From white chicken to quinoa, adding these lean protein sources in a healthy diet can keep muscle mass intact while supporting overall health and weight control. After all, controlling calories and fat content is important to losing weight, but staying healthy means eating less fattening foods, too. While lean protein diets have long been recommended for maintaining weight, recent studies have suggested that protein may also play a role in reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease. Find out more about five of the healthiest, most delicious and most accessible protein sources.
One of the healthiest lean proteins sources around is chicken. If you do your grocery shopping online, you can even get a few pounds of chicken at a time-while saving money and getting quality chicken that you know is free of all allergens. You can cook it many different ways, from being baking, frying, broiling, or even deep-fried. Choose a lean, boneless breast or turkey, and throw in some salad and some veggies to make a full meal.
Fish. If you love to eat seafood but don’t love the extra calories, try salmon, tuna, trout, halibut, or any other white fish that you enjoy. Salmon is especially good for cooking in lots of different ways, because it has lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to lower incidence of stroke, heart disease, and other diseases. Tuna and trout are also excellent lean protein sources that you can cook with a variety of spices, such as garlic and seasonings. If you cook this fish on top of steamed greens, they’ll be even healthier!
While there are some lean protein sources that come from white meat chicken, beef, and fish, these tend to be higher in calories. Instead, choose chicken, turkey, lamb, duck, or chicken alternatives, such as skinless turkey or bison. The lean meat will be lower in fat and cholesterol, which can be great for your heart health. Plus, white meat chicken and turkey have a lot of vitamin A, which is needed for healthy vision and healthy hair. Plus, studies have shown that poultry is associated with less depression and more weight loss than red meat.
When choosing lean protein sources, be sure to add plenty of leafy, green vegetables, especially if you love to cook. They are packed with many nutrients, including antioxidants that help fight off free radicals in the body, which can cause diseases like cancer. Some of the best sources of green vegetables include lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, cabbage, squash, and oatmeal. If you’re not used to eating vegetables, try raw foods instead-they are usually better for you and have much more flavor.
Whole grains. These are some of the healthiest lean protein sources around, and you will be surprised at how easy it is to add them to your diet. Try brown rice instead of white, oatmeal for breakfast (try the quick oats instead of the instant) and whole wheat pasta. When used in the right quantities, grains can provide a fulfilling meal and tons of health benefits.