9 High-Protein Food Swaps That Helped Me Lose Weight and Gain Muscle

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  • Eating plenty of protein alongside strength training is important if you want to lose fat and/or gain muscle.

  • Protein helps keep you full and also uses more calories when digesting.

  • Simple food swaps have helped me get in shape without feeling deprived.

Eating plenty of protein plays an important role in muscle growth and fat loss.

Rachel Hosie in October 2018 and July 2020.Rachel Hosie

Protein is important for general health, but eating enough is very important if you want lose fat or build muscle.

Protein consumes more energy during digestion than carbohydrates or fats (called the thermal effect of food) and is also more satiating, which can make it easier to maintain a calorie deficit, necessary for fat loss, nutritionist Graeme Tomlinson says Insider.

Tomlinson recommends consuming at least 1g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day to lose body fat, but said the sweet spot is probably between 1.4 and 2g, depending on the individual.

A High Protein Diet Helped Me Halve My Body Fat Percentage three years ago, in addition to weight training about five times a week and eating in a calorie deficit, and it has helped me maintain my fat loss and build muscle ever since.

Here are some food swaps that I sometimes use to help me reach my protein goal of 120-130g per day.

1. Greek yogurt instead of regular

Honey drizzled with Greek yogurt.

Joff Lee/Getty Images

Not only is Greek yogurt thick, creamy, and delicious, it’s also naturally high in protein (similar options are Icelandic skyr or British yogurt).

100g of 0% fat Greek yogurt contains 10g of protein, compared to 5g of protein per 100g of fat-free plain yogurt.

There is a difference between Greek yogurt and “Greek-style” yogurt – these are sometimes artificially thickened and do not have the same protein content as Greek yogurt.

2. Greek yogurt instead of sour cream

Fajitas.

Add Greek yogurt to your fajitas.Getty

I use Greek yogurt for more than a base for granola and fruit – it’s great in savory dishes like fajitas instead of sour cream.

Sour cream contains fats that can help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K, and some brands have probiotics that can aid digestion, according to Health line. However, Greek yogurt contains more protein.

100g of 0% fat Greek yogurt contains 10g of protein, compared to 2.7g of protein in 100g of sour cream.

3. Turkey sausages for pork

Eggs, avocado, sausages and asparagus.

Eggs, avocado, sausages and asparagus.Rachel Hosie/Insider

Turkey sausages are generally higher in protein than pork.

Two medium turkey (or chicken) sausages contain 19g of protein, compared to 11g of protein in two pork sausages.

5. Replace some eggs with egg whites in omelettes and scrambles

A feta and vegetable frittata.

You can add the ingredients of your choice to a frittata.Rachel Hosie

Egg yolks aren’t unhealthy — in fact, they’re packed with nutrients — but all the egg protein is in the whites. For this reason, I sometimes fluff my scrambles, frittatas, and omelettes with extra liquid egg whites instead of whole eggs.

3 tablespoons or 45g of egg whites contain 5g of protein.

6. Chicken breasts on thighs

Roasted chicken breast

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

Chicken thighs with the skin on are a good source of protein (21 g per 100 g), but chicken breasts are a slightly higher protein and leaner choice, which means they are lower in fat ( 31 g of protein per 100 g).

8. Cottage cheese instead of ricotta

Cottage cheese with cherries and honey.

Cottage cheese with cherries and honey.Rachel Hosie

Fat-free cottage cheese is a great source of protein, and you can use it in sweet or savory meals (I like it with honey and fruit, or whipped into a low calorie mousse).

I sometimes use it instead of ricotta on toast, in pies or baked pasta dishes to get a bit more protein: fat-free cottage cheese has 11g of protein per 100g, while ricotta contains 7 g per 100 g.

9. Jerky for fries

beef jerky

Eskymacs/Shutterstock

When you’re craving a salty, savory snack, a great way to boost your protein intake is to opt for jerky or other cooked meat instead of fries.

A 35g serving of beef jerky contains 6g of protein, while a 30g serving of cured fries contains 1.6g of protein.

10. Lentil noodles instead of regular noodles

A chicken stir-fry with noodles and vegetables.

Chicken stir-fry is a go-to dinner when I’m hungry and feeling lazy.Rachel Hosie

If you want to boost the fiber and protein in your stir-fry, try noodles made with edamame beans, lentils, or peas.

Lentil noodles contain 9.4g of protein per 100g, compared to rice noodles which contain 3.6g of protein per 100g.

You can also try chickpea pasta for a similar boost, but I generally prefer to eat regular pasta and get more protein in my toppings and sauce.

11. Chocolate Bar Protein Bars

Protein Bar

Twisted London/UberEats

Protein bars aren’t necessarily “healthy” per se – fitness experts often call them glorified candy bars. But if you love them, like me, they can be a good occasional substitute for chocolate that also helps you hit your protein goal.

An average protein bar contains 20g of protein, while a chocolate bar of about the same size contains about 2g of protein.

Try melting a protein bar in the microwave for a few seconds to melt the chocolate and make it more delicious.

Read the original article at Initiated


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Tanya S. Norvell