Often, when you think of a high protein diet, your mind goes to extremely meat-based, low-carbohydrate diets, which, according to the National Institutes of Health's MedLine Plus website, can produce an increased risk of mortality, including higher rates of death from cancers.
You can find high-protein foods for weight loss in vegetable form, as well as in all of the other USDA recommended food groups in order to “beef up” the protein in your diet.
One of the healthier products in most stores today is quinoa. Long thought by most people to be a grain, quinoa is actually a seed, but it substitutes well for most grains.
This seed contains eight grams of protein per cup, according to LIVESTRONG's food database MyPlate, and cooks similarly to oatmeal and pastas. Whole wheat spaghetti, by contrast, contains only 7.46 grams of protein per cup.
Rather than buying breads, purchase whole grain wheat flour and make bread. One cup of this flour contains 15.85 grams of protein, according to MyPlate. If you do choose to purchase bread from the market, make sure the packaging states that it is all whole grain, as some breads listed as wheat are a combination of wheat and white flours.
Also, read package labels to make sure no additives such as corn syrup have been included in the bread. Two slices of whole wheat bread contain less than eight grams of protein, by contrast. Other alternatives are flax flour, buckwheat flour and cornmeal, which all contain protein content and are healthy options for weight loss.
Broccoli and Other Green Vegetables
You might think that only animal or nut products contain protein, but there are quite a few green vegetables that have good concentrations of protein. For example, one cup of cooked broccoli contains 4.28 grams of protein, according to MyPlate.
A cup of cooked asparagus has 5.31 grams of protein. Even canned green peas are a good source of protein, carrying 7.46 grams per cup. Green vegetables such as these are not only good sources of protein, but carry high levels of fiber, which helps with digestion.
For a drink that's portable and for a change of pace, a can of vegetable juice can contain about two grams of protein per serving, according to MyPlate.
Eggs and Dairy
Eggs have had a bad rap in recent decades, but eggs can give you healthy doses of protein — 6.28 grams per egg, according to MyPlate — all for about 72 calories per egg. Poached and hard boiled eggs are especially healthy for weight loss because they don't include added oils or fats in cooking. Milk can be a good source of protein as well, with 8.26 grams of protein in one cup of skim milk.
Soy and Other Beans
For those people who think that you can't be a vegetarian or cut back on meat and still eat high protein, soy and other bean products can fill the gaps. One cup of tempeh, a firmly packed version of fermented soy, contains a full 30 grams of protein, according to MyPlate.
Tempeh can be sauteed for sandwiches or salads, and is very filling. One slice of firm tofu contains 5.8 grams of protein. Other beans, such as black beans, black-eyed peas or chili beans, range from three grams per cup for raw mung beans all the way up to 15 grams for navy beans.
Plain cooked soybeans (edamame) contain 16.86 grams of protein per cup, making it a "super food" amongst protein-rich products. Soy milk can also be a good protein-based drink, containing nine grams of protein per cup.
More About MyPlate
The free LIVESTRONG MyPlate calorie tracker app for iPhone and Android has helped millions of people lose weight the healthy way — by getting support from an active community as they track their eating and exercise. Consistently a top-rated app, MyPlate offers the latest technology in an easy-to-use tool that includes millions of foods and recipes, 5-minute in-app workouts and a robust support community.