The 20 Finest Excessive-Protein, Low-Carb Meals from a Registered Dietitian

Protein is the primary macronutrient that the majority health club rats and athletes affiliate with building muscle. It’s often the centerpiece of a goal-focused food regimen plan, whether or not it’s a giant serving of grilled meat taking on the vast majority of room on a plate or a shaker bottle crammed to the brim with protein powder.

A few of us don’t thoughts consuming an unvaried food regimen of the identical few meals, day in and time out, yr after yr. Others want extra selection of their food regimen to accommodate differing tastes, general compliance, and the straightforward practicality of consuming with household and mates.

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With the entire completely different protein choices obtainable, together with some creativity, you’ll by no means should endure a repetitive food regimen once more. Let’s go over a listing of 20 high-quality, high-protein, low-carbohydrate meals to make your food regimen diverse, attention-grabbing, and, most of all, efficient.

Editor’s Be aware: The content material on Breaking Muscle is supposed to be informative in nature, but it surely shouldn’t be taken as medical recommendation. When beginning a brand new coaching routine, food regimen plan, and/or complement protocol, it’s all the time a good suggestion to seek the advice of with a trusted medical skilled. We’re not a medical useful resource. The opinions and articles on this web site aren’t supposed to be used as analysis, prevention, and/or therapy of well being issues. They don’t seem to be substitutes for individualized consulting with a certified medical skilled.

Excessive-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Meals

The Advantages of a Excessive-Protein, Low-Carb Weight loss plan

Whereas protein does perform within the restore and constructing of muscle tissue, it is also utilized by our our bodies for extra organic, much less apparent, features together with make hormones and enzymes.

Protein additionally beats fats and carbohydrates for the thermic impact of meals (TEF) — the rise in your metabolic fee that naturally happens after consuming. The next TEF basically means which you can eat extra of it, in comparison with the 2 different macronutrients, with much less probability of these energy being saved as physique fats. (1)

Moreover, protein has a better satiating impact than the opposite macronutrients. You’ll really feel extra full after a meal wealthy in protein, in comparison with a meal that’s carb- or fat-dominant. (2) All these advantages of protein can mix to make you leaner, extra muscular, extra glad, and doubtlessly extra wholesome general — simply by specializing in a comparatively high-protein food regimen.

Muscular person outdoors eating big breakfast
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Relying in your particular person objectives and present physique composition, protein is usually prescribed at 0.8 to 1.25 grams per pound of physique weight (1.76 to 2.75 grams per kilogram of physique weight). As a result of athletes and lifters have various objectives for his or her goal weight and physique composition, the total calories and macronutrient breakdown are calculated respectively for weight loss, muscular weight achieve, or upkeep.

Since protein is most frequently the macronutrient not drastically modified relying in your particular objective — whereas carbohydrates and fat are considerably scaled up and down — incorporating sufficient high-protein, low-carbohydrate meals objects could be an vital a part of designing a profitable vitamin plan. 

The 20 Finest Excessive-Protein, Low-Carb Meals

Your particular person each day meals actually don’t want to incorporate every of those meals all through the day — that may be past impractical. Nevertheless, commonly rotating your protein selections can ship quite a lot of micronutrients (together with nutritional vitamins and minerals), whereas additionally adjusting your macronutrients (complete carb and fats consumption).

Muscular person holding tray of food
Credit score: George Rudy / Shutterstock

Whereas the meals listed are all comparatively excessive in protein and low in carbohydrates, the fats content material varies, which lets you extra precisely select meals that suit your particular person plan and objectives. Attempt to get previous any reluctance to attempting some new meals or new strategies of cooking. No rule says your choices are restricted to “grilled or boiled.”


Eggs comprise protein and wholesome fat. They are often ready in omelets, stews, scrambles, and frittatas to which meats, greens, cheeses, and herbs are sometimes added. This supplies quite a lot of flavors and textures. Laborious or soft-boiled eggs can even make a handy, moveable snack, and can be utilized to finish a variety of salads from traditional egg salad to a complete “chef’s salad.”

  • Serving Measurement: One giant egg
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Fats: 5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 1 gram
  • Energy: 74 energy

Egg Whites

Utilizing solely egg whites in an omelet or scramble is a method to bump up a meal’s protein content material with out including further carbohydrates or fats. The whites will also be utilized in smoothies and muffins for added texture and quantity, together with extra protein. Pasteurized liquid egg whites, bought in cartons, present comfort as a result of they don’t have to be painstakingly separated from the yolks in an entire egg.

  • Serving Measurement: ½ cup
  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Fats: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 1 gram
  • Energy: 63 energy


Salmon comprises protein and heart-healthy omega-three fatty acids. (3) As a result of it comprises a reasonable quantity of fats, it has a clean mouthfeel in contrast to some extra lean fish. It may be pan-fried, roasted, poached, broiled, or grilled, and even served over a salad. Salmon can also be obtainable canned and pre-cooked, making it a handy, go-to supply of protein when quick on time.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces
  • Protein: 40 grams
  • Fats: 22 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Energy: 236 energy


Sardines, like salmon, are one other supply of protein and omega-three fatty acids. The recent selection could be equally pan-fried, broiled, roasted, or grilled, or served over a salad. They’re generally obtainable canned, packed both in water or oil, typically obtainable with quite a lot of herbs, seasonings, and sauces, making them one other handy supply of pre-cooked protein. Oil-packed sardines will comprise increased ranges of fat.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces
  • Protein: 42 grams
  • Fats: 19 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Energy: 354 energy


Tuna is a low-fat supply of protein. Once more, the recent selection could be pan-fried, baked, or grilled, or served over a salad. It’s generally obtainable canned or in pouches, packed in water or oil. Oil-packed tuna will comprise increased ranges of fat.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces
  • Protein: 42 grams
  • Fats: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Energy: 190 energy


Shrimp is a lean shellfish that has comparatively few energy for its quantity. A comparatively great amount could be eaten with out essentially “overeating,” making it a satisfying selection for individuals on weight-loss diets.

It may be grilled, sauteed, baked, or skewered for kebabs. It’s additionally a preferred selection for tacos, burritos, and seafood salads. Excessive-quality shrimp could also be served uncooked in shrimp ceviche — a salad during which acid from citrus juice and onion denature its protein, as an alternative of conventional cooking.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces
  • Protein: 35 grams
  • Fats: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 2 grams
  • Energy: 180 energy

Pork Chops

Pork chops are a supply of protein with various quantities of fats relying on the lower. As a result of some cuts are pretty lean and topic to dryness, they’re typically brined or marinated earlier than cooking, including each moisture and taste. They’re appropriate for pan-frying, grilling, or roasting. They’re obtainable bone-in or boneless.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces
  • Protein: 36 grams
  • Fats: 18 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Energy: 306 energy

Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder is a moderate-fat supply of protein. It’s a conventional barbecue merchandise and could be braised, smoked, roasted, or skewered. It may be utilized in tacos, sandwiches, salads, soups, stews, and pasta, or served by itself as a primary entree.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces
  • Protein: 63 grams
  • Fats: 30 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Energy: 454 energy


Ham is a comparatively lean supply of protein. It’s a pork leg lower that has been preserved by curing. It’s typically moreover preserved by smoking. It may be consumed in sandwiches, omelets, frittatas, pasta, rice dishes, salads, or as a primary entree.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces
  • Protein: 37 grams
  • Fats: 8 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 2 grams
  • Energy: 236 energy

Sirloin Steak

Sirloin is among the leaner cuts of steak. It may be ready by grilling, roasting, pan-frying, or skewered for kebabs. Like most cuts of steak, it’s generally served as a primary entree, however could be served over salads, alongside eggs at breakfast, and in sandwiches, fajitas, tacos, omelets, or frittatas.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces
  • Protein: 52 grams
  • Fats: 8 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Energy: 300 energy

Strip Steak

Strip steak is one other comparatively lean lower of crimson meat. It may be ready in quite a lot of methods, almost interchangeable with sirloin.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces
  • Protein: 48 grams
  • Fats: 6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Energy: 294 energy

Ribeye Steak

Ribeye steak is a higher-fat steak with a lot marbling and a robust taste.  It may be ready much like different cuts of steak. The upper fats content material ought to be considered when making ready and serving, as ribeye will yield a better calorie meal.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces
  • Protein: 40 grams
  • Fats: 37 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Energy: 494 energy

Lean Floor Beef

Lean floor beef has a fats content material of 5%, which could be most well-liked over increased fats floor beef choices to watch complete calorie consumption. It may be used to make hamburgers, meatballs, meat sauce, stuffed peppers, tacos, burritos, or a traditional meatloaf.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces
  • Protein: 44 grams
  • Fats: 10 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Energy: 280 energy

Beef Liver 

A staple of bodybuilding diets again in “the previous days,” beef liver and different organ meats have made a comeback on some private menus because of its consumption being dubiously promoted on social media. Like different organ meats, liver has a robust taste and it tends to both be liked or intensely disliked. It may be ready by grilling or pan-frying.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces
  • Protein: 50 grams
  • Fats: 9 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Energy: 324 energy

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a dairy product consisting of curds and whey from skimmed milk, to which cream is added. It has a bitter taste, and it may be eaten by itself, with pasta, on toast, or with granola, nuts, fruit, or greens. It’s generally obtainable in fat-free, 1%, 2%, and 4% (entire or full-fat) varieties.

  • Serving Measurement: 1 cup, 4% (full-fat)
  • Protein: 25 grams
  • Fats: 8 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Energy: 222 energy

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is yogurt strained of most of its whey, giving it a thicker consistency and higher-protein content material than an identical quantity of extra frequent, unstrained yogurt. It may be eaten plain, topped with fruit, granola, seeds, or nuts, and utilized in smoothies. It’s obtainable in fat-free, 2%, and full-fat varieties. Be aware that many pre-flavored Greek yogurts typically comprise increased ranges of carbohydrates from added sugar.

  • Serving Measurement: 1 cup, 2%
  • Protein: 24 grams
  • Fats: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 9 grams
  • Energy: 160 energy

Rooster Breast

Rooster breast is a quintessential muscle-building meals as a result of it’s a low-fat supply of protein that may be eaten in quite a lot of kinds. It may be poached, grilled, pan-fried, roasted, or skewered for kebabs. It may be lower and served in sandwiches, on salads, in omelets, soups, frittatas, quiches, and tacos, or served as a showcase primary entree.

Due to a light taste, it could function a clean slate for taste profiles of your selection. Don’t be afraid to experiment with seasonings past easy salt and pepper.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces, boneless/skinless
  • Protein: 52 grams
  • Fats: 6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Energy: 281 energy

Rooster Thighs

Rooster thighs are a protein supply reasonable in fats. Like rooster breast, thighs could be eaten in all kinds of kinds. They are often braised, pan-fried, roasted, grilled, or skewered for kebabs. They will also be utilized in stews, soups, quiches, tacos, sandwiches, and tacos, or used as a primary entree.

  • Serving Measurement: 6 ounces, boneless/skinless
  • Protein: 42 grams
  • Fats: 15 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Energy: 310 energy

Whey Protein Powder

Whey protein powder is a handy, low-fat, low-carbohydrate protein. It’s dried whey, which is the portion of milk that separates from curds throughout cheesemaking. It’s a handy protein supply, with a shaker bottle or blender, a protein shake could be made in seconds and carried out the door.

Different objects, comparable to fruit, nut butters, greens, and completely different sorts of milk or milk options could be added to make a custom-made smoothie. Whey protein can even utilized in recipes for pancakes, muffins, truffles, and even cookies. Be aware that scoop parts and particular macronutrients will fluctuate between manufacturers and flavors.

  • Serving Measurement: 1 scoop (31 grams)
  • Protein: 24 grams
  • Fats: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Energy: 120 energy

Casein Protein Powder

Casein protein powder is one other handy, low-fat, low-carbohydrate protein. It’s dried casein, the milk protein of curds. Casein is usually thought-about a “gradual digesting” protein, permitting it to extend emotions of satiety and curb starvation for longer durations. (4) The identical methodology and recipes used for whey protein powder can be utilized for casein. Equally, the news parts and particular macronutrients will fluctuate between manufacturers and flavors.

  • Serving Measurement: 1 scoop (33 grams)
  • Protein: 24 grams
  • Fats: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Energy: 110 energy

Pattern Excessive-Protein Menu Plan

Now that you’ve a listing of all kinds of protein-packed meals, right here is an instance of a day’s menu for a 200-pound (90.7-kilogram) athlete. Seeing a full day’s plan ought to make it easier to see learn how to work high-quality protein selections into your food regimen.

Muscular person in kitchen mixing protein shake
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The pattern plan is calculated to supply roughly 1.25 grams of protein per pound (2.75 grams per kilogram) of physique weight, 3,500 complete energy, 20% of the energy from fats, and the remaining energy from carbohydrates. This can be a basic, efficient guideline for athletes and offseason bodybuilders.

Meal One

  • Omelet — 1 cup egg whites, 1 entire egg, 1-ounce ham, ½-cup cooked spinach
  • Cream of Wheat cereal — 1 cup
  • Banana — 1 medium

Complete: 50 grams protein, 9 grams fats, 106 grams carbs, 684 energy

Snack One

  • Smoothie — 1 scoop whey protein powder, ½ cup 2% Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, ½-cup oatmeal, 1 cup frozen fruit, 2 cups water

Complete: 45 grams protein, 16 grams fats, 53 grams carbs, 505 energy

Meal Two

  • Broccoli — 1 cup, cooked
  • Rooster Breast — 6 ounces, boneless/skinless
  • Rice — 2 cups
  • Avocado — 1 medium

Complete: 65 grams protein, 28 grams fats, 107 grams carbs, 949 energy

Snack Two

  • Full-Fats (4%) Cottage Cheese — 1 cup
  • Granola — 1 cup

Complete: 34 grams protein, 15 grams fats, 57 grams carbohydrates, 390 energy

Meal Three

  • Asparagus — 1 cup, cooked
  • Sirloin Steak — 6 ounces
  • Potato — 10 ounces, baked
  • Butter — 1 tablespoon

Complete: 67 grams protein, 19 grams fats, 118 grams carbohydrates, 905 energy

Every day Complete

  • Protein — 261 grams
  • Fats — 87 grams
  • Carbohydrates — 441 grams
  • Energy — 3,433 energy — 30% protein, 22% fats, 51% carbohydrates

A Protein-Packed Plan

Now you’ve gotten the information to work quite a lot of high-protein meals into your food regimen with out compromising on high quality or vitamin, and with out settling for a humdrum existence rotating between the identical two or three protein sources. Setup an general plan that fits your physique or efficiency objectives, and make changes as wanted to make sure success. Get out your calculator, pen and paper, frying pan, and grill, and get to it.


  1. Westerterp Ok. R. (2004). Weight loss plan induced thermogenesis. Vitamin & metabolism1(1), 5.
  2. Leidy, H. J., Clifton, P. M., Astrup, A., Wycherley, T. P., Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S., Luscombe-Marsh, N. D., Woods, S. C., & Mattes, R. D. (2015). The position of protein in weight reduction and upkeep. The American journal of scientific vitamin101(6), 1320S–1329S.
  3. Khan, S. U., Lone, A. N., Khan, M. S., Virani, S. S., Blumenthal, R. S., Nasir, Ok., Miller, M., Michos, E. D., Ballantyne, C. M., Boden, W. E., & Bhatt, D. L. (2021). Impact of omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular outcomes: A scientific overview and meta-analysis. EClinicalMedicine38, 100997.
  4. Hoffman, J. R., & Falvo, M. J. (2004). Protein – Which is Finest?. Journal of sports activities science & medication3(3), 118–130.

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