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

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

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


Protein is the primary macronutrient that the majority fitness center rats and athletes affiliate with constructing muscle. It’s normally the centerpiece of a goal-focused food regimen plan, whether or not it’s a giant serving of grilled meat taking over nearly all 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, 12 months after 12 months. Others want extra selection of their food regimen to accommodate differing tastes, total compliance, and the easy practicality of consuming with household and buddies.

Group of people eating outdoors near grill
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With all the completely different protein choices out there, 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 diversified, fascinating, and, most of all, efficient.

Editor’s Be aware: The content material on Breaking Muscle is supposed to be informative in nature, nevertheless it shouldn’t be taken as medical recommendation. When beginning a brand new coaching routine, food regimen plan, and/or complement protocol, it’s at all times a good suggestion to seek the advice of with a trusted medical skilled. We aren’t a medical useful resource. The opinions and articles on this website are usually not meant to be used as prognosis, prevention, and/or remedy of well being issues. They aren’t substitutes for individualized consulting with a professional medical skilled.

Excessive-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Meals

The Advantages of a Excessive-Protein, Low-Carb Weight-reduction 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, capabilities together with make hormones and enzymes.

Protein additionally beats fats and carbohydrates for the thermic impact of meals (TEF) — the rise in your metabolic price 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 likelihood 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 happy, and probably extra wholesome total — 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 targets 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 targets for his or her goal weight and physique composition, the complete energy and macronutrient breakdown are calculated respectively for weight reduction, muscular weight achieve, or upkeep.

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

The 20 Finest Excessive-Protein, Low-Carb Meals

Your particular person every day meals definitely don’t want to incorporate every of those meals all through the day — that will be past impractical. Nevertheless, usually rotating your protein decisions can ship a wide range 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 targets. 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 offers a wide range of flavors and textures. Laborious or soft-boiled eggs may also make a handy, transportable snack, and can be utilized to finish a spread of salads from basic egg salad to a complete “chef’s salad.”

  • Serving Dimension: One massive 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 solution to bump up a meal’s protein content material with out including additional carbohydrates or fats. The whites can be utilized in smoothies and muffins for added texture and quantity, together with further protein. Pasteurized liquid egg whites, offered in cartons, present comfort as a result of they don’t have to be painstakingly separated from the yolks in a complete egg.

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


Salmon incorporates protein and heart-healthy omega-three fatty acids. (3) As a result of it incorporates a average 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 out there canned and pre-cooked, making it a handy, go-to supply of protein when brief on time.

  • Serving Dimension: 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 will be equally pan-fried, broiled, roasted, or grilled, or served over a salad. They’re generally out there canned, packed both in water or oil, typically out there with a wide range of herbs, seasonings, and sauces, making them one other handy supply of pre-cooked protein. Oil-packed sardines will comprise larger ranges of fat.

  • Serving Dimension: 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 will be pan-fried, baked, or grilled, or served over a salad. It’s generally out there canned or in pouches, packed in water or oil. Oil-packed tuna will comprise larger ranges of fat.

  • Serving Dimension: 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 will be eaten with out essentially “overeating,” making it a satisfying selection for folks on weight-loss diets.

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

  • Serving Dimension: 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 reduce. 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 out there bone-in or boneless.

  • Serving Dimension: 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 will be braised, smoked, roasted, or skewered. It may be utilized in tacos, sandwiches, salads, soups, stews, and pasta, or served by itself as a major entree.

  • Serving Dimension: 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 reduce 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 major entree.

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

Sirloin Steak

Sirloin is likely one of 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 major entree, however will be served over salads, alongside eggs at breakfast, and in sandwiches, fajitas, tacos, omelets, or frittatas.

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

Strip Steak

Strip steak is one other comparatively lean reduce of purple meat. It may be ready in a wide range of methods, almost interchangeable with sirloin.

  • Serving Dimension: 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 must be considered when making ready and serving, as ribeye will yield a better calorie meal.

  • Serving Dimension: 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 will be most well-liked over larger fats floor beef choices to observe complete calorie consumption. It may be used to make hamburgers, meatballs, meat sauce, stuffed peppers, tacos, burritos, or a basic meatloaf.

  • Serving Dimension: 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 due to 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 Dimension: 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 out there in fat-free, 1%, 2%, and 4% (complete or full-fat) varieties.

  • Serving Dimension: 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 analogous quantity of extra widespread, unstrained yogurt. It may be eaten plain, topped with fruit, granola, seeds, or nuts, and utilized in smoothies. It’s out there in fat-free, 2%, and full-fat varieties. Be aware that many pre-flavored Greek yogurts typically comprise larger ranges of carbohydrates from added sugar.

  • Serving Dimension: 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 a wide range of types. It may be poached, grilled, pan-fried, roasted, or skewered for kebabs. It may be reduce and served in sandwiches, on salads, in omelets, soups, frittatas, quiches, and tacos, or served as a showcase major entree.

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

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

Rooster Thighs

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

  • Serving Dimension: 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 will be made in seconds and carried out the door.

Different gadgets, equivalent to fruit, nut butters, greens, and completely different sorts of milk or milk options will be added to make a custom-made smoothie. Whey protein may also 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 Dimension: 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 of 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 Dimension: 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 show you how to see tips on how to work high-quality protein decisions 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. It is a common, efficient guideline for athletes and offseason bodybuilders.

Meal One

  • Omelet — 1 cup egg whites, 1 complete 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

Day by 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 could have the data to work a wide range of high-protein meals into your food regimen with out compromising on high quality or diet, and with out settling for a humdrum existence rotating between the identical two or three protein sources. Setup an total plan that fits your physique or efficiency targets, 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-reduction plan induced thermogenesis. Vitamin & metabolism1(1), 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-1-5
  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 medical diet101(6), 1320S–1329S. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.114.084038
  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 assessment and meta-analysis. EClinicalMedicine38, 100997. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.100997
  4. Hoffman, J. R., & Falvo, M. J. (2004). Protein – Which is Finest?. Journal of sports activities science & drugs3(3), 118–130.

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