For anybody looking to improve their physique, whether they’re trying to burn body fat, build muscle mass, or even a combination of both, getting your daily macronutrients just right is absolutely essential if you wish to make the progress you should be making. Macronutrients are made up of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins and it is protein we’ll be focusing on here. This particular macronutrient is vital for cellular growth and reproduction, as well as the growth and repair of muscle tissue. This is why bodybuilders and people looking to build or maintain lean muscle mass will consume high protein diets each day. Whey and other protein supplements make up a certain percentage of their daily macros when it comes to protein, but supplements are no replacement for whole foods. Here’s a look at five of the best whole food protein sources.

Wild salmon

Wild Salmon

If possible, always choose wild salmon as opposed to farmed salmon as the colour, the taste, the texture, and the protein and nutrient content is simply head and shoulders above farmed salmon. Wild salmon is rich in minerals, vitamins, and protein and on top of that it is also a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential when it comes to our health and indeed our physiques. A typical 3oz wild salmon fillet will contain between 22 and 24g of protein.

Organic eggs

When it comes to eggs, if possible go with organic, and if not, go with free-range, but never ever go with battery (caged) hen eggs as they taste foul and contain nowhere near as many important and beneficial nutrients as the aforementioned eggs on our list. Organic eggs contain omega 3, they contain minerals and B vitamins, and they’re rich in protein and boast a complete amino acid profile of both essential and non-essential amino acids. 1 large egg will contain around 6 grams of protein, so a typical three egg omelette with veggies will provide close to 20 g of protein and countless other nutrients as well.

Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is virtually fat free and contains a very healthy dosage of protein and minerals, including calcium. Cottage cheese is ideal because it’s ready to eat from the tub, and it goes with numerous other food sources including baked potatoes, sandwiches, salads, and side dishes. For a delicious high-protein snack when you have a sweet tooth, why not combine cottage cheese with a scoop of strawberry whey protein powder and give a good mix? 100 grams of cottage cheese contains roughly 12g of protein.

Chicken breast

Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is both a bodybuilder’s best friend, and worst nightmare simultaneously. It is their best friend because it is virtually fat free, it is high in protein and minerals, and it goes with so many different foods and can be prepared in so many different ways. It is their worst nightmare because they consume so much of the stuff that they become sick of the sight of it. It is however, a great source of lean protein, just make sure you go with fresh chicken breasts and avoid those awful frozen fillets pumped full of salt, water, and dextrose (sugar). 100g of chicken breast contains a whopping 30g of protein.

Natural peanut or almond butter

Natural peanut or almond butter is the perfect food for people looking to build or maintain muscle as it contains amino acids, protein, and a healthy combination of natural fats and oils found in these nuts. Not only is it a great source of healthy fat and protein, it also tastes absolutely amazing! Never go with convenience store-bought nut butters as they contain added salt, sugar, hydrogenated oils to help make them spreadable, and various other chemical preservatives as well. Instead, go with natural or organic nut butters as they simply contain natural ground nuts with nothing added and nothing taken away. 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter (32g) contains around 10 g of protein.

Chicken breastCottage cheeseEggsNatural almond butterNatural peanut butterNutritionProtein sourcesSalmonWhole foods