Eating foods high in protein has many benefits, including muscle building, weight loss, and feeling fuller after eating. Though eating lots of protein may be beneficial, eating a balanced diet is an essential part of staying healthy.
Eating a protein-rich diet can help people lose weight because it can help them avoid overeating. A high protein diet can help build lean muscle when combined with exercise. Lean muscle helps to burn more calories throughout the day, which can also help with weight loss.
The following are some of the best high protein foods that a person can consume to help them lose weight.
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.
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.
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.
There are many potential sources of protein people can choose from when trying to lose weight. Many protein sources offer additional nutrients that benefit overall health as well.
- Basic report: 01078, Milk, producer, fluid, 3.7% milkfat. (n.d.)
- Basic report: 01287, Yogurt, greek, plain, lowfat. (n.d.)
- Basic report: 05304, Turkey, mechanically deboned, from turkey frames, raw. (n.d.)
- Basic report: 11090, Broccoli, raw. (n.d.)
- Basic report: 11098, Brussels sprouts, raw. (n.d.)
- Basic report: 11135, Cauliflower, raw. (n.d.)
- Basic report: 11362, Potatoes, raw, skin. (n.d.)
- Basic report: 12006, Seeds, chia seeds, dried. (n.d.)
- Basic Report: 12012, Seeds, hemp seed, hulled. (n.d)
- Basic report: 12151, Nuts, pistachio nuts, raw. (n.d.)
- Basic report: 15196, Fish, halibut, greenland, cooked, dry heat. (n.d.)
- Basic report: 16071, Lima beans, large, mature, seeds raw. (n.d.)
- Basic report: 16114, Tempeh. (n.d.)
- Basic report: 20014, Corn grain, yellow. (n.d.)
- Basic report: 20038, Oats. (n.d.)
- Basic report: 20142, Teff, uncooked. (n.d.)
- Frestedt, J. L., Zenk, J. L., Kuskowski, M. A., Ward, L. S., & Bastian, E. D. (2008, March 27). A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: A randomized human clinical study. Nutrition & Metabolism, 5(1), 8
- Full report (all nutrients): 45038065, boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Mattila, P., Mäkinen, S., Eurola, M., Jalava, T., Pihlava, J.-M., Hellström, J., & Pihlanto, A. (2018, March 2). Nutritional value of commercial protein-rich plant products. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 1–8
- USDA food composition databases. (n.d.)
- Vander Wal, J. S., Marth, J. M., Khosla, P., Jen, K. L., & Dhurandhar, N. V. (2005, December). Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects [Abstract]. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 24(6), 510–515