Foods with protein help you in several different ways when you're dieting. First, protein will help you to maintain muscle mass as you lose fat. And if you start a strength-training program when you're trying to lose weight, protein-rich foods help you to build muscle.
Protein foods are also satisfying to eat. Many people prefer to enjoy a traditional meat and potatoes meal from time to time during the dieting process. It might help you to feel less deprived. While you may not be able to eat the same kind of indulgent dinner that you enjoyed before weight loss, eating a lean protein with vegetables may help you to get the same enjoyment.
Lastly, protein foods help you to burn (slightly) more calories due to the thermic effect of food. The thermic effect of food (TEF) contributes to your daily metabolism—or the number of calories you burn each day. Your body requires energy (calories) to chew, digest, and process the food that you eat. Protein requires more energy to process than other foods.
So which protein-rich foods are best? Look for choices that are naturally low in saturated fat and calories, those that are portion-controlled, and foods that you enjoy.
Smart Protein Choices
- Skinless chicken breast
- Ground or sliced lean turkey
- Lean cuts of pork
- Lean cuts of beef
- Greek or traditional yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Green peas
- Spinach Tuna
If you have a difficult time getting enough protein in your diet during weight loss, you can also make a smoothie with a protein powder supplement.