So many people turn to crazy fad diets to shed the pounds, because they promise dramatic (and dare I say unrealistic) results. Not only are these diets proven to be ineffective, they can also be very dangerous to your health. Losing weight is quite simple, really: exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet that’s high in protein.
Why? Because these healthy proteins maintain and promote your lean tissues, while burning fat for fuel and curbing your appetite. In short, eating a high protein diet will make working out more effective and eating healthy easy.
But there are a few things every individual should know before immediately increasing their protein intake. First, the recommended daily allowance for protein is 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women. Second, the types of protein you incorporate in your diet can have a huge impact on your weight loss or gain. Lean proteins are always the way to go.
When it comes to commercially available meat products, it is best to purchase those that are grass-fed, especially if you suffer from headaches or other chronic problems. These meats also contain a good balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats.
Another thing that supports healthy weight loss when eating meats is having plenty of variety. Here are 10 delicious protein power foods (and the number of grams of protein per item) that will keep you satiated and satisfied, and fully support your weight loss goals:
1. Lean Meat, Fish, Poultry
Amount: 1 Ounce = 7 Grams of Protein
Incorporating and increasing the amount of lean meats, fish and poultry (lean chicken, salmon, tuna, etc.) in your diet will give you a huge boost of healthy protein in addition to offering so many other health benefits. An average piece of chicken breast or salmon fillet can range from 4 ounces to 8 ounces, depending on the size. Also, keep it grilled, baked, or raw (in the case of fish) and avoid the breaded or fried stuff.
1 Large Egg = 6 Grams of Protein
Eating two or three eggs a day is a great way to add healthy protein to your diet and keep your calories from sky-rocketing out of control. If you don’t have time to make eggs before work or school, hard boil a dozen eggs at the beginning of the week and store them in the fridge. This way, you can easily just grab them and go in the morning.
1 Ounce = 7 Grams of Protein
Enjoying just a few slices of cheese everyday will increase your protein intake significantly. To put things into perspective, 1 ounce of cheese will give you the same amount of protein as 1 ounce of chicken!
4. Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
1/2 Cup = 14 Grams of Protein
Low-fat cottage cheese ranks number one for the highest amount of protein per serving. But the key is making sure you’re consuming the low-fat version of these products.
1 Ounce = 7 Grams of Protein
Eating a handful of nuts instead of chips or chocolate for your afternoon snack will go a long way in adding a boost of lean protein to your diet. If you don’t like eating nuts by themselves, try adding walnuts or almonds to a salad to mask the taste and get the same health benefits.
6. Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons = 8 Grams of Protein
Eating peanut butter can be perhaps the easiest and most delicious way to up the amount of healthy protein in your diet. You can add peanut butter to so many things – like wraps, sandwiches, and smoothies – or you can simply consume spoonfuls of this delicious spread straight from the jar! Either way, I recommend the raw, unsalted version.
Soy products like tofu, soybeans and soy milk are all rich in protein and provide all nine essential amino acids. A 1/2 cup serving of fresh tofu provides 10 grams of protein, 1/2 cup of soybeans provides 11 grams of protein, and 1 cup of soy milk provides 10 grams of protein.
According to the Vegetarian Resource Group, Quinoa, a grain-like crop with edible seeds, is a complete protein and vegan food. 1 cup of cooked quinoa packs 9 grams protein. And it’s easy! You can cook quinoa the same way you’d cook rice, on the stove, and add chopped veggies, nuts, and spices to increase the fiber and flavor.
A half cup of beans contains as much protein as an ounce of broiled steak! Great for vegetarians who still want to sneak in the protein. Plus, these nutritious little nuggets are also loaded with fiber, so you’ll stay full for hours.
10. Greek Yogurt
This unsuspecting food is hard to top when it comes to energy-boosting, diet-friendly protein. A 7 oz. serving of this treat delivers about 20 grams of protein. (That’s on par with half a chicken breast.) Drizzle with honey or use it as a replacement for mayonnaise in your tuna salad!
The following are the absolute worst sources of protein and should be avoided in exchange for the fabulous lean proteins listed above:
Pork sausage bacon
Ham lunch meats
Let me know in the comments if this post resonated with you and if you have any questions or tips I haven’t already covered!
To your health,