Protein is one of the most important parts of any diet. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or gain muscle or do both, you need to have a decent amount of protein in your diet. Protein is not hard to come by either, there are a lot of high-protein foods out there.

However, a lot of protein sources contain unwanted fats and calories. If you’re looking to lose weight or even gain, then it’s highly recommended to use lean sources of protein as they’ll be fat-free and low in calories. They’ll not only help you stay on track with your daily caloric intake, but will help in building lean muscle as well. Here are some of the best lean sources of protein:

Skinless, White Poultry meat

White meat is generally regarded as a great lean source of protein. White poultry meat includes Chicken and Turkey and a 100 gram serving of chicken contains 23g of protein yet it’s not calorically dense at all at just 110 calories (Source: MyFitnessPal).

Similarly, 100 grams of cooked turkey breast contains 34g of protein with just 153 calories (Source: MyFitnessPal). It’s important to avoid the skin when eating either chicken or turkey as they bring in unwanted fats. Skinless meat has a minimal number of fats, and as established, it has a lot of protein. You can remove the skin before or after cooking, it works either way.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is highly underrated. It’s a great source of protein with a low amount of calories, and it tastes good too! Moreover, cottage cheese is also packed with other nutrients such as Calcium and Vitamin A. You’re able to get a decent bang for your buck with cottage cheese.

A 226 gram serving of cottage cheese or 1 cup serving contains only 97 calories, 5.5 grams of fat and 26.7 grams of protein (Source: nutritiondata). It only contains 8.3 grams of carbohydrates as well which means it’s an overall nice addition to your diet whether you’re going for weight loss or muscle gain.

Egg Whites

When it comes to protein to calorie ratio, there is no other food better than egg whites. Eggs are cheap, and a great source of protein. However, eggs come with cholesterol which means eating a large amount can be dangerous. However,  removing the yolk takes away the cholesterol and the remaining egg whites are what contain a majority of the protein.

Egg whites allow you to eat multiple eggs according to your protein needs. A medium-sized egg’s whites will have only 17 calories, but 4 grams of protein (Source: MyFitnessPal). Thus, you can get 40 grams of protein in just 170 calories by eating 10 egg whites, which is incredible. Egg whites alone can be bland and you may find it hard to eat them alone. However, you can put a bit of spice on or make an egg-white omelet to make it better. There’s a lot of freedom with however you want to use the egg whites, they’re highly versatile.

Beans, Peas, and Lentils

Dry beans, peas, and lentils, also known as “pulses” are rich in protein and nutrients. They are low in fat, high in fiber and contain a decent amount of protein, which is a perfect blend for anyone looking to lose weight. The protein and fiber in these foods both work together in making sure one stays full longer, which aids in weight loss.

A review of multiple studies showed that consuming just 130 grams of pulses daily resulted in a 7mg reduction of bad cholesterol from the body over a period of three weeks. Overall, pulses are a great source of protein, for example, 1 cup of lentils has 17.9g of protein and only 0.8g of fat (Source: nutritiondata). It also has 15.6g of fiber, which is also great for weight loss and health in general.

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