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11 of the best high-protein foods for weight loss

Courtney LeivaJan 23, 2021, 01:23 IST

  • Eating a protein-rich diet can help you reach your weight-loss goals, according to dietitians.
  • Salmon and shrimp can bulk up a meal, and black beans are great for plant-based diets.
  • Opt for quinoa or whole-grain loaves over white bread, and try adding low-fat dairy to your diet.

Losing weight can be a challenge, but eating the right food can make it more attainable.

Registered dietitian Jenn Fillenworth explained that getting high-protein foods in your diet can play a key role in any weight-loss journey.

“High-protein foods are great for recovery from exercise and also help to keep you full for longer since protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates,” she said. “This is why a bowl of cereal in the morning sends you on a snack hunt way before lunch, while eggs for breakfast stay with you longer.”

Read on for some of the high-protein foods dietitians recommend for weight loss.

Peanut butter is full of protein and “healthy” fats.

Peanut butter is full of protein and "healthy" fats.

Try topping your whole-grain toast with peanut butter.

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Start your day with some nutrient-dense eggs.

Start your day with some nutrient-dense eggs.

Eggs are incredibly versatile and can be eaten at any meal.

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Eggs are a great food for weight loss,” Fillenworth told Insider.

They’re full of vitamins and minerals, and one egg contains about 6 grams of high-quality protein with all of the essential amino acids.

Incorporate salmon into your diet.

Incorporate salmon into your diet.

Salmon also has omega-3 fatty acids.

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“One of my absolute favorite foods for weight loss is salmon,” Fillenworth told Insider.

Although salmon is a fatty fish, she explained that eating the right kind of fat doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to gain weight.

The fish contains essential omega-3 fatty acids, which you have to get from your diet since the human body can’t produce them.

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Black beans are a great plant-based protein for weight loss.

Black beans are a great plant-based protein for weight loss.

Black beans can also help with constipation.

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“My favorite plant-based protein for weight loss is the black bean,” Fillenworth said.

She told Insider that in addition to being high in protein, black beans are also high in fiber, so they can help relieve constipation and bloating — which could be attributed to some weight gain.

Opt for low-calorie lean meats, like chicken breasts.

Opt for low-calorie lean meats, like chicken breasts.

Lean cuts of meat can help with weight loss.

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“When looking for the best high-protein foods for weight loss, think low-calorie and high-quality ingredients,” registered dietitian Sabrina Russo told Insider.

She said the first things that come to mind are lean meat, poultry, and fish. These are all a great source of complete protein with little carbs and fat.

Try switching from white to whole-grain carbs.

Try switching from white to whole-grain carbs.

Choose whole grains over processed white bread.

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“High-protein seeds and whole-grain products are another great option,” Russo told Insider.

Try incorporating whole-grain pasta or high-protein crackers into your diet, as these grains help keep you full without as many calories as processed white carbs.

Eat low-fat dairy products.

Eat low-fat dairy products.

Make sure not to get yogurt with lots of added sugar.

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“Low-fat dairy products are also examples of high-protein foods that may be beneficial for weight loss,” Russo said.

She suggested opting for plain, low-fat, or fat-free milk, yogurt, or cheese.

You can also enjoy plain yogurt with fresh berries for some natural sweetness.

Add some cottage cheese to your diet.

Add some cottage cheese to your diet.

You can top your cottage cheese with fruits and nuts.

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Use quinoa as an alternative to rice or pasta.

Use quinoa as an alternative to rice or pasta.

Top quinoa with vegetables for extra nutrients.

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“This gluten-free seed is a delicious and healthy alternative to rice or pasta,” Gulbin told Insider.

A serving contains approximately 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of gut-friendly fiber.

Nuts are another great plant-based protein option.

Nuts are another great plant-based protein option.

Almonds are an easy on-the-go snack.

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“Nuts are a great portable and nutritious addition to any healthy lifestyle plan,” Gulbin told Insider.

Almonds, pistachios, and peanuts average around 6 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving with about 3 grams of gut-friendly fiber.

Add shrimp to your shopping list.

Add shrimp to your shopping list.

Adding shrimp to any meal will bulk it up with protein.

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Shrimp is an extremely low-calorie filling protein,” said registered dietitian Summer Yule.

It’s also an excellent source of iodine, she added, which we need to support our thyroid health and manage our metabolism.

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