Top 10 Sources of Animal-Based Protein vs. Plant-Based Protein Options

animal protein

Protein is more than just a buzzword tossed around by fitness enthusiasts and health gurus. It is a vital macronutrient that plays a crucial role in almost every bodily function. As the building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood, protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, making enzymes and hormones, and supporting cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids linked together in long chains. Twenty different amino acids can form a protein, and nine of these are essential, which means they need to be consumed through diet because the body cannot produce them. A diet rich in high-quality proteins helps maintain good health and muscle mass, supports a healthy immune system, aids in weight loss by increasing satiety, and plays a role in disease prevention.

Given its importance, it is essential to choose protein sources wisely. The two broad categories of dietary protein are animal-based and plant-based proteins. Animal proteins are derived from meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. They are known as complete proteins because they contain all nine essential amino acids in sufficient amounts. On the other hand, most plant-based proteins, except a few, such as quinoa and soy, are considered incomplete because they lack one or more of the essential amino acids. However, this can be easily managed by combining different plant-based proteins to ensure a complete amino acid profile. Let us explore the top five sources from each category to help you make informed options about incorporating protein into your diet.


Animal-Based Protein Sources

1. Chicken Breast 

chicken breast

Regarded as one of the top muscle-building foods, chicken breast is an excellent source of lean protein. A 100-gram serving offers about 31 grams of protein, along with essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, which are crucial for energy production and cell health.

Also Read: A Delectable Mixed-Spice Rubbed Chicken Thighs Recipe


2. Eggs 


Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition, containing a little bit of almost every nutrient you need. A large egg delivers about 6 to 7 grams of protein, along with heart-healthy fats, antioxidants, and choline, a nutrient that supports brain health.


3. Greek Yogurt 

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt stands out in the dairy aisle, it is packed with probiotics, calcium, and up to 10 grams of protein per 100 grams. Its high protein content helps enhance feelings of fullness, which is beneficial for weight management.


4. Salmon 


Beyond its impressive protein content (20 grams per 100-gram serving), salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for your brain, heart, and overall health. It is also rich in antioxidants that fight inflammation.

Also Read: 10 Quick Fish Recipes for Busy Weeknight Dinners


5. Beef 


Beef is not only a top-notch source of protein (about 26 grams per 100-gram serving) but also rich in highly bioavailable iron, zinc, and B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, which is essential for nervous system health.


Plant-Based Protein Sources

1. Quinoa 


Often considered a superfood, quinoa is a rare plant-based complete protein, offering about 8 grams of protein per cooked cup. It is also gluten-free and high in iron, fibre, and magnesium.

Also Read: Top 10 Traditional Favourite British Foods for Your Kitchen


2. Lentils 


Lentils pack about 9 grams of protein per half-cup serving. They are also one of the best sources of fibre, which can help lower cholesterol and stabilise blood sugar levels.


3. Chickpeas 


Chickpeas are versatile and nutritious, with 15 grams of protein per cooked cup. They are also excellent sources of fibre, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese, which are essential for bone health and immune function.


4. Almonds 


Almonds offer a satisfying crunch along with 6 grams of protein per ounce. They are also a great source of vitamin E, magnesium, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.


5. Spinach 


While known for its iron content, spinach is also a good vegetable source of protein, with about 3 grams per cooked cup. It is packed with vitamins A and C, antioxidants, and heart-health-promoting nitrates.

Also Read: 4 Healthy Meal Prep Recipes You Can Try At Home


The Final Word 

When it comes to choosing between animal and plant proteins, it is essential to consider not just the quantity, but also the quality of protein. Animal proteins are complete, which means they provide all essential amino acids. However, they can also come with higher levels of saturated fats and cholesterol. On the other hand, plant-based proteins can offer additional health benefits, including fibre and other vitamins, and are often lower in calories and fat.

A balanced diet incorporating a variety of protein sources can provide the most health benefits. This not only ensures a wide range of nutrients but also promotes dietary variety, which can make eating more enjoyable and sustainable. Whether you lean towards animal or plant-based sources, understanding and diversifying your protein intake is vital to a healthy, balanced diet.

Subscribe Us
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive a selection of cool articles every weeks

Frequently Asked Questions

Is meal prep better in glass containers?

Yes, glass containers are a better option for meal prep as they can keep food fresh with their airtight seal lids. Also, they are very easy to wash, leak-proof, eco-friendly, heat-safe, and dishwasher-safe.

Does food last longer in glass containers?

Of course, glass containers are inert, meaning they do not react to any chemicals, which makes them ideal for keeping food for longer periods. The snap-lock lids are also airtight, which means the food will maintain its freshness for longer as well.

Why do people use glass meal prep containers?

While it is a matter of preference, most people use glass meal prep containers because they are a variable option compared to plastic. The glass meal prep containers are heat-resistant, dishwasher-safe, oven-safe, leak-proof, and non-toxic.

Are glass containers airtight lids BPA-free?

Yes, these borosilicate glass containers are paired with BPA-free airtight lids and some even come with bamboo lids which is a more sustainable option