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28 High Protein Foods For Weight Loss

high protein foods for weight loss list

This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT

Eating enough protein can be very helpful for losing weight. By eating more of these 28 high protein foods you can increase weight loss.

Protein is made of smaller building blocks called amino acids. When you eat protein your body breaks it down into these amino acids which then in turn get used to build and maintain tissue like for example muscle.

This mean that enough protein is extremely important for your health. It also provides multiple other benefits that can help with weight loss.

28 high protein foods for weight loss list

This list mainly focuses on the protein content per 100 grams of the food. This means that there are high-protein, low fat foods, high fat foods, low carb foods,…

Make sure to keep an eye on the other nutrient info like calories to see if the foods on this list fit into your diet.

1. Tuna

Tuna is an interesting one. On the one hand you have all this powerhouse of nutrients. On the other hand tuna does contain a relative high amount of a substance called mercury. Mercury in too high amounts can be bad for you.

It’s not recommended to eat tuna multiple times a week. However, every once in a while it can be a great food to help you get more protein.

Protein and calorie content: 29.9 grams of protein per 100 grams and 184 calories per 100 grams (1).

Other types of fish that are high in protein

While tuna is one of the higher protein fish options, it’s not the only one.

Some other examples include halibut with 26.7 grams, salmon with 25.4 grams, cod with 22.8 grams and anchovy with 20.4 grams of protein per 100 grams.

tuna as High Protein Food For Weight Loss

2. Beef

The next option in this high protein foods for weight loss list is beef.

Beef is a popular choice in the low cab diet world. Like most animal protein sources the amount of carbohydrates in it is very low.

With the nutrition info of beef you have to keep in mind that there are a lot of different parts. On top of that not every animal has the same fat and nutrient content.

The protein and calorie levels are from 70% lean meat / 30% fat ground beef (2).

Protein and calorie content: 25.4 grams of protein per 100 grams and 273 calories per 100 grams.

3. Shrimp

Shrimp are a popular sea food option for both their taste and valuable nutrients.

If you’re looking to lose weight you do want to avoid calorie-heavy dressings that sometimes come with it.

Protein and calorie content: 24 grams of protein per 100 grams and 99 calories per 100 grams (3).

shrimp as High Protein Food For Weight Loss

4. Almonds

Almonds are not only a great plant-based source of proteins. They also contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy fats.

The thing with almonds and nuts in general is that they are rather high in calories. Even when those are from healthy fats, you don’t want to overdo it if you’re trying to lose weight.

Protein and calorie content: 22.1 grams of protein per 100 grams. 597 calories per 100 grams.

Other types of nuts that are high in protein

Nuts are just a great source of plant-based protein and nutrients in general.

Some other examples include pistachios with 20.6 grams, cashews with 15.3 grams, walnuts with 15.2 grams, hazelnuts with 15 grams, and brazil nuts with 14.3 grams of protein per 100 grams.

5. Pork

Processed pork like for example bacon might not be as great. However, regular pork tenderloin can be a great source of protein.

Like beef it’s hard to talk exact numbers on pork because of the differences in parts and animals.

The protein and calorie levels are from cooked ground pork (4).

Protein and calorie content: 23.5 grams of protein per 100 grams. 265 calories per 100 grams.

6. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber on top of their protein content.

Like nuts they are rather high in calories. These calories are from fairly healthy sources but it’s still good to keep that in mind.

Protein and calorie content: 18.5 grams of protein per 100 grams and 446 calories per 100 grams.

pumpkin seeds as High Protein Food For Weight Loss

7. Oats

Oatmeal is another popular food in the weight loss world and the popularity is justified.

It contains nice amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein.

The nice thing about oatmeal is that you can combine it with all kinds of ingredients like for example your favorite fruits. This can improve the taste a lot.

Protein and calorie content: 16.9 grams of protein per 100 grams and 389 calories per 100 grams.

8. Chicken breast

Chicken is the main protein source of choice for a lot of people. This is mostly because it is a very lean meat.

That means chicken doesn’t contain a lot of calories but does contain a nice amount of protein.

Protein and calorie content: 16.8 grams of protein per 100 grams and 79 calories per 100 grams.

9. Chia seeds

Chia seeds may be known for their incredible amount of fiber but their protein content is great too.

One way you can implement chia seeds in for example your breakfast is by letting 1/4 of a cup sit overnight with one cup of milk to make chia seed pudding. Top it off with some of your favorite foods and you’re in for a great weight loss breakfast.

Protein and calorie content: 15.6 grams of protein per 100 grams and 490 calories per 100 grams.

chia seeds

10. Sun-dried tomatoes

This one might be surprising food on this list but sun-dried tomatoes are fairly nutrient dense per 100 grams.

It might be a bit harder to consume 100 grams of this but adding some to your dishes can provide you with some extra protein.

Protein and calorie content: 14.1 grams of protein per 100 grams and 258 calories per 100 grams.

11. Eggs

Eggs are another popular food of choice when you’re looking to increase protein intake.

In the past they’ve been demonized for containing cholesterol. More recent findings are showing that cholesterol from your food might not be unhealthy.

If you or your family has a history of high cholesterol you still might want to avoid eggs.

Protein and calorie content: 12.6 grams of protein per 100 grams and 155 calories per 100 grams. One large egg contains about 6 grams of protein.

12. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is a lower in fat and calories kind of cheese.

Like other kinds of cheese it’s also a nice source of a few vitamins and minerals.

Protein and calorie content: 11.1 grams of protein per 100 grams and 98 calories per 100 grams.

Other types of cheese that are high in protein

Some other examples of high protein cheese include parmesan with 35.1 grams, swiss cheese with 28.4 grams, mozzarella with 27.5 grams, and gouda with 24.9 grams of protein per 100 grams.

cottage cheese as High Protein Food For Weight Loss

13. Ezekiel bread

There are different kinds of bread with different nutritional values. Some good, some bad.

Ezekiel bread is made with sprouted whole grains. The exact nutrition values depend from brand to brand but you can expect ezekiel bread to be a nice source of protein.

Protein and calorie content: 11.1 grams of protein per 100 grams and 266 calories per 100 grams.

14. Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is slightly better for weight loss than regular yogurt. It’s usually higher in protein and lower in carbs.

You can also find a few micronutrients and probiotics in greek yogurt.

Protein and calorie content: 10.2 grams of protein per 100 grams and 59 calories per 100 grams.

Similar options high in protein

Regular yogurt and kefir are similar alternatives good for weight loss.

15. Lentils

These legumes are the seeds of a specific plant.

On top of the protein in lentils, they are a good source of micronutrients like folate, manganese, iron and phosphorus.

Protein and calorie content: 9 grams of protein per 100 grams and 116 calories per 100 grams.

lentils

16. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are also a kind of legumes.

They are the key ingredient for humus and they can also be made into a kind of flour to make falafel.

Protein and calorie content: 8.9 grams of protein per 100 grams and 164 calories per 100 grams.

17. Peas

Peas are the seeds of certain seed pods.

They are a great food source of fiber and multiple vitamins and minerals. On top of that they can’t miss on this high protein foods for weight loss list.

Protein and calorie content: 5.4 grams of protein per 100 grams and 84 calories per 100 grams.

18. Quinoa

Quinoa is a kind of whole grain with a nice amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

It’s been slowly rising in popularity in the weight loss and health world partly for those reasons.

Protein and calorie content: 4.4 grams of protein per 100 grams and 120 calories per 100 grams.

quinoa as High Protein Food For Weight Loss

19. Corn

Corn is one of the most common grown crops around the world because of its diverse use.

You can also make it into popcorn if you like that taste more. Just make sure you don’t overdo it if you add any dressing.

Protein and calorie content: 3.3 grams of protein per 100 grams and 108 calories per 100 grams.

20. Milk

Milk is a popular drink to increase protein intake. The number of grams of protein per 100 grams might not look that impressive at first. However, because milk is a liquid, it’s a lot easier to consume more of it than solid food.

Milk comes with many different nutrition levels but this one is whole milk with 3.25% milkfat (5).

Protein and calorie content: 3.1 grams of protein per 100 grams and 61 calories per 100 grams.

21. Spinach

Spinach is a great vegetable to add to your diet if you’re looking to eat healthier, certainly if you’re looking to increase your vitamin k intake.

Protein and calorie content: 2.9 grams of protein per 100 grams and 23 calories per 100 grams.

22. Artichoke

Artichokes are prepared in many different ways. They are a great source of fiber.

Protein and calorie content: 2.9 grams of protein per 100 grams and 53 calories per 100 grams.

artichoke as High Protein Food For Weight Loss

23. Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a kind of mini-cabbages high in vitamin C and vitamin K.

Protein and calorie content: 2.5 grams of protein per 100 grams and 36 calories per 100 grams.

24. Broccoli

Another popular vegetable is broccoli. In terms of nutrients it is fairly similar to brussels sprouts, high in vitamin C and vitamin K.

Protein and calorie content: 2.4 grams of protein per 100 grams and 597 calories per 100 grams.

25. Asparagus

Asparagus is a great low carb vegetable that can also help you get to your daily protein goal.

Protein and calorie content: 2.4 grams of protein per 100 grams and 22 calories per 100 grams.

asparagus

26. Watercress

This vegetable that grows in water is a bit less popular but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.

Protein and calorie content: 2.3 grams of protein per 100 grams and 11 calories per 100 grams.

27. Avocado

It’s interesting in how many lists avocado appears. It contains such a good amount of fiber, healthy fats, vitamin and minerals and even some protein.

Protein and calorie content: 2 grams of protein per 100 grams and 160 calories per 100 grams.

28. Potatoes

Potatoes are an inexpensive source of nutrients. The best way to prepare them for weight loss is to boil them and then let them cool down. This increases the amount of fiber in them.

Protein and calorie content: 1.9 grams of protein per 100 grams and 87 calories per 100 grams.

potatoes

Benefits of a high-protein diet plan for weight loss

Protein is an extremely helpful macronutrient for weight loss for a few reasons.

First of all, protein helps you feel fuller. Hunger and cravings are a big reason why people fail to stick to their weight loss plans. Being able to avoid this is great.

Secondly, it takes your body more calories to process an amount of protein than the same amount of calories in other macros. This won’t come down to 100’s of calories a day but small bits add up.

Thirdly, protein helps you build and preserve muscle. Muscle is great for weight loss since it helps you burn extra calories throughout the day.

You can get these benefits by eating more of the high-protein foods on this list.

How much protein do you need to lose weight?

That being said, too much protein is not good either.

Depending on your age and activity levels you can aim from 0.36 grams per pound of body weight (0.8 grams per kg) up to 0.5 grams of protein per pound (1.1 per kilogram).

The older and the more physically active the higher you can go.