High Protein Foods In Nigeria: The Complete List

Protein Foods In Nigeria

Looking for protein-rich foods you can find in Nigeria?

Well, you’ve landed on the right page.

Because I have compiled the complete list of high-quality protein foods we have in Nigeria (35 of them).

I won't start by boring with what protein is and why it' important.

You probably already know that. And if you don't, I have saved that for the last part of this post. 

Without any further ado, let’s get to the "meat" of this article (no pun intended!)

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Protein Foods In Nigeria

Animal Produce

Weight loss Animal produce

Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is one of the most popular go-to sources for protein. And for good reason. You see, most of the calorie in chicken breast is pure protein. About 80% of it.

A grilled chicken breast (without the skin) with a calorie of only 284 calories has 53 grams of protein.

Turkey Breast

Turkey breast, just like chicken breast, is a tasty low-fat, high-protein source. It is also a home of some important vitamin and mineral.

About 70% of the calorie in turkey breast is protein. A Three ounces (85 grams) of roasted, skinless turkey breast has about 24 grams of protein and 115 calories [1].

Egg

Whole eggs are one of the most nutritious and high-quality protein sources out there. Because they contain all the amino acids.

35% of calories in an egg is protein. That means, for example, 1 large egg (with 78 calories) has 6 grams of protein.

It is important to know that the egg yolk contains most of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However, the egg whites contain at least 60% of the protein.

Beef

Beef is one of the most delicious-tasting proteinous foods on this list. It is also loaded in the nutrient department.

The leaner the beef, the more the protein content.

A cooked One 3-ounce (85 g) beef with 10% fat has 22 grams of protein with 184 calories. Which brings the protein content to 53% of the total calories

Corned Beef

Corned beef is another form of high-quality protein beef. And the best part is it’s convenient and tastes like heaven!

85 gram of corned beef contains about 24 g of protein.

Milk

Milk is one of the most highly nutritious protein sources there is. You see, milk contains a little bit of almost every single nutrient the human body needs.

Protein content in milk makes up 21% of its calories. 1 cup of whole milk, with about 149 calories contains 8 grams of protein.

Greek Yoghurt

Greek yoghurt (A.K.A strained yogurt) is a really thick type of yoghurt with more protein.

Matter of fact, Greek yoghurt contains almost double the amount of protein content compared to regular plain yoghurt.

48% of the calories in non-fat Greek yoghurt is protein. A 6-ounce (170-gram) container has 17 grams of protein. And it’s only 100 calories.

Full-fat Greek yoghurt is also very high in protein but contains a bit more calories. Whichever one you buy, just ensure it’s unsweetened.

Lastly, regular full-fat yoghurt also has high protein content (24% of calories), which is an okay alternative option

Cottage Cheese

There are various types of cheese with different nutritional profiles. However, cottage cheese has the highest protein content (59% of its calories). And it’s also low in fat and calories.

A 226 g (about a cup) of cottage cheese with 194 calories and with 2% fat, contains 27 grams of protein

Other types of cheese high in protein are Parmesan cheese (38% of calories), swiss cheese (30%), mozzarella (29%) and cheddar (26%).

kefir

Kefir is a fermented drink, traditionally made using cow or goat milk.

It is considered by many to be a healthier and more powerful version of yoghurt. Because it is high in both nutrient and probiotics.

That’s not all, it is also a high protein source. About up to 40% of its calories (depending on the type of milk used) is protein.

In general, a 175 ml (6 oz) serving of milk kefir with about 100 calories contains around 6 grams of protein

Seafood

Weight loss Nigerian seafood

Fresh Fish/ Dry Fish

Fish is not only yummy but loaded with a variety of nutrients like vitamin B12, selenium, magnesium, potassium and more.

It is also high in protein content. Although the protein content highly varies depending on the type of fish.

You can expect anything from 46% up of its calorie content to be protein.

Shrimp

Shrimp is one seafood that is not only high in protein but contains a variety of incredible nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids,  vitamin B12 and selenium, just to name a few.

Protein occupies about 82% of its calories. A 3 ounce (85 g) cooked shrimp, with just 84 calories contains just about 18 grams of protein.

Canned Tuna

Tuna is a type of fish that is low in both fat and calories, making it an almost pure-protein source.

Also, just like any fish, Tuna is a great nutritional source and contain an ample amount of omega 3 fatty acids.

Tuna canned in water has a whopping 94% of its calories to be protein. A cup (154 g) with 179 calories, contains 39 grams of protein.

Sardine

Sardine is not only a convenient high-protein source but also a great source of natural calcium.

A can of sardines (92 grams) has about  23 grams of easily absorbable protein and a host of other useful nutrients including vitamin D and B12 [4].

Crayfish

Crayfish is another seafood packed with protein and other key nutrients.

The best part is, they are one of the best ways to add both protein and flavour to your foods at the same time.

A 100 grams of crayfish, with 87 calories contains 18g of protein (which is about 36% of its calories)

Snail

Snails are a low-calorie source of protein

Even better, it's a warehouse of crucial nutrient including omega-3, selenium, Iron, and vitamin B12, just to name a few.

At only 90 calories, a 100-gram serving of snail provides 16.5 grams of protein.

Nuts & Seeds

Nigerian weight loss Nuts and seeds

Almonds

Almonds are one of the nuts with the highest amount of protein content.

They are not only protein-rich but also loaded with other key nutrients like fibre, vitamin E, manganese and magnesium.

The protein content of almond sits at 13% of its calorie. So an ounce (28 g) of Almond, with 161 calories, contains 6 gram of protein

Pistachios

Pistachio is another nut rich in protein and amazing healthy nutrients.

28.4 g (49 kernels) of Pistachio, with 159 calories contains 6 g has as protein (i.e 13% of its  calories)

Groundnut(Peanuts)/Peanut butter 

Groundnut (AKA peanut) a delicious nut with lots of nutrients including high protein and fibre.

One ounce (28 g) of g-nut, with  159 calories has 7 grams of protein.

As Peanut butter made from groundnut, it's also high in protein. Ensure you choose organic peanut butter without added sugar.

Millet

Millet is an ancient nutritious plant that also contains high protein content.

100 grams of millet, with calories of  378, contains 11 g.

Quinoa

Quinoa is one the oldest and most popular superfoods. The ancient grain/seed is high in protein, fibre and other valuable vitamins and minerals

One cup (185 g) of cooked quinoa with 222 calories, offers 8 grams of protein. Which is 15% of its calories. 

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are sources of some incredible nutrients including protein, magnesium, zinc and Iron, just to mention a few.

Protein makes 14% of calories in pumpkin seed. For an ounce (28g) of pumpkin seed, with 125 calories, the protein content is 5 grams. 

Egusi (Melon Seed)

Egusi is a protein-rich seed with plenty of health benefit.

Protein makes up about 12% of the calorie content of egusi.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are small but mighty. They pack a lot of nutritional punch.

For their size, they are high in protein compared to most plants. 

An ounce of chia seeds (about two tablespoons), with 137 calories, has about 4 grams of protein (about 11%)

 You can add them to your smoothies or just about anything to increase protein and fibre content without adding too many extra calories.

Grain & Legumes

Nigerian weight loss Grains and Legumes

Chickpea

Chickpea is one of the oldest consumed legumes, with a generous amount of vitamins and mineral.

Chickpeas are also high in protein. 100grams of chickpea, with 364 contain 19 grams of protein. 

Lentils

Lentil is a legume not only protein-rich but also rich in various other nutrients including fibre, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, folate and more.

Lentils are one of the greatest sources of plant-based protein you can get. Its protein content is sitting at about 27% of its calories. 1 cup (198 g) of boiled lentils, with 230 calories, contains 18 grams of protein.

Beans/Moi Moi/Akara

All types of beans including its bi-products like moi-moi and akara are all protein and fibre packed.

You can choose any form or type of bean you prefer and get at least 20 percent of your needed daily protein in a 1-cup serving

Thanks to beans, it really is possible to reach your recommended amount of daily protein without meat.

Locust Beans (Dawa Dawa or Iru or ogiri)

Locust beans is another high protein food with some amazing health benefit.

Protein occupies about 6.5% of its calories. You can easily spice up, and at the same time, increase the protein value of your soup by adding locust beans.

Oats

Oats is one of the healthiest grains you can get. It’s only full of important nutrients (like fibre, manganese, magnesium, and so on) but contains a significant amount of protein

Half a cup of uncooked oats with 303 calories, has 13 grams protein.

Vegetables

Nigerian weight loss vegetables

Broccoli

Pound for pound, Broccoli contains a very high amount of protein compared to other veggies. And it’s choke-full of important nutrients including fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium too.

The protein content of broccoli is 20% of its total calories. This translate to a cup of chopped broccoli (96 grams) contains 3 grams of protein with a measly 31 calories.

Green Pea

Green pea is a low GI vegetable with a lot of nutrients to offer including protein.

 1 cup (137.75 grams) of cooked green peas, with 116 calories, contains about 20 gram of protein p (i.e 15%)

Ewedu and Gbegiri 

Ewedu (jute leave) is also one of the few vegetables with a reasonable amount of protein.

Especially when mixed with gbegiri. You see, gbegiri is made from beans (it's sometimes called "beans soup").  Therefore, since it's made from beans it's high in protein.

Okra

Okra is nutritious and super low in calories.

They also manages to have a significant amount of protein compared to the majority of other vegetables.

100 grams of okra, with a measly 33 calories, contains 1.9g of protein

Why Should You Eat More Protein

The importance of eating enough protein cannot be overemphasised. 

You see, there are lots of disagreement in the health and fitness industry, however, one thing everybody agrees is that protein is important.

That's why you hardly hear a low-protein diet. Can't say the same for carbs and fat. 

Anyways, here are some importance of protein

  • bullseye
    Weight-loss: Increasing protein intake is the simplest and most painless way to lose weight. Because it's proven that a high protein diet can suppress your appetite. And reduce obsessive thought and desire for snacking by up to 60% [45].
  • bullseye
    Muscle building: It's almost impossible to build a good looking body without protein. That's why protein is a bodybuilder's best friend.
  • bullseye
    Overall Health: Eating more protein is the most delicious way to optimise your health. If you didn’t know, your skin, nails, hair, muscles, bones and some hormones are made up of protein. So without it, your body won't function properly.

There you have it, a few convincing reasons why eating more protein is important. And 35 high proteinous food you can find in Nigeria.

NOW It's Your Turn

Let me know in the comment section your favourite protein from the list. And let me know if I missed any Nigerian foods high protein.

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