loading...

The 20 Best High-Protein, Low-Fat Foods, Recommended by Dietitians – EatingWell

7 minutes, 40 seconds Read
image

Protein is an important macronutrient for muscle building and appetite control, two key components of weight maintenance. Fat also plays a role in weight since this macronutrient helps slow down digestion, keeping you full between meals. However, fat has more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates: 1 gram of fat has 9 calories, whereas protein and carbs provide 4 calories per gram. 

While not everything comes down to calories in and calories out when you’re trying to lose weight, a calorie deficit is needed to achieve your goals. Yet, macronutrients don’t exist in isolation, and most foods contain more than one. Many high-protein foods also contain fat and carbohydrates. So, choosing the right foods can be tricky for those looking to boost their protein intake without getting too much fat. That said, there are four types of dietary fats: saturated, trans, monosaturated and polyunsaturated. Consuming the first two in excess may increase your risk of heart disease, while the latter may help reduce it.

Luckily, this list compiles the best high-protein foods that are also low in fat, especially in saturated fat. We will also look at the benefits of afternoon and evening exercise and how it can help you with your weight and fitness goals. 

1. Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

One ½ cup of low-fat cottage cheese provides:

  • Protein: 13 g
  • Fat: <3 g
  • Saturated Fat: <2 g

Cottage cheese is rich and creamy without lots of saturated fat. “I love to enjoy it on its own topped with fruit and seeds, on top of toast or a whole grain English muffin, tossed into a smoothie or pancake batter and scrambled into eggs to make them super fluffy,” says Mandy Enright, M.S., RD, worksite wellness dietitian and author of 30-Minute Weight Loss Cookbook: 100+ Quick and Easy Recipes for Sustainable Weight Loss. If you’re looking for ways to enjoy cottage cheese, try these Copycat Starbucks Spinach & Mushroom Egg Bites or Cottage Cheese Snack Jar with Fruit

2. Shrimp 

One (3-oz.) serving of raw shrimp provides:

  • Protein: 17 g
  • Fat: <1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g

“Shrimp is a favorite to enjoy as shrimp cocktail or a great protein option for stir-fries and sheet-pan meals,” says Enright. She likes to keep it in the freezer since it thaws in about 15 minutes and can be quickly added to any meal. Our Green Bean, Eggplant & Shrimp Stir-Fry and Sheet-Pan Shrimp Fried Rice make great healthy dinners. 

3. Pork Tenderloin 

One (4-oz.) serving of raw pork tenderloin provides:

  • Protein: 24 g
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Saturated Fat: <1 g

“Did you know pork tenderloin is as lean as skinless, boneless chicken breast?” asks Enright. Pork tenderloin is easy to throw together on a weeknight. You can grill it, slow cook it or stuff it for a fabulous low-fat dinner. 

4. Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast

One (4-oz.) serving of raw, skinless, boneless chicken breast provides:

  • Protein: 25 g
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Saturated Fat: <1 g

A staple in most kitchens, skinless, boneless chicken breast is versatile, accessible and very low in fat. It’s a healthy addition to pasta or salads, and it stands on its own as the main protein in a yummy marsala dish. Cook up a big batch and use it in leftovers all week. 

5. Chickpeas 

One cup of canned, drained chickpeas provides:

  • Protein: 11 g
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated Fat: <1 g

“Chickpeas are a great plant-based protein that is accessible and affordable,” says Alyssa Smolen, M.S., RDN, CDN. Her favorite way to use this humble pulse is in a plant-based chickpea Salad Sandwich. They are also a hearty base for Zucchini-Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Tahini-Ranch Sauce or Chhole (Chickpea Curry).

6. White Flaky Fish

One (4 oz.) serving of raw tilapia provides:

  • Protein: 23 g
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Saturated Fat: <1 g

White flaky fish, like tilapia or mahi mahi, is extremely lean and pretty versatile. It cooks quickly and is the perfect protein for a hearty tomato broth or fish tacos

7. Peas

One cup of raw peas provides:

  • Protein: 8 g
  • Fat: <1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g

Dry or frozen peas are a robust pulse that is slightly sweet and starchy. They add plant-based protein to a casserole or grain bowl, and they steal the show in a simple pea soup, 

8. Nonfat Greek Yogurt

One ½ cup of nonfat Greek yogurt provides:

  • Protein: 13 g
  • Fat: <1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g

Nonfat Greek yogurt is made from skim milk, yet it’s still thick, creamy and packed with protein. “Adding nonfat Greek yogurt to your smoothie, morning oatmeal or enjoying it topped with berries as a snack are all easy ways to pack a protein punch to your day,” Kaytee Hadley, M.S., RDN, IFMCP, CPT, dietitian, personal trainer, and founder of Holistic Health and Wellness in Richmond, VA. Enjoying Lemon-Blueberry Overnight Oats is like having dessert for breakfast. 

9. Black Beans

One cup of cooked black beans provides:

  • Protein: 15 g
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g

“Beans are one of my favorite low-fat protein sources because they naturally contain a lot of fiber, which is great for gut health and appetite regulation, and they are much more affordable than meat,” says Hadley. Black beans are a welcome addition to recipes like Veggie Fajitas, Cheesy Beef & Black Bean Skillet Casserole and Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

10. Edamame

One ½ cup of shelled edamame provides:

  • Protein: 9 g
  • Fat: 5 g 
  • Saturated Fat: <1 g

This green soybean is packed with calcium and protein. Buy the frozen version and use it in this Spicy Garlic Instant Noodles with Edamame & Red Peppers dish, as a topper for a salad or a unique version of “hummus.”

11. Soy Milk

One cup of soy milk provides:

  • Protein: 8 g
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated Fat: <1 g

If you’re not down with dairy, soy milk is a great alternative with plenty of protein. Use it in protein-packed chia pudding or a variety of nutritious drinks

12. Black-Eyed Peas

One ½ cup of cooked black-eyed peas provides:

  • Protein: 5 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g

This less-common bean is rich in protein and fiber, helping you increase your sense of fullness. Black-eyed peas go well in salads, stews and dips.  

13. Seitan

One (3-oz.) serving of seitan provides:

  • Protein: 15 g
  • Fat: <1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g

Seitan is a gluten-rich, textured wheat product that has ample protein. It mimics the texture of meat in dishes like these Seitan BBQ Sandwiches or Crispy Seitan Stir-Fry

14. Skim Milk

One cup of skim milk provides:

  • Protein: 8 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g

Many people often forget that milk is a naturally protein-rich drink with many other essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, it’s great for hydration and pretty versatile, so you can use it in baking, soups, dressings, smoothies, oatmeal and more. 

15. Eggs

One large egg provides:

  • Protein: 6 g
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g

Eggs are a great source of protein and vitamin D, which are essential for your overall health. Whip up a batch of hard-boiled eggs in the air fryer for a tasty snack, or make this veggie-packed Mushroom-Spinach Eggs Benedict or Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas & Spinach for weekend brunch. 

16. Tofu 

One ½ cup of tofu provides:

  • Protein: 22 grams
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat: <2 g

While it may seem like tofu is high in fat, its protein/fat ratio is 2:1—plus, it’s low in saturated fat. Many people’s go-to plant-based protein is tofu. “It contains probiotics since it’s a fermented food, and it takes on the flavor of any seasoning,” adds Smolen. Tofu can be used in soups, scrambles and even desserts.

17. Peanut Butter Powder

Two tablespoons of peanut butter powder provide:

  • Protein: 5 g
  • Fat: <2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 

Peanut butter powder has all of the flavor of peanut butter without the fat. As a reference, regular creamy peanut butter contains around 16 grams in 2 tablespoons. It’s a naturally protein-rich addition to sweet deliciousness, like Chocolate-Peanut Butter Protein Ice Cream or Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles.

18. Quinoa

One cup of cooked quinoa provides:

  • Protein: 8 g
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated Fat: <1 g

Quinoa is a nutty protein-rich whole grain that’s also packed with fiber. These two nutrients help you feel more satisfied. Use quinoa to increase the content of these two nutrients in a lasagna, salad or risotto.

19. Turkey Breast

One (4-oz.) serving of raw turkey breast provides:

  • Protein: 27 g
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Saturated Fat: <1 g

Turkey breast is a simple, lean dinner staple that makes great leftovers. You can cook it in an air fryer or try this simple Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast with Garlic recipe. 

20. Tuna 

One (3-oz.) serving of drained canned tuna provides:

  • Protein: 22 g
  • Fat: <1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g

While tuna is considered a fatty fish because of its omega-3 fatty acids, everyone’s favorite canned fish it’s actually low in saturated fat while packed with protein. Use tuna to enjoy a classic comfort Tuna Melt or switch up the base for your burger

Intake Recommendation for Macronutrients

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that between 10-35% of an adult’s total calories come from protein, about 45-60% of calories should come from carbohydrates and 20-30% of calories from fat.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to lose or maintain your weight, these high-protein, low-fat foods can help you achieve your goals. Foods like beans, pulses, legumes, chicken, fish and more round out this list of the best 20 high-protein foods. Luckily for you, there are endless ways to deliciously enjoy these foods.

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

Similar Posts

0
    0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
    Call