11 best protein power foods for weight loss

by Angela Ayles

milk

A diet high in lean and low-fat sources of protein is thought by many to be one of the most effective ways to slim down. These healthy proteins maintain lean tissue while burning fat for fuel and curbing your appetite.

Are you looking to lose weight the healthy way? So many people turn to crazy fad diets to shed the pounds. Not only are those diets proven to be ineffective but they can also be very dangerous to your health. Losing weight is simple: exercise regularly and eat a healthy, high protein diet.

A diet high in lean and low-fat sources of protein is thought by many to be one of the most effective ways to slim down. These healthy proteins maintain lean tissue while burning fat for fuel and curbing your appetite. In short, eating a high protein diet will make working out more effective and eating healthy easy.

There are a few things every individual should know before starting to boost their protein intake. First, the recommended daily allowance for men is 56 grams per day and 46 grams per day for women. Second, the types of protein you incorporate in  your diet will have a huge impact on your weight loss. You want to add lots of lean, low-fat sources of protein.

Below, you will find a list of 15 foods proven to be good sources of protein, as indicated by the US Department of Agriculture. Each food will have an amount associated with it and the number of grams of protein per item to help you control how much you’re eating.

Here are 15 Protein Power Foods for Healthy Living:

 1. Lean Meat, Fish, Poultry

Amount: 1 Ounce = 7 Grams of Protein

Incorporating lean meats, fish and poultry (lean chicken, salmon, tuna etc) into your daily diet will give you a huge boost of healthy protein. An average chicken breast or salmon fillet can range from 4 ounces to 8 ounces, depending on the size. Many individuals turning to high protein diets significantly increase their intake of lean chicken breasts and fish because they boast so many other health benefits as well. Stay away from breaded or fried chicken or fish for best results.

2. Eggs

1 Large Egg = 6 Grams of Protein

Eating one or two eggs a day is a great way to add healthy protein to your diet. If you don’t have time to make eggs before work or school, hard boil 5-10 at the beginning of the week and you can easily just grab them and go in the morning. If you don’t like the taste of eggs, whip one or two into a morning smoothie and you won’t be able to taste them at all.

3. Milk

1 Ounce = 1 Gram of Protein

Drinking a glass of milk a day (an 8-ounce glass of milk contains approximately 8 grams of protein) will give your body the boost of protein as well as calcium, which is good for your bones. If you don’t like drinking milk on it’s own consider making a fruit smoothie or eating a bowl of cereal to get the nutrients your body needs.

4. Low-Fat Yogurt

4 Ounces = 6 Grams of Protein

An average, on-the-go container of yogurt is about 6 ounces. Eating 1-2 portions of low-fat yogurt  each day is a healthy and delicious way to up your protein intake in a healthy way. The key is making sure the yogurt is low-fat.

5. Cheese

1 Ounce = 7 Grams of Protein

Cheese is a huge source of healthy protein. Enjoying a few slices of cheese everyday will increase your protein intake significantly. To put things into perspective, 1 ounce of cheese will give you the same amount of protein as 1 ounce of chicken.

6. Cooked Kidney Beans

1/2 Cup = 7 Grams of Protein

One half-cup of cooked kidney beans will give you the same amount of protein as an ounce of cheese or lean chicken. If you’re looking to add more variety to your diet while keeping your intake of healthy protein high, consider adding a small cup of kidney beans to your lunch or dinner a few days a week.

7. Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

1/2 Cup = 14 Grams of Protein

Low-fat cottage cheese ranks number one on this list for the highest amount of protein per serving. A half-cup of cottage cheese will provide your body with 14 grams of protein to help you lose weight and stay healthy. Again, the key is making sure you purchase the low-fat products.

8. Lentils 

1/2 Cup = 9 Grams of Protein

There are several types of lentils to choose from, for those of you looking to add this protein super food to your diet. Lentils are sold in many colors, shapes and forms (with skin/without skin etc) and are often found in many Mediterranean diets.

9. Nuts

1 Ounce = 7 Grams of Protein

Eating a handful of nuts instead of chips or chocolate for your afternoon snack will go a long way in adding a boost of protein to your diet. If you don’t like eating nuts on their own, consider adding walnuts or almonds to a salad to mask the taste but reap the health benefits.

10. Vegetables

1/2 Cup = 2 Grams of Protein

Many people wonder how much protein is in vegetables – and the answer varies depending on each type. An average half-cup of vegetables contains just 2 grams of protein, however, choosing high protein veggies like spinach, chickpeas or broccoli can increase that amount to up to 6 grams per serving. If you’re looking to get more protein from your vegetables, choosing the right ones and eating larger portions should do the trick.

11. Peanut Butter

2 Tablespoons = 8 Grams of Protein

Eating peanut butter is perhaps the easiest (and most delicious) way to up the amount of healthy protein in your diet.. You can add peanut butter to so many things (wraps, sandwiches, vegetables etc) but for those of you with little time to prepare healthy meals, simply consuming to spoonfuls of this delicious spread straight from the spoon will give you a whopping 16 ounces of healthy protein for the day.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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