The Best and Worst Sources of Protein, According to Nutritional Experts

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

From plant-based to animal-derived, sources of protein range from exceptional to the less-than-ideal.

In the world of nutrition, protein is an undisputed superhero. It is essential for building muscle, aiding digestion, and supporting many bodily functions. However, not all protein is created equal.

At Vaughn Greene Funeral Services, our goal is to keep our community healthy. In this article, we will uncover the best and worst sources of protein, as recommended by nutritional experts.

The Magnificent Seven: Top Choices in Healthy Protein

1.     Salmon: This fatty fish is a nutritional powerhouse. A 3.5-ounce serving provides about 25 grams of protein, along with a hefty dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

2.     Lentils: A half-cup of cooked lentils supplies about 9 grams of protein. These tasty legumes are also a terrific source of dietary fiber that aids in digestion, proper sugar metabolism, and weight management.

3.     Tofu: With roughly 15 grams of protein in a 3.5-ounce serving, tofu is a favorite plant-based food for vegans and vegetarians. It's also incredibly versatile and can be used in all types of foods, from Asian stir-fries to Italian pasta dishes.

4.     Greek Yogurt: Creamy and protein-packed, Greek yogurt delivers approximately 15 grams of protein per 6-ounce serving. Plus, it's a probiotic superstar that supports gut health.

5.     Eggs: Eggs are nature's nutrient treasure, offering 6 grams of protein per egg. They're also rich in antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin.

6.     Almonds: Among nuts, almonds are protein powerhouses, containing a whopping 6 grams of protein per ounce. They also provide a good dose of healthy fats and fiber.

7.     Quinoa: An excellent alternative to grains like rice or pasta, quinoa is one of the few plant-based foods that is considered a complete protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids that the human body needs for proper functioning. Complete proteins are typically found in animal products, making quinoa a valuable option for vegetarians and vegans.

Steer Clear of These Less-Than-Healthy Protein Sources

1.     Hot Dogs: They may be a favorite for cookouts and baseball games, but hot dogs are high in saturated fats and sodium while offering minimal protein.

2.     Deep-Fried Anything: Whether it’s tofu, chicken breast, or fish, even nutritious foods take a nosedive when they’re fried. The process adds lots of unhealthy fats and calories. Choose based, steamed, or broiled options instead.

3.     Sugary Cereals: Breakfast cereals are often sugar-laden, overshadowing their nominal protein content. Read labels carefully and opt for varieties made from whole grains that include minimal added sugar.

4.     Processed Meats and Cheese: Think bacon, deli meats, and individual cheese slices wrapped in plastic. These foods are fairly high in protein but also come with a hefty dose of unhealthy fats, preservatives, and sodium.

5.     Protein Shakes: Pre-made protein shakes are often packed with added sugars. Rather than being a healthful protein pick-me-up, they’re actually the equivalent of a liquid candy bar.

6.     Full-Fat Dairy: While dairy products like cheese and whole milk contain protein, they also contain saturated fats. Opt for low-fat or fat-free options.

7.     Sugary Yogurt: Flavored yogurts may seem healthy, but they can be a sneaky source of added sugars. Choose plain yogurt and add your own natural sweeteners such as berries, honey, or coconut flakes.

When it comes to protein, quality matters. The best sources of protein not only pack a hefty dose of protein and a host of other essential nutrients. Conversely, the worst protein sources include unhealthy fats, added sugars, loads of sodium, and empty calories. Choose your protein wisely and it can be the unsung hero of your nutritional journey.

We hope you found this article informative. If you need additional resources for your personal health journey or require our assistance in any way, our caring professionals are here for you. Please reach out to us anytime.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African-American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at

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