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

Protein is the primary macronutrient that almost all health club rats and athletes affiliate with building muscle. It’s normally the centerpiece of a goal-focused eating 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 stuffed to the brim with protein powder.

A few of us don’t thoughts consuming an unvaried eating regimen of the identical few meals, day in and time out, 12 months after 12 months. Others want extra selection of their eating regimen to accommodate differing tastes, total compliance, and the straightforward practicality of consuming with household and mates.

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With all the completely different protein choices obtainable, together with some creativity, you’ll by no means must endure a repetitive eating regimen once more. Let’s go over a listing of 20 high-quality, high-protein, low-carbohydrate meals to make your eating 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, eating 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 website will not be meant to be used as prognosis, prevention, and/or remedy of well being issues. They aren’t substitutes for individualized consulting with a certified medical skilled.

Excessive-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Meals

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

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 charge that naturally happens after consuming. A better TEF primarily means that you may 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 doubtlessly extra wholesome total — simply by specializing in a comparatively high-protein eating regimen.

Muscular person outdoors eating big breakfast
Credit score: Vlada Tikhonova / Shutterstock

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 total calories and macronutrient breakdown are calculated respectively for weight loss, muscular weight acquire, or upkeep.

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

The 20 Greatest Excessive-Protein, Low-Carb Meals

Your particular person every day meals actually don’t want to incorporate every of those meals all through the day — that might be past impractical. Nevertheless, recurrently rotating your protein selections 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 include 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 gives a wide range of flavors and textures. Exhausting or soft-boiled eggs also can make a handy, transportable snack, and can be utilized to finish a spread of salads from traditional egg salad to a complete “chef’s salad.”

  • Serving Dimension: 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 strategy 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 an entire egg.

  • Serving Dimension: 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 easy mouthfeel not like some extra lean fish. It may be pan-fried, roasted, poached, broiled, or grilled, and even served over a salad. Salmon can be obtainable 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 might 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 a wide range of herbs, seasonings, and sauces, making them one other handy supply of pre-cooked protein. Oil-packed sardines will include increased 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 might 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 include increased 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 might 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 preferred 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 an alternative 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 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 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 might be braised, smoked, roasted, or skewered. It may be utilized in tacos, sandwiches, salads, soups, stews, and pasta, or served by itself as a essential 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 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 essential 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 essential entree, however might 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 lower of purple meat. It may be ready in a wide range of methods, practically 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 powerful taste.  It may be ready much like different cuts of steak. The upper fats content material ought to be considered when getting 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 might be most popular over increased 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 traditional 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 because of its consumption being dubiously promoted on social media. Like different organ meats, liver has a powerful 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 obtainable 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 obtainable in fat-free, 2%, and full-fat varieties. Be aware that many pre-flavored Greek yogurts usually include increased 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 lower and served in sandwiches, on salads, in omelets, soups, frittatas, quiches, and tacos, or served as a showcase essential entree.

Due to a gentle taste, it will possibly 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 reasonable in fats. Like rooster breast, thighs might 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 essential 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 might be made in seconds and carried out the door.

Different objects, equivalent to fruit, nut butters, greens, and completely different sorts of milk or milk options might be added to make a personalized smoothie. Whey protein also can utilized in recipes for pancakes, muffins, desserts, 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 technique 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 assist you to see easy methods to work high-quality protein selections into your eating regimen.

Muscular person in kitchen mixing protein shake
Credit score: Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock

The pattern plan is calculated to offer 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 normal, 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

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 could have the information to work a wide range of high-protein meals into your eating 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 loss program 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 function of protein in weight reduction and upkeep. The American journal of medical diet101(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 evaluate and meta-analysis. EClinicalMedicine38, 100997.
  4. Hoffman, J. R., & Falvo, M. J. (2004). Protein – Which is Greatest?. Journal of sports activities science & medication3(3), 118–130.

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