How to Choose Good Lean Protein

lean protein sources list
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Lean protein is an important part of a healthy diet and can help you to lose weight. But do you know how to choose good lean protein to eat? The best sources of lean protein are high in nutrients but lower in fat and calories., Here are some pointers for selecting good sources of lean protein.

The Good Lean Protein List

Fish
Certain types of fish are the healthiest sources of lean protein. Most fish is lower in saturated fat than poultry or beef.

Coldwater fish, such as salmon, is an excellent choice as it contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, a "good" fat that can be beneficial to your health.

Chicken and Turkey
Poultry is a good source of protein, but the calorie count of poultry can vary. So it's important to read nutritional labels and choose leaner cuts of turkey and chicken as often as possible. As a general rule, lighter meat is lower in calories than dark meat. Also, be sure to remove the skin before eating and learn how to grill your chicken or turkey to cut fat and calories. You can also roast poultry or bake it to keep the calorie count low.

Lean Beef
Watching your fat and your daily calorie intake doesn't mean you have to give up steak. If you choose the right kind of beef, it can be a healthy part of your weight loss program. Choose cuts with the words "round" or "loin" in the name, and those that have less visible marbling.

Trim any visible fat before you cook it or ask the butcher to do so before wrapping it up. When choosing ground beef, look for "lean" or "extra lean" on the label.

Eggs
Eggs can be part of any healthy diet because they are budget-friendly, versatile and easy to prepare. The calories in eggs are low and they provide around five grams of protein per serving.

You can use eggs to make a healthy breakfast, or you can make sandwiches or heartier dishes such as a vegetable fritatta or vegetarian quiche. If you are concerned about cholesterol, use fewer yolks because the fat and cholesterol is in the yolk. 

Low-Fat Dairy
Low-fat dairy products are an ideal source of lean protein because much of the saturated fat has been removed from them. They provide vitamin D and calcium. Low-fat cheese, milk and yogurt are staples of a healthy diet as they can be worked into almost any meal or as a part of a healthy snack.

Beans, Peas and Lentils
Beans, peas, and lentils are also good lean protein sources, particularly for those who follow a vegetarian diet. They provide plenty of fiber, which can actually help you stick to your diet. The protein and fiber pack a "one-two punch" that can help you feel fuller much longer than other foods and thereby prevent overeating. Try adding beans to recipes such as chili, soup, or make a healthy salad to keep your diet on track.

 

You'll notice that protein snack bars and protein powders are not on this list. Why? Because experts generally recommend that you get protein from whole foods rather than processed supplements. Of course that doesn't mean that powders and bars are bad for you, but you'll enjoy nutritional benefits if you choose whole foods as good lean protein sources more often.

*This article was originally published on March 5, 2009. Edited by Malia Frey, About.com Weight Loss Expert

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