Whether you’re whipping yourself into shape for a special occasion, or you just want to be proud of your body when you look in the mirror, eating more protein helps you achieve your fat loss targets. Why? Because high-protein foods boost your metabolism, making you burn more calories for hours after your meal [1-3].
Plus, your food reward system has a strong appetite for protein. Researchers have found protein to be so satiating that when people add more of it to their diet, they automatically drop their total calorie intake [4-5].
That’s why eating more protein is one of the best ways to set yourself up for reaching your fat loss goals. Read on to discover 21 delicious, high-protein foods that will help you crank up your metabolism and get rid of excess flab.
Note: all information on protein content is derived from nutritiondata.self.com
1. Chicken Breast
With 80% of total calories coming from protein, chicken gives you a lot of bang for your slimming buck. Testament to its qualities is the fact that many athletes have it as a staple in their diet. Oh, and let’s not forget that chicken is the cheapest meat in most countries, which makes it readily available for regular consumption.
Protein content: 31 grams per 100 grams of chicken breast.
Eggs are an incredible source of high-quality protein. They score extremely high on leucine (the so-called “muscle-building amino acid”) and contain all recognized vitamins except for vitamin C. Eggs also boast a very high content of choline – a precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is crucial for optimal brain functioning.
Protein content: 12.6 grams per 100 grams of egg.
Tuna contains zero carbs and almost no fat, which leaves us with mostly protein. This makes the fish an ideal food for people who want to lose fat. What’s more, 100 grams of tuna satisfy roughly 50% of your daily need of selenium, a potent antioxidant.
Protein content: 25.5 grams per 100 grams of tuna.
4. Whey Protein
Whey is a high-quality protein source that contains all the essential and most of the non-essential amino acids. Besides, a whey protein shake is fast to prepare, making it a great pre- and post-workout drink or an excellent meal replacement when you’re on the road.
Protein content: 70.4 grams per 100 grams of whey protein powder.
Beef, especially grass-fed beef, is a nutrition powerhouse. That is due not only to its high protein content, but also its abundance of various vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, iron, niacin, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. On top of that, it contains numerous other beneficial compounds such as creatine, taurine, glutathione, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
Protein content: 19.4 grams per 100 grams of beef.
There are many kinds of cheese, but they have one thing in common: they’re all packed with high-quality protein. Besides, cheese is one of the richest dietary sources of calcium – the most common mineral found in the body. It is crucial for bone strength, muscle contraction, and cardiovascular health, not to mention that a high calcium intake can help you lose fat .
Protein content: An average of 24.9 grams per 100 grams of cheese.
While milk is cheap and highly nutritious, a large portion of the population is lactose intolerant, so it’s not an ideal choice for everyone. However, if you do tolerate lactose, milk provides high-quality protein alongside various nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin.
Protein content: 3.2 grams per 100 ml of milk (3.25% fat content).
Most people eat just the muscle meat of animals and rarely reach for connective tissue, bones, and organ meats. As a result, we over-consume the amino acids tryptophan and cysteine and don’t get enough proline and glycerine. To get your amino acid ratio back in balance, add gelatin to your diet. It’s high in the amino acids proline and glycerine, both of which are hard to get in sufficient amounts if you rely solely on the muscle meat of animals.
Protein content: 85.6 grams per 100 grams of gelatin powder.
Almonds are nutritious and rich in protein. They contain lots of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant, and a fair amount of magnesium – a mineral that helps keep your blood pressure normal, your bones strong, and your sleep sound. Don’t go overboard with almonds though because they’re high in calories.
Protein content: 21.2 grams per 100 grams of almonds.
When it comes to grains, oats are one of the healthiest options. They’re loaded with vitamins and minerals, and they score high on fiber content. The latter helps keep you satiated longer. One study that looked at 38 common foods ranked oats as the most satiating breakfast and the third most satiating food overall . That’s why can safely label oats as a weight loss food.
Protein content: 16.9 grams per 100 grams of oats.
11. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a thicker, creamier version of regular yogurt. It contains more protein than the standard variety – around three times as much. It is lower in lactose and contains probiotics (good bacteria) that promote gut health [8-9].
Protein content: 9 grams per 100 grams of Greek yogurt.
12. Turkey Breast
Turkey is relatively similar to chicken breast – both are loaded with high-quality protein and low in fat and carbs. However, turkey breast is lower in the pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, so it might be a superior choice.
Protein content: 17.1 grams per 100 grams of chicken breast.
With 90% of total calories coming from protein, shrimp is one of the leanest protein sources. (The rest of the calories come from fat.) Due to their high protein and low-calorie content, shrimps are a fantastic choice on a weight loss plan.
Protein content: 20.9 grams per 100 grams of shrimp.
When it comes to fish, this one is often labeled the healthiest choice. It’s mainly because salmon is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, which have several health benefits. They include decreasing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of cancer [10-14]. What’s more, omega-3 fats are also linked to weight loss and a decrease in belly fat in overweight individuals [15-16].
Protein content: 22.1 grams per 100 grams of salmon.
Adding peanuts to your diet is a delicious way to get more protein. Plus, they provide you with a hefty dose of various micronutrients, including biotin, vitamin E, niacin, magnesium, and phosphorus. However, if your goal is losing weight, be careful with peanuts because you can easily overindulge in them.
Protein content: 23.7 grams per 100 grams of peanuts.
16. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese that contains much less fat than most other cheeses – just 2.3 grams per cup (226 grams). Combine that with a relatively low carb content and what you’re left with is mostly protein.
Protein content: 12.4 grams per 100 grams of cottage cheese.
Tilapia is a white, freshwater fish that’s among the cheapest on the market. Besides being high in protein and low in calories, tilapia is also a great source of selenium, potassium, phosphorus, and many of the B vitamins.
Protein content: 26.1 grams per 100 grams of tilapia filet.
Lentils are an excellent protein source for vegetarians. Moreover, they are high in fiber, which, combined with their high protein content, makes them a satiating food choice. Therefore, lentils might help you lose weight.
Protein content: 9 grams per 100 grams of lentils.
19. Pumpkin Seeds
While small in size, pumpkin seeds are big where protein and nutrients are concerned. They are one of the best dietary sources of zinc, a mineral that stimulates the activity of more than 100 bodily enzymes. Plus, pumpkin seeds are rich in fiber, and, according to animal studies, can reduce blood sugar levels [17-18].
Protein content: 18.5 grams per 100 grams of pumpkin seeds.
Quinoa is a gluten-free “pseudo-cereal” that is prepared and eaten in the same way as grains. It scores very high on protein content and, unlike most plant-based protein sources, quinoa contains all the essential amino acids. This means your body easily and effectively uses the protein found in quinoa.
Protein content: 4.4 grams per 100 grams of quinoa.
21. Beef Jerky
Let’s wrap it up with the favorite of many – beef jerky. It’s meat trimmed of fat, cut into strips, and then dried to produce a tasty, protein-rich snack. Beef jerky is a convenient and delicious way to get high-quality animal protein when you don’t have time to cook.
Protein content: 33.2 grams per 100 grams of beef jerky.