12 Best Animal-Based + Plant-Based Proteins for Weight Loss

by Ella

Losing weight can be challenging, but incorporating the right types of protein into your diet can make a significant difference. Proteins not only help build and repair tissues but also play a crucial role in weight management. This comprehensive guide explores the best protein sources for weight loss, their benefits, and how to include them in your diet effectively.

Understanding Protein and Weight Loss

The Role of Protein in Weight Loss

Protein is an essential macronutrient that supports numerous bodily functions. For weight loss, protein is particularly important because it:


Increases satiety, helping you feel full longer


Boosts metabolism through the thermic effect of food (TEF)


Preserves lean muscle mass during calorie restriction


Reduces cravings and late-night snacking

Recommended Protein Intake for Weight Loss

While protein needs vary depending on factors such as age, sex, and activity level, a general guideline for weight loss is to consume between 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This range helps ensure adequate intake to support muscle maintenance and enhance fat loss.

Best Animal-Based Proteins for Weight Loss

1. Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is a lean source of protein, low in fat and calories, making it ideal for weight loss. A 100-gram serving of cooked chicken breast provides approximately 31 grams of protein and only 165 calories. It’s versatile and can be included in various recipes.

2. Turkey

Turkey, particularly the breast meat, is another lean protein option. It offers similar benefits to chicken breast with a slightly different flavor profile. Turkey is rich in essential nutrients like B vitamins, selenium, and zinc. A 100-gram serving of cooked turkey breast contains around 29 grams of protein and 135 calories.

3. Fish

Fish is not only high in protein but also provides healthy fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and support heart health. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are excellent choices. A 100-gram serving of cooked salmon contains about 25 grams of protein and 206 calories.

4. Lean Beef

Lean cuts of beef, such as sirloin or tenderloin, offer a substantial amount of protein without excessive fat. Beef is also rich in iron, zinc, and B vitamins. A 100-gram serving of cooked lean beef provides around 26 grams of protein and 250 calories.

5. Eggs

Eggs are a complete protein source, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids. They are also highly nutritious, providing vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. One large egg contains approximately 6 grams of protein and 78 calories. Eggs can be enjoyed in various ways, making them a versatile addition to any diet.

6. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein and probiotics, which support gut health. It contains more protein than regular yogurt due to its straining process. A 100-gram serving of plain Greek yogurt provides about 10 grams of protein and 59 calories. Opt for low-fat or non-fat varieties to reduce calorie intake.

Best Plant-Based Proteins for Weight Loss

1. Lentils

Lentils are a nutrient-dense legume, rich in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. They are also low in fat and calories. A 100-gram serving of cooked lentils provides approximately 9 grams of protein and 116 calories. Lentils can be added to soups, salads, and stews for a protein boost.

2. Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a versatile and protein-rich legume. They are high in fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes satiety. A 100-gram serving of cooked chickpeas contains around 9 grams of protein and 164 calories. Chickpeas can be used in salads, hummus, and various dishes.

3. Tofu

Tofu, made from soybeans, is a popular plant-based protein source. It is low in calories and fat while providing a good amount of protein. Tofu can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to smoothies. A 100-gram serving of firm tofu contains about 8 grams of protein and 76 calories.

4. Quinoa

Quinoa is a complete protein, containing all essential amino acids, and is also gluten-free. It is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A 100-gram serving of cooked quinoa provides approximately 4 grams of protein and 120 calories. Quinoa can be used as a base for salads, bowls, and side dishes.

5. Edamame

Edamame, or young soybeans, are a high-protein snack or addition to meals. They are also rich in fiber and antioxidants. A 100-gram serving of cooked edamame contains around 11 grams of protein and 122 calories. Edamame can be enjoyed as a snack, in salads, or as a side dish.

6. Tempeh

Tempeh is a fermented soy product with a firm texture and nutty flavor. It is higher in protein than tofu and also contains probiotics. A 100-gram serving of tempeh provides about 19 grams of protein and 192 calories. Tempeh can be used in stir-fries, sandwiches, and salads.

Combining Proteins for Optimal Weight Loss

Balanced Meals

Creating balanced meals that combine different protein sources can enhance nutrient intake and satiety. For example, pairing a lean animal protein with a plant-based protein can provide a variety of amino acids and other nutrients. A meal consisting of grilled chicken breast and a quinoa salad with chickpeas offers a well-rounded protein profile.

Protein Snacks

Incorporating protein-rich snacks into your diet can help manage hunger and prevent overeating during meals. Examples of healthy protein snacks include Greek yogurt with berries, a hard-boiled egg, or a handful of edamame. These snacks provide essential nutrients and keep you feeling full between meals.

Meal Prep Tips

Planning and preparing meals in advance can ensure that you have access to healthy protein options throughout the week. Cook larger batches of lean proteins like chicken breast, turkey, or lentils, and store them in the refrigerator or freezer. This makes it easier to assemble quick and nutritious meals.

Additional Benefits of Protein for Weight Loss

Thermic Effect of Food

The thermic effect of food (TEF) refers to the increase in metabolic rate after eating, as the body uses energy to digest and process nutrients. Protein has a higher TEF compared to carbohydrates and fats, meaning that consuming protein-rich foods can boost your metabolism and increase calorie burning.

Muscle Preservation

During weight loss, it’s important to preserve lean muscle mass to maintain metabolic rate and strength. Consuming adequate protein supports muscle maintenance and repair, especially when combined with resistance training exercises. This helps ensure that weight loss comes primarily from fat rather than muscle.

Reduced Appetite and Cravings

Protein is known for its ability to increase feelings of fullness and reduce appetite. By promoting satiety, protein can help you eat fewer calories overall, making it easier to adhere to a calorie-controlled diet. Additionally, protein can help stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing cravings for sugary or high-calorie foods.

Practical Tips for Increasing Protein Intake

Breakfast Ideas

Starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast can set the tone for healthy eating throughout the day. Some high-protein breakfast ideas include:

Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes

Greek yogurt with granola and berries

A protein smoothie with whey protein, almond milk, and a banana

Overnight oats with chia seeds and almond butter

Lunch and Dinner Ideas

Incorporating lean proteins into your lunch and dinner can help you meet your daily protein needs. Some meal ideas include:

Grilled salmon with quinoa and steamed broccoli

Turkey and avocado lettuce wraps

Stir-fried tofu with mixed vegetables and brown rice

Lentil and vegetable soup with a side of whole-grain bread

Snack Ideas

Healthy protein snacks can help keep you satisfied between meals. Some snack ideas include:

A handful of almonds or walnuts

Cottage cheese with pineapple chunks

Hummus with carrot and cucumber sticks

A hard-boiled egg with a sprinkle of paprika

See Also: 8 Best Sources of Lean Protein


Choosing the right proteins can significantly enhance your weight loss efforts. Incorporating a variety of high-quality protein sources, both animal and plant-based, into your diet can help you feel fuller longer, boost your metabolism, and preserve lean muscle mass. By planning balanced meals and snacks, you can effectively manage your protein intake and support your weight loss goals. Remember to consult with a healthcare provider or nutritionist to tailor your protein intake to your specific needs and ensure a healthy and sustainable approach to weight loss.



Wellfoodrecipes is a professional gourmet portal, the main columns include gourmet recipes, healthy diet, desserts, festival recipes, meat and seafood recipes, etc.

【Contact us: [email protected]

Copyright © 2023