There’s a misconception that cutting inches off your waistline requires skipping meals or subsisting on raw vegetables. Here’s what will hopefully be good news for anyone trying to lose weight: deprivation is not the key to weight loss. (Not healthy weight loss, anyway.)
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or not, it’s always important to make sure you’re meeting the recommended daily requirements for all necessary nutrients, including fiber, protein, and micronutrients. In fact, dietitians say nutrients, including protein, fiber, and healthy fats, are all essential for healthy weight loss because they help you feel full, making it less likely to overeat. nutrient-poor foods later.
But when trying to lose weight, it’s hard to know which protein sources are best, because many protein sources are high in calories and often high in fat. Here, dietitians explain how to strike the right balance between getting enough protein while trying to lose weight, along with a list of 10 foods that will help you do just that.
Related: Can You Eat Too Much Protein? And how much is too much? Here are some signs that you are getting more than you need
How to balance your protein needs with your weight loss goals
Dietitian Nina Dahan, Dt.P., says that protein needs depend on a person’s individual health goals, age, height, activity level, and the presence of underlying health conditions that need to be taken into consideration. It may be helpful to work with a registered dietitian, nutritionist, or primary care physician to help you determine exactly how much protein per day is best for you. But in general, she says protein should make up 30 to 40 percent of a person’s daily calorie intake, or one gram per pound of body weight.
Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer Kim Juul, RD, CPT, says that when it comes to choosing protein sources when trying to lose weight, think lean. “I advise my clients to limit sources of high-fat meat. Foods like 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 contain fewer pro-inflammatory fats, namely trans and saturated fats,” she says, adding that these types of fats are associated with excess body fat as well as medical issues like heart disease, fat. , liver and type 2 diabetes.
Although you should cut back on bacon and rib eye, you certainly won’t go hungry; sources of lean protein abound. Below are 10 sources of protein for weight loss, all approved by dietitians.
Related: Want to Lose Weight? Here are 16 actually 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 like chicken or turkey but are trying to lose weight, Juul advises you to go skinless. How you prepare your chicken matters too. Baking, air frying, or sautéing are all healthier ways to cook chicken than frying it.
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 go for lean cuts. Lean beef and pork contain less saturated fat than red meat.
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“Fish is high in protein and low in calories, making it ideal for anyone trying to lose weight,” says Juul. “You can eat a large serving of fish, which will make you feel full, but won’t add many extra calories to your diet.” She adds that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish are an important nutrient, supporting both brain and heart health.
Related: 5 Delicious, Healthy Fish That Will Pack an Omega-3 Punch Without Too Much Mercury
Can you still eat eggs and reduce body fat? Juul says absolutely; just be aware of your consumption. “A whole egg is very healthy, but higher in calories than an egg white, due to the fat in the yolk. For weight loss, I recommend a combination of one to two whole eggs and egg whites. eggs,” she says. This combination will ensure you get enough protein without too much fat. Dahan says whole eggs are also more nutritious than just eating egg whites alone, another reason why c It’s a good idea to have both.
5. Beans and lentils
“Beans and lentils are great protein for weight loss because they’re full of fiber, which helps with satiety,” Dahan says. Scientific studies show a direct link between fiber intake and weight loss, another reason to incorporate beans and lentils into your meals if you’re trying to lose body fat.
Similar to 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, also experiment with hummus, such as using it as a sandwich spread or in grain bowls.
Another great source of protein for weight loss recommended by Juul is tofu. Like beans, lentils, and chickpeas, tofu is full of fiber and very low in saturated fat. Other sources of soy protein, such as tempeh and edamame, also have these beneficial characteristics.
8. Low Fat Dairy Products
Juul says low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and other dairy products all contain protein as well as other beneficial nutrients, like calcium and vitamin D, while being low in fat (as the name suggests). ). Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein.
9. Protein powders
Want your morning or post-workout smoothie to actually fill you up? Both dietitians say adding protein powder will make it more filling. Juul particularly likes pea protein, an easily digestible vegetable protein.
10. Nuts and seeds
Dahan says nuts and seeds contain great protein, but it’s easy to eat multiple servings without even realizing it, so it’s a protein source to consider. “Studies show that people who consciously snack on nuts are able to lose weight,” she says. To avoid overeating, she recommends choosing nuts and seeds that take a bit more effort to eat, such as pistachios or in-shell peanuts. Dahan says almonds are another great option because they’re higher in fiber and lower in fat than most other nuts.
As you can see, there is no shortage of high protein foods while focusing on the health goal of losing belly fat. Plus, it’s much nicer than being hungry!
Then here are eight easy ways to lose belly fat naturally.