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26 High-Protein Low-Fat Foods to Help You Lose Extra Pounds

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Most of you may have dreamed of building a perfect body with ‘six-pack abs’ or a ‘thigh gap’. Yes, that’s my dream too.

No matter why you’re trying to get in shape, perhaps you want to become physically stronger, or you want to look better and healthier, there may be times in which it feels like exercising is useless.

An effective plan to weight always includes a proper diet. Here’s the simple logic: when your energy intake is greater than your energy output, you gain weight; when your energy output is greater than your energy intake, you lose weight. So without a proper diet, exercise will seem to be useless.

Why High-Protein Low-Fat Foods Are Crucial to Weight Loss

Instead of consuming fat, protein is a better option to reduce the energy intake. Protein plays a major role in building and repairing muscle. It also facilitates the fat-burning metabolism in your body and reduces your appetite so that you eat less. Science reveals another surprising fact about protein: protein itself can make you lose weight even without conscious calories restriction.[1] Wow! That’s good news. This means maybe you can lose weight by adjusting you eating habit!

Here we have an extensive list of high-protein low-fat for you to work on your weight-loss plan. There are some foods that you may be overlooking!

Fruit and Vegetables

1. Spinach

Protein Power: 5 g per 1 cup serving

Spinach does not only contain protein but also vitamins A and C, antioxidants and heart-health folate (folic acid). It is also a good source of manganese, magnesium, and iron.

Steam your spinach instead of eating it raw. This helps retain vitamins and makes it easier for your body to absorb the calcium content. You may also add spinach to soups, or simply steam it and top with pepper, garlic, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

2. Sun-dried Tomatoes

Protein Power: 6 g per 1 cup serving

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which can reduce your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancer, as well as decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. Compared with fresh ones, sun-dried tomatoes contain 20% more lycopene per serving.

They are available dry or packed in oil. Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil are softer and easier to blend into receipes. You may use them in salads, sandwiches, sauces, or use them as a pizza topping.

3. Guava

Protein Power: 4.2 g per 1 cup serving

This tropical fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also extraordinarily rich in lycopene and antioxidants that are beneficial for your skin. Without compromising your intake of proteins, vitamins and fiber, guava helps you lose weight by regulating your metabolism.

Eat it raw. Guava, especially raw guava, has far less sugar compared to other fruits like apples, oranges, and grapes.

4. Artichokes

Protein Power: 4.2 g per 1 medium vegetable

Artichokes are rich in fiber and protein, which are the two important elements for making your stomach full so that the hormone which increases your appetite is suppressed. If you want to lose weight, artichokes should be definitely on your list.

Boil and eat the whole artichoke as a self-contained salad. You may also add some goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes to make it taste better.

5. Peas

Protein Power: 8 g per 1 cup serving

A cup of green peas contains 8 times the protein of a cup of spinach. Peas are a very good source of vitamins, manganese, and fiber. The high-level of fiber helps you to stay away from cravings for junk food.

You may add some green peas to an omelet to boost eggs’ satiating power. If you are looking for the frozen green peas, make sure there’s no giant pea ice cube in the bag. A giant pea ice cube means the peas have been thawed previously and then refrozen, which may degrade their quality.

Red Meat

6. Grass-fed Beef

Protein Power: 26 g per 4 oz serving

Everyone knows that red meat like beef contains a rich amount of protein. But grass-fed beef does more good to you than conventional grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is naturally leaner and has fewer calories and fat. The omega-3 fatty acids in it also reduces the risk of heart disease.

Grass-fed beef is more expensive than the grain-fed one. But its nutritional benefits are way greater.

7. Ostrich

Protein Power: 29 g per 4 oz serving

Another kind of red meat you may want to try is ostrich meat. It has less fat than turkey or chicken but has the rich taste of beef. The choline in ostrich meat is also one of the essential nutrients for fat loss.

Ostrich meat is easy to prepare and rich in taste. Ideally, a steak or fillet should be served medium rare. It will become dry if it is fully cooked.

8. Pork

Protein Power: 24 g per 4 oz serving

Pork is another typical red meat that is rich in protein. Among all the parts of pork, you should choose to have pork tenderloin, which is believed to be the healthiest choice. It has slightly less fat than a skinless chicken breast. Science also proves that fresh lean pork helps with the reduction of your waist size, BMI, and belly fat! [2]

Soak your pork in brine to have more tender meat by helping to break down muscle tissue. Cover and chill for 30 minutes to 2 hours then you will have the perfect texture ready!

Sea Food

9. Halibut

Protein Power: 16 g per 3 oz serving

Fishes are also rich in protein, while halibut has a relatively high-level of protein among them. The nutritional content in halibut can also influence your serotonin level, which is one of the key hormones responsible for appetite signals.

You may go for Pacific halibut instead of Atlantic halibut. It is generally considered a more sustainable choice.

10. Wild Salmon

Protein Power: 17 g per 3 oz serving

Despite the fact that salmon contains a relatively high level of calories and fat content, salmon is one of the best food choices for your weight-loss plan. Studies show that salmon eaters have lower fasting insulin levels and a reduction in inflammation.

Wild salmon is leaner than farmed. So go wild. You may look for salmon with the skin still intact. The skin provides you added flavor during cooking.

11. Light Canned Tuna

Protein Power: 16 g per 3 oz serving

Canned light tuna is one of the best fish for weight loss as it contains protein and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). As canned light tuna is harvested from the smallest fish, the mercury level is believed to be low. So you can enjoy tuna without any worries!

Go for water-packed tuna instead of the oil-packed one. This can save yourself some calories sourced from lackluster oils.

12. Octopus

Protein Power: 25 g per 3 oz serving

Another delicious yet healthy option is octopus. Octopus is naturally low in fat, so it’s rather a health food choice. The minerals and vitamins in it are good for your health too.

But as octopus is high in cholesterol, do not consume too much. Also, frozen octopus in fact has an advantage over fresh as the subzero process works to tenderize the meat.

Poultry and Eggs

13. Turkey

Protein Power: 16 g per 1/4 pound turkey burger

Turkey is lean and protein-rich, which makes it a good choice for those people who prefer a healther diet yet have cravings for meat. The DHA omega-3 acids in turkey can boost your brain function, improve your mood and turn off fat genes.

Try to prepare a delicious meal with turkey at home. Restaurants versions are often packed with fatty add-ins to increase flavor. You can also add some spices and pepper when you grill at home!

14. Chicken

Protein Power: 26 g per 3 oz cooked breast

Like turkey, chicken has a low content of fat yet a high content of protein. A 3 oz cooked breast contains 26 g of protein which is more than half of the day’s recommended allowance.

You may prepare your sandwiches and salads with some chicken meat to make them rich in taste. You should compare different brands when you buy it, as some have lower amounts of sodium.

15. Eggs

Protein Power: 7 g per 1 egg

Everyone who wants to be muscular always goes for eggs. The biological value of an egg is a lot higher than of any other kind of food. The large amount of essential amino acids of an egg makes it extraordinarily easy to be incorporated into proteins in the body.

The whites and the yolks are both beneficial to your health. So opt for the whole eggs. You may also buy the organic eggs when possible as they’re certified by the USDA and are free from antibiotics, vaccines, and hormones.

Beans and Legumes

16. Beans

Protein Power: 7-10 g per 1/2 cup serving

Beans are loaded with proteins, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can benefit your brain and muscles. As they digest very slowly, you will feel fuller longer. This helps you lose weight more efficiently.

You may want to buy those pre-cooked beans which are easy to use. Adding them to soups and salads or mixing them with brown rice and steamed vegetables are the possible ways for you to serve them nicely.

17. Lentils

Protein Power: 18 g per 1 cup serving

The high fiber content makes lentils extremely satiating. They also help to speed up fat loss and improve your cholesterol. The vital minerals in lentils will benefit you in every way.

You may eat them on their own or simmer them into a soup. If you want a nutritious lunch, toss them in with turkey or chicken, which gives a wonderful taste.

18. Peanut Butter

Protein Power: 7 g per 2 tablespoons serving

Muscle-building protein and healthy fats are the nutrients you can find in peanut butter. Study shows that peanuts can prevent cardiovascular and coronary artery disease.

Forget the reduced-fat versions as the healthy fat is replaced with sugar. So look for the unsalted, no sugar added varieties.

19. Tofu

Protein Power: 12 g per 3 oz serving

Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. It is an ideal option for vegetarians to enjoy a high-protein diet.

You may prepare it in many different ways. One of the ways is to grill the tofu to create some smoky flavor

20. Soba Noodles

Protein Power: 12 g per 3 oz serving

The buckwheat Japanese-style noodles perhaps can be an alternative for you. Soba noodles contain more protein than most wheat-based noodles and they cook in about half the time as whole-wheat pasta.

You may rinse cooked soba after draining it to remove the excess starch to make the noodles taste better. You may also serve them either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in a hot broth as a noodle soup.

Grains

21. Sprouted Whole Grain Bread

Protein Power: 8-12 g per 2 slices serving

Not all breads are perfect for your weight-loss plan as some contain a high level of carbohydrates, in other words, sugar. But this type of bread is loaded with folate-filled lentils and proteins.

Make a sandwich with this nutrient-dense bread. Add some avocado slices, onions, spinach, and tomatoes. This is going to be the perfect choice for your high-protein diet.

22. Quinoa

Protein Power: 8 g per 1 cup serving

South American quinoa contains essential amino acids and almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. The high fiber content also makes you feel fuller on a lower number of calories!

You may enhance the naturaly nutty flavor of quinoa by toasting it in a dry skillet or saucepan before simmering it in water.

Dairy

23. Greek Yogurt

Protein Power: 20 g per 7 oz serving

The Greek-style yogurt contains about twice as much protein as regular versions. The good bacteria in probiotics help you improve your immune system, and their most important function is to help you lose weight by ramping up your metabolism!

Read labels carefully to prevent buying those packed with added sugars that exceed their protein levels. Or else, you may be gaining more weight.

24. Milk

Protein Power: 8 g per 1 cup serving

Milk remains one of the most reliable sources of protein. Drinking milk also provides other benefits such as healthy teeth, rehydration and improved vitamin intake.

Milk produced from organically raised cows is richer in a range of nutrients, including body-friendly omega-3 fatty acids. So try to look for grass-fed milk instead of the conventional one.

Nuts and Seeds

25. Chia Seeds

Protein Power: 5 g per 1 oz serving

Chia seeds deliver a massive amount of nutrients with very few calories. They are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium, which are all beneficial to your health and help you lose weight. They can also lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

You can eat them raw, soak them in juice, add them to porridges and puddings, or add them to baked goods. Their bland taste allows you to add them to nearly anything.

26. Almonds

Protein Power: 6 g per 1 oz serving

Almonds contain healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. They can help lower blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels. They also promote weight loss by reducing your hunger.

Eat some almonds before hitting the gym. The amino acid L-arginine can actually help you burn more fat and carbohydrates during workouts!

Reference

[1] Authority Nutrition: How Protein Can Help You Lose Weight Naturally
[2] Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, University of South Australia: Effects of eating fresh lean pork on cardiometabolic health parameters

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