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 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.
Stick to poultry for excellent, lean protein. Dark meat is a little higher in fat. The skin is loaded with saturated fat, so remove skin before eating.
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 are one of the least expensive forms of protein. The American Heart Association says normal healthy adults can safely enjoy an egg a day.
One-half cup of beans contains as much plant-based protein as an ounce of broiled steak. Plus, these nutritious nuggets are inexpensive and loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full for hours.
This versatile white meat is 31% leaner than it was 20 years ago.
Fifty grams of soy protein daily can help lower cholesterol by about 3%. Eating plant-based soy protein instead of sources of higher-fat protein -- and maintaining a healthy diet -- can be good for your heart.
Lean beef has about two grams more 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 saturated 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.