Despite many popular diets promoting protein as the ultimate food source for weight loss, many of us still aren’t getting enough in our diets.
To optimize your weight loss, protein is especially important as it takes more time and energy for the body to process, filling you up and helping to maintain constant blood sugar levels while your body is doing this work.
Protein also contains amino acids that allow your body to build lean muscle. This means fewer cravings, less snacking, a leaner body, and more weight loss!
But what foods should you be eating to maximize weight loss? Here we run down the top ten of foods with the best protein-to-calorie ratio:
As well as making you smarter, fish is straight in at number one on the protein charts, with tuna, salmon, and halibut leading the way at 22 grams per 3 oz fillet, working out as around a gram of protein per 4.5 calories!
2. Lean Chicken
Put down that chicken wing, we’re talking lean chicken breast here, and of course, anything breaded or fried is a no-no.
And although other parts of the chicken, such as the thigh and leg, provide protein, they’re also higher in fat and calories, while lean chicken breast gives you a gram of protein per 4.6 calories.
Turkey is also a great option, with 26 grams of protein per 3 oz serving.
3. Low-Fat Cheeses
Non-fat mozzarella is the king of the cheeses, with a gram of protein per 4.7 calories, clocking in 9 grams per 1 oz slice.
Low-fat cottage cheese is close behind with 5 grams of protein per ounce due to its low-calorie count, while low-fat Swiss cheese, low-fat cheddar, and parmesan are other good options.
Full-fat cheese typically only provides a gram of protein per 20 calories, so these are less optimal sources to maximize weight loss.
4. Pork Loin Chops
Pork isn’t often thought of as a diet-friendly food, but it comes in high up due to its protein content, with a gram of protein per 5.2 calories; a one 5oz chop typically provides a whopping 33 grams!
5. Lean Beef
Lean cuts of beef are a great source of protein, with 31 grams per 3 oz slice. T-bone steak is another good option, with 28 grams per 3 oz serving.
As well as providing lots of protein, lean beef will also help to top up iron levels; lacking in iron can stall weight loss, much like lacking in many crucial weight loss nutrients provided by healthy foods full of vitamins such as these protein-rich foods.
The first non-animal product on the list, tofu, packs in 1 gram of protein per 7.4 calories, but you would have to eat a lot of tofu to get as much protein as you can find in animal sources as it only contains 6 grams per 3 oz slice.
You can also obtain protein from many vegetable sources if you’re a vegetarian or vegan. Of course, these are low in calories, so they’re perfect for maximizing weight loss.
7. Edamame (Soy Beans)
These tasty beans, which are often served as a snack or starter at Asian restaurants, pack in a whopping 29 grams of protein per cup and a gram of protein for every 10.4 calories.
Most beans have a good protein score, however, such as cooked kidney beans with 17 grams per cup and black beans with 15 grams per cup.
Eggs really are a superfood, and part of their greatness comes from the egg white, which is entirely protein.
However, the yolk also contains a lot of goodness, including a host of B vitamins and the fat-burning nutrient choline, so we’re not about to tell you just to eat the whites.
A whole large egg contains a respectable 6 grams of protein, meaning eggs give you a gram of protein for every 12 calories – perfect for keeping you feeling full and boosting weight loss.
Plain yogurt made with skimmed milk contains 14 grams of protein per 245g cup, giving you a gram per 18 calories.
A 245g cup of skimmed milk provides 8 grams of protein, and if you don’t do dairy, a cup of soymilk contains the same amount.
10. Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds make great healthy snacks, perfect for keeping hunger at bay between meals to stave off cravings and boost weight loss.
Pumpkin, squash, and watermelon seeds are the best for packing the protein in fewer calories, all with 9 grams per 1oz serving, providing a gram of protein for every 15.8 calories.
Peanuts contain 7 grams of protein per ounce serving, while almonds, pistachios, and sunflower seeds give you 6 grams.
So, here you have the top ten foods that give you the most protein for the fewest calories, keeping you full and helping you to build lean muscle while also keeping the calorie count to a minimum, meaning more weight loss!
What are your favorite sources of protein? Let us know by commenting below!