Before we get into the business of today – discussing the 5 best proteins for weight loss, let’s first examine why protein is very important for weight loss.
Benefits of Protein for Weight Loss
Whether you are just starting your weight loss journey or have been making healthier choices for a while now as part of a lifestyle change on your journey towards weight loss and body transformation, it’s important to note that protein is integral in losing weight and keeping it off.
There are a number of reasons why shifting your focus to including proteins rather than getting stuck on what you need to exclude is a wise choice.
Diets can be hard when you think about everything you need to potentially cut out of your current regimen, as it can feel overwhelmingly restrictive.
It’s so much better and easier to focus on just adjusting the way you eat, not thinking about what you can’t eat, but what you can eat, and the truth is, there is so much you can eat when losing weight, it’s only a matter of making wise choices.
This is why proteins are vital because you will feel full much longer and proteins are not calorie-dense so you are saving on your calorie intake for the day.
Are there other reasons why proteins are a smart choice for weight loss? Absolutely! Eating proteins in conjunction with carbs helps to counteract the highs and lows you can experience when eating carbs by slowing down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream.
This also has the positive effect of controlling future cravings – like those intense carb-induced cravings you may get that cause you to reach for that donut in the break-room, rather than a handful of protein-rich nuts.
Your body also burns more calories when processing proteins than it does when processing carbs or other foods, which is another additional benefit.
So you may be wondering which proteins are the best to focus on incorporating into your diet.
Below, we have some information on the 5 best proteins to eat for weight loss.
#1. Lean Meats/Poultry/Seafood
This can include: lean chicken, lean beef, lean pork, turkey, salmon, sole, tuna, etc. Be sure to stay away from breaded or fried variations as this will add calories and decrease the health benefits.
All of these meats are incredibly versatile; you can grill them, bake, roast, poach, braise, broil as healthy ways to cook them and then they can be eaten as part of a main entree with a side dish, or used as a protein in salads.
Make some wraps or tacos with lean meat or enjoy a nice sandwich!
For a number of years, there has been debate about the health benefits of eggs but the science is clear: eggs are great for you!
They are quick and often easy to make, and the great thing about eggs is there are so many ways to make and eat them, giving you a nice variety in your meals.
If you’d like a quick, on-the-go breakfast or snack, hard boil some eggs ahead of time and just grab them on your way out the door!
You can scramble them for a nice breakfast with fruit and lean turkey bacon, you can poach them and put them over quinoa with roasted vegetables for a great salad. The possibilities are endless!
#3. Low-Fat Greek Yogurt
If you are not a fan of Greek yogurt, plain, low-fat yogurt works just as well, but Greek yogurt does contain more protein.
You may be wondering how to use Greek yogurt in your everyday life outside of just a bowl of it with granola and fruit.
There are many creative ways to use Greek yogurt beyond just enjoying it in a bowl. If you like green smoothies, you can add a spoonful or two to your smoothie for added creaminess and protein.
Make your own healthy, creamy salad dressing by mixing Greek yogurt with a little olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and garlic.
You can even substitute Greek yogurt for higher fat condiments; instead of sour cream, use Greek yogurt with your tacos. Or substitute Greek yogurt for heavy cream and butter in certain recipes as well.
You may be puzzled to see cheese here, but cheese can be a great protein option provided you are careful with portion control and do not gravitate to higher fat cheeses.
Cheese is very filling and can make a great lunch with some healthy crackers and fruit. Opt for lower-fat cheeses like feta, mozzarella and goat’s cheese.
There is a great variety amongst the nuts/seeds/beans group, and you can get very inventive when making meals.
The best nuts to eat include almonds and walnuts, but even peanuts and cashews are good to eat in moderation, and peanut butter with apple slices can make a great breakfast to start your day.
Try out some pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds on your salad. If you are struggling with ways to use beans, think outside the box.
They can be made as part of a side dish, but can also be tossed into salads or cooked into “burger” patties.
Chickpeas are especially versatile: you can roast chickpeas for a great and healthy snack, make your own hummus, cook up chickpea “burgers” or make a variation on “tuna” salad by mashing up chickpeas with a fork, mixing them with healthy mayo (or Greek yogurt or even avocado), some green onion and a little bit of feta cheese.
[Also Read: Protein Sources for Vegetarians]