High-protein diets and higher protein intake are both getting a lot of attention these days, and for a good reason! Thankfully, many protein sources are naturally lower calorie, so opting for a higher protein diet is a great way to support health and wellness goals while also staying healthy and satisfied in the process.
Today, we’re breaking down some of our favorite high-protein foods! And just a disclaimer – though we do reference high-protein, low-calorie foods in this article, know that nourishing your body and feeding it what it needs is far more important than the number of calories in a given food!
High Protein, Low Calorie
Over the years, more research has begun to show that high-protein diets are a great way to support your weight loss efforts. Protein is found all throughout your body and is made up of building blocks called amino acids. The nine essential amino acids all come from food – these include:
While there are guidelines for a protein that come from the government, these guidelines are the absolute minimum required to prevent disease. Essentially, this means that in order to truly thrive and support your body, you likely need a lot more. A general rule of thumb is .8g of protein per kg of body weight (a kg is 2.2 lbs). If we go by this type of minimum, a 140 lb person needs to consume 50g of protein. And while this might prevent disease, it is often not enough for the average person to truly feel their best and accomplish their wellness goals. These days, many registered dietitians who understand the importance of protein actually recommend upwards of 100g of protein per day.
Thanks to so many plants and animal-based protein-containing foods, it’s uncommon for healthy adults in developed countries to have protein deficiencies. However, many healthy adults don’t really eat enough protein to thrive, especially as they age! Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass as you age. It’s also important for all of the following:
- Keeping you full and satisfied after and between meals
- Supports bone and muscle health
- It may help lower blood pressure
- It helps boost metabolism and support weight loss efforts
Some of our favorite high-protein, low-cal food sources include animal proteins like meat, eggs, and full-fat dairy, seafood, and beans. To get you started, here are some high-protein foods that are great for weight loss:
- Chicken breast
- Wild game
- Salmon, halibut, and other seafood
- Lima beans
- Black beans
- Greek yogurt
Food Energy Density
Depending on whether you’re looking at protein, fat, or carbohydrates, each food will have a different amount of calories per gram. Of the three macronutrients, carbohydrates and protein have the lowest amount of calories per gram at 4. Fat, on the other hand, offers nine calories per gram.
Overall, this isn’t something you have to worry about when choosing the foods you eat in a day. We need a mix of all the different macronutrients to truly thrive. Even if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s extremely important to eat enough healthy fats to support your hormones, brain health, and metabolism. When trying to lose weight, people often think that they should try to eat the lowest-calorie diet possible. Instead, it’s important to ensure you’re eating enough of the right foods – typically a mix of high-quality protein, healthy fats, and plenty of veggies – rather than aiming to eat as little as possible. This will result in sustainable weight loss over time versus a stalled metabolism.
Try incorporating some high-protein meals today to see how they improve your weight loss efforts! What high-protein meal from Snap Kitchen are you most excited to try? Check out our high-protein meal plan here.