My five go-to protein foods

You come home from work, ravenous, ready to eat absolutely anything in sight. You open the fridge and stare blankly at the brightly lit shelves, trying to make a decision of what to eat.

Sound familiar?

Yeah, I thought so. Just about every day, when I get home from work, I do the exact same thing! I used to struggle with choosing healthy foods when I was crazy hungry. But when I started stocking my fridge, freezer, and pantry with these five protein foods, everything changed.

Let’s back up a little.

Why protein?

Protein foods are essential to your health and wellbeing.

  • Protein keeps you feeling full for longer
  • Protein foods take more energy to break down than carbohydrates or fat (burning more calories)
  • Protein is needed to build important molecules in your body, like hormones
  • Protein helps regulate blood sugar and hunger pangs

With all these benefits, it’s super important to get enough protein in our diets. Grab recommendations on how much protein you actually need here. If you’re sold on why protein matters, you’ll want my list of top protein foods.

Why protein? Protein foods are essential to your health and wellbeing. Here are 5 foods I always have on hand.

Five essential protein foods

Egg whites

egg whites

A carton of egg whites gives you easy meal or snack options at any time of day. You can make an egg white omelette for breakfast or make my favorite egg white bake with sausage and veggies for dinner.

While whole eggs are also an awesome source of protein, they also have a lot of fat. This is why I like to keep egg whites around, too. I can combine egg + egg white for a better ratio of fat:protein.

Protein powder


Protein powder is a top supplement for women (looking for more info on why & how to use it? Scitec Nutriton put together an awesome guide here), because it allows you get to get more protein without extra time. You can whip up tons of different recipes or just throw together a quick shake. It’s no secret that I love my protein shakes, so a list of protein foods would not be complete without protein powder.

When you choose your protein powder, look for a brand that includes less than five ingredients and no artificial sweeteners.

If I can be honest, SFH is my absolute favorite brand. I’ve been using it for a while and haven’t gone back. Tastes great AND has just 3 ingredients.

Frozen turkey meatballs

frozen turkey meatballs

These are ALWAYS in my freezer for those weeknights that I do not feel like cooking. They require zero prep time and are high in protein, low in fat. You can prepare them in a pan with your favorite sauce and some veggies or just nuke them in the microwave.

Minimally processed sliced deli meat

applegate chicken breast

I love this option, because it emphasizes that perfect simply can’t be the enemy of good enough. Is deli meat the best protein option? Of course not. But is it convenient? Yes.

Pick a brand that is not heavily processed, and you can use it for sandwiches, wraps, salads, or even just for a grab-n-go snack.

Greek yogurt

greek yogurt protein foods

Greek yogurt has so much protein, making it a daily snack for me. The nonfat fage has 18 grams in that tiny little cup. It’s fast, easy, and really helps regulate my blood sugar mid-morning.

Next time you hit the grocery store, make sure to grab these five protein foods to keep yourself on track even when you’re busy! To make your healthy eating as easy as possible, just follow my 3 P Framework for eating healthy on ZERO time.

Protein: Buy two different lean proteins and cook them ahead of time. I usually throw one on the grill (read: cast iron broiler pan) and one in the crock pot.
Prep: When shopping, choose ingredients that require as little prep as possible. Buying chopped or frozen veggies saves so much time. If there are other ingredients you know will take a bit of time to prepare, do that while your proteins are cooking.
Plan: Be gentle with yourself and plan for the moments when you have no time to cook or prep food. I always have protein shakes and greek yogurt in the fridge and healthy protein bars in my pantry. It’s not perfect but it gets me by!
If you already have my go-to protein foods on hand, you’re ahead of the game!
What’s your favorite protein source?


4 Responses

  1. I love baked chicken, cottage cheese (although I only have one brand I actually like), and Special K Protein Plus cereal. I know the last thing is very processed but I’m not cutting anything out unless I know I can stick with it long-term and that’s just not happening yet. Someday I will though lol. That’s the goal, anyway. Thanks for sharing your go-to protein foods, it is a struggle to get protein in sometimes!

  2. katherinelynnfitness says:

    I’m glad it’s helpful! I love cottage cheese too!

  3. […] on the essentials of good nutrition. Instead of counting anything, we focus on just two things: protein and veggies. Every single time we eat, grab a portion of protein and some […]

  4. […] I recommend eating protein every single time you eat. If you’re still hungry, cool, grab some more food. But starting with protein is going to improve your satiety, decrease cravings, and help you stop thinking about food all the time. If you need suggestions on what to eat, check out my top 5 protein foods. […]

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