This post has been updated since its initial publish date to include more expert insight.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you may think that the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to your diet is eating less and keeping your calorie intake low. However, it’s vital to ensure you’re nourishing your body with all the food and nutrients it needs to stay happy, healthy, and energized enough to take on all of your fat-burning workouts. One of the most essential parts of any healthy diet is protein, which can help boost your metabolism and speed up weight loss.
To discover some of the best low-fat (or lean) high-protein foods you can incorporate into your daily diet, we spoke to health experts Jeanette Kimszal, a registered dietitian, Dr. Matt Chalmers, a health and wellness expert, author, and nutrition speaker, Brenda Peralta, a registered dietitian, Allison Herries, a registered dietitian, and Heather Hanks, a registered dietitian. They pointed us towards four options that are as healthy as they are tasty: eggs, Greek yogurt, chicken, and salmon.
If you love a good omelette or eggs benedict in the morning, we’ve got good news: health experts agree that eggs are one of the best high-protein, metabolism-boosting foods to put on your plate every day. Kimszal explains that “protein found in eggs can increase the thermal effect of food and may speed up the metabolism,” noting that just one egg offers 6 grams of protein. Chalmers even refers to eggs as “the best high-protein breakfast for fat loss,” and says they offer a number of incredible health benefits. “Whether your goal is to increase muscle mass, which also increases metabolism, or just burn fat, eggs should be a major part of your diet,” he says. We can definitely get behind that!
One of the best things about eggs is the fact that they’ll keep you full throughout the day. As Peralta explains, “studies have shown that eating eggs not only increases your metabolism but it also increases your satiety levels,” adding that “feeling fuller for longer means that you are less likely to eat more during the day.” And, if you’re wondering what what the healthiest way to cook eggs is, we asked the experts.
2. Greek Yogurt
There’s another tasty breakfast food calling your name if you’re looking to pack in the protein: Greek yogurt. Peralta points out that this filling dairy product is “low in carbs and high protein,” noting that this makes it a great option for anyone looking to up their protein intake through snacks.
She says eating one cup of this yogurt a day is a great way to go—believe it or not, that one serving will provide a whopping 15-20g of protein, which Peralta says is “more than enough for a snack.” When paired with some granola, berries, chia seeds, or any other nourishing toppings of your choice, this meal can do wonders for your metabolism and keep you fuller longer.
If you want the best high-protein meat options out there, it may be time to switch out your cheeseburgers for some leaner varieties such as grilled chicken. Herries explains that these meats pack in a lot of protein without the downsides of a load of fat and calories. “Lean meats, including chicken, turkey, and fish, are excellent protein options,” she says, noting that “this is because the majority of calories in lean meats come directly from protein.”
Adding some chicken to your plate is a great way to up your protein intake while still keeping up with your weight loss goals. Herries says that “100 grams of chicken breast provides around 31 grams of protein with only 165 calories.” Nice! We’re craving a grilled chicken salad, ourselves.
Speaking of lean meats, it turns out that fish is another great food to incorporate into your diet if you want to boost your metabolism. Not only does it offer a hearty amount of protein, but it’s also filled with healthy fats. Hanks says fatty fish like salmon is “an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D,” which helps “reduce inflammation, regulate immune health, and support digestion,” all of which can aid you on your weight loss journey. Plus, lean fish like salmon can help boost your hair thickness and shine.
Hanks suggests combining fish with veggies for the ultimate healthy meal. “Try a salmon salad with low-carb veggies for lunch to promote satiety, increase energy levels, and improve digestion,” she says, adding that “salmon also goes well with veggies at night or an omelette in the morning.” Sounds delicious!
The Bottom Line
So, with the help of lean protein-rich foods, and getting ample exercise through strength training and HIIT, you can boost your metabolism, promote weight loss, and ultimately transform your body. And when it comes to the best options out there, eggs, Greek yogurt, chicken, and salmon are all tasty and healthy choices.