What Is Lean Protein? 7 Foods Rich In Lean Protein You Can Add To Daily Diet

A balanced diet is one that incorporates all the essential macro and micronutrients into it. One of the most essential building blocks of our body, protein is critical for daily functioning. Health enthusiasts swear by high-protein meals to bulk up and also because protein-rich meals promote the feeling of fullness and curb untimely hunger pangs. While we are all aware of protein-rich foods and food sources that are rich in protein, have you heard of lean protein? This amazing category of protein is a blessing for those watching their weight and wanting to shed excess kilos. Wondering why? Keep reading to know all about lean protein and foods rich in protein that you can add to your daily diet.

What Is Lean Protein? Is It Healthier Than Normal Protein?

Lean protein is simply a way of referring to a protein-rich food that is lower in fat and calories. Thus, lean protein allows you to load up on the essential protein without piling up excess calories into your meals. The protein content stays intact in these foods, thus providing your body with the required daily protein content sans the fat.

According to health experts, picking a lean protein source for your diet may prove to be more beneficial, especially in terms of weight management. Thus, it is surely a healthier alternative to protein sources like lamb, mutton and pork which may be high in protein, but also have a lot of fat and calories.

(Also Read: Weight Loss: Try These 3 Protein-Rich Indian Recipes To Lose Weight)

Protein is one of the most essential components of our diet. Photo Credit: iStock

How Can You Increase Lean Protein In Diet?

If you want to add lean protein to your diet for better health and weight management, there are a number of foods you can consume. These are foods that are rich in protein, but low in fat and calories. Experts suggest keeping the protein content in your meals not more than 40 grams in a day, as per the USDA. Further, do consult a nutritionist or dietitian before making any major changes to the diet.

7 Best Food Sources Of Lean Protein

1. Egg White

Known as a complete protein, egg white is an excellent way to include lean protein in your diet. You can make an omelette or eat it in the form of a boiled egg salad, or even a sandwich. Here are some fun ways to add egg to your diet.

2. Chicken

Nutritionist Shilpa Arora says, “Chicken has a good quantity of lean protein that keeps you full for longer. Grill, stir-fry or add it to stews for maximum benefit.” There are various grilled chicken recipes that you can try. Click here for some delicious grilled chicken recipes.

(Also Read: From Oats To Ragi: 5 Protein-Rich Grains That You Must Add To Your Diet)


Chicken is best had grilled or stir-fried for maximum benefits. 

3. Fish

White-fleshed fish like cod, tilapia, as well as other fish like salmon and tuna are excellent sources of lean protein. Fish is also enriched with heart-healthy omega-3. But if you are confused about what to make with fish that is healthy yet tasty, then fret not. Here are some fish recipes that can be cooked in under 30 minutes.

4. Tofu and Soy

Be it tofu, soya, edamame or any other soy product – this humble plant can be an excellent way to stock up on lean protein. According to Nutritionist Mehar Rajput, “Tofu and paneer are nutritionally different; tofu being the healthier alternative to paneer as it has low calories and more iron content.” Click here for best tofu recipes.

(Also Read: 5 High Protein Idli Recipes For A Power-Packed Breakfast)


Tofu, soya and edamame can be great vegan sources of lean protein. Photo: iStock

5. Quinoa

The popular grain is an excellent way to substitute rice and also get your daily protein content. You can make a salad with it or even use it as a filling in various recipes. Further, it is full of fibre and excellent for weight loss. Click here for some amazing quinoa recipes.

6. Cottage Cheese

Milk products such as cottage cheese are great sources of lean protein for vegetarians. As per USDA data, 100 grams of paneer has upto 11 grams of protein in it. You can always use the low-fat cottage cheese and cook it in so many ways – the possibilities are endless. Click here for some recipes.

7. Greek Yogurt

Simple, plain greek yogurt without any added sugar is the ultimate source of lean protein. According to the USDA, 100 grams of greek yogurt contains up to 10 grams of protein, fulfilling up to 20% of your daily requirement. Here is how you can make greek yogurt and use it in cooking.

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