Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps build and maintain muscle, repair tissues, and support various bodily functions. However, not all protein sources are created equal. Some foods are high in protein but also high in calories, fat, or carbohydrates, which may not be ideal for people who want to lose weight or stay healthy and boosting metabolism.
That’s why it’s important to choose high protein low calorie foods that can provide you with enough protein without adding too many calories to your diet.
High Protein Low Calorie Foods
What are high protein low calorie foods?
High protein low calorie foods are foods that have a high ratio of protein to calories. This means that they provide a lot of protein per serving, but not a lot of calories. For example, a food that has 20 grams of protein and 100 calories has a protein-to-calorie ratio of 0.2, which is considered high. A food that has 10 grams of protein and 200 calories has a ratio of 0.05, which is considered low.
Some examples of high protein low calorie foods are:
– Lean meats, such as chicken breast, turkey breast, lean beef, and pork tenderloin
– Seafood, such as shrimp, tuna, salmon, cod, and tilapia
– Eggs and egg whites
– Dairy products, such as Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, skim milk, and low-fat cheese
– Soy products, such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soy milk
– Legumes, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas
– Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds
– Protein powders, such as whey, casein, soy, pea, and hemp
Why should you eat high protein low calorie foods?
Eating high protein low calorie foods can have many benefits for your health and weight loss goals. Some of the reasons why you should eat them are:
– They can help you feel full and satisfied for longer, which can reduce your appetite and prevent overeating
– They can boost your metabolism and increase your calorie burning, which can help you lose fat and maintain muscle mass
– They can support your immune system and prevent infections, as protein is involved in the production of antibodies and other immune cells
– They can improve your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as protein can lower the glycemic index of your meals and reduce the absorption of fats
– They can enhance your mood and cognitive function, as protein can provide amino acids that are needed for the synthesis of neurotransmitters and hormones
Healthy High Protein Snacks That Are Low in Calories
Including high protein low calorie foods in your diet is not difficult, as there are many options to choose from. Here are some tips on how to do it:
The key is to choose lean and minimally processed protein sources that are rich in essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein that your body cannot make on its own. These include animal-based proteins such as chicken breast, turkey breast, lean beef, pork loin, fish, eggs, and dairy products. They also include plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, oats, nuts, seeds, and soy milk.
These high protein low calorie foods can help you meet your daily protein needs while keeping your calorie intake within a healthy range. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day for adults. However, this may vary depending on your age, activity level, health goals, and preferences.
To increase the protein in your diet without adding too many calories or fat from other sources such as oils or buttery spreads, look for easy substitutions — snack on lupini beans or venison jerky, add two egg whites to your two whole eggs in the morning, or add more meat, seafood, dairy, or legumes to your meals. Mix protein foods with high-fiber vegetables — and don’t overdo fat — to create meals with a protein percentage above 35%.
Some examples of such Healthy High Protein Snacks That Are Low in Calories are:
- Scrambled eggs with spinach and cheese on whole wheat toast
- Chicken salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, avocado dressing
- Salmon with roasted broccoli and quinoa
- Turkey chili with kidney beans and corn
- Greek yogurt with berries and granola
- Tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce and tomato
- Lentil soup with whole wheat pita bread
- Hummus with carrot sticks and whole wheat crackers
By including high protein low calorie foods in your diet regularly and strategically throughout the day, you can enjoy the benefits of this nutrient without worrying about excess calories or fat. Protein can help you feel satisfied longer, preserve muscle mass while losing fat, improve mood and cognitive function, and support overall health and wellness.