch, sea bass, snapper, and swordfish.  Shellfish (crab and lobster) are low in fat as long as you grill or bake them to avoid the added butter or oil. Fish gives the added benefit of Omega 3 oil.


Red Meat (Beef, Buffalo, Venison)

red meatRed meat is not necessarily bad for you, just be careful of the cut of meat that you choose to eat. Lean meat only has about 7% fat. Choose top round, top sirloin, shank, round, flank, or chuck to reduce the saturated fat content.

The cholesterol found in lean red meat is not to blame for coronary artery disease. Over-consumption of saturated fat and lack of exercise contribute the most.

Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

This may be the best sources of protein of all. Cottage cheese is rich in amino acids like glutamine which helps support muscle metabolism. It is considered a complete protein which means it contains all the amino acids necessary to build new muscle as well as support the body’s other protein requirements. One of the largest advantages of cottage cheese over other forms of protein is the fact that you don’t have to cook it! You can take it with you in  a cooler or keep some in the fridge. It’s always there when you need it.

Eggs Whites and Substitutes

egg whitesPacked with protein, low in calories, zero cholesterol, and no fat, egg whites get an A+. They have long been a favorite source of protein for athletes. One note of caution…don’t do what Rocky Balboa does in the movie and eat them raw. You run the risk of salmonella  poisoning. In order to kill the bacteria that may be on or in the egg, it needs to be boiled for at least 7 minutes, poached for 5 minutes or fry it for at least 5 minutes per side. Omelets and scrambled eggs should be cooked until dry. A nice substitute to eggs is Egg Beaters.

The sources of protein for athletes has evolved over the years to not only a shake as a pre and post workout drink but also from good quality foods. Athletes need good sources of protein in their daily diet. Balance it with a quality carbohydrate and you have a good start to a quality nutrition plan.

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