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Protein can help you shed those unwanted pounds -- and keep your belly full. But it's important to eat the right amount and the right kind of protein to get its health benefits.

Seafood

Seafood is an excellent source of protein because it's usually low in fat. Fish such as salmon is a little higher in fat, but it is the heart-healthy kind: it has omega-3 fatty acids.

White-Meat Poultry

Stick to the white meat of poultry for excellent, lean protein. Dark meat is a little higher in fat. The skin is loaded with saturated fat, so remove skin before cooking.

 

Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt

Not only are dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt excellent sources of protein, but they also contain valuable calcium, and many are fortified with vitamin D. Choose skim or low-fat dairy to keep bones and teeth strong and help prevent osteoporosis.

Eggs

Eggs are one of the least expensive forms of protein. The American Heart Association says normal healthy adults can safely enjoy an egg a day.

Beans

One-half cup of beans contains as much protein as an ounce of broiled steak. Plus, these nutritious nuggets are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full for hours.

Pork Tenderloin

This great and versatile white meat is 31% leaner than it was 20 years ago.

Soy

Fifty grams of soy protein daily can help lower cholesterol by about 3%. Eating soy protein instead of sources of higher-fat protein -- and maintaining a healthy diet -- can be good for your heart.

Lean Beef

Lean beef has only one more gram of saturated fat than a skinless chicken breast. Lean beef is also an excellent source of zinc, iron, and vitamin B12.

Protein on the Go

If you don't have time to sit down for a meal, grab a meal replacement drink, cereal bar, or energy bar. Check the label to be sure the product contains at least six grams of protein and is low in sugar and fat.

Protein at Breakfast

Research shows that including a source of protein like an egg or Greek yogurt at breakfast along with a high-fiber grain like whole wheat toast can help you feel full longer and eat less throughout the day.

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