Best Sources of Protein for Weight Loss

Build muscle while keeping lean!

Mediterranean tuna salad

We use protein to build and repair muscles, but our bodies don’t maintain stores of protein. This means that we need to feed our bodies important proteins every day. This is especially true for people who work out regularly or are trying to build muscle.

Weightlifting breaks down fibers in your muscles. In order to rebuild them, your body needs a wide range of amino acids found in proteins. The amount of protein you need depends on your weight, so there’s no set number that applies to everyone. You should aim to consume at least 0.4 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. This number is higher when working out regularly.

If you want to build lean muscle while working on your weight loss goals, you need to maximize the amount of protein you get per calorie. Incorporate foods that deliver protein with almost no fats or carbs. We’ve listed some of the best sources of protein for weight loss so you can choose which foods work best for you.

1. Wild-Caught Salmon
A 3-ounce serving of salmon contains about 155 calories and 22 grams of protein. This means that if you eat 100 calories worth of salmon, you’re consuming about 14 grams of pure protein. Salmon is also rich in essential fatty acids that have multiple health benefits. They’re linked to healthy brain function, clear skin, and good blood pressure.

Recipes to try:
1. Pan Seared Salmon with Roasted Vegetables
2. Herbed Salmon with Broccoli Bulgur Pilaf
3. Salmon-Lentil Patties

2. Wild-Caught Tuna
Another protein-packed fish, tuna is a lighter option than salmon. A 3-ounce serving of light canned tuna contains about the same grams of protein, but since it doesn’t contain the essential fatty acids, it’s only a fraction of the calories. Just make sure to avoid tuna salads that are made with oily mayonnaise. Instead, try our lighter vegan mayo or eat it mayo-free, sprinkled over your salads.

Recipes to try:
1. Mediterranean Tuna Salad
2. Tuna Casserole
3. Protein Bean Salad with Tuna and Onion

3. Free-Range Chicken Breast or Turkey
Lean skinless chicken or turkey breast is one of the best, most versatile sources of protein you can find. Chicken and turkey can easily be incorporated in any meal, whether it’s shredded in your veggie scramble or ground into burger patties.

Recipes to try:
1. Slow Cooker Everything Chicken
2. Clean Eating Chicken Salad
3. Slow Cooker Turkey Sloppy Joes

4. Tofu
Half a cup of tofu contains about 100 calories and 10 grams of protein. Since it’s completely plant based, it’s one of the best vegan sources of protein and one of our favorite meat substitutes. You can make almost anything using tofu.

Recipes to try:
1. Spicy Grilled Tofu with Szechuan Vegetables
2. Blueberry Banana Smoothie
3. Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip

5. Free-Range Egg Whites
One cup of egg whites has only 117 calories and a whopping 26 grams of protein! While egg yolks are rich in fats, egg whites are made of pure protein. They deliver tons of essential muscle-building amino acids with almost no carbs.

Recipes to try:
1. Individual Egg & Spinach Bowls
2. Crustless Asparagus Quiche
3. Slow Cooker Spinach and Mozzarella Frittata

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Sofia Lopez

Sofia received her BA from Cornell University and her MFA from San Francisco State University. She creates workouts and fitness challenges. Her hobbies include running, hiking, and listening to audiobooks from the exercise bike.

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