The top food sources of protein minimize fat and maximize beneficial nutrients. Cooking these foods without fat helps you keep calorie totals in check in a good diet. To choose the best protein foods, build your daily menus toward a total of 50 g of protein and less than 65 g of fat, the average intakes recommended by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA considers food servings with about 3 g or less of fat and 10 g or more of protein low in fat and high in protein.
Chicken represents a food source of complete protein, containing all the amino acids, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) explains. A half breast of chicken without skin has 27 g of protein and only 3 g of total fat. Turkey has similar nutritional values.
The USDA Nutrient Database suggests 3-oz. portions of beef due to its saturated fat content. You can factor 29 g of protein and 7 g of total fat per serving of beef round steak into a good diet.
The American Heart Association recommends salmon as a good food source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Three ounces of broiled or grilled salmon contains 23 g of protein and 9 g of fat.
The American Heart Association encourages people to include low-fat or nonfat dairy products in a good diet for their calcium and protein. One cup of 2 percent reduced-fat cottage cheese has 27 g of protein and 6 g of fat.
Among pork cuts, center loin chops are the leanest. According to the USDA, 3 oz. of broiled or roasted pork has 25 g of protein and 6 g of fat.
Keep canned tuna in the pantry for quick access to a complete protein food. Three ounces of tuna canned in water offers 20 g of protein with less than 1 g of fat.
The NIH counts soybeans, with 21 g protein per cup, as the only complete protein food from plant sources. Lima, garbanzo, kidney, black and pinto beans deliver 14 to 16 g of protein. All cooked beans contain 1 g fat or less.
Frozen Spaghetti Dinners
Frozen dinners of spaghetti with meat sauce derive 14 g protein from tomatoes, beef, wheat and eggs. With just 3 g of fat, these packaged protein foods can be accommodated within a good diet under FDA guidelines.
Nutrient levels are high in fat-free plain yogurt, which offers 13 g of protein and nearly 50 percent of calcium daily values in 1 cup.
While eggs don’t represent the healthiest food sources of protein, they are convenient for an occasional nutritional boost. The USDA reports that one scrambled egg has 7 g protein and 7 g fat. Double those figures for two eggs, or reduce fat totals by poaching eggs in water.