High protein food is a key component of your daily diet, and is invaluable in a weight loss or muscle building program – so what are the best healthy, protein rich foods to eat?
And why is protein so important to weight loss?
Protein, whether from animal or vegetable sources is the key building block of your body.
Your lean tissue – your muscles and connective tissues – are comprised of protein and it’s muscle tissue that’s responsible for most of the calories your body burns each day.
In summary, protein:
If you’d like more information on the benefits of high protein food in your diet, then check out our article on foods that promote weight loss.
OK, so protein is a good thing to include in your diet – but what are good sources of protein?
High Protein Foods for Weight Loss
The list of high protein food suggestions below includes high quality sources containing the optimum mix of the amino acids your body needs for optimal growth, repair and health.
Chicken, Turkey, Lean Red Meat and Seafood
Animal sources of protein are complete, in that they contain the full range of amino acids. But try not to eat more than 80 grams of animal protein a day as there’s good evidence to link a diet high in animal protein and various gastro-intestinal cancers.
Dairy products can be high in fat, particularly saturated fat so go easy on foods like cheese and full fat milk.
If you’re a vegetarian or choose vegetable sources in your diet, then you’ll need to eat soy products as soy is the only vegetable source with a full complement of amino acids and/or combine 2 servings each of nuts, cereals/grains and beans/pulses at each meal to get all the amino acids your body needs.
And how much protein should you eat each day?
To a large extent that depends on your body shape, height, weight – a large man will need more than a small woman.
Ideally, 50 grams per day is the minimum for someone aiming to lose weight. The average woman should eat around 70-100 grams and the average man 110-150 grams a day. This means that about 30% of your daily calorie requirements will come from protein.
If you’re not sure you’re eating enough high protein food each day, then as a guide, if you feel hungry an hour or two after a meal try adding a little extra protein to your meals.
Why not take a look at our free weight loss menus for ideas as to how to incorporate more high protein food in your diet?