Diet & Weight Magazine

The Best Meat, Seafood & Eggs for Weight Loss

By Dietdoctor @DietDoctor1

Key takeaways

Aim for a high protein percentage.
To lose weight, eat protein-rich foods. Most of the time, try to choose meat and seafood with at least 35% of calories from protein. Learn more
Best red meat and poultry. Eat fresh meats like tenderloin, sirloin, lean ground meat, chicken, and turkey frequently. Eat processed meat less often. Learn more Best fish and shellfish. Eat all types of fish, including salmon, trout, halibut, snapper, tuna, etc. Enjoy shrimp, crab, lobster, and most other shellfish, too. Learn more

Meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, and eggs are high-protein foods that can help you lose weight. However, some types are better than others. The key? Maximizing satiety (feeling full and satisfied) per calorie when making food choices.

In this guide, we'll show you how different types of meat, seafood, and eggs rate on the protein scale - and which ones to choose most often because they help you feel full and provide maximum nutrition value. Plus, we'll share easy, tasty recipes based on these foods.


The best meat, seafood & eggs for weight loss
The best meat, seafood & eggs for weight loss

Key takeaways

Start your FREE 30-day trial!

Get instant access to healthy low-carb and keto meal plans, fast and easy recipes, weight loss advice from medical experts, and so much more. A healthier life starts now with your free trial!

Start FREE trial!

More high-protein guides

More high-protein guides

Focus on protein percentage

Strong evidence shows that eating more protein, and less fats and carbs, can help you lose weight by reducing appetite and keeping your metabolism from slowing down.

To lose weight without feeling hungry, select protein-rich foods that provide the greatest satiety for the fewest calories.

How can you do this? By choosing foods with a high "protein percentage." This percentage tells you how much of a food's calories come from protein as opposed to fats and carbs.

We believe selecting meat and seafood with protein percentages of 35% or more most of the time can be very helpful for healthy weight loss. Generally speaking, leaner cuts of meat have higher protein percentages than fatty cuts do.

Additionally, aim to eat at least 100 grams of protein per day if you're a woman and 140 grams if you're a man of average height and build. Eat more if you're a man taller than 6 feet (183 cm) or a woman taller than 5'6″ (168 cm) or if you're very physically active. Eat less if you're shorter or have a petite frame.

However, don't feel that you need to meet all of your protein needs exclusively from the foods on this list. Dairy products, legumes, and vegetables can all contribute to your daily protein intake.

In this guide, we provide both the protein percentages and gram amounts per serving for meat, seafood, and eggs. These are based on average values. The protein percentages and gram amounts can vary depending on the cut of meat, the animal's diet, the cooking method, and how much fat is trimmed before eating.

Note: The protein gram amounts are for cooked portions. Meat and seafood lose about 25% of their weight in cooking. The protein content of 4.5 ounces of raw meat or seafood is equivalent to about 3.5 ounces of cooked meat or seafood.

1. Poultry

The best meat, seafood & eggs for weight lossChicken and turkey are high-satiety, protein foods that are great for weight loss. Indeed, all types of poultry have excellent protein percentages! However, leaner cuts (light meat) generally provide the most protein per calorie.

You'll also get a nice dose of vitamins and minerals with that protein whether you choose light or dark meat.

The protein gram amounts reflect only the edible portion, not the bone. So whether you choose bone-in or boneless chicken breast or thighs, you'll still get the same amount of protein.

Can you eat chicken with the skin and still lose weight? Yes. A piece of chicken with skin has a bit more fat and therefore a slightly lower protein percentage than the same piece without skin. However, you'll still get about the same grams of protein per serving.

Below are the protein percentages and grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked poultry (about the size of a deck of cards).

Chicken

Turkey

High-protein poultry recipes

2. Red meat

The best meat, seafood & eggs for weight lossRed meat is an excellent protein-rich food that provides several vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, and zinc. But not all types are equal when it comes to protein. Fatty meats provide less protein per calorie than lean types and therefore have lower protein percentages.

For example, 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of lean beef steak contains little fat, so its protein percentage is very high at 70%. By comparison, 3.5 ounces of beef brisket has about the same grams of protein as 3.5 ounces of lean steak, but more fat (and calories).

Beef brisket's protein percentage is 40% because it provides much less protein per calorie than lean steak.

Choosing meats with protein percentages above 35% may help you lose weight most effectively. However, food enjoyment and variety are important, too! So feel free to eat your favorite meats that have lower protein percentages sometimes.

Here are the protein percentages and grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked red meat (about the size of a deck of cards).

Beef

Pork

Lamb

Bison

Veal

High-protein red meat recipes

3. Deli and prepared meats

The best meat, seafood & eggs for weight lossProcessed meats - meats that have been cured, smoked, or dried - are often considered less healthy than their fresh counterparts.

Although claims that they may lead to health problems are based on very weak observational evidence, processed meats generally contain less protein than fresh meat.Therefore, most of them are not ideal for losing weight.

The good news is, some processed meats do have high protein percentages. Enjoy these regularly, and save some of the other types for when you want to occasionally indulge.

Here are the protein percentages and grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of deli and prepared meats (about the size of a deck of cards, unless otherwise noted).

4. Seafood

The best meat, seafood & eggs for weight lossSeafood has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the best weight loss foods. Because fish and shellfish are high in protein yet low in fat and carbs, nearly all types have impressive protein percentages.

Make seafood choices based on your preferences and what is available. Canned fish and shellfish are convenient, less expensive options.

Enjoy seafood several times a week, if you like. However, avoid or limit types of fish that are high in mercury, especially larger fish like bigeye tuna, King mackerel, swordfish, and shark.

Fish

Besides packing plenty of protein, fish are rich in vitamin B2 (riboflavin), potassium, and selenium, among other nutrients. While fatty fish like salmon and sardines have slightly lower protein percentages than lean fish, they provide higher amounts of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Here are the protein percentages and grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked fish (about the size of a deck of cards), unless otherwise noted.

*Note: Different species of salmon have different fat contents and therefore higher or lower protein percentages.

Shellfish

All shellfish are high in protein and low in fat. However, some contain a few carbs, which lowers their protein percentage. Shellfish are also a great source of vitamin B12, magnesium, and iodine.

Here are the protein percentages and grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked shellfish, unless otherwise noted.

High-protein fish and shellfish recipes

5. Eggs

The best meat, seafood & eggs for weight lossEggs are versatile, high in protein, and weight loss-friendly.

Egg whites provide more protein per calorie than egg yolks. However, the yolks contain more essential nutrients, such as vitamin A and selenium, than egg whites. Whole eggs are more nutritious overall and taste better than egg whites.

We recommend that you mainly eat whole eggs, but feel free to also include some egg whites if you find it hard to meet your protein targets.

Here are the protein percentages and grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of eggs:

High-protein meal plan for effective weight loss

Tired of reading percentages and ready to eat? Check out our complete meal plan, which provides 89 to 140 grams of protein and less than 20 grams of carb per day:

This highly nutritious meal plan is designed to boost weight loss while enjoying delicious food that helps you feel full and satisfied.

These flavorful meals will provide your body with all the protein, fat, and other essential nutrients needed to be healthy.

You'll get to enjoy some of our favorite keto feasts, such as Keto cheese tortilla beef burritos and Keto Caprese chicken while staying under 20 grams of net carbs every day.

Full meal plan →

Personalized meal planner

Do you want a personalized weight loss meal plan based on your preferences?

Our personalized meal plans are designed to suit your needs and goals. They feature delicious, easy-to-prepare meals that you'll love - with all of the planning done for you.

Just answer a few questions - such as how much weight you want to lose and what kinds of food you like to eat - and you'll receive a customized weight loss meal plan almost instantly.


Get your personalized meal plan with a FREE 30-day trial!

Start your FREE 30-day trial!

Get instant access to healthy low-carb and keto meal plans, fast and easy recipes, weight loss advice from medical experts, and so much more. A healthier life starts now with your free trial!

Start FREE trial!

Learn more about protein

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog