11 of the best high-protein foods for weight loss

Flickr / JenniferConsider using quinoa in place of pasta.
  • Eating a protein-rich diet can help you reach your weight loss goals.
  • Salmon and shrimp are a healthy addition to any diet.
  • Opt for quinoa or whole grain bread over processed white bread.

Losing weight can definitely be a challenge, as warding away the constant temptation of sugary and calorie-rich foods can be difficult and not to mention frustrating.

However, registered dietitian Jenn Fillenworth, MS, RD, explained that there’s no better place to start in the kitchen if you are looking to lose weight, as she suggested that nutrition is a huge part of weight loss and getting high-protein foods in your diet definitely a key part of that.

“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,” Fillenworth 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,” she explained.

To help you shed those unwanted pounds, we spoke more to Fillenworth and some other registered dietitians about some of the best high-protein foods for weight loss. From eggs to salmon to peanut butter, below are some of their top picks they recommend keeping in mind.


Give peanut butter a chance.

Dano / FlickrTop your whole grain toast with peanut butter.

“My favourite high-protein food for weight loss is peanut butter,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Rebecca Stib, MS, RDN, LDN. “Per a serving (which is typically two tablespoons), you’ll get about eight grams of protein,” she explained.


Start your day with some nutrient-dense eggs.

robynmac / iStockEggs are incredibly versatile and can be eaten at any meal.

“Eggs are a great food for weight loss,” Fillenworth said. Eggs are very nutrient-dense, meaning they are full of vitamins and minerals, she suggested, as one egg contains [about] 75 calories and [about] seven grams of high-quality protein (meaning they have all the essential amino acids).


Read more: 10 ways to cook an egg that you probably haven’t thought of


Incorporate salmon into your diet.

iStockSalmon also has Omega-3s.

“One of my absolute favourite foods for weight loss is salmon,” Fillenworth told INSIDER. And although salmon is indeed a fatty fish, she explained that fat in foods does not necessarily mean you are going to gain weight.


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

Jay Cross / FlickrBlack beans can also help with constipation.

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

They are very high in fibre and protein, as a half cup of black beans contains [aproximately] 20 grams of protein, she suggested. And since black beans are high in fibre, she added that they can help relieve constipation and bloating which could be attributed to some weight gain.


Select low-calorie lean meats.

Bartosz Luczak/ iStockOpt for lean cuts of meat, like chicken breasts.

“When looking for the best high-protein foods for weight loss, think low-calorie and high-quality ingredients,” suggested registered dietitian Sabrina Russo, RD. The first thing that comes to mind is lean meat, poultry, and fish, she said, as a low-fat piece of meat is a great source of complete protein with no carbs and little fat.


Try high-protein seeds and whole grain products.

iStockChoose whole grains over processed white bread.

“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, explained, as the protein and fibre in these products help keep you full without many calories.


Eat low-fat dairy products.

ShutterstockMake sure not to get sweetened yogurt.

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

Opt for plain, low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, or cheese, she suggested, and pair plain yogurt with fresh berries for some natural sweetness.


Add some cottage cheese to your daily routine.

FlickrTop your cottage cheese with fruits and nuts.

“At [about] 23 grams of protein per cup and less than 200 calories, this protein-rich dairy product is a great addition to any meal,” said registered dietitian Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD.

Although one cup is fairly high in sodium (around 600 to 900 milligrams of sodium for most brands), you can look for a low sodium or no added sodium brand, she advised.


Use quinoa as an alternative to rice or pasta.

Bartosz Luczak/iStockTop it with vegetables for extra nutrients.

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

One cup cooked contains [aproximately] eight grams of protein and five grams of gut-friendly fibre, she said.


Nuts are a great addition to any healthy lifestyle plan.

pxhereAlmonds are an easy on the go snack.

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

Almonds, pistachios, and peanuts average around six to seven grams of protein per one ounce serving with about two to three grams of gut-friendly fibre, she suggested.


Add shrimp to your shopping list.

“Shrimp is an extremely low-calorie filling protein,” said registered dietitian Summer Yule, MS, RDN. It is also an excellent source of the iodine, she added, which we need to support our thyroid health and manage our metabolism.

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