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HomeHealth and Medical30 Delicious High-Protein, Low-Fat Foods You Need to Eat

30 Delicious High-Protein, Low-Fat Foods You Need to Eat



grilled venison steak with spelt grain and microgreen traditional danish smorrebrod with salted saffron mushrooms, potato and homemade mayonnaise flat lay top down composition on dark background


This lean meat is a solid choice if you’re looking to get plenty of protein without consuming too much fat. “Venison, or deer meat, provides 26 grams of protein and only three grams of fat per 3 oz serving,” says Price, sharing that venison works great in chili or pasta sauce as a leaner alternative to beef. “It’s also a great source of iron,” she adds.



Baking tin with roast snapper with herb garnish


Salmon is good, but 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 inflammation in the body, says Roth.


Non-Fat Kefir


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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, M.S., R.D.N. 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.

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edamame bean with salt in bowl

by Thomas Gasienica

If you’re only eating this bean as an appetizer when you get sushi, you’re missing out on its stellar nutrition profile. “Edamame is a type of green soybean that is a good source ofprotein and fiber, and is low in fat,” saysPallini Winnifred, R.D.N., of FitDominium.

Edamame provides 17 grams of protein per cup, making it a great option for those looking to increase their protein intake. “Edamame is also a good source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals,” she adds.

You can buy edamame pre-shelled in the refrigerator aisle, making it super convenient to toss into salads, pasta, and more.


Egg Whites

high protein low fat foods

Manny Rodriguez

“Egg whites are high in protein just like whole eggs,” says Jennifer Price, M.S., R.D., for Renaissance Periodization, noting that egg whites provide fewer vitamins and minerals compared to a whole egg, but can be a great way to add volume and protein to a meal without a lot of calories.

“They do still contain small amounts of micronutrients such as potassium and B vitamins as well,” she adds. Egg whites are also a good source of selenium, which your body needs to function properly.



high protein low fat foods seitan


Seitan, also known as wheat meat, is made from wheat protein and is high in protein and low in fat,” says Winnifred. “It has 25 grams of protein per 100 grams and is a great way to get more protein if you don’t want to eat meat.” Two ounces provides a whopping 18 grams of protein and only 90 calories.

“It’s also cheap relative to other animal-based protein options and can be made at home to drive the cost down even more,” says Price. continues, adding that this mock meat contains iron which is important for individuals that limit their meat consumption.

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Mahi Mahi

Garlicky Lemon Mahi Mahi Vertical

Ethan Calabrese

This fish has 20 grams of protein and less than 1 gram 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. Its firmer texture makes it versatile too. You can bake, sear, grill, or roast it.



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“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 lemon and herbs, like rosemary or sage.



Lemon Garlic Shrimp Vertical

Ethan Calabrese

Shellfish can also be a low-fat, high-protein option. 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, R.D.“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.”

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Chicken Breast

Grilled Chicken Vertical

Jillian Guyette

No surprises here. Chicken breast offers 27 grams of protein per 3 oz. cooked and only 3 grams of fat. Sick of eating grilled? It tastes great smoked too.


Whey Protein Powder

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Daniel Megias

Price calls whey protein powder a great source of bioavailable, easily digestible protein. “It contains all of the essential amino acids (which are the building blocks of protein), and it is high in the branch chain amino acids including leucine which are particularly important for muscle building and retention,” she says. “Whey also provides B vitamins and choline which are important for our brains.” While it might take experimenting with a few brands before you find a flavor and consistency of choice, it’s a great high-protein, low-fat staple to add to your routine once you do.


Non-Fat Greek Yogurt

greek yogurt


A six-ounce serving contains 17 grams of protein. “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.

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7 Surprising Sources of Protein That Aren't Meat or Dairy

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Lentils are a great low-fat source of protein—and they’re good for vegans, too. “One cup cooked has 18 grams of protein and 0.8 grams of fat. Not only are lentils full of protein, but they have loads of iron, folate, and fiber,” says Natalie Rizzo, MS, R.D.


Sprouted Tofu


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While Lakatos and Shames note that tofu is a fantastic way to get plant protein, they say you can step it up by choosing sprouted tofu. “Sprouted tofu tastes the same, but it’s made from sprouted soybeans (versus cooked soybeans),” they say. “Sprouted soybeans boost the protein content as well as the nutrients and anti-inflammatory components, making them easier to digest and absorb.” As Lakatos and Shames point out, sprouted tofu has more fiber, protein (10 grams of protein per three ounces), and calcium and slightly more calories than regular tofu. Also, we’ll home in on a pea protein powder vs. protein powder


Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

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A half cup contains 13 grams of protein for 1 gram of fat and 90 calories. If you hate the taste of the stuff, try slathering some on toast and top with whatever vegetables you want. Boom. You have yourself an easy lunchtime sandwich.

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Tuna Fish

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The canned stuff, packed in water, has 20 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat in a three-ounce serving. Try it in place of grilled chicken breast or salmon in your favorite salad recipe.


Peanut Butter Powder

peanuts whole and ground into powder


“Peanut butter powder is a low-fat alternative to traditional peanut butter. It is made from roasted peanuts that have been pressed to remove the oil, leaving behind a high-protein powder,” says Winnifred. “It provides eight grams of protein per two tablespoons and can be used in smoothies and baked goods.”



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Its made from soybeans, like tofu. But unlike tofu, tempeh is fermented, giving it a pleasant funkiness and firmer texture. It’s great in stir-fry, but also delicious seared and stacked onto a sandwich. A four-ounce serving has 21 grams of protein for 2 grams of fat.

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It’s a lean red meat you might overlook. A three-ounce serving of roasted bison meat contains a hefty 24 grams of protein for only 2 grams of fat. Seek out a bison steak. Grill it up. Grunt.


Pork Tenderloin

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Tenderloin is often the leanest cut in most animals, and the same holds true with the pig. In a four-ounce serving of pork tender there’s 20 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat. If you don’t want to cook the cut whole, save time by cutting it into chunks and grilling as kabobs.

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Isadora Baum

Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach, and author of 5-Minute Energy. She can’t resist a good sample, a margarita, a new HIIT class, or an easy laugh. Learn more about her on her website:

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Perri is a New York City-born and -based writer; she holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Columbia University and is also a culinary school graduate of the plant-based Natural Gourmet Institute, which is now the Natural Gourmet Center at the Institute of Culinary Education. Her work has appeared in the New York Post, Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, Oprah Daily,, Architectural Digest, Southern Living, and more. She’s probably seen Dave Matthews Band in your hometown, and she’ll never turn down a bloody mary. Learn more at

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Associate Health and Fitness Editor

Cori Ritchey, NASM-CPT is an Associate Health & Fitness Editor at Men’s Health and a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. You can find more of her work in HealthCentral, Livestrong, Self, and others.


Erin Kenney is a Registered Dietitian, personal trainer, and CEO of Nutrition Rewired, a virtual private practice where she helps individuals achieve optimal levels of health and human performance. She takes a holistic approach and helps clients address health concerns from a root cause perspective. She works with athletes, CEO’s, fortune 100 companies, and everyday individuals looking to achieve optimal health.

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