Protein: we go on about it all the time. For good reason too: it’s the fastest way to build muscle, burn fat and get the body you want. And we’ve put together your definitive guide on it. Why? According to market experts Technavio, muscle diets are set to explode in Europe; they’re predicting the sales of high-protein grub will rise by 14 per cent by 2020. As the market gets bigger, you’ll have more chances to get hold of the best mass-building food on the planet. It’s time you found out what they are.
The foods are ranked in order of their protein content – the more they have, the higher up the list they go. In case you forgot: “If you’re training to get lean or build muscle you should eat 1g of protein per lb (0.5kg) of body weight each day,” says sport nutritionist Matt Lovell. Print this page out and stick it on your fridge – it’ll serve as your shopping list for more post-gym muscle and better performance.
- 1. Whey Protein
- 2. Soya Protein Isolate
- 3. Cod
- 4. Clams and Other Molluscs
- 5. Tofu
- 6. Low-sodium Parmesan Cheese
- 7. Lean Beef
- 8. Lamb
- 9. Chicken Breast
- 10. Pork Tenderloin
- Is Beef, Chicken, Or Fish Best For Building Muscle & Losing Fat?
- 1. Beef
- 2. Chicken
- 3. Fish
- 4. Game Meats
- There Really Is No Best Protein – Choose Variety
- What is lean meat?
- Health benefits of lean meat
- Dangers of lean meat
- Lean meats and food hygiene
- The 15 Healthiest (and Unhealthiest) Meats You Can Eat
- 1. Healthy: chicken
- 2. Unhealthy: chicken nuggets
- 3. Healthy: pork tenderloin
- 4. Unhealthy: bacon
- 5. Healthy: grass-fed beef
- 6. Unhealthy: corned beef
- 7. Healthy: pheasant
- 8. Unhealthy: Duck
- 9. Healthy: Turkey
- 10. Unhealthy: Deli meat
- 11. Healthy: Bison
- 12. Unhealthy: Hot dogs
- 13. Healthy: Lamb
- 14. Unhealthy: Ham
- 15. Healthy: Veal
- 16. Unhealthy: Prosciutto
- 17. Healthy: Ostrich
- 18. Salami
- What foods are high in protein?
1. Whey Protein
Protein content per 100g: 80-90g
“Whey protein is absorbed faster than any other protein, making it ideal for fuelling muscle growth before and after training,” says Lovell. It also boosts your immune system and a study at Ball State University, Indiana, found taking a minimum of 0.88g of whey per pound of body weight could prevent the ills of overtraining from setting in.
THE Whey+ Myprotein myprotein.com £24.32
People who are lactose intolerant should take whey protein isolate as this has less of it.
What to Eat With It
Carbs. “You should always take 20-30g of whey before and after training and its best accomplice is 40-50g of carbs,” says Lovell. “The carbs supply energy to train and replace muscle glycogen after you’ve trained – plus refined sugars cause the body to release insulin, which after training has a very anabolic effect and enhances protein synthesis.”
2. Soya Protein Isolate
Protein content per 100g: 88g
It’s very low in saturated fat (0.5g) and researchers at the nutrition division of Miami Research Associates, US, found that it was equal to whey at building muscle. “It’s also very rich in iron, which provides additional oxygen to your muscles, thereby allowing you to do cardiovascular exercise for longer,” says Lovell.
It has a reputation of being a man-boob builder. But don’t write it off: the study above found no change in the subjects’ oestrogen (female hormone) levels, which is the cause of the chest inflation.
What to Eat With It
An orange. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating foods rich in vitamin C increased the amount of iron you can absorb by up to 12 per cent.
sources of protein
Protein content per 100g: 18g
This is the animal protein with one of the lowest saturated fat content, serving just 0.5g of fat per 100g. “A modest 300g serving will provide your RDA of magnesium, which generates the energy needed for you to train, protect you against cramps and help your muscles contract,” explains Lovell.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Powder Chocolate 908g hollandandbarrett.com £18.99
It’s high in sodium (salt) but begrudging a seawater fish for being too salty is like resenting a lap dancer for wearing tassels.
What to Eat With It
Broccoli. Scientists at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) in Norwich found that eating foods high in selenium, like the cod, with sulforaphane-rich foods like broccoli make the meal 13 times more powerful at attacking cancer than when they are eaten alone.
4. Clams and Other Molluscs
Protein content per 100g: 48g
It will provide you with 302 per cent of your RDA of vitamin B12, which keeps your nervous system healthy, gives you energy and is used to metabolise fats, carbs and protein. You’ll also get 128 per cent of your RDA of the antioxidant selenium. “This antioxidant boosts post-exercise recovery and will reduce post-training stiffness,” explains Lovell.
It’s high in cholesterol (130mg) which is bad if you have high cholesterol, but researchers at Texas A&M University found that eating cholesterol can help to add muscle if your cholesterol levels are normal – it seems every clam has a silver lining.
What to Eat With It
Tomatoes. “They are rich in vitamin C which will help you absorb a larger chunk of the 10mg of iron found in this smiling protein source,” says Lovell.
sources of protein
Protein content per 100g: 17g
You’ll receive 184 per cent of your RDA of manganese. “This mineral is used to strengthen bones and metabolise carbs, amino acids and cholesterol,” says Lovell. Tofu also has 24g of unsaturated (good) fats and a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that when people ate unsaturated fats after exercise the blood flow in their arteries increased by 45 per cent, which resulted in more anti-inflammatory agents being rushed to the working muscles. Take home message: tofu will help you recover from training faster.
It’s not known for its flavour so it’s often flavoured with sauces like soya, which are very high in salt and preservatives, or fried.
What to Eat With It
Vegetable soup. “This will provide flavour and extra nutrients without any salty, preservative filled seasonings that often cancel out the goodness found in the tofu,” says Lovell.
6. Low-sodium Parmesan Cheese
Protein content per 100g: 42g
Due to its long ageing, much of the protein in Parmesan has been “pre-digested” and it takes just 45 minutes to digest. You’ll get 138 per cent of your RDA of bone strengthening calcium, which is vital for making your muscles contract.
You’ll get a whopping 19g of saturated fat which can sabotage the sternest fat burning efforts. “Limit your intake to those times when you’re trying to bulk up,” says Lovell.
What to Eat With It
Tofu or chicken breasts. A study at the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, Chicago, found that when people flavoured bland foods with high fat food they lost more weight because they were more likely to eat higher quantities of healthy food. That’s stealthy eating.
7. Lean Beef
Protein content per 100g: 36g
A 300g steak will provide you your RDA of zinc, which aids in post-exercise tissue repair and in the conversion of food to fuel. “Beef is one of the richest natural sources of the strength booster creatine which is a famously efficient muscle building aid,” states Lovell.
“It’s not a good post-workout meal as it takes too long to digest, leaving your muscles hanging for their protein fix,” explains Lovell. A 100g steak will give you 30% of your daily cholesterol limit so only eat it once or twice a week if you have cholesterol problems.
What to Eat With It
Greek salad. “Steak can take a long time to digest, leaving you feeling full for ages so if you’re trying to lose weight its best to pair it with a low-calorie, nutrient-dense option like a salad to stave off weight gain,” says Lovell. The enzymes in the salad will aid digestion and help you absorb more of the protein in the steak.
Protein content: 25g
A few chops will give you your RDA of the energy producing vitamins niacin and B12, which will help you train longer. “It’s a solid source of zinc and selenium – both of these are excellent for helping your muscles recover after exercise,” says Lovell.
It’s high in saturated fat (5g per 100g) but has little fat inside the meat so trim the unwanted bits off before you tuck in.
What to Eat With It
Cruciferous vegetables (kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, rocket, watercress). “They increase our body’s ability to detoxify the carcinogenic compounds that are produced when meat is grilled or fried the way lamb often is,” says Lovell.
9. Chicken Breast
Protein content per 100g: 33g
“One large breast will give you your RDA of niacin which will help your body produce energy from all the foods you eat and keep both your nervous and digestive system healthy,” states Lovell. “It’s low in saturated fat (1.3g) and carbs and is a good source of omega-3, making it an ideal protein source if you’re trying to lose weight or gain lean muscle.”
Shun the intensively farmed and water-filled budget breasts. A study in the Meat Science journal found organic chicken had 38 per cent more omega-3 than the non-organic chicken. More expensive maybe, but when it comes to fowl you get what you pay for.
What to Eat With It
Chicken soup. Research at the University of Nebraska, US, found it hampers the release of mucus, which is the sticky stuff that can obstruct your airways when you exercise.
10. Pork Tenderloin
Protein content per 100g: 23g
Two small fillets will provide you your RDA of thiamine. A study in Metabolic Brain Disease found that high levels of this vitamin helped athletes recover from exercise faster. “Pork is a rich source of zinc which helps your body produce the muscle building hormone testosterone,” states Lovell.
100g of pork will soak up 38% of your daily cholesterol allowance so limit it to a few times a week.
What to Eat With It
Pinto beans. An Arizona State University study found that a ½ cup (125ml) of these beans cuts bad cholesterol by 9 per cent – thereby off setting the high cholesterol levels in the pork.
Is Beef, Chicken, Or Fish Best For Building Muscle & Losing Fat?
To build muscle, there is no nutrient more necessary than protein. It also aids fat loss by promoting satiety, or feelings of fullness, and helps spare muscle tissue in the face of a reduced-calorie nutrition plan.
Beef, chicken, and fish are all excellent sources of protein and are carb free or low carb1, and consuming protein from a variety of sources is ideal. All animal proteins are complete, which means your body cannot make the nutrients you receive yourself.
Still, depending on your goals, medical issues, and body type, some may be more beneficial than others, but this has more to do with the fat (and calorie) content than the actual source of protein.
Beef comes from cows and generally has the more fat that chicken or fish. The make-up of fat in beef varies with how the cows are fed. Compared to grain fed, grass-fed beef has less overall fat but a higher percentage of omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and can help build muscle and burn fat.
The leanest cuts of beef are:
- Sirloin tip side steak (5.4 grams of fat per 3.5 ounce serving)
- Eye of round roast or steak (7 grams of fat per 3.5 ounce serving)
- Top round roast and steak (7.6 grams of fat per 3.5 ounce serving)
- Top sirloin steak (10.6 grams of fat per 3.5 ounce serving)
- Bottom round roast and steak (11 grams of fat per 3.5 ounce serving)
The fattiest cuts of meat are rib-eye (37.6 grams of fat) and T-bone (25.6 grams of fat) steaks. I looked at many nutrition data sites, including the USDA’s, and found a great variation in the amount of fat in filet mignon, which many people think is a very lean cut. Fat content ranged from just 3 grams per serving to more than 15 grams.
White meat chicken is low in fat and high in protein. Like filet mignon, I found many different nutritional profiles, with fat content ranging from 1 gram to 6 grams per 4 ounces of skinless breast. Skinless dark meat chicken’s fat content ranges from 6 to 12–plus grams per serving depending on the source of the nutrition data.
Chicken skin is mostly fat and eating the skin can quickly add unnecessary fat and calories to your nutrition plan. It is a better idea to skip the skin and get your fat from healthier sources like olive or coconut oil, nuts and avocado.
Fish is a very healthy protein choice. Fattier fish, generally from cold water, contain significant amounts of heart-healthy (and muscle-friendly) omega-3 fatty acids. Wild fish tend to have more favorable fat profiles than farm-raised fish, particularly salmon. However, higher fat content (even if it is the healthiest kind of fat) means higher calories, and if you’re trying to lose body fat you must keep this in mind.
Certain kinds of fish can be high in toxins, particularly mercury, and you should generally avoid or limit intake from these sources. Larger fish at the top of the food chain, like big eye or Ahi tuna, swordfish, shark and king mackerel contain significant amounts of mercury. Smaller fish such as sardines are high in both protein and omega-3 fatty acids and low in toxins. Additionally, they are cheap and an environmentally-sound choice, as they are plentiful and reproduce quickly.
If you chose to eat canned tuna, light tuna contains less mercury than albacore. Canned salmon is a better option, though fat content can vary significantly depending on the kind of salmon. Canned pink salmon is high in protein, low in fat and contaminants, and relatively inexpensive. The Monterey Bay Aquarium maintains a list2 of the best and worst seafood choices based on environmental impact and contaminants. I recommend visiting the site for the “best” choices and then picking seafood from the list that contains the proper nutrient breakdown for your goals.
4. Game Meats
Game, like venison (deer), elk and bison tend to be lean and high in protein. However, they often come with a high price tag and can be difficult to cook. Overcooking lean protein results in a tough, unpalatable meal. Game meats can taste “gamey” if not prepared properly. Still, learning how to work with these protein sources can expand your options and be a welcome change to chicken and beef.
There Really Is No Best Protein – Choose Variety
Really, there is no “best” protein source for losing fat and building muscle. I recommend using a variety of sources and tailoring your choices to your body and your goals. For example, if you do better with a lower carbohydrate plan, then using protein sources with higher fat content may help you. If total calorie content is your main concern, you’ll do better with the leanest protein choices but can potentially miss out on beneficial fats.
Like most things, a certain protein source can be good or bad depending on your circumstances. In all cases, moderation and common sense should be your guide, and all choices should be made within the context of a healthy lifestyle.
Show 2 References
- Some shellfish, like squid and scallops, contain measurable amounts of carbohydrate. ↩
- Seafood Watch. Monterey Bay Aquarium. 2014. ↩
Lean meat is a good source of protein with a lower fat content and therefore a lower calorie content.
Lean meat is generally regarded as a safe source of protein there have been some concerns about antibiotic use in poultry farms.
What is lean meat?
Lean meats are meats with a relatively low fat content. Skinless chicken and turkey and red meat, such as pork chops, with the fat trimmed off are examples of lean meat.
The fat on a pork chop accounts for about two thirds of its fat content and the skin on chicken can account for 80 per cent of its fat content
Health benefits of lean meat
Lean meats are a good source of protein and have fewer calories than non-lean meats. Lean meats are popular amongst people following low calorie and low fat diets
Poultry is a good source of selenium, vitamins B3 and B6, and choline.
Selenium has antioxidant properties which help to prevent free radicals from damaging cells. Selenium also helps the immune system. Vitamins B3 and B6 help the body to convert carbohydrate into glucose.
Vitamin B3, also called niaci, helps with production of stress and sex hormones. Choline helps with nerve function and can reduce inflammation.
- For health benefits of lean red meat, see red meat
Dangers of lean meat
Antibiotics are commonly used in poultry farming and have been linked with people getting infections, such as urinary tract infections, that are resistant to antiobiotics.
Whilst farmers must stick to rules minimising the amount of antibiotics that could pass through us through eating poultry, those that are concerned may wish to look for poultry that is organic or states that antibiotics have not been used.
Lean meats provide moderate levels of purines. Purines are useful for the body but can increase the chance of gout in people that are susceptible to it.
Lean meats and food hygiene
As with other meats, a key danger comes from insufficient cooking and if the meat is not handled and stored appropriately. Always wash hands and utensils which have touched raw meat.
Ensure the meat is fully cooked through before eating and never reheat cooked meat more than once.
The 15 Healthiest (and Unhealthiest) Meats You Can Eat
Many plant-based foods offer muscle-building protein, yet we often fill up with meat. This is okay as long as you understand the nutrition of different foods. These are the healthiest meats to add to your grocery cart — and the ones you should avoid altogether. One common meat will actually increase your risk of colon cancer (on page 10).
1. Healthy: chicken
There’s a reason health-conscious eaters choose chicken. | iStock.com
Why: low in calories; high in protein and B vitamins
A 3-ounce serving of grilled chicken breast has around 130 calories and 25 grams of protein. It’s low in saturated fat, which according to the American Heart Association, makes it a better protein choice than red meat. And the B vitamins in poultry help with metabolism and contribute to a healthy skin and nervous system.
Next: Avoid this chicken if you can.
2. Unhealthy: chicken nuggets
Any food that’s been turned into a nugget probably isn’t the best choice. | iStock.com
Why: high in sodium, calories, and processed ingredients
Although nugs may be a slightly better choice when (fast) food options are limited, stocking them in your freezer isn’t advisable. For instance, Perdue’s nuggets have 210 calories and 480 milligrams of sodium in one serving. And the heavily-breaded morsels leave you with less actual meat.
Next: All pig-related meats are not created equal.
3. Healthy: pork tenderloin
Perfectly cooked pork tenderloin is delicious and good for you. | iStock.com
Why: similar to chicken in nutritional value
Pork doesn’t deserve its unhealthy image; the USDA states both roasted pork tenderloin and chicken have about 120 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, and 22 grams of protein. One expert told Time chicken breast and pork tenderloin are pretty equal in leanness. Just steer clear of factory-raised pork tenderloin to avoid added hormones.
Next: It’s hard to resist this breakfast food — but you should try.
4. Unhealthy: bacon
Sorry, but bacon isn’t your best bet. | iStock.com
Why: extremely high in sodium and fat
Three slices of this cured meat yields around 150 calories, the majority from fat. It also has 570 milligrams of sodium per serving, which is 24% the recommended daily value. According to The Huffington Post, the salty meat can increase the risk for heart disease.
Next: If you love red meat, choose this kind every time.
5. Healthy: grass-fed beef
Grass-fed beef is pretty lean. | iStock.com
Why: comes from cattle who haven’t consumed grains
Beef has been called both healthy and harmful. Confusing, right? However, grass-fed beef really can be good for you. Cooking Light says choosing grass-fed over grain-fed varieties can save you around 16,000 calories a year if you eat the typical amount. Grass-fed beef also has less fat and contains a decent amount of omega-3s, according to Mayo Clinic.
Next: Even the Irish should avoid this kind of beef.
6. Unhealthy: corned beef
Corned beef is about as salty as it gets. | iStock.com
Why: majorly increases the fat and calories
Nutritionix shows a 3-ounce serving of corned beef has 210 calories, 16 grams of fat (5 from saturated fat), and 830 milligrams of sodium. The protein content for one serving falls far short for the same amount of grilled chicken breast, too. It’s fine for the occasional treat, but stick to leaner cuts most of the time.
Next: A healthy bird alternative, especially if you love to hunt.
7. Healthy: pheasant
This game bird is healthier than you think. | iStock.com
Why: contains iron, vitamins, and selenium
This may sound off-the-wall, but it’s a great alternative to your go-to meats. According to game-to-eat, “Pheasant and partridge also contain a high level of iron, protein, vitamin B6 and selenium, which helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.”
Next: Leave this bird in the pond where it belongs.
8. Unhealthy: Duck
The skin is the real diet destroyer. | iStock.com
Why: tons of calories and fat
Nutritionix shows ½ cup of roasted duck with skin totals 235 calories, 75% from fat. Eating a diet high in saturated fat can raise bad cholesterol and, according to the AHA, increases your risk of heart disease. Duck also has less protein than our healthier picks. When you want to indulge, ditch the skin to save some calories.
Next: We’re extra thankful for this meat.
9. Healthy: Turkey
It’s good for a lot more than your annual Thanksgiving feast. | iStock.com
Why: a lean meat full of B vitamins
Compared to chicken, a 3-ounce serving of turkey breast has slightly fewer calories and less fat, plus about the same amount of protein. Authority Nutrition says this extra lean meat is full of B vitamins, including selenium, which supports a healthy immune system. The best thing about turkey breast: its versatility. The poultry works well for everything from chili to sandwiches.
Next: Once considered healthy, this meat is linked to colon cancer.
10. Unhealthy: Deli meat
Steer clear of cold cuts when you can. | iStock.com
Why: filled with preservatives
WebMD mentions cold cuts are one of the worst foods you can have in your fridge because they’re made with nitrites and have tons of sodium. They’re also associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. While deli meats may seem like a quick, easy way to eat protein, it’s much better to opt for less-processed options, like a slice or two of the aforementioned turkey.
Next: A richer flavor than beef, and it’s good for you
11. Healthy: Bison
Bison is low in fat and loaded with protein. | iStock.com
Why: Bison get to roam free, which leads to a healthier diet.
According to Dr. Axe, bison can be a naturally healthier option because their diets aren’t filled with hormones or questionable feed. A 3-ounce portion of ground bison contains 152 calories and 7 grams of fat, only 3 of which are saturated. And the flavor is even richer than beef.
Next: Find an alternative next time you’re at the ballpark.
12. Unhealthy: Hot dogs
Hot dogs are just too processed to be good for you. | iStock.com
Why: One hot dog can have 410 milligrams of sodium and only 6 grams of protein.
According to Business Insider, hot dogs are made with different meat trimmings, such as steak, chicken, and pork chops. These are combined with additives like corn syrup and salt, resulting in single beef hot dog packed with sodium but little protein. Experts also told Time the nitrates added during processing can contribute to cancer.
Next: As long as you don’t have an attachment to “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
13. Healthy: Lamb
Lamb is brimming with B vitamins. | iStock.com
Why: Lamb is an excellent source of zinc and iron, and it’s super rich in B vitamins.
According to Nourish With Lamb, “Lean lamb is a source of healthy, unsaturated fats. Forty percent of the fat in lean lamb is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.” So, stick with lean cuts, and you’ll do the body good.
Next: Reconsider this tempting, honey-baked entree.
14. Unhealthy: Ham
There’s just so much sodium in most hams. | iStock.com
Why: A honey-baked ham has 1,230 milligrams of sodium in just one serving.
You know deli ham isn’t good for you — and the fancier version is no different. Often consumed around the holidays, this salty meat should stay on the table for special occasions only. These types of hams are super cured and typically loaded with unnecessary sugars. Tasty? Yes. An unnecessary meat to consume regularly? Absolutely.
Next: An awesome calorie-swap for your regular burger
15. Healthy: Veal
Veal has plenty of protein. | iStock.com
Why: It’s a great option when you crave iron and protein, but want to skip the burger.
Similar to pork, veal is lower in fat than most kinds of beef. In fact, SFGate says 3 ounces of ground veal contain just 146 calories, while the same serving of ground pork is about 252 calories. You can even make a tasty veal dinner right at home.
Next: Better than bacon but not by much
16. Unhealthy: Prosciutto
Resist the prosciutto on that meat and cheese plate. | Anna Bobrowska/iStock/Getty Images
Why: horrible fat content per serving
Not only does a tiny two-ounce portion of prosciutto contain more than 10 grams of fat, but it’s also a sodium bomb, with 973 mg in each serving. It may look light and thin, but it’s deceptive.
Next: An unusual, but healthy bird
17. Healthy: Ostrich
An ostrich | All Things Animal TV via Youtube
Why: Ostrich tastes like red meat but it’s healthier.
This unconventional meat has half the fat of chicken and more than 24 grams of protein in a three-ounce serving. At 123 calories, ostrich is a great option for carnivores.
Next: Avoid the meat and cheese platter during happy hour.
So tempting with a cracker and some cheese | Tolisma/iStock/Getty Images
Why: way too much sodium
Salami will kill your salt goals for the day. One slice of this meat contains 17% of your daily recommended sodium intake.
What foods are high in protein?
Share on PinterestBlack beans are an affordable source of plant protein.
High protein foods for weight loss include:
1. Black beans
Black beans are often an inexpensive source of protein. Black beans can be prepared in a variety of ways, making them a very versatile ingredient when preparing meals.
2. Lima beans
Some Lima beans offer about 21 grams (g) of protein per 100 g serving.
Yellow corn has about 15.6 g of protein per cup. Additionally, corn also contains a good amount of fiber and minerals, including calcium.
Salmon is considered a fatty fish, meaning it is full of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is also an excellent source of protein and can help a person feel more satisfied at meals. Salmon may not be as budget-friendly as some other protein options.
Potatoes have a reputation as a starchy carb but are good sources of nutrients, including protein. One medium potato with the skin on contains just over 4 g of protein. People should use caution when preparing a potato as the extras that people often put on potatoes can increase the calorie count.
One cup of raw broccoli has almost 2.6 g of protein and contains a variety of nutrients such as folate and potassium. This powerhouse veggie only has 31 calories per cup.
Cauliflower has a lot of protein with very few calories. One cup of chopped cauliflower has 27 calories and 2 g of protein.
8. Chinese cabbage
Also known as bok choy, this vegetable gets much of its calories from protein and is full of antioxidants.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, nutrients, and healthful fats. A variety of studies have shown that eggs can help people feel more satisfied and stop them overeating. For example, one study found that a group of women who ate eggs instead of bagels for breakfast felt fuller for longer and ate fewer calories throughout the day.
Beef offers high amounts of protein per serving. There is a range of different types of beef to choose from for weight loss. People following a moderate carbohydrate diet should eat lean beef whereas a person on a low-carb diet may eat fattier beef.
11. Chicken breast
Chicken breast is a lean source of protein. The majority of its calories come directly from protein when served without skin. A 136 g skinless chicken breast provides around 26 g of protein.
Oats offer about 17 g of protein per 100g. They are also a source of complex carbohydrates. Raw oats are easy to prepare as oatmeal and people can flavor them with a variety healthful foods, such as fruits and nuts. People should avoid prepared oatmeals as they often contain added sugar.
Tuna is an excellent and widely available source of protein that also has a low calorie count. Tuna is a lean fish with minimal fat. Add tuna to salads, sandwiches, and snacks. Be careful with additional dressings, such as mayonnaise, as these can add additional, unwanted calories.
Share on PinterestTempeh is a popular source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
Tempeh comes from soybeans, like tofu. However, it has a higher protein count than tofu, offering about 17 g per half cup. Tempeh may not be easy to find, but some grocery stores carry it in the refrigerated vegetarian section.
Spirulina is a bacteria that grows in both fresh and salt waters. It offers a variety of nutrients and protein from a small amount of its powdered form.
Spirulina is available for purchase online.
Legumes are both high in fiber and protein. This makes them a good choice as part of a weight loss diet because they can be quite filling. Some people may have trouble digesting legumes, however.
17. Hemp seeds
People can use hemp seeds in salads as a substitute for croutons. Hemp seeds offer about 9.5 g of protein per tablespoon. They are fairly easy to find in most grocery stores but can be expensive.
18. Sun-dried tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes are an excellent addition to many dishes and are widely available. They offer both a good source of protein, as well as additional nutrients and fiber.
Guava is a tropical fruit that may not be available everywhere. Guava is one of the most protein-rich fruits available. It also offers additional nutrients, such as vitamin C.
Artichokes are high in fiber and offer a good amount of protein. Artichokes are very versatile and are suitable for use in a variety of recipes. Artichokes are typically easy to find in most grocery stores.
Peas are high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Peas are inexpensive, easy to find, and can be used in lots of recipes.
Bison meat is another excellent source of protein. Bison is lean meat, offering less fat per serving than beef. Bison is becoming more available, and some people use it as a substitute for beef.
Lean pork is a good source of protein. Pork roasts and tenderloin are good choices for meals. People should avoid processed pork products such as bacon.
Turkey packs a powerful punch of protein. Boneless turkey can provide about 13 g of protein per 100 g.
Chickpeas are a healthful vegetarian protein that is high in fiber, and full of nutrients that support heart and bone health. They also ward off cancer.
Quinoa is one of the only complete sources of vegetarian protein. Quinoa contains all 11 amino acids needed to make a protein complete, making it an excellent choice for vegetarians, vegans, and those who do not eat a lot of meat.
27. Greek yogurt
Plain, low-fat Greek yogurt packs as much as 19 g of protein in a 200g pot. People looking to lose weight should limit or avoid Greek yogurt that contains added sugar. People should opt for the plain versions instead and jazz it up with some fruit or seeds.
28. Cottage cheese
This dairy product has an abundance of protein. It also offers a healthful serving of calcium and other nutrients.
Nuts have a reputation for being high calorie but with a little bit of portion control, dry roasted or raw almonds can make for a filling, protein-rich snack.
Cow’s milk is an excellent source of protein for people that can tolerate drinking milk. An 8 ounce serving of milk contains 8 g of protein.
Lentils pack a hefty dose of plant protein and fiber. They are very affordable and may promote heart health.
32. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are full of protein and minerals, such as magnesium and selenium. People looking to lose weight should stay away from oil roasted pumpkin seeds and choose dry roasted seeds, instead.
Share on PinterestAvocados contain healthy fats, as well as protein.
Avocados not only contain protein and heart healthful unsaturated fat, but they also contain good levels of fiber and nutrients, such as potassium.
Portion control is necessary, however, since avocados are very calorie dense.
Pistachios are a reasonably low calorie nut that contain a big serving of protein.
One ounce of pistachios contains about 6 g of protein and a wealth of other nutrients including a high dose of B-6.
35. Chia seeds
This tiny seed packs more than 5 g of protein per ounce, along with omega-3s, fiber, and calcium. Vegans often use chia seeds as an egg substitute, and many people enjoy adding them to smoothies or salads for extra health benefits.
36. Nut butters
Nut butters, including peanut butter, contain a lot of calories, but a portion-controlled serving can add unsaturated fat and a dose of protein to a person’s diet. People wanting to eat nut butters healthily should stick to those with no added sugars or oils.
This white fish is an excellent source of lean protein with nearly 30 g of protein in half a fillet.
Asparagus gets over one quarter of its calories from protein. It is also full of nutrients, including B vitamins and is low in carbohydrates.
This cruciferous vegetable grows in water, has a surprisingly high protein content, and contains a full day’s worth of vitamin K. Adding some watercress to salads can really maximize its health benefits.
40. Brussel sprouts
Brussel sprouts are full of protein, fiber, and vitamins. A one cup serving contains almost 3 g of protein.
Spelt is a type of hulled wheat that has a very high protein content. It has risen in popularity and is often available with the specialty flours.
Teff is a grass that is often ground down to make flour. This gluten-free food has a fairly high protein content with about 13 g of protein per 100 g serving.
43. Whey protein powder
Whey protein powder is used by many bodybuilders and athletes as a supplement to help increase muscle mass and strength. This powder is made from the proteins found in the liquid part of milk and can add a substantial amount of protein to a person’s diet.
It is essential for people to read the labels because whey proteins are often full of sugar. Whey protein is available for purchase online.