High-Protein, Low-Calorie Foods for Muscle Growth and Weight Loss

High Protein Low Calorie Foods
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A high-protein, low-calorie diet is essential for individuals looking to achieve their fitness goals, whether building muscle mass or losing weight.

Protein is critical in muscle repair and growth, making it a vital nutrient for anyone engaging in regular workouts. Additionally, a protein-rich diet can help increase satiety and promote weight loss by reducing overall calorie intake.

We’ve compiled a list of high-protein, low-calorie foods that can support your fitness journey. Foods are considered high in protein if they contain at least 15% of their calories from protein, while low-calorie options typically have fewer than 200 calories per 100g serving. These nutrient-dense choices are perfect for anyone striving to optimize their nutrition while maintaining a delicious and diverse meal plan.

Whether you’re a bodybuilder, a fitness enthusiast, or simply looking to improve your overall health, incorporating these high-protein, low-calorie foods into your diet will provide the essential nutrients your body needs for optimal performance and results. So, let’s dive into the list and explore the best protein-packed, low-calorie options to fuel your workouts and support your fitness goals.

Our comprehensive list of high-protein, low-calorie foods has categorized the options into six groups to help you easily find the ideal protein sources for your dietary preferences and needs.

These categories include:

Lean Meats: Featuring various poultry and lean cuts of beef that are both high in protein and low in calories.

Seafood: Showcasing protein-rich and heart-healthy seafood options, such as tuna, shrimp, and cod.

Eggs: Highlighting the protein content and versatility of whole eggs and egg whites.

Dairy Products: Focusing on protein-dense dairy choices, like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and skim milk.

Plant-Based Proteins: Presenting a variety of vegetarian and vegan-friendly protein sources, including tofu, lentils, and chickpeas.

Nuts and Seeds: Offering a selection of nutrient-rich nuts and seeds that provide both protein and healthy fats.

By breaking down our list into these categories, we aim to provide a diverse and comprehensive collection of high-protein, low-calorie foods that cater to various dietary preferences and lifestyles.

Lean Meats

Lean meats are an excellent source of high-quality protein while relatively low in calories. Some great options include:

Chicken Breast

  • Protein: 31g per 100g
  • Calories: 165 per 100g

Chicken breast is a versatile and lean protein source that can be prepared in various ways, such as grilled, baked, or stir-fried.


  • Protein: 29g per 100g
  • Calories: 157 per 100g

Turkey is another lean poultry option, perfect for sandwiches, salads, or as the main course during holiday feasts.

Lean Beef

  • Protein: 27g per 100g
  • Calories: 172 per 100g

Choose lean cuts of beef, like sirloin or flank steak, to enjoy a delicious, high-protein meal with fewer calories.


Seafood is not only rich in protein but also packed with essential omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health.


  • Protein: 30g per 100g
  • Calories: 132 per 100g

Tuna is a convenient and affordable protein source that can be enjoyed in sandwiches, salads, or sushi rolls.


  • Protein: 24g per 100g
  • Calories: 99 per 100g

Shrimp is a low-calorie, high-protein seafood option that can be grilled, sautéed, or added to pasta dishes.


  • Protein: 18g per 100g
  • Calories: 82 per 100g

Cod is a mild-tasting, flaky white fish that is delicious when baked, broiled, or used in fish tacos.


Eggs are an inexpensive and versatile high-protein, low-calorie food option.

Whole Eggs

  • Protein: 13g per 100g
  • Calories: 155 per 100g

Whole eggs are a complete protein source containing all essential amino acids. They can be prepared in various ways, such as scrambled, fried, or hard-boiled.

Egg Whites

  • Protein: 11g per 100g
  • Calories: 52 per 100g

Egg whites are a low-calorie, high-protein option for those looking to reduce calorie intake. Use them in omelets, frittatas, or as a replacement for whole eggs in recipes.

Dairy Products

Dairy products can be a valuable source of protein and other essential nutrients. We also love dairy products because they are usually ready to consume without any preparation needed. If you’re in a rush or you just love a great dairy product, these are some easy high-protein, low-calorie wins.

Greek Yogurt

  • Protein: 10g per 100g
  • Calories: 59 per 100g

Greek yogurt is a creamy, high-protein snack that can be enjoyed independently or used as a base for smoothies and parfaits.

Cottage Cheese

  • Protein: 12g per 100g
  • Calories: 98 per 100g

Cottage cheese is a versatile, high-protein dairy product that can be enjoyed as a snack, mixed with fruit or vegetables, or incorporated into recipes.

Skim Milk

  • Protein: 3.4g per 100g
  • Calories: 34 per 100g

Skim milk is a low-calorie, protein-rich option for those who enjoy milk but want to minimize calorie intake. Use it in smoothies, cereal, or as a base for soups and sauces.

Plant-Based Proteins

Plant-based proteins are suitable for vegetarians, vegans, or those looking to diversify their protein sources.


  • Protein: 8g per 100g
  • Calories: 76 per 100g

Tofu is a soy-based protein that can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to smoothies. Opt for firm tofu when grilling or pan-frying, and use silken tofu for creamy textures in sauces or desserts.


  • Protein: 9g per 100g
  • Calories: 116 per 100g

Lentils are protein-packed legumes often used in soups, salads, or as a side dish. They are also an excellent source of dietary fiber.


  • Protein: 7.25g per 100g
  • Calories: 164 per 100g

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, can be enjoyed in salads, roasted as a snack, or blended into hummus.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds provide healthy fats and protein, making them nutritious to your diet.


  • Protein: 21g per 100g
  • Calories: 575 per 100g

Almonds are a crunchy, protein-rich snack that can also be used in recipes or as a topping for yogurt and oatmeal.

Chia Seeds

  • Protein: 17g per 100g
  • Calories: 486 per 100g

Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt to boost protein and fiber. They also form a gel when mixed with liquid, making them a popular ingredient for chia puddings.

Top 6 Questions About High-Protein, Low-Calorie Foods

Q: Can high-protein, low-calorie foods help with weight loss?

A: Yes, consuming high-protein, low-calorie foods can aid in weight loss by increasing satiety, reducing overall calorie intake, and preserving muscle mass during the weight loss process.

Q: Are high-protein, low-calorie diets suitable for vegetarians and vegans?

A: Absolutely! Plenty of plant-based protein sources, such as tofu, tempeh, lentils, and chickpeas, are both high in protein and low in calories, making them suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Q: How much protein should I consume daily?

A: The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. However, individual protein needs may vary depending on age, activity level, and fitness goals. Consult a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized recommendations.

Q: Can I get enough protein from a high-protein, low-calorie diet without supplements?

A: It is possible to obtain adequate protein from whole foods alone, without protein supplements. However, supplements like protein powders can be convenient for those with busy schedules or specific dietary needs.

Q: Are there any potential risks associated with high-protein, low-calorie diets?

A: While a high-protein, low-calorie diet can benefit many people, it is essential to maintain a balanced diet and consume adequate carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Extremely low-calorie diets or excessive protein intake may lead to nutrient deficiencies or other health issues. Consult a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet.

Q: Can I build muscle on a high-protein, low-calorie diet?

A: Consuming adequate protein is crucial for muscle growth and repair. However, building muscle also requires a calorie surplus, meaning you must consume more calories than you burn. A high-protein, low-calorie diet can help preserve muscle mass during weight loss, but to build muscle, you may need to increase your calorie intake while maintaining a high protein intake.


Incorporating high-protein, low-calorie foods into your diet is essential for optimizing nutrition, whether you’re looking to build muscle, lose weight, or maintain a balanced diet.

You can enjoy a diverse and satisfying array of nutrient-dense meals and snacks by choosing lean meats, seafood, eggs, dairy products, plant-based proteins, nuts, and seeds.

Written by Garage Gym Products Staff

Multiple team members joined together for articles written under the "Garage Gym Staff" account. We are a group of gym and health enthusiasts, personal trainers, and reviewers who love to explore fitness-based products and health tips with our readers.