Protein is an essential part of any balanced diet. So it’s important to choose foods and recipes that are lower in fat, calorie, and protein! Some people may benefit from eating more than the recommended daily intake for protein. But it’s important to be aware of your individual needs. And track how much you’re eating each day to make sure you’re not exceeding them. Protein is essential in building and maintaining muscle and tissues in your body. Regulating many body processes, and promoting satiety and weight management.
Here are 6 lean protein foods to consider. How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day? Click Here
1. White-fleshed fish
Most white-fleshed fish are quite lean and excellent protein sources. They provide less than 3 grams of fat, 20–25 grams of protein. And 85–130 calories per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) plain, cooked serving. Examples of very lean white fish include cod, haddock, grouper, halibut, tilapia, and bass. Omega-3 fats are important for overall health, and like whitefish.
Cod contains significantly more Omega-3s than higher fat fish like salmon. In fact, cod has a similar percentage of the nutrient. So it’s a good idea to eat both types of fish. If you move the fish fillets from your freezer to your refrigerator first thing in the morning, they’ll be thawed and ready to cook for your evening meal.
2. Beans, peas, and lentils
Lentils, peas, beans, and other legumes are now more commonly known as pulses and are a key source of plant-based protein. They are low in fat and high in fiber. People who eat pulses on a regular basis have lower blood cholesterol, because of the high fiber and protein content in those foods. In a review of 26 studies in 1,037 people, eating an average of 2/3 cup (130 grams) of cooked pulses daily for at least 3 weeks resulted in about a 7 mg/dL reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol compared with control diets. How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day? Click Here
That would equal an almost 5% reduction to bad cholesterol levels. Pulses appear low in a number of essential amino acids, but there are plenty of plant protein sources that can provide a similar amount. By eating whole grains and nuts over the course of a day, you’ll ensure your body has enough protein.
3. Lean beef
Beef that is lean cuts has less than 10 grams of total fat and no more than 4.5 grams of saturated fat in a 3.5-ounce cooked serving at 100 grams. Buying meat without a label is not ideal, but certain words will clue you into the leaner qualities of the meat that you’re buying. For example, loin and round are used to describe lean meats such as steaks and roasts.
Buying ground beef that’s 95% lean is a smart choice when you’re trying to lose weight. Some 4-ounce (113-gram) cooked hamburgers made with 95% ground beef only have 155 calories and 5.6 grams of total fat, with 2.4 grams being saturated. They offer 24 grams of protein as well! What’s more, a serving of lean beef is an excellent source of several B vitamins, zinc, and selenium.
4. Powdered peanut butter
One tablespoon of peanut butter has 200 calories from fat, 16 grams. It also contains 7 grams of protein. A lower-calorie option is unsweetened powdered peanut butter. Processing removes most of the fat, reducing it to just 45 calories per serving. That’s comparably low compared to other products while still providing 4 grams of protein too.
It will be a little drier, but when you mix it with water like traditional peanut butter, it shouldn’t cause clumps! Reconstituted powdered peanut butter works especially well for dipping apples, bananas, or even dark chocolate. Alternatively, you can mix the dry powder into smoothies, shakes, oatmeal, or pancake or muffin batter to add a punch of flavor and protein.
5. Low fat milk
Whether you drink it, cook with it, or add it to cereal, low fat milk is an easy way to get protein. A 1-cup serving of low fat milk with 1% milk fat has 8 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and 105 calories. In comparison, a serving of whole milk with 3.25% milk fat has the same amount of protein but 146 calories and about 8 grams of fat.
Clearly, opting for low fat milk will save you calories and fat. However, some recent studies suggest that drinking whole milk may not increase heart disease risk, as was once thought, and may even help with weight management. However, more studies need to be done in both areas before any conclusions can be made. If you aren’t sure which dairy milk option is best for you, especially if you’re already living with high cholesterol or heart disease, talk it over with a doctor or a registered dietitian.
6. Egg whites
You can enjoy the cholesterol- and health-boost from a hardboiled egg by eating the whites. For a lighter breakfast, try adding a splash of soy milk or lemon juice and toss with the white parts in a bowl and top with sesame seeds. One egg white contains less than 0.5 grams of fat but 3.5 grams of protein, which is about half of the protein in a whole egg. You may want to try an eggs white omelet or egg whites muffins made with baby spinach and chives or diced peppers and onions. Alternatively, you can scramble eggs whites with veggies to make a filling or topping for wraps, tostadas, or toast.
There are also powdered food products like powdered eggs and egg protein powders which can be mixed into foods like omelets to improve their nutritional quality. These ingredients are also pasteurized, so they don’t have to be cooked on the stove or boiled before being eaten. You can mix powdered egg whites with water and use them like fresh eggs. You can also add powdered egg whites to smoothies, shakes, or homemade protein bars.
The bottom line
For dietary reasons, plant-based sources of protein exist that provide plenty of nutrients, including fat. Lean meats like white-fleshed fish & skinless white meat poultry offer all the benefits of animal protein with no extra fats. You can find red meat that is lean as well by looking for “loin” and “round.” Cream cheese, butter, and other dairy products are higher in fat content than cottage cheese, yogurt, and low-fat milk.
As I mentioned, different types of foods provide different amounts of protein. Beans, tofu, and peanut butter are great choices for tofu. It ranges from 60-120 grams per cup. Everyone’s health history and nutritional needs are different. It’s important to know what food is best for you.