4 High Protein Foods You Need to Be Eating

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
a freshly prepared steak with rosemary as garnish

If you’re following a low-carb diet, high protein foods are essential to your weight loss meal plan. They fill you up and keep you satisfied which can prevent overeating. They are also the “building blocks” for muscles, bones and many other structures in the body, making them essential for healthy living, too.1

That’s enough reason for us to stock up on high protein foods that are versatile, delicious and healthy! We put together a list of four of our favorite protein-packed foods, plus tasty ideas and recipes for enjoying them.

Bonus: Not only are these foods high in protein but they’re also rich in other vitamins and minerals. One of these is zinc. According to the National Institute of Health, zinc is a valuable mineral to the body’s cellular metabolism, as it is responsible for the catalytic activity of about 100 different enzymes. It’s also necessary for the immune system and wound healing, as well as other important functions.2

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1. Oysters

a half a dozen fresh oysters on a stone slab with ice and lemon

According to the Cleveland Clinic, one oyster can provide up to two grams of protein. So if you order a half-dozen of this seafood specialty, you’ll get around 12 grams of the good stuff.3

Of all food types, oysters also offer the most zinc per serving. In just a three-ounce serving of oysters, there are 74 milligrams of zinc.  To put that in perspective, according to the National Institute of Health, men aged 14 and older are recommended 11 milligrams and women 14 and older 9 milligrams.2 Therefore, in just one serving of oysters, both men and women would exceed their daily recommended intake of this powerhouse mineral. Oysters also contain other nutrients, including vitamin D, copper, iron and vitamin B12.3

Oysters can be enjoyed raw or broiled. They are especially tasty with lemon juice, hot sauce or horseradish for a spicy kick. Serve them with a low-carb side salad for a satisfying low-carb meal!

2. Beef

a freshly prepared steak with thyme as garnish

Beef is a versatile, high protein food that you can enjoy with almost any sides and seasonings you’re craving. In just a three-ounce serving of ground beef, you can get 21 grams of protein.4 Talk about a protein powerhouse!

While oysters offer the highest amount of zinc per serving, most people get their daily dose from poultry or red meat. Beef chuck roast offers 7 milligrams of zinc in each three-ounce serving, while beef patties offer 5.3 milligrams.2

A great way to incorporate more beef into your meal planning is making and prepping The South Beach Diet Classic Grilled Cheeseburger. This high protein, no-bun cheeseburger recipe is a low-carb meal that offers plenty of protein and zinc in its lean ground beef. This recipe also offers a ton of opportunity to make it your own with toppings and fixings.

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3. Chicken

Three raw chicken breast pieces on a stone slab with a side of cranberries and thyme

Chicken is versatile, healthy and tasty. It’s also high in protein! We love lean chicken breast but chicken thighs are also a tasty option. Both are high protein options. However, a chicken breast has more protein for less calories and fat.

A 3.5-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast contains just 98 calories and less than two grams of fat, but has over 20 grams of protein.5 A boneless, skinless chicken thigh of the same weight contains 143 calories, almost nine grams of fat and almost 17 grams of protein.6

While chicken breast wins in the calorie, fat and protein department, dark meat cuts like the thigh contains more zinc. According to Medical News Today, this poultry option offers 2.4 milligrams of zinc in each three-ounce serving.7

Try to enjoy a balance of light and dark meat to get the nutritional benefits from both of them. From chicken breast to chicken thighs to chicken wings, there are so many delicious ways to prepare this popular protein pick. Try our recipes for Lemon-Rosemary Braised Chicken Breasts or Sticky Sesame Chicken Thighs.

4. Pork Chop Loin

two pieces of pork chops with garlic and fresh seasoning on the side

Lean pork chops are a great high protein choice that you can enjoy if you’re craving hearty, homestyle meal. One three-ounce pork chop has 24 grams of protein and just 137 calories.8 A three-ounce cooked pork chop also offers 2.9 milligrams of zinc.2

Grilling your pork chops allows you to cook it without much added fat. Try The Palm’s Grilled Pork Chop with Soy Sauce and Garlic Marinade for a delicious low-carb, zinc-filled dinner. This dish has loads of savory flavor and can be paired with your favorite non-starchy vegetables!

Looking for more high protein ingredients to add to your low-carb shopping list? Check out the South Beach Diet Grocery Guide! >

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References:

  1. https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/protein-foods
  2. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/
  3. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/7-reasons-to-love-oysters-even-if-you-hate-them/
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/310118
  5. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1620527/nutrients
  6. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1679945/nutrients
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325916
  8. https://www.livestrong.com/article/415403-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-pork-chops/