There’s a common misconception that trimming inches off your waist requires skipping meals or subsisting on raw food alone. Here’s what will hopefully be good news for anyone trying to lose weight: deprivation is not the key to losing weight. (Not healthy weight loss, anyway.)
Whether or not you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to make sure you meet the recommended daily requirements for all necessary nutrients, including fiber, protein, and micronutrients. In fact, registered dieticians say that nutrients including protein, fiber, and healthy fats are key to healthy weight loss because they help you feel full, making it less likely that someone will overeat more nutrient-poor foods. ahead.
But when you’re trying to lose weight, knowing which protein sources are best is tricky, as many protein sources are high in calories and often fat. Here, registered dietitians explain how to strike the right balance to get enough protein while trying to lose weight, plus a list of 10 foods to help you do it.
Related: Can You Eat Too Much Protein? And how much is too much? Here are some signs you’re getting more than you need
How to Balance Your Protein Needs With Your Weight Loss Goals
registered dietitian Nina Dahan, DR, says protein needs depend on individual health goals, age, height, physical activity, and whether they have any underlying health issues that need to be considered. It may be helpful to work with a dietitian, nutritionist, or primary care physician to help you determine exactly how much daily protein is best for you. But, in general, it says that protein should consist of 30 to 40 percent of a person’s daily calorie intake, or one gram per pound of body weight.
Registered dietitian and certified personal trainer Kim Juul, DR, CPT, says that when it comes to choosing protein sources when you’re trying to lose weight, think lean. “I advise my clients to limit high-fat sources of meat. Foods such as ribeye and bacon should be [enjoyed] in moderation,” she says. “If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to choose lean protein sources. These will be lower in calories than high-fat protein sources.”
Dahan agrees. “Leaner proteins are a better choice because they have fewer pro-inflammatory fats, namely trans and saturated fats,” he says, adding that these types of fats are associated with excess body fat, as well as medical problems like heart disease. , fat , liver and type two diabetes.
While you may need to cut back on the bacon and ribeye, you certainly won’t go hungry; there is no shortage of lean protein sources to choose from. Below are 10 protein sources for weight loss, all approved by registered dietitians.
Related: Want to lose weight? Here are 16 really doable ways to do it quickly and safely.
10 sources of protein to help you lose body fat
1. Skinless chicken or turkey
If you love chicken or turkey but are trying to lose weight, Juul says to just go skinny. The way you prepare your chicken matters too. Baking, air frying, or sautéing are healthier ways to cook chicken than frying.
2. Lean cuts of beef or pork
You don’t have to completely cut ties with beef or pork if you want to lose weight. Juul says to only look for lean cuts. Lean beef and pork have less saturated fat than red meat.
(swipe to continue reading)
“Fish is high in protein and low in calories, which makes it ideal for those trying to lose weight,” says Juul. “You can eat a large serving of fish, which will make you feel full, but it won’t add a lot of extra calories to your diet.” She adds that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish are an important nutrient that supports brain and heart health.
Related: 5 Delicious and Healthy Fish That Will Pack an Omega-3 Hit Without Too Much Mercury
Can you still eat eggs and trim body fat? Juul says absolutely; just be mindful of your intake. “A whole egg is very healthy, but it has more calories than an egg white, due to the fat in the yolk. For weight loss, I recommend a combination of one or two whole eggs plus egg whites,” she says. This combination will ensure that you get adequate protein without too much fat. Dahan says that whole eggs are also more filling than just eating egg whites, another reason it’s a good idea to have both.
5. Beans and lentils
“Beans and lentils are a great protein for weight loss because they are full of fiber, which helps with satiety,” says Dahan. Scientific studies show a direct link between fiber intake and weight loss, yet another reason to incorporate beans and lentils into your meals if you’re trying to lose body fat.
Like beans, chickpeas are high in protein and fiber, making them another great food to add to your shopping list. In addition to incorporating chickpeas in their whole form into your meals, experiment with hummus as well, such as using it as a sandwich spread or in grain bowls.
Another great source of protein for weight loss that Juul recommends is tofu. Like beans, lentils, and chickpeas, tofu is full of fiber and very low in saturated fat. Other soy protein sources, such as tempeh and edamame, also have these beneficial characteristics.
8. Low-fat dairy
Juul says that low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and other dairy products contain protein and other beneficial nutrients, like calcium and vitamin D, and are low in fat (as the name implies). Greek yogurt is a particularly good source of protein.
9. Protein powder
Want your morning or post-workout shake to really fill you up? Both dieticians say that adding protein powder will make it more satiating. Juul particularly likes pea protein, an easy-to-digest plant-based protein.
10. Nuts and seeds
Dahan says that nuts and seeds have great protein, but it’s easy to eat multiple servings without even realizing it, so it’s a protein source to watch out for. “Studies show that people who mindfully eat nuts can lose weight,” she says. To avoid overeating, she recommends choosing nuts and seeds that take a little more effort to eat, like pistachios or in-shell peanuts. Dahan says that almonds are another great option because they have more fiber and less fat than most other nuts.
As you can see, there is no shortage of high-protein foods to enjoy while you focus on the health goal of losing belly fat. Plus, it’s so much nicer than starving!
Next, here are eight simple ways to lose belly fat naturally.