In this article, you’ll find 10 of the best protein foods for weight loss that can help you hit your fat blasting goals. If you’ve spent any amount of time on this website, you’ll know that one of the major topics I cover is the importance of hitting sufficient protein each day in order to effectively lose weight. You’ll find protein info here for meat eaters and vegetarians both
However, the MOST important factor of weight loss is making sure you eat at a calorie deficit. I’m not going to spend any time discussing calorie deficits, cause you’re here to learn about protein. But if you’re serious about losing weight, the formula I follow will help you lose 4 to 5 pounds per month. Visit this article here so you can quickly calculate both your daily calorie deficit and protein needs for optimal weight loss.
The combination of eating at a calorie deficit with a high protein diet is a surefire formula for success. It’s how I dropped 13 pounds and 3% body fat in just a few months. My best friend lost over 25 pounds in a few months with that combination. No carb counting, and no crazy diets. Just calculate your daily calories and how much protein you eat on a daily basis.
I try to find foods that have at least 8 – 10 grams of protein per 100 calories. The reason for this is that it leaves a lot of room for sides like potatoes, pasta, veggies, bread, etc…
Well, let’s get to 10 of the best protein foods for weight loss and the protein breakdowns of each one.
#1 – Chicken
I decided to list this first, because it seems to be what most mainstream publications focus on. Plus, it’s a fantastic source of protein with minimal calories.
I eat mostly white meat chicken, such as chicken breast, because you’re getting the most amount of protein per calorie. Dark meat chicken is fattier and higher in calories, but still high in protein.
- Just 4 ounces of chicken breast has only 121 calories and 21 – 24 grams of protein.
I mix it up by cooking my own chicken breast for dinner, or I make sandwiches with deli meat.
#2 – Turkey
White meat turkey is simlar to chicken in regard to protein and calorie ratio. Also, like chicken, dark meat turkey has more fat and calories, so you’re getting the most amount of protein per calorie when you choose turkey breast.
- 4 ounces of turkey breast has 120 calories with 17 – 20 grams of protein.
I mostly eat cooked turkey at Thanksgiving and I have leftovers for days. It’s one of those foods that when I think about it, I ask this question “why don’t I eat turkey dinner more often!?”. I guess it’s cause the whole stuffing and cranberry sauce with green bean casserole only seems fitting once a year.
But I still get lots of turkey breast deli meat regularly, which is very high in protein.
#3 – Steak
Steak is high in protein period. And there are so many different cuts of steak, that if you aren’t concerned with calories at all, then any cut is fine. I personally eat boneless sirloin tip, eye of round, or tri tip steak. According to nutritionists, the lowest calorie steak is bottom round.
Here are some steak protein breakdowns. The last one is the best calorie to protein ratio:
- 3 ounces of Sirloin Tri-Tip Steak has 213 calories and 26 grams of protein
- 3 ounces of Top Sirloin Steak has 207 calories and 23 grams of protein
- 3 ounces of Boneless New York Strip has 182 calories and 17 grams of protein.
- 3 ounces of Bottom Round Steak has 128 calories and 19 grams of protein.
I love steak and I eat all different cuts of it. This meat is one of the highest quality proteins you can find. Roast beef deli meat is a fantastic option for sandwiches. It’s very lean, high in protein, low in calories.
#4 – Pork
Depending on the pork you get, it can be very fatty, just like steak. But it can also be incredibly lean depending on the kind that you get. The two kinds of pork I purchase the most are pork tenderloin and lunch meat for sandwiches. Both are low in calories and high in protein.
And if you love bacon, I’ll tell you something I discovered not too long ago. Center cut bacon is always higher in protein than other cuts, making it a pretty good source of protein, because it’s also lower in fat and calories. But it’s not a go to source of protein. I’m mentioning it for the bacon lovers out there.
Here’s the pork breakdown:
- 4 ounces of pork tenderloin has 191 calories and 21 grams of protein
- 4 ounces of extra lean deli ham has 121 calories and 20 grams of protein
- 4 slices of center cut bacon has 100 calories and 12 grams of protein
#5 – Fish
Oh, I wish I ate fish, cause it’s one of the best sources of protein you can get. I do eat shrimp a lot, but I swear when I was a kid, something happened to me cause I haven’t eaten any other kind of fish since I was 5, and I’m pretty sure it’s some kind of mental block. But I overcame the fear of shrimpies, and I eat them regularly.
Tuna is another amazing source of protein, and it shocks me sometimes, when I look at a can of tuna because there’s so much high quality protein in it for such a low calorie food.
Here’s the breakdown of various popular fish with high quality protein:
- 3 ounces of Tuna has 91 calories and 20 grams of protein
- 3 ounces of Salmon has 108 calories and 17 grams of protein
- 3 ounces of Tilapia has 109 calories and 22 grams of protein
- 3 ounces of Yellowtail has 182 calories and 18 grams of protein
- 3 ounces of Shrimp has 50 calories and 12 grams of protein
Okay, no more fish talk if that’s okay with you.
#6 – Eggs
Eggs are a very good source of protein and egg whites are an amazing source of protein. I make a delicious high protein egg sandwich regularly, which includes bacon, ham, cheese, and an over easy egg, with 5 scrambled egg whites on the side. The egg explodes in the sandwich when I bite into it and I use the bread to dip in the yolk. Soooo good!
Let’s talk about egg whites for a moment. You are going to get a lot more protein eating 6 egg whites than you will eating 2 full eggs. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t eat regular eggs. Full eggs have tons of nutrition and I love them. But it’s just that a full egg is way more calorie dense than an egg white, so the protein to calorie ratio is much better with egg whites.
- One large egg has 72 calories and 6 grams of protein
- One large egg white has 17 calories and 4 grams of protein
As you can see, the difference in calories between an egg and an egg white is huge. The majority of the protein in an egg is in the whites though. Just 6 egg whites has 102 calories and 22 grams of protein. That’s very comparable to the protein in lean chicken or turkey breast.
#7 – Ground Meat
This section is in regard to ground beef, turkey, chicken, or pork. I mostly buy ground beef but sometimes make turkey chili or meatloaf.
The reason I’m mentioning ground meat is that it’s incredibly easy to measure. It’s also very easy to choose the 93% or 95% lean options of these meats, which I strongly suggest because they have the highest protein to calorie ratio.
- 3 ounces of cooked ground beef (93% lean) has 178 calories and 25 grams of protein
- 3 ounces of cooked ground turkey (93% lean) has 181 calories and 23 grams of protein
- 3 ounces of cooked ground chicken (93% lean) has 161 calories and 20 grams of protein
- 3 ounces of cooked ground pork (96% lean) has 159 calories and 26 grams of protein
Ground meats are awesome if you love to cook burgers, meatballs, meatloaf, chili, and so much more. Going with the leaner versions also ensures you get the highest amount of protein for the calories you’re taking in.
#8 – Protein Shakes
This is quite possibly one of my favorite forms of protein. I have a protein shake several times a week, and always right after one of my workouts. One of the best things about this one is that you get a lot of protein with a minimal amount of calories, depending on the protein powder or shake you choose to buy.
Also, this is a great option if you’re vegetarian or vegan and don’t eat meat. You can find plant based protein easily in most stores. This is the protein powder I use, and when I’m on the go, this is the protein shake I take.
Protein powders and shakes vary in their nutritional value, but here’s a general breakdown:
- One scoop of protein powder has 170 calories and 30 grams of protein
- One bottled protein shake has 170 calories and 26 grams of protein
#9 – Quest Protein Chips
Quest Protein Chips are pretty delicious. Depending on which flavor you get, the nutritional value changes slightly, but for the most part, they’re about the same.
I know this isn’t really a traditional food, but even if you eat a bag of these as a snack, you’d be getting almost the same amount of protein as 4 ounces of chicken breast.
- One bag of Quest Protein Chips has 140 calories and 20 grams of protein
#10 – Beyond Meatless Meat
If you don’t eat meat, you’ve got a few options above, such as plant based protein powder or a bottled shake. In addition to those, you can easily find plant based meat alternatives that are delicious at your local supermarket.
I love meat, and almost never go for vegetarian options of foods. However, I tried the Burger King Impossible Whopper and I was incredibly surprised at how similar to meat it actually tastes.
Here are the protein breakdowns of meatless meat using the “Beyond” brand:
- 3 ounces of beef-free crumble has 139 calories and 19 grams of protein
- 1 meatless Italian sausage has 190 calories and 16 grams of protein
- 1 meatless burger patty has 220 calories and 20 grams of protein
Of the options listed here, the beef free crumble has the most amount of protein for the amount of calories you’re taking in. It’s pretty comparable to regular lean ground beef.
Which Of These Is Your Favorite Protein?
I love almost all of these options above, so it’s hard to choose a favorite. They’re all high quality and they’re the best high protein foods for weight loss that I know of.
If you want to lose weight, as I mentioned at the intro of this article, it’s very important that you eat at a calorie deficit, and all, then learn to count calories properly. This article here explains in detail how to use a food scale to count calories. It’s incredibly detailed and explains step by step how to measure calories in your food easily, whether you’re eating out with friends, or making food from scratch at home.
Learn to calculate both your calorie deficit AND protein intake by visiting this link here. If you follow the simple math in that article, you’ll be well on your way to lose weight with all the high protein foods listed on this page.
I greatly appreciate you being here. If you have any questions or comments at all, please let me know in the section below and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks so much for reading.