Proteins are bodybuilding and repairing foods, which is why having a good protein intake is so important. They help you lose body fat and, in turn, build lean muscles.
According to studies, high protein foods are hard to digest, giving you a feeling of satiety. This also means protein rich foods require more calories to digest, increasing thermogenesis and reducing the calories your intake.
While protein can help with weight loss, some protein meals are better for dieting than others. They are generally low fat, low calorie, and high proteins.
Creating a meal plan that is low carb, low calorie, with a high protein intake can jumpstart the weight loss process. If you are looking to lose weight, here are 10 low calorie high protein meals you should consider adding to your diet.
Leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, lettuce, kale, and chards are nutrition-dense foods. They are loaded with essential minerals, like calcium, vitamins, and fiber but low in calories and carbohydrates. These nutrition ‘powerhouses’ are versatile and easy to incorporate into your diet, which is why they are favored by those with a vegan diet.
You can eat them raw, cook, or bake them to make a healthy snack. If you’re making a high protein meal and want to lower your net carbs, replace your carbs with plant protein like leafy greens.
Eggs are not only high in protein but also contain essential minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, healthy fats, high in protein, and are low in calories. The high-protein content makes them high filling and rank high on the Satiety Index. One egg contains about 85 calories and a whopping 7g of protein. The yolk contains choline, a nutrient known for fat-fighting.
A study found out that egg breakfast enhanced weight loss in obese and overweight participants compared to bagels. A high protein breakfast can keep you satiated in the mornings and aid a low carb diet.
With only 66 calories, you get 17g of protein for a 3 oz. halibut. Its influence on serotonin, an appetite hormone, and the high protein content makes it highly satiating. It’s ranked second in the Satiety Index, after boiled potatoes.
Although higher in calories than halibut, consuming 100g of salmon gives you 20-25g of protein. It may be an oily fish, but one of the best fatty foods for weight loss. According to a study by the International Journal of Obesity, taking 5-ounce servings of salmon thrice a week for four weeks resulted in a weight loss of about 2.2 pounds compared to meals with no fish. However, go for wild salmon as it’s leaner than farmed salmon.
Grass-fed lean beef is packed with high protein, amino acids and has fewer calories. Go for unprocessed meat as processed meat is unhealthy. If you are on a low-carb diet, you can opt for fatty meat. Bison is also a high source of protein and Vitamin B-12. The meat is lean with less fat and calories compared to beef.
As for the chicken, a 3 oz skinless chicken breast contains approximately 142 calories and 26g of protein. Just make sure to go for skinless chicken. Chicken is versatile as there are different ways you can come up with a savory chicken recipe meal to avoid taste bud fatigue.
Beans and legumes boast a remarkably high protein content, making them a great addition to any high protein diet. They are low in calories and perfect for vegetarians.
A 100g serving of kidney beans gives you about 9g of protein. Some vegetarians substitute meat for kidney beans. Lentils contain about the same amount of protein per 100g and 116 calories, while peas give you 5g of protein and only 81 calories.
Here are some fruits low-calorie fruits you can include in your diet:
Guava: One cup of guava contains 4g of protein and 112 calories only. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C.
Avocados: Most fruits have high sugar content, but avocados are full of healthy fats and other essential nutrients such as monounsaturated oleic acid, potassium, and fiber. If you are looking to lose weight, avocados are an excellent source of healthy fats. Remember to take them moderately.
Grapefruit: Grapefruit is said to suppress appetite, and when eaten before meals, it reduces calorie intake. In a study, 91 individuals with obesity ate half a grapefruit three times daily before meals for 12 weeks, leading to a weight loss of 3.5 pounds.
Chia seeds are high in fiber. Two tablespoons typically contain approximately 10g of fiber. Since they are satiating, they help prevent you from overeating by keeping you fuller for longer. According to research, consuming 30g of fiber every day was linked to losing as much weight as you would with a more complex diet.
However, they have more calories than some foods in this list (138 calories in two tablespoons of chia seeds) and should be taken in moderation.
A study has shown that consumption of high protein dairy products can lead to weight loss. Go for low-fat dairy foods. Some fermented foods like cottage cheese and yogurt have numerous nutrients and lower sugar levels.
7 oz. of 2% Greek yogurt contains a whopping 20g protein and 130 calories, while 8 oz. of grass-fed milk gives you around 8g protein. 1 oz. of Gruyere cheese has 8g protein, 30% more than an egg. You also get a third of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin A.
These are vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, arugula, among others. They contain fiber which gives a feeling of fullness and satiety. For instance, a cup of brussels sprouts contains 6g of fiber, 24% of the recommended daily value.
Additionally, cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates that, when broken down, results in compounds that prevent cancer development.
While nuts are known to be high in fats, they make an excellent snack as they contain healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Consumption of nuts can help with weight loss. Individuals who eat nuts were found to be leaner and healthier than those who don’t. Eat nuts such as almonds, cashew nuts, and peanuts moderately to avoid high-calorie intake.
Eating low-calorie and high-protein foods helps you lose weight. You can choose from the many legumes, fruits, nuts, beef, dairy foods, and seafood available. Go for organic foods as they’re healthier and packed with nutrients compared to processed foods. You’ll also get loads of other essential nutrients and minerals from the diet.