Protein is one of the three macronutrients (along with carbohydrates and fat) that’s essential for human growth,development and health. Protein is necessary for muscle growth and repair after workouts as well. The Harvard School of Public Health Institute of Medicine recommends that adults eat 8g of protein per 20 lbs. of weight. Protein is useful in any weight-loss program, as it provides satiety (the feeling of being full). Choosing low-fat protein sources reduces calorie intake and is a smarter choice for anyone attempting to lose pounds or maintain weight.
Meat is one of the top sources of protein and is referred to as a complete protein, because it contains all nine of the essential amino acids needed for protein synthesis. A serving size of 3.5 oz. is about the size and thickness of a deck of playing cards. Choose lean cuts of beef such as eye of round, top sirloin or top round steak; a 3.5-oz. (100g) serving is about 30g of protein and about 215 calories. Buffalo is even more lean and lower in calories than beef, with just 2g of fat and 143 calories per 3.5-oz. serving.
Fish and Poultry
Most fish is high in protein and low in calories and fat naturally. Grilled, baked or broiled halibut, swordfish, lobster, fresh tuna, cod, shrimp or crab provide an average of 25g of protein per 100g serving, with just 110 calories. Salmon and trout, which are fish higher in fat, also provide 25g of protein at about 185 calories per serving. The top protein choice for body builders is chicken breast, which packs 30g of protein in each 3.5-oz serving, 4g of fat and 165 calories. A 100g serving of roasted turkey breast also provides 30g of protein but only 1g of fat and 135 calories.
Depending upon the brand, low-fat yogurt provides between 8 to 12g of protein and about 200 calories per serving. Yogurt is a perfect snack for dieters, due to its low calorie content as well as its nutritional value. Low-fat cottage cheese is a weight-loss staple and often eaten with fruit or in salads, as a side dish or alone for a snack. An 8-oz. serving of 1 percent fat cottage cheese provides an average of 28g of protein with just 163 calories and 4g of fat. Both 1 percent fat milk and low-fat buttermilk provide 8 to 10g of protein and about 100 calories per 8 oz. serving. Low-fat dairy products are also good sources of calcium and vitamin D.
A 100g serving (about 3.5 liquid ounces) of egg whites is just 48 calories, yet provides 11g of protein with zero fat. Avoid wasting dozens of egg yolks by buying prepared liquid egg whites. Egg whites are available in pour-top cartons and sold in the dairy department of grocery stores. Liquid egg substitutes such as Egg Beaters and local store brands provide 12g of protein and a mere 84 calories per 100g serving. Some manufacturers also supplement their liquid egg products with omega-3 fatty acids, which may increase potential benefits for improved heart health.
Soy is a great source of protein, especially for vegetarians. A 100g serving of firm-style regular tofu delivers about 9g of protein and just 62 calories (depending upon the manufacturer). Many tofu manufacturers have begun to make low-fat or “lite” versions of their products, which reduce fat and calories by almost half to about 37 calories per serving. Cooked lentils provides 9g of protein and 114 calories with 0g of fat. Black, kidney, navy, great northern, pinto and adzuki beans provide similar amounts of protein and about 125 calories per serving.
Just a quick list of some foods that have solid protein content and are still relatively low in calories if that’s what you are going for.
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