1. Chicken breast
Chicken breast is a top entry for a protein diet. It's about 90 percent protein, providing 20 grams of protein and only 1 gram of fat per 3-ounce serving. Bumping up the lean protein in your diet has been linked to long-term weight loss since it keeps you full and satisfied without packing on calories. Keep a couple of seasoning blends on hand to keep your chicken breasts from getting boring—like chili powder and cumin for a Mexican-inspired meal, or rosemary and garlic for an Italian take.
A 3-ounce serving of wild Atlantic salmon provides about 17 grams of filling protein, alongside plenty of anti-inflammatory omega-3s. People who eat plenty of protein and omega-3s tend to have a lower body fat percentage; plus, protein is essential for helping you maintain lean muscle mass while losing weight. Salmon is also high in selenium, a mineral that acts as an antioxidant and helps boost immunity. Buy canned salmon or cook it from fresh and serve it on top of a salad with colorful veggies for a filling meal full of protein and healthy fats. Don't miss these signs you might not be eating enough protein.
One large egg delivers about 6 grams of protein, and it's split between the egg white and the yolk. Make sure you eat that yolk, by the way: It's packed with vitamins A, D, E, and K, and choline, which is essential for a healthy metabolism. Research suggests that eating eggs for breakfast can help with your weight loss because they're filling and they're high in protein. Scramble a few eggs up for breakfast, and add some veggies or a piece of fruit on the side for some filling fiber. Or keep hardboiled eggs in the fridge for a grab-and-go snack. Go beyond breakfast and enjoy eggs for lunch and dinner, too. You've gotta try these 55 delicious ways to have eggs for every meal!
Shrimp is 85 percent protein, packing in 17 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving. While shrimp is fairly high in cholesterol, research has made it abundantly clear that dietary cholesterol won't raise your blood cholesterol. Shrimp cooks quickly, making it the perfect protein to add to weeknight meals. Just saute for a couple minutes with lots of veggies and a dash of soy sauce for a fast, filling, high-protein meal. This shellfish also happens to be one of the top 13 superfoods all women need to eat.
5. Pork tenderloin
Pork often gets a bad rap as a high-fat protein, but pork tenderloin is an exception. A 3-ounce serving of pork tenderloin has 22 grams of protein, just 3 grams of fat, and 120 calories. Pork is also high in thiamin, which will help keep your metabolism, heart, and nervous system healthy. Serve pork tenderloin with vegetables and a whole grain on the side for a well-rounded meal that's full of protein, fiber, and nutrients. Try this Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Salsa for a refreshing meal featuring one of the top high protein low-fat foods.
A ½ cup serving of tofu has 10 grams of protein and just 90 calories. Tofu is also rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, selenium, and phosphorus. Since tofu is a soy product, it contains all essential amino acids, making it a great source of vegan protein. Silken tofu easily blends into smoothies to increase protein without adding dairy products, while firm tofu is great cubed and stir-fried with veggies over brown rice or quinoa. Here are some complete-protein foods that aren't meat to try, too.
7. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is thicker than regular yogurt—and it also has about double the protein. A 1-cup serving of Greek yogurt has 23 grams of protein and provides about a quarter of your daily calcium needs. When dieters get more protein from dairy sources, they end up with more muscle and less fat. Since Greek yogurt has a similar texture and flavor to sour cream, it's a great substitute in dips or as a topping to help you enjoy more high protein meals. I also love using it instead of mayonnaise to make my Healthier Egg Salad. Greek yogurt is also great blended into smoothies or as a base for fruit and nuts at breakfast!
A cup of lentils has 18 grams of protein and a whopping 16 grams of fiber, keeping you feeling full and satisfied. An excellent plant-based source of protein, lentils also pack in nearly 40 percent of your daily iron needs. People who eat plenty of legumes like lentils lose more weight on average than people who avoid legumes, according to research; they also have healthier hearts. Toss lentils with greens, veggies, and vinaigrette dressing for a filling and protein-packed meatless lunch. Here are some more vegan protein sources to try.
Sources: Reader’s Digest/ Kenh14