15 High protein low-calorie food

It is essential to balance the calorie intake because our 24/7 work lifestyle and western food have impacted us so severely that maintaining the calories has become difficult than ever before.

People who want to do lean bulking or people who want to increase the intake of protein while maintaining the calories would require high protein, low-calorie food. So, we have created a list for you with low calorie and high protein food for vegetarians and non-vegetarians and their benefits and drawbacks.

Food (100g)Protein (g)Calories (Kcal)
Tofu876
Greenpeas5.4281
Cottage cheese11.1298
Lentils9.02116
Black-eyed pea7.73116
Edamame11.9121
Black beans9132
Tempeh20.29193
Navy beans22.33351
Chickpeas8.86364
Seitan25370
Pumpkin seeds29.84446
Soybean36.49446
Chia Seeds16.5486
Hemp seeds24512
Vegetarian
Food (100g)Protein (g)Calories (Kcal)
Egg white1152
Prawns1799
Shrimps18.4100
Tuna23.8108
Scallops21111
Turkey Breast24.6111
Sausages19139
Salmon19.84142
Octopus30164
Chicken Liver24167
Pork chops27197
Anchovies29210
Chicken Breast24.68219
Pork13.32242
Beef26250
Lamb25294
Bacon38533
Non-Veg

Today we will be discussing the other benefits of the top 15 high protein, low calories food.

Vegetarian

Vegetarian foods mainly comprise vegetables and milk products. All the mentioned foods will be easily available in your nearby supermarket.

Tofu

Tofu is a food made from condensed soy milk, highly condensed and full of essential vitamins and minerals.

Energy70Kcal
Carbohydrates1.5g
Fat3.5g
Protein8g
Calcium130mg
Iron1.10mg
Sodium4mg
Quantity-100g
tofu

Benefits

  • It may help in improving heart health
  • In some researches, researchers saw that tofu helps in prostate, breast and digestive system cancers.
  • It may boost blood sugar control, allowing you to control diabetes.
  • It may help in reducing bone loss.
  • Improves skin elasticity.
  • It may positively influence memory and other brain functions.

Drawbacks

  • Phytoestrogen (compounds that mimic estrogen in the body) present in tofu might have a feminizing effect; it might lead to breast development in men and can even impact fertility.
  • Try to consume food with the least amount of processing as it might increase the risk of tumour growth.
  • Some research says that excessive consumption of tofu might lead to breast cancer (estrogen-receptor positive). Well, the evidence isn’t strong enough to be suggested. 

Cottage Cheese

It got popular in recent decades due to its high protein-rich in nutrients nature. It is a type of fresh cheese that doesn’t go under the ageing or ripening process.

It is made of curd and cow’s milk. There are a few types of varieties of cottage cheese-like creamed, whipped, lactose-free and more.

Energy98Kcal
Carbohydrates3.38g
Fat4.30g
Protein11.12g
Calcium83mg (8% of the Daily Value)
Iron0.07 (1% of the Daily Value)
Sodium364mg (24% of the Daily Value)
Quantity-100g
cottage cheese

Benefits

  • An active ingredient of weight-loss diets, as it contains low calories and is high in protein.
  • Great food to increase muscle mass. Helpful for people who perform resistance training.
  • As per a study, dairy products can reduce insulin resistance by 21%
  • High in selenium, it increases anti-oxidants protection in the blood.

Drawbacks

  • It can cause a problem for people who are lactose intolerant.
  • It doesn’t contain any fibre.
  • As per a study, high calcium intake may increase the risk of prostate cancer, and cottage cheese is rich in calcium.

Edamame

It is immature soybeans in the pod and served in the same way.

They are an integral part of Chinese and Japanese cuisines wherein they are served boiled/ steamed with salt as a snack.

Energy121Kcal
Carbohydrates8.9g
Fat5.2g
Protein11.9g
Calcium63mg (6% of the Daily Value)
Iron2.27mg (17% of the Daily Value)
Manganese1.024mg (49% of the Daily Value)
Quantity-100g

Benefits

  • As per research, if you have 47g of soy protein/day, it can drop your cholesterol by 9.3% and the bad cholesterol by 12.9%
  • Soy protein helps in the prevention of heart diseases.
  • It doesn’t spike blood pressure like any other easily digestible carbs and sugar.
  • Edamame is an excellent source of folate, manganese and vitamin K, then mature beans.
  • A high intake of isoflavone from edamame can significantly reduce the chances of breast cancer in the later stage of life.
  • It may reduce the menopause symptoms in some women, but not all females have the same effect of isoflavones on the body.
  • Reduces the risk of prostate cancer.
  • May reduce bone loss.

Drawbacks

  • Not preferred for people who have irritable bowel syndrome and gastric problems as it leads to bloating, gas and cramps.
  • Not suggested for people who are allergic to soy.
  • It has anti-nutrients that might hinder the absorption of iodine.

Here are some recipes where you can add edamame.

Navy Beans

Small, dry and bland white beans, also known as haricot beans which go along soups, can be found easily in any supermarket.

Energy337Kcal
Carbohydrates60.75g
Fat1.50g
Protein22.33g
Calcium147mg
Iron5.49mg
Sodium5mg
values per 100 g

Benefits

  • It is a great way to intake protein for gluten-allergy and celiac disease patients as they do not contain gluten protein.
  • High in dietary fibre, potassium and iron, which makes them capable of preventing heart diseases, metabolic syndrome and maintaining blood glucose levels.
  • Prevents oxidative stress.
  • Potassium and iron present in beans reduce hair fall.
  • Its high folate nature helps in synthesising neurotransmitters, which is essential in improving memory and cognition.
  • As per a study, people who had navy beans every day for four weeks had higher levels of healthy HDL cholesterol.

Drawbacks

  • Excess consumption of it may lead to stomach cramps.
  • Avoid having raw navy beans as they contain toxic lentic. Moreover, eating them may decrease the body’s calcium absorption capacity.
  • People with a weak urinary system should avoid having it.

Chickpea

Chickpea is a part of the legume family. Different variations of chickpea are known as gram or bengal gramgarbanzo or garbanzo bean, or egyptian pea.

Energy164Kcal
Carbohydrates27.42g
Fat2.59g
Protein8.86g
Calcium49mg, 5% of the Daily Value
Iron2.89mg, 22% of the Daily Value
Sodium7mg, 0% of the Daily Value
Quantity-100g
chick peas

Benefits

  • Protein and fibre together slow down digestion, making you feel full and may help you consume fewer calories.
  • A great option for vegans as it has plant-based protein.
  • Except for methionine, it contains all the essential amino acids required by the body.
  • It helps in blood sugar management as it has a low GI (glycemic index), which doesn’t spike blood sugar.
  • Most fibre present in chickpea is soluble, which creates a gel-like structure in the digestive tract.
  • Soluble fibre promotes healthy bacteria and prevents unhealthy bacteria leading to improved gut health.
  • It may reduce the risk of heart diseases, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Drawbacks

  • Chickpea often leads to gas and bloating.
  • People who have irritable bowel movements might feel uncomfortable in the abdomen after having it.
  • It has anti-nutrients that might restrict our bodies from absorbing nutrients.
  • Phasin present in chickpea makes the red blood cells clump together.

Chia Seeds

Salvia hispanica seeds are known as Chia seeds. Recently got popularity and now it is the choice of every health-conscious person. They are readily available in the market and are loaded with benefits.

Energy486Kcal
Carbohydrates42.1g
Fat30.7g
Protein16.5g
Calcium631mg, 63% of the Daily Value
Iron7.7mg, 59% of the Daily Value
Manganese2.72mg, 130% of the Daily Value
Phosphorus860mg, 123% of the Daily Value
Quantity-100g
chia seeds

Benefits

  • The anti-oxidants in chia seeds fight the free radicals, saving us from accelerated ageing and diseases like cancer.
  • Chia seeds can absorb water 10-12 times their weight, leading to fullness, improved bowel movement, and improved gut health.
  • And fullness will make an individual eat less, leading to weight loss.
  • As per a study on rats, it decreases certain risk factors that lead to heart diseases.
  • It improves bone health.
  • It improves insulin sensitivity and stabilizes blood sugar levels after a meal.
  • According to research over three months, it was observed that people who had 37g of seeds daily had reduced inflammatory markers by 40%.

Drawbacks

  • 28grams of chia seeds consists of 12 g of carbs, out of which only 1g is digestible, making it low-carb friendly food.
  • Chia seeds are high in Omega-3, but the plant-based omega-3 is not activated, and our body can’t activate them. Hence, animal-based omega-3 are more beneficial than plant-based.
  • High fibre intake may lead to constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and gas. 
  • Soak chia seeds in water for 10-15min before having them as they might absorb the liquid in the oesophagus and choke you.

You may check the rest of the listed vegetarian’s sources of protein.

Non-Vegetarian

Non-veg is considered to be a great way to get protein. Around 90% of the humans are non-vegetarian as per a survey in 2018, out of which the majority have it regularly.

source of protein

Within the non-veg majority of the people prefer having chicken followed by beef and fish.

Egg-White

In an egg, the clear part which surrounds and protects the yolk is the egg white. Egg whites are made up of 90% water and 10% protein. Removing the yolk changes the constituents considerably. But it is an excellent source of high protein and low calories food.

Energy52Kcal
Carbohydrates0.73g
Fat0.17g
Protein10.9g
Calcium7mg
Iron0.08mg
Magnesium11mg
Potassium163mg
Sodium166mg
Quantity-100g

Benefits

  • The nutrients decrease when you remove the yolk; still, the white egg contains 67% of all the protein found in an egg.
  • It has all the nine required amino acids.
  • Potassium present in the egg may help maintain blood pressure levels and decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Drawbacks

  • Egg allergies are usually found in children under the age of 5yrs because the immune system incorrectly identifies some of the proteins as harmful, which might lead to allergy. Symptoms: Running nose, watery eyes, nausea, vomiting, etc.
  • Salmonella bacteria found in raw eggs/eggshells can lead to food poisoning. The probability of that bacteria has decreased as modern farming and cleanliness strategies have been adopted.
  • Raw egg white may restrict the absorption of biotin(plays an essential role in energy production). A protein named “avidin” present in egg white binds with biotin and then blocks its absorption.
  • People suffering from kidney problems should avoid egg whites as high protein intake can be a problem.

Prawns

Shrimp or prawns are a part of seafood that is considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. It is available almost in every corner of the world. Hence, it is in nearly all cuisines.

Having them is a part of a heart-healthy diet. Indian prawns are one of the major commercial prawn’s species in the world.

Calories105Kcal
Protein20.14g
Fat1.72g
Carbohydrates0.9g
Cholesterol151mg
Sodium470mg
Potassium183mg
Quantity- 100g
prawns

Benefits

  • High omega-3 content present reduces the risk of heart attacks and lower blood pressure.
  • As it has calcium in a significant amount, it helps in making bones and teeth stronger.
  • It helps in weight management as it is a low calorie, high nutrition food.
  • Prawns are rich in Selenium, which prevents the generation of cancer cells.
  • Fatty acids present in prawns might help with Alzheimer.

Drawbacks

  • The consequences of having prawns might not be as good as it tastes because the pollution in the seafood has made everything contaminated, which may lead to food poisoning.
  • Seafood has a high level of mercury which could stop the development of a pregnant women’s baby.
  • Some of us are allergic to seafood, but unknowingly we have it. Hence, it’s better to get tested if you think you might be because it can cost you your life.
  • Ensure that the seafood you have comes from a fresh farm as in many places farm stored seafood is also served.

Shrimps

Shrimps and prawns look alike, but there is a physical difference that shrimps have one pair of claw-like legs. On the other hand, prawns have three pairs.

Shrimps are one of the most consumed types of shellfish. India is the top exporter to the US, accounting for 41% of the warm water shrimps.

Calories119Kcal
Protein23g
Fat1.7g
Carbohydrates1.5g
Cholesterol211mg
Sodium947mg
Potassium170mg
Quantity- 100g

Benefits

  • Shrimps are a great source of iodine. It is essential for proper thyroid function and brain health.
  • It’s high in Astaxanthin (algae that shrimps consume) which makes it a great source of anti-oxidants, saving us from the free radicals damage in the body. Astaxanthin also prevents wrinkles.
  • Astaxanthin also promotes eye health, and it protects the retina from oxidative damage.
  • Tryptophan present in shrimps works as a mood booster by triggering the serotonin hormone.
  • It is an excellent option if you are trying to lose weight as it is low in calories and high in protein and nutrients.
  • Shrimps have plenty of selenium, according to some studies, which prevents certain types of cancer.

Drawbacks

  • High cholesterol may lead to heart diseases for people who are sensitive to dietary cholesterol. For people who are not sensitive, it might not impact the blood cholesterol level much.
  • Shellfishes, including shrimps, are one of the top food allergies
  • There are possibilities that you might have contaminated shrimps as most of them come from “farms” maintained by humans.

Tuna

Tuna is one of the most famous species. It has many varieties albacore, bigeye, bluefin, yellowfin, skipjack, albacore, etc.

If you like Tuna, you must try sushi, it is a popular Asian dish and is eaten in Europe and Australia.

Calories200Kcal
Carbohydrates0g
Fat8g
Protein29g
Calcium13mg, 1% of the Daily Value
Iron1.4mg, 11% of the Daily Value
Phosphorus311mg, 44% of the Daily Value
Potassium207mg, 4% of the Daily Value
Zinc0.9mg, 9% of the Daily Value
Quantity- 100g
tuna fish

Benefits

  • Omega-3 present in tuna helps bring balance in the blood vessels leading to reduced cholesterol in the arteries.
  • It helps in bringing down the blood pressure being rich in potassium.
  • Potassium’s combination with omega-3 brings an anti-inflammatory impact on the cardiovascular system.
  • Anti-oxidants saves us by fighting with the free radicals in our body. According to new research, they help maintain weight as it is a low calorie but high in nutrients food.
  • The present vitamin B strengthens our bones, keeps our skin healthy and glowing.
  • It may help in boosting your immune system.
  • Research shows that people who have tuna regularly have 68% fewer chances of developing dry eyes.

Drawbacks

  • Due to the pollution, the aquatic animals’ flesh has started accumulating poisonous mercury, leading to coordination problems, difficulty in delivering a baby for pregnant women, cognitive impairment, etc.
  • The tuna fish eats other contaminated fishes that bring heavy metals, making tuna loaded with heavy metals. Heavy metals are not good for the heart, and this suppresses all the benefits it.

Scallops

It is a type of shellfish which is found all over the world, mainly in the Indo-Pacific region.

Calories111Kcal
Fat0.8g
Cholesterol41mg, 14% of the Daily Value
Sodium667mg, 28% of the Daily Value
Potassium314mg, 9% of the Daily Value
Carbohydrates5.4g, 2% of the Daily Value
Iron3.2% of the Daily Value
Calcium0.8% of the Daily Value
Vitamin B1218% of the Daily Value
Quantity- 100g

Benefits

  • Scallops are a great way to lose weight as they are food with high protein and low calories. It makes you feel full and satisfied.
  • The nutrients present ensure proper nervous system development and make you mentally more stable and robust, which might save you from conditions like Alzheimer in future.
  • It helps relax your blood vessels leading to decreased chances of heart problems.
  • Zinc helps in balancing hormones.

Drawbacks

  • Scallops might lead to an allergic reaction. Shellfish allergy is one of the most common, and it gets developed in adulthood and then stays for a lifetime.
  • It contains heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic, etc., that makes a harmful impact on your heart and brain and may lead to problems like cancer, damaged organs, etc.

Sausages

Sausages are made from ground meat, pork, beef, along with some added spices. Sausage meat can be in the form of a patty and can be in the form of skin.

There are many types of sausages:

  • Cooked sausages
  • Cooked smoked sausages
  • Dry sausages
  • Fresh smoked sausages
  • Fresh sausages

Pork Sausage

Calories304Kcal
Fat26.53g
Cholesterol72mg
Carbohydrates0g
Sodium636mg
Protein15.09g
Iron1.11mg
100g serving

Chicken Sausage

Calories172Kcal
Fat9.98g
Cholesterol79mg
Carbohydrates1.52g
Sodium722mg
Protein17.82g
Iron1.31mg
100g serving
sausages

Benefits

  • Being rich in vitamins, especially B12, helps repair and maintain RBC’s(Red Blood Cells). It strengthens the nervous system.
  • It promotes stamina of the body, which leads to less fatigue and weakness.
  • The high protein helps in maintaining hair and skin health.
  • Pyridoxine helps in enhancing the immunity of the body. It saves you from many infections and diseases.
  • It helps maintain the fat level, which prevents cardiac ailments.
  • Maintains kidney health and prevents the formation of kidney stones.
  • It also aids diabetes and high blood sugar levels.

Drawbacks

  • As per the  International Agency of Research on Cancer, sausage is processed meat classified as a carcinogen(which leads to cancer). It is always recommended to consume processed red meat and unprocessed meat.
  • If you are consuming beef sausage, it’s preferable to limit it as it is high in bad cholesterol (LDL). 3ounces contain 12.7 grams (63% of your Daily Value).
  • Salt and processed food like sausages are high in sodium. Salt makes us lose calcium through urination which leads to weak bones.
  • Sodium also increases blood pressure which might lead to heart problems and stroke.
  • Pork and Italian sausages are high in fat, leading to weight gain as fat has more calories than carbohydrates and protein.
  • In recent years cases have been started reporting meat allergies for beef, lamb, pork, and poultry chicken.

Salmon

One of the most famous and nutritious fatty fish. Salmon is a carnivorous fish that has varients:

  • Australian Salmon
  • Danube Salmon
  • Hawaiian Salmon
  • Indian Salmon
Calories206Kcal
Fat12g, 18% of the Daily Value
Cholesterol63mg, 21% of the Daily Value
Sodium61mg, 3% of the Daily Value
Potassium384mg, 11% of the Daily Value
Carbohydrates0
Protein22g
Quantity- 100g

Benefits

  • Salmon is rich in Omega-3, which is good for decreasing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, reducing the chances of cancer, etc.
  • A great source of protein.
  • It is rich in Vitamin-B, which helps carry out many essential processes in your body, repairs DNA, reduces chronic inflammation, and more.
  • Salmon helps manage your blood pressure and risk of heart diseases.
  • It has the required amount of selenium which protects bone health and reduces cancer risk.
  • Salmon have Astaxanthin (Antioxidant) which reduces the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL). It improves the skin and makes you look younger.
  • High protein food controls the appetite hormone, which makes you feel full.

Drawbacks

  • Similar to shellfish and tuna, high in chemicals like arsenic, mercury, lead, dioxins and PCBs due to industrial waste. It can have up to 9million times residual than the water they stay in.
  • It is recommended not to have salmon during pregnancy as it will pass on the toxins to the baby, leading to weak memory, short attention span, slower to talk and walk, etc.
  • If you have two servings of fish per month, there are chances that PCBs, mercury and lead might make it difficult for you to remember things. As per research, people couldn’t recall what they learnt 30minutes earlier.

These were the most commonly consumed non-veg food with the highest protein lowest calories.

Octopus

Octopus is a soft-bodied, boneless sea creature with 300+ species. It has multiple hearts, limbs and can change its shape and colour according to the object.

Calories164Kcal
Fat2.1g
Cholesterol96mg, 32% of the Daily Value
Sodium460mg, 19% of the Daily Value
Potassium630mg, 18% of the Daily Value
Carbohydrates4.4g
Protein30g
Quantity- 100g

Benefits

  • Some nutrients present in octopuses improve reproductive health.
  • It helps in lowering blood pressure and slows down the process of building up plaque in the arteries.
  • Taurine present in octopus has anti-cancer and antiviral effects.
  • Octopus has magnesium which promotes healthy brain activity and learning process.
  • It contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which are said to save individuals from depression.

Drawbacks

  • It contains 30% of your daily required cholesterol, which, if it goes beyond the required limit, can put stress leading to heart problems.
  • Octopus has sodium in high volume, and excess of sodium may invite heart problems.
  • If you have an allergy to shellfish, then you might be allergic to octopus as well.
  • Like shellfish, tuna and salmon, even octopus tissues have toxins and heavy metals that can do disasters to weak individuals when consumed.

Anchovies

Anchovies are small fishes usually found in marine waters. There are more than 140 species in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans.

Calories210Kcal
Fat9.7g, 15% of the Daily Value
Cholesterol85mg, 28% of the Daily Value
Sodium3668mg, 153% of the Daily Value
Potassium544mg, 16% of the Daily Value
Carbohydrates0g
Protein29g
Quantity- 100g
Anchovies

Benefits

  • It reduces blood pressure and slows down the rate of building up plaques in the arteries.
  • Anchovies have selenium which helps active thyroid in your body.
  • They have enough omega-3 to protect your eyes and save them from distorted vision.

Drawbacks

  • It is high in sodium. People with high blood pressure, kidney problems, diabetes and salt sensitivity, should avoid it.
  • They might have domoic acid, which might lead to ASP (amnesic shellfish poisoning). Symptoms of ASP, vomiting, nausea, confusion, memory loss, etc.

Conclusion

Irrespective of if you are vegan, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, there is an enormous range of foods that can fulfil your requirements. And if you are allergic to any food, then you do have alternatives. And, please check with your doctor before including them in your diet.