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10 Essential Protein Options To Help With Weight Loss

By Dr. Michael Richardson
Updated February 10, 2016

A balanced diet is important when trying to lose weight and that means not cutting out important elements such as protein. There are a couple of reasons why food that is rich in protein can be very beneficial for shedding some weight.

Food with high protein content takes longer to digest, so you often end up burning more calories as your body processes the food. Anyone who has tried to stick to a balanced diet plan will also know that snack cravings are a big issue. Because food that is high in protein offers better satiety you won’t be reaching for snacks as often between meals.

Losing weight doesn’t have to mean sticking to the same boring meals, as there are a variety of foods that are high in protein. With a low protein diet, you have a bigger risk of binge eating on foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates, which obviously leads to weight gain. The following ten food items are all essential additions to your shopping basket.

1. Eggs

Eggs, especially the organic variety, are a protein-rich option that is suitable for both breakfast and lunch. Organic eggs are free of vaccines, hormones and antibiotics, making them a healthier option. It is also one of the cheapest choices to increase your protein intake and is very versatile as well. Adding eggs to your diet is great for stabilizing your blood sugar levels, and you will also experience a decrease in sugar cravings. Eggs are easy to prepare even if you don’t have a lot of time in the mornings, as you can hard boil them beforehand. Also keep in mind that half the protein in eggs is found in the yolk, so don’t just eat the egg whites.

2. Pumpkin Seeds

Eggs are not the only protein-rich food that is good for getting your day off to a good start. Pumpkin seeds are packed with protein and only 100g can provide you with 54% of the recommended daily protein allowance. This makes it easy to get your protein without having to turn to red meat. As an added bonus pumpkin seeds are also full of antioxidants. Simply make pumpkin seeds part of your breakfast and you will be less likely to crave anything else until your next meal.

3. Meat

Meat is packed with protein, but opt for the grass-fed variety if you want to include it in your diet. This meat comes with plenty of iron, in addition to the protein, and will ensure that you have lots of energy. Since exercise is an important part of losing weight the extra energy will come in very handy. Grass-fed meat tends to have lower fat, lower calories and more Omega 3 fatty acids, which is good for the heart.

4. Yogurt

Organic yogurt works well as an addition to your breakfast or consumed by itself as a snack. It is rich in protein and can prevent weight gain that is triggered by drops or spikes in your blood sugar levels. Make sure to opt for the organic variety and not yogurts that contain added sugars. Organic yogurt will also help you with your exercise routine as its protein-rich content can help with water absorption, which means improved hydration. Eat some yogurt after exercising and it will replenish your energy as well as provide your muscles with amino acids.

5. Almonds

Adding enough protein to your diet will help eliminate snack cravings, but if you do find yourself looking for something between meals, be sure to reach for the almonds. Raw almonds are a healthy snack alternative to snack foods that are filled with sugar or saturated fats. It also requires fewer almonds to feel satiated than other unhealthy snack foods. In addition, almonds make for a good pre-gym snack thanks to its L-arginine content that can help with burning more fat. Almonds also contain the B2 vitamin that can help with stress, which is one of the causes of weight gain.

6. Lentils

As it is an excellent source of not only protein, but also fiber, lentils are a boon for anyone seeking to lose weight. Lentils not only have more protein per cup than eggs, but also much less fat. Due to their high fiber content lentils ensure that you remain satiated after meals and will also keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Because lentils pack so much protein they are an excellent meat alternative for anyone who follows a vegetarian or vegan diet.

7. Quinoa

If you are looking for a protein-rich alternative to rice and other grains you will find that quinoa is a great option. The high protein and fiber content of this naturally gluten-free seed will prevent you from getting hungry between meals, and by using it in the place of grains you’ll lower your carb intake as well. To top it all off, quinoa is versatile enough to be used for a variety of dishes, so you will never tire of its taste. Like many of the foods on this list quinoa is a great way for vegans and vegetarians to increase their protein intake. Its B vitamin and amino acid contents make quinoa an all-round protein source.

8. Hummus

Snacks with dips can be very tempting when attempting to follow a balanced diet, and hummus offers a good alternative. Thanks to its high protein and fiber content hummus is a good snack choice when combined with veggie sticks or even pita bread. Hummus might seem like a strange choice because it can be high in fat, but it actually contains unsaturated fat, which can help with weight loss and also reduce belly fat. Since hummus is easy to make, you can whip up your own fresh batch in no time.

9. Fish

For a beneficial dose of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids look no further than oily fish. Sardines and salmon are good examples of oily fish and are beneficial for balancing your blood sugar levels. Thanks to the high protein content in oily fish you will also experience better satiety of meals. Pin It

10. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is another surprising option for losing weight. The key is to eat it in moderation and not just go straight for the jar with a spoon. Peanut butter is known as a comfort food, which is why it is easy to overindulge. The reason why peanut butter can actually help with weight loss, despite its high calorie count, is that it prevents people from overeating. Sticking to the recommended servings of peanut butter is more satisfying than other snacks and also leaves you feeling full for longer, which prevents snacking. There are a variety of tasty ways to add peanut butter to your menu, so you don’t have to stick to the traditional peanut butter sandwich, either.

Protein is not only a great source of energy, but a vital part of any balanced diet as it aids in the repair of body tissues, such as muscles. With so many health benefits it makes sense to add these protein-rich foods to your menu.

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Katherine Hurst
By Dr. Michael Richardson
Passionate about sharing the latest scientifically sound health, fitness and nutrition advice and information, Dr Richardson received his Master of Science in Nutrition from New York University, and a Bachelor Degree from New Jersey University. He has since gone on to specialize in sports nutrition, weight management and helping his patients to heal physical ailments by making changes to their eating habits and lifestyles.

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