High-Calorie, High-Protein Foods

by Beth Spicer

About Beth Spicer

Beth Spicer is a statistician in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. Her professional experience includes 20 years working in social, behavioral and medical research for Duke University, GlaxoSmithKline, Family Health International and other area research institutions. She holds a B.S. in mathematics from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a M.B.A. from The College of William & Mary.



Whether you have a special event to train for or are following a medical diet, at times you may be looking for foods high in protein and calories without a lot of bulk. Take heart -- there are numerous cheeses, meats, nuts, seeds and a few other odds and ends that you can enjoy, which will perfectly meet these needs. The items on this list all offer at least 60 calories and 6 grams of protein in a 1-ounce serving. That means in a normal serving size of 3 to 4 ounces, you will get at least 180 calories, and no fewer than 18 grams of protein.


Cheese is an obvious choice as a high-calorie, high-protein food. It's nutritious, hearty and convenient, while packing a lot of calories and protein into a small package. Cheeses have an average of 100 calories and 6 to 8 grams of protein in every ounce, and come in dozens of varieties. Go beyond plain cheddar to try one blue, brick, caraway, Cheshire, Colby, Edam, fontina, goat, Gouda, Gruyere, Mexican, Monterey, mozzarella, muenster, Parmesan, Port Salut, provolone, Romano, Roquefort, Swiss or Tilsit.

Meats and Fish

Meats of all types are the highest protein foods. Some are lean and low in calories, but there are several choices which are rich and fatty and contain a lot of calories per ounce. If you want to "beef up" your daily calorie and protein intake, try almost any cut of beef, pork, duck, or lamb--roasted, broiled or braised. For example, a 3-ounce serving of braised lamb has 207 calories and 24 grams protein. Another option is fish, such as mackerel, salmon, mollusks, shad, herring or eel. Caviar or fried shrimp are another option, as are stewed or fried dark-meat poultry. Some wild game meats also fit the bill when roasted. Consider bear, beaver, opossum or raccoon. Of course, processed meats, such as bologna, bratwurst, liverwurst, pepperoni, salami, sausage or chorizo also have more than 60 calories and 6 grams of protein per ounce.

Nuts and Seeds

Due to their high oil content, most nuts, seeds and their butters fall into the high-calorie, high-protein category with 60 or more calories and at least 6 grams of protein in every ounce. These foods are also especially convenient, given that they stay fresh for long periods of time without refrigeration. Keep all of these nut varieties in mind when choosing: hazelnuts, hickory nuts, pecans, pine nuts and walnuts, as well as almonds, beechnuts, butternuts, chestnuts and ginkgo nuts. From the seed family, consider squash, sesame, safflower, sunflower, pumpkin and watermelon. Black walnuts are a good example for this category with 175 calories and 6.8 grams of protein per ounce.

Odds and Ends

In addition to more traditional foods, there are few oddball food choices to add to your list of high-calorie, high-protein foods: beef jerky or meat "sticks," pork skins, turkey bacon, soy chips, peanuts and meatless fish sticks. Soy chips, for example, have 109 calories and 7.5 grams of protein per ounce.

Photo Credits:

  • dish from meat image by Sergey Goruppa from Fotolia.com

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.