Tips to keep your muscles while you diet. The pounds you are looking to shed while dieting and getting healthy shouldn’t be sucked out of your muscles, right?! Below is a quick foods high in protein list to utilize for your reference and some other handy ways to get your daily dose. Keep that muscle!
Protein Is Super Important
One thing to remember if you are trying to lose weight on a diet is to get enough protein. You do not want your muscles to be a source of food that your body will start using for energy. The right proteins are important. Are you getting enough protein and if so, are they complete proteins you body needs? This is a quick list to see some great complete proteins as well as ideas for adding some great options with protein to your diet.
RDA and Age
Sudies indicate that to preserve muscle and strength, protein consumption may need to be increased as you get older so be sure you are getting the recommended intake with factoring in your age. RDA for Adult men need around 56g where women need around 46g (unless they are pregnant).
Studies suggest that our bodies may require almost double the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein as we age.
Meat and Dairy
Meats are one of the best sources for complete proteins. Complete proteins contain the 9 essential amino acids acquired by the food we eat, since our body does not produce them. This makes up the whole protein of 20 amino acids in all for healthy support.
Beef – Protein 7.5g to 9g per oz
Chicken – Protein 7.5g to 8g per oz
Turkey – Protein 8g to 8.6g per oz
Pork – Protein 6g to 8g per oz
Halibut — Protein 7.6g per oz
Tilapia – Protein 7.4g per oz
Salmon – Protein 6.3g per oz
Cheese – Protein 7g to 8g per oz [Cheddar, Jack, Fontina, Provolone, Asiago, Gouda]
Cheese – Protein 8g to 10g per oz [Pecorino Romano, Mozzarella, Gruyere, Swiss, Parmesan]
Eggs – Protein 3.5g per oz or apox 6g per egg
Greek Yogurt – Protein 14g per 5.3 oz cup (apx 2/3 cup)
Beans / Legumes
Beans and Legumes are a great source of nutrition and fiber! Plus they are very versatile in recipes from smoothies to soups & salads, these really incorporate into meals nicely!! My personal favorite is the Great Northern Bean and keep a couple cans of them in the pantry at all times in case I need a protein boost in a meal.
Great Northern Beans – Protein 9.7g per half cup
Lentils – Protein 9g per half cup
Split Peas – Protein 8.2g per half cup
Black Beans – Protein 7.6g per half cup
Navy Beans – Protein 7.5g per half cup
Pinto Beans – Protein 7.2g per half cup
Red Kidney Beans – Protein 7.2g per half cup
Garbanzo Beans – Protein 6.3g per half cup – Combine these with Tahini and you have a complete protein.
Soy Beans – Protein 5.6g per half cup – This is also a complete protein, however they also contain plant estrogen
Green Peas – Protein 4.3g per half cup
Grains / Seeds and Nuts
I really eat a lot of these in my diet because I like them. Not just for the nutritional value but the flavor and texture is wonderful. As a side dish for dinner or in your cereal in the morning they are a great break up in the meat fest that can happen in higher protein / less carb diets.
Quinoa – Protein 4g per half cup – This is a complete protein and a personal favorite!
Amaranth – Protein 4.6g per half cup – Complete protein
Hemp Seed – Protein 3.3g per half cup – Complete protein
Chia Seed – Protein 2.5g per half cup – Complete protein
Buckwheat – Protein 3g per half cup – Complete protein
Teff – Protein 14g per half cup
Triticale – Protein 12g per half cup
Pumpkin Seeds – Protein 9g per oz
Almonds – Protein 6g per oz – Weight loss favorite as studies have shown their nutrients support fat loss
Cashews – Protein 5g per oz
Veggies are packed with vitamins and minerals and are always pretty with all the colors that make every meal so inviting and I like to think of them as the love part of my cooking when I make meals for my family. Whether they are big and bold rough cut collard greens, squash or big ears of roasted corn; or hidden out of sight shredded carrot or finely chopped mushrooms that may be hiding in the sauce.
Spinach – lightly cooked, 5.3g protein per cup (lightly cook your spinach to get the most benefit)
Collard Greens – Protein 5g per cup
Hubbard Squash – Protein 5g per cup
Asparagus – Protein 4.3g per 1 cup
Corn – Protein 4.2g per cup
Sweet Potato – Protein 4g per cup baked w/skin
Brussel sprouts – Protein 4g per cup
Mushrooms – Protein 3g to 4g per cup
Broccoli – Protein 3.7g per cup lightly cooked
Avocado – Protein 3g per cup
Kale – Protein 2.5g per cup lightly cooked to get the most nutrition
Cauliflower – Protein 2.3g per cup
Zucchini – Protein 2g per cup
Protein powders are a great way to get added protein in your favorite foods. I like to add them to breakfast and anytime I want a smoothie for that sweet treat fix. I also like the Almond Flour for a bit of added nutrition to baked goods Just finding a bit more protein in items every day that you can add is always helpful I find. A sprinkle of seeds on the yogurt or in the side dish with dinner. I would be careful of the “protein bar” as these can help you gain weight if you are not careful to read the ingredients to make sure they fit in with your goals. Lots of so called “healthy” snacks and foods on the market are not very healthy indeed. If you can, stick to whole foods and choose a cheese stick or nuts and beef jerky for convenience instead.
These are general protein estimates to use as a broad guide. If you would like more detailed information on the nutrients in your items, there are a lot of great sites and apps out there. I really like using these apps for whole foods and some of them you can actually look up the brand and fast food nutritional information on.
Please let me know you comments and thoughts below and remember to save this page to your favorites for quick reference. I hope you found these tips and quick lists helpful! Wishing you the best of Joy and Happiness!