Diet & Weight Magazine

Top 10 Tasty Ways to Eat More Protein and Less Fat

By Dietdoctor @DietDoctor1

How can you get the best weight loss results on a keto or low-carb diet? For many, the answer is eating plenty of protein and eating enough fat without going overboard. Strong science shows that prioritizing protein can help you feel full, lose weight, and retain muscle.

While many people lose weight and feel great on a low-carb, high-fat diet, this isn't the case for everyone. Moreover, even those who have initial success with a high-fat approach may ultimately experience better weight loss by boosting protein and cutting back on fat.

If you think eating more protein and less fat means settling for bland, tasteless "diet" food - like skinless chicken breasts and steamed broccoli - don't worry! A higher protein diet can be enjoyable, even delicious.

And to be clear, we're not recommending a low-fat, low-carb diet. We're just giving tips for how to cut back on fat and increase protein while keeping carbs low. Choose one, two, or several from our list.

In this guide, we'll show you 10 ways to eat more protein and less fat - without sacrificing flavor or satisfaction.

Top 10 tasty ways to eat more protein and less fat

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More high-protein guides

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Top 10 tasty ways to eat more protein and less fat

1. Choose meats with higher protein percentages

Top 10 tasty ways to eat more protein and less fat

Red meat and poultry offer high-quality protein in every tasty bite. However, some meats have higher protein percentages than others, meaning they provide more protein and less fat. A food's protein percentage tells you how much of its calories come from protein. The higher the protein percentage, the more protein you'll get per calorie.

Fortunately, many meat and poultry options have high protein percentages:

  • Chicken or turkey breast, thigh, drumstick, and wings (with or without skin)
  • Ground chicken and turkey
  • Chicken and beef liver
  • Lean steaks, such as the eye of round, top sirloin, and filet mignon
  • Lean or extra-lean ground beef or pork
  • Pork tenderloin, chops, and roast
  • Lamb tenderloin, leg, and shank
  • Bison, buffalo, and other game (all cuts)
  • Veal (all cuts)

What about beef ribeye, prime rib, pork ribs, and pork belly? Feel free to enjoy these fattier meats sometimes if they're your favorites. But if your goal is to boost protein intake and cut back on fat, choose meats with higher protein percentages most of the time.

See the complete list of protein percentages (and the amount of protein you'll get per serving) for poultry and red meat.

Here are a few tips for making leaner cuts of meat taste great:

  • Use generous amounts of basil, cumin, rosemary, tarragon, or other herbs and spices in cooking.
  • Intensify the flavors of meat, poultry, and fish with high-heat cooking methods like pan-searing, grilling, or broiling.
  • Keep the skin on your poultry. Although you'll get a bit more fat, eating the skin on your chicken or turkey can make your meal more enjoyable.
  • Slow-cook tough, lean (and cheaper) cuts with moisture like broth, tomato juice, red wine, and seasonings.

Also, try our popular high-protein meat and poultry recipes:

High-protein meat and poultry recipes

Top 10 tasty ways to eat more protein and less fat

2. Replace full-fat dairy products with lower fat options

Top 10 tasty ways to eat more protein and less fat

Some studies suggest that consuming high-protein and low-fat dairy products may help you lose weight and improve body composition.

Low-fat Greek yogurt and cottage cheese meet both of these criteria. Plus, they pack more protein and less fat per calorie than full-fat varieties - for the same amount of net carbs.

Below are the amounts of protein, fat, and net carbs in five ounces (170 grams) or about three-quarters of a cup of plain Greek yogurt or Icelandic Skyr:

  • Nonfat: 18 to 20 grams of protein, zero grams of fat, and 5 grams of net carbs
  • Low-fat (2%): 17 to 19 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fat, and 5 grams of net carbs
  • Full-fat (5%): 15 to 17 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, and 5 grams of net carbs
  • Triple-cream (9%): 14 to 16 grams of protein, 17 grams of fat, and 5 grams of net carbs

Compared to Greek yogurt, different types of cottage cheese vary less in their protein and fat content. Below are the amounts you'll get per four ounces (114 grams) or about one-half cup of cottage cheese:

  • Nonfat: 13 grams of protein, zero grams of fat, and 5 grams of net carbs
  • Low-fat (2%): 13 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and 5 grams of net carbs
  • Full-fat (4%): 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and 5 grams of net carbs

Although you may develop a taste for eating them "straight" over time, here are a few ways to improve the flavor of low-fat dairy products so you can start enjoying them right away:

  • Mix one-half teaspoon of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and chopped fresh chives (or other herbs) with low-fat Greek yogurt. Serve as a dip or dressing with sliced peppers, cucumbers, or other raw vegetables.
  • Add cinnamon, vanilla, and an optional keto-friendly sweetener to nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Make a parfait by alternating layers of cottage cheese with raspberries or blackberries.
  • Top nonfat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds.

In this video, Dr. Bret Scher discusses why including some low-fat foods in your diet doesn't mean you're following a low-fat diet:

3. Create a protein-packed omelet

Eggs are versatile, inexpensive, and a great protein source. Limited research suggests that including eggs in a higher protein diet may encourage fat loss and preserve muscle.

Omelets are one of the most popular ways to eat eggs and get that all-important protein. Unfortunately, when omelets are made with high-fat cheese and fried in lots of butter, they don't provide as much protein per calorie.

For a higher protein, lower fat omelet, use reduced-fat cheese, more egg whites, and just a bit of fat for cooking.

For example, notice the difference in the protein percentage when you reduce the yolks, cheese, and butter.

An omelet made with three eggs and 1.5 ounces (45 grams) of cheese fried in 1.5 tablespoons of butter contains:

  • 28 grams of protein (protein percentage: 20%)
  • 48 grams of fat
  • 3 grams of net carbs
  • 560 calories

An omelet made with two eggs, three egg whites, and 1.5 ounces (45 grams) of reduced-fat cheese fried in 1 teaspoon of butter contains:

High-protein vegetables

Although vegetables don't have a lot of protein compared to eggs, meat, and other foods, many of them provide a lot of protein per calorie. Learn more in our guide to the Best high-protein vegetables.

  • 34 grams of protein (protein percentage: 41%)
  • 20 grams of fat
  • 3 grams of net carbs
  • 330 calories

If you like meat in your omelet, add lean ham, steak, or poultry instead of sausage or bacon.

Finally, feel free to include spinach, mushrooms, or any other low-carb vegetables for a bit more protein and very few carbs.

4. Eat more fish and shellfish

Upping your seafood intake is an easy way to get more protein and less fat. Plus, fish and shellfish have great flavors that range from delicate and subtle to rich and robust.

Which types are best? Since nearly all seafood is high in protein yet low in fat and carbs, the choice is up to you.

However, if you want to maximize protein per calorie, shrimp, crab, and lobster are your best shellfish options. Indeed, more than 85% of their calories come from protein. Whitefish - halibut, flounder, and tilapia, among others - also have impressive protein percentages of around 80% or more.

Even fatty fish like salmon and sardines provide more protein and less fat than many types of meat. If possible, go for wild-caught salmon, which contains far less fat than farmed salmon.

Although seafood can be pricey, canned fish and shellfish are economical and convenient. As a bonus, all canned salmon is wild-caught rather than farmed.

Bottom line? Select seafood based on personal preference, availability, and your budget. The only types to avoid or strictly limit are fish very high in mercury, such as King mackerel, bigeye tuna, swordfish, and shark.

If you like, add your favorite herbs, some Greek yogurt, or a squeeze of lemon to enhance flavor. Adding a small amount of mayonnaise or a vinaigrette to canned tuna can improve taste and reduce dryness.

Also, be sure to try our delicious high-protein seafood recipes:

High-protein seafood recipes

5. Opt for high-protein, lower fat cheeses

Cheese is a tasty and filling keto favorite. Although cheese is high in saturated fat, it seems to have neutral or possibly beneficial effects on heart health.

However, cheese usually gets most of its calories from fat rather than protein.

For example, one ounce (30 grams) of cheddar cheese - the size of a pair of dice - has about 7 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of carbs, and a protein percentage of 24%.

Because cheese is easy to overeat and doesn't provide a lot of satiety per calorie, you can end up eating quite a bit before you start to feel full.

Is nonfat cheese the answer? The truth is that the taste and texture of nonfat cheese bear little resemblance to regular cheese. The good news is, opting for reduced-fat cheese can be a flavorful way to get more protein with less fat.

A 2-ounce (60-gram) serving of reduced-fat cheddar cheese has about 14 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat, 1 to 2 grams of carbs, and a protein percentage of 56%.

So, you'll get about double the protein, less than half the fat, and only 1 more gram of carbs in two ounces of reduced-fat cheese compared to one ounce of regular cheese.

Another option is part-skim mozzarella cheese, which has a protein percentage of 39%. Two ounces provide 14 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat.

If you don't like reduced-fat cheese, go for Parmesan, which has 10 grams of protein and 7 grams of fat per ounce. Or enjoy a small amount of your favorite higher fat cheese, and follow the other tips in this guide to add more protein and less fat to your diet.

6. Use lean ground meat or poultry whenever possible

Ground meat is versatile, convenient, and generally less expensive than steaks and roasts. On the other hand, it often contains more fat and less protein compared to other meats.

For instance, 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of regular ground beef has about 23 grams of protein, 19 grams of fat, and a protein percentage of 38%. This is still a good option, although you'll get more protein per calorie if you choose leaner ground beef.

The same amount of regular ground pork has about 22 grams of protein, 31 grams of fat, and a protein percentage of 25%. It provides far less protein and more fat than leaner ground pork.

Make a simple switch to lean or extra-lean ground meat or poultry to get more protein with less fat:

  • Ground pork, extra-lean:
    29 to 31 grams of protein and 6 grams of fat per serving (65% protein)
  • Ground beef, extra-lean:
    25 to 27 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat per serving (54% protein)
  • Ground chicken breast:
    30 to 32 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat per serving (79% protein)
  • Ground turkey breast:
    30 to 32 grams of protein and 2 grams of fat per serving (84% protein)

How can you make lean ground meat tastier?

Generously season it with salt and pepper, garlic, and onion. Make spicy chili with chili powder and hot sauce or cayenne pepper for an extra kick. And try our flavorful high-protein recipes featuring ground meat below:

High-protein ground meat recipes

7. Start your day with a protein shake instead of fatty coffee

Coffee made with MCT oil, butter, or lots of heavy cream is a nearly carb-free breakfast. The bad news is, it's also virtually protein-free.

Trading a fatty coffee for a protein shake is an easy, tasty move that can dramatically increase your protein intake and lower your fat intake. A protein shake also requires little time to prepare and consume, unlike many other breakfast options.

Whey protein shakes are a popular choice. Research demonstrates that whey protein may help you lose fat, retain muscle, and improve blood sugar control. Some protein powders are made from egg whites, which may also promote fat loss and muscle retention.And early evidence suggests that plant-based protein shakes may help improve body composition.

At Diet Doctor, although we encourage you to choose minimally processed foods most of the time, a protein shake may be a better option than a fatty coffee for losing weight and retaining muscle.

A whey or plant-based protein shake provides at least 20 grams of protein (although you can increase this amount by adding more protein powder) and little to no fat. Look for types without sugar or other additives to keep carbs low. Artificially sweetened protein powders are fine, or feel free to add your favorite sugar-free sweetener, berries, vanilla, or cinnamon.

By the way, we aren't suggesting that you give up your morning coffee, but we do recommend drinking it black or with a little bit of milk or cream if weight loss is your primary goal.

Check out our quick and easy protein-packed shake recipes below.

8. Trade nuts for snacks that provide more protein per calorie

Nuts are delicious, nutritious, and relatively low in carbs. But they're not a great high-protein snack option.

For starters, nuts are only 4 to 18% protein, depending on the type. Between 77% (peanuts) to 94% (macadamia nuts) of the calories in nuts come from fat.

Additionally, it can be tough to stop eating nuts once you start, and the calories can add up quickly.

If you need a snack between meals, choose one that provides plenty of protein per calorie. Doing this can help you feel full and take in fewer calories than you'd get from nuts.

One ounce (30 grams) of almonds has about 6 grams of protein (14%) and 15 grams of fat. The same serving size of pecans has 2.6 grams of protein (5%) and 20 grams of fat.

Here are some tasty snack options with more protein and less fat compared to nuts:

  • Zero-sugar jerky or meat sticks (such as beef, turkey, or bison): 15 grams of protein (75%), 1.5 grams of fat, and 1 gram of net carbs per ounce (30 grams)
  • Ham or turkey roll-ups: Place one slice of reduced-fat cheese on top of one slice (1 ounce/30 grams) of sliced meat and roll up. One roll-up contains 14 grams of protein (65%), 2 grams of fat, and 1 gram of net carbs per ounce (30 grams).
  • Low-fat cottage cheese: 13 grams of protein (58%), 2.5 grams of fat, and 5 grams of net carbs per half-cup (113 grams)
  • Dry-roasted edamame: 14 grams of protein (45%), 6 grams of fat, and 3 grams of net carbs per ounce (30 grams)

For more ideas, see our complete guide to the 21 best high-protein snack options.

9. Make high-protein processed meat choices

Processed meats are tasty, convenient, and inexpensive. They're popular among many people who follow keto or low-carb diets. And claims that eating processed meats may lead to health problems are based on very weak observational evidence.

But many types - such as bacon, salami, and sausage - are low in protein and high in fat. Their protein percentages are well below 30%. Even liverwurst, which is typically considered healthy, is only 17% protein. The overwhelming majority of calories in these meats come from fat - not protein.

Fortunately, some deli and prepared meats offer more protein and less fat. Plus, they taste great and are low in carbs. Still, it's important to read ingredients and nutrition facts labels, as some manufacturers add sugar and carby fillers to their meats.

Replace high-fat processed meats with the tasty high-protein winners below:

  • Canadian bacon (extra-lean ham): 77% protein
  • Lean turkey, chicken, roast beef, or ham deli meat: 60 to 80% protein
  • Pastrami: 60% protein
  • Prosciutto: 54% protein
  • Chicken or turkey sausage: 46% protein
  • Turkey bacon: 45% protein

10. Switch to protein-rich desserts

Keto treats and desserts seem to provide the best of both worlds. You get all of the sweetness for a fraction of the carbs in the original version. Yet, most of these sweet treats provide little protein and a lot of fat. "Fat bombs" are named very appropriately!

Calories from these desserts can add up quickly. Additionally, the sweet-fat combination can sometimes make it difficult to stop at "just one."

Avoiding treats altogether is one option, and it may be the right one for you if you find that sweet tastes trigger cravings or hunger.

However, if you enjoy eating a small portion of dessert occasionally, try one of these high-protein, low-carb options:

And here is a quick, easy, high-protein ice cream recipe with no added sweetener, courtesy of the Diet Doctor himself:

"I've made ice cream several times using whey protein and frozen berries, with a small amount of milk. Just put it in a mixer and blend for one minute. Done and delicious. 70% protein and high fiber, too" - Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt


Eating more protein and less fat may help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and body composition.

Many high-quality, tasty, filling protein choices can create a versatile and varied eating experience. Try mixing and matching different protein sources.

Together, these nutritious, high-protein foods can provide maximum satiety, enjoyment, and satisfaction for long-term weight loss success.

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Top 10 tasty ways to eat more protein and less fat

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