With all of the hype surrounding high-protein diets, people are constantly trying to find new ways to increase their daily protein intake. And while keto acolytes may be getting their protein fix from fatty foods like bacon, you’ll be better off sticking with a high-protein, low-fat diet instead.
If you’re looking to reduce your fat consumption and kick your daily dose of protein up a notch, these are some of the best foods you can eat to give your body the nutrients it needs.
1. Non-fat kefir
Kefir is a fermented dairy beverage that’s like drinkable yogurt, and it’s surprisingly high in protein and low in fat, containing 11 grams of protein per cup and 0 grams of fat. Plus, “as with other dairy foods, Kefir is high in calcium giving you the bone health benefits,” says Ashley Holmes Roth, MS, RDN. Add in some non-fat milk for an even more protein-packed smoothie, along with your favorite fruit and some greens, like kale or spinach, she says.
Move over, salmon — it’s time to give snapper a shot. Snapper is a leaner fish, making it a good low-fat, high-protein option. “Snapper has 22 grams of protein and 1.5 grams of fat per 3 oz serving, and it’s also high in selenium,” an antioxidant that fights off inflammation in the body, says Roth.
3. Mahi mahi
Switch snapper up for mahi mahi, which has 20 grams of protein and 0.6 grams of fat per 3 oz. serving. “A serving of Mahi Mahi will also get you the total selenium you need for an entire day,” Roth says. Use it in stews, tacos, and soups; alternatively, you can bake, sear, grill, or roast it.
While other meats like steak or bacon might be higher in fat, turkey is nice and lean, with only 6.3 grams of fat per serving. “Turkey contains 20 grams of protein per 3 oz serving. It’s a versatile, lean source of animal protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids, and it brings all the benefits of many B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12),” Roth says. “Turkey is also a great source for phosphorus, which is important for bone health.” Use it as a substitute for ground beef in a burger or meatballs, or bake or roast it with some herbs and lemon, like rosemary or sage.
Shellfish can also be a low-fat, high-protein option, as well as a great salad topper. Shrimp, for instance, has 20 grams of protein per 3 oz. cooked and only 0.3 g of fat. “It’s basically pure protein and low in calories (a 3-oz serving is about 80 calories),” says Maggie Moon, MS, RD.“My favorite shortcut is buying fresh shell-on shrimp that has already been de-veined by the grocery store. It saves a ton of time and fresh shrimp cooks quickly since you skip the defrost wait time.” Cook them with the shell-on for the best flavor.
6. Chicken breast
Chicken breast offers 27 grams of protein per 3 oz. cooked and only 3 grams of fat. Note: that crispy skin might taste delicious, but that’s where all the fat is, so you’ll want to snip it right off.
7. Non-fat Greek yogurt
Wake up to a serving of nonfat Greek yogurt for a protein-packed breakfast. There are 17 grams of protein per 6 oz. serving and there’s no fat. “Greek yogurt also provides calcium for bone health and potassium for healthy muscles,” Moon says. Use Greek yogurt as a swap for sour cream and mayonnaise, or as a base for salad dressings and dips.