Foods High in Calories and Protein

Because low-calorie foods really aren't always the best choice.

Food Network Kitchen’s Pan-Fried Salmon.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

When it comes to choosing what foods to eat, going low calorie isn’t always the best path. Sometimes, you’ll want foods that are higher in calories and protein. Why? Maybe you’re trying to gain weight or muscle, or perhaps you’re simply trying to get a lot of protein from one specific food.

Whatever your reason, here are seven foods that are high in both calories and protein.

Plain Greek Yogurt: This food contains a hefty amount of protein: 20 grams per 8-ounce serving of the whole-milk variety, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database, as well as 220 calories. Enjoy Greek yogurt in Greek yogurt pancakes, a Greek yogurt parfait or a yogurt pesto dip.

Wild Salmon: This lean protein contains 206 calories per 4-ounce serving of cooked salmon, along with close to 29 grams of protein, per the USDA National Nutrient Database. Salmon also provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Cook up oven-baked salmon, pan-fried salmon (pictured above) or a healthy BBQ salmon sheet pan dinner.

Steak: A 4-ounce serving of cooked skirt steak provides an incredible 30 grams of protein for 232 calories, per the USDA National Nutrient Database. Enjoy steak in a beef stir-fry, steak summer rolls or a steak peppercorn salad.

Chickpeas: A cup of chickpeas contains close to 15 grams of protein and 269 calories, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. You also get plenty of filling fiber from chickpeas! Whip up chickpea salad sandwiches, healthy roasted chickpeas or chickpea curry with rice.

Cottage Cheese: A cup of this whole-milk dairy boasts 23 grams of protein and contains 206 calories, per the USDA National Nutrient Database. Cottage cheese also provides bone-building calcium. Enjoy a vegetable frittata, matcha green muffins or a cottage cheese tzatziki mezze plate.

Lentils: Along with plenty of fiber, lentils offer almost 18 grams of fiber and 230 calories per one cup cooked, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. Enjoy lentil soup, vegetarian lentils or vegan lentil burgers.

Trout: Here’s another fish rich in beneficial omega-3s and protein. Per 4 ounces of cooked trout, you get 30 grams of protein for 215 calories, per the USDA National Nutrient Database. Whip up grilled whole trout, trout Parmesan or smoked trout dip.

Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area. She’s a regular contributor to many publications, such as,, and more. She also pens a recipe-focused blog, Amy’s Eat List.

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