If you're trying to lose weight, protein is a key nutrient, especially at dinner. It’s worth highlighting that dinner plays a key role in weight loss and long term healthy weight management and in-fact skipping dinner might encourage weight gain, according to recent research published in the journal Nutrients in January 2021.
The study found that those who regularly skipped dinner gained about 10 percent more weight over a 6-year period compared to the students who ate dinner daily.
Dinner skippers were also more likely to have a BMI in the overweight or obese category. Weight loss aside, dinner is our most social meal and provides emotional support and improves overall wellbeing, so If you are skipping dinner you are skimping out on your overall health.
That said, dinner doesn't have to be an all-you-can-eat buffet, research suggests that making breakfast or lunch your largest meal of the day could help you slim down more than if you made dinner your biggest meal.
This is where protein comes in: if your goal is to make dinner a lighter meal, including a protein-rich food would be wise. Protein is extremely satisfying, calms the nervous system and is required for overnight cellular repair and liver support. These foods in particular are rich in protein and varied in a wide berth of nutrients and are lean, making them great additions to someone who is wanting to achieve healthy weight loss.
1. Chicken Thighs 35 grams per 1-cup chopped
This dark meat cut clocks in a little lower protein-wise compared to its chicken breast sibling but deserves points for its extra zinc and iron. Size-wise a thigh is much closer to the recommended servings size of chicken (about 80g), than a typical chicken breast. Choosing a thigh over a breast is an easy way to keep portion sizes in check.
2. Turkey Breast 40 grams per 1 cup (approximately)
Turkey is lean and the flavour is delicious, so for those of you are stuck in the monotony of chicken breast, here’s your answer
3. Prawns or Scallops 30 grams per 1-cup (approximately)
Prawns and Shrimp are incredibly lean (a full cup of them has only a little over 1 gram of total fat), yet—as you can see—they're packed with protein (and zinc!).
4. Eggs (my favourite lazy dinner option) 24 grams per 1 cup
Breakfast foods make great high-protein dinners. Add eggs to your fried rice or make a frittata, or a ‘goodness bowl’, A single egg has about 8g grams of protein, only 80 calories, and delivers choline, a nutrient that is good for brain health and may also be associated with a healthier body composition
5. Full Fat Cottage Cheese 28 grams per 1 cup
If you don’t have acne or hormonal conditions, then cottage cheese is a healthy option for you. Cottage cheese isn't just high in protein, it's also quite low in carbs (only 6 grams in a cup!). Make it the base of your favourite veggie salad (think: chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, a sprinkling of your favourite herb, and a dash of a zesty spice like sumac). Or use cottage cheese as a toast or cracker topper.
6. Full Fat Greek Yogurt 11 grams per ½ cup
Like cottage cheese, ff you don’t have acne, inflammatory or hormonal conditions, then Greek Yoghurt is a healthy option for you. This breakfast food can pull double-duty as a dinner food. But it's slightly more practical as a high-protein condiment. Use Greek Yoghurt as a sour cream swap in your taco bowls or base of creamy salad dressings, Yogurt, when eaten regularly as part of a balanced diet, is a food that's associated with a healthier body composition.
7. Lentils 18 grams per 1 cup
I think of lentils as 'plant-based ground beef' meaning you can use them in place of ground beef in your favourite recipes like tacos, pasta sauce, burgers, meatballs. Including about a 1/2 cup of lentils (or any beans) in your diet regularly may help with weight loss, because they are high in protein and fire which increases feelings of satisfaction and also delivers antioxidants to keep cells healthy plus are an essential for optimal gut health, the key to boosting your long-term health.
8. Tempeh 16.2g per ½ cup
Tempeh is a nutrient-dense soy product with a high amount of protein, as well as various vitamins and minerals. It may decrease cholesterol levels, oxidative stress and appetite while improving bone health. Tempeh also contains probiotics, which can improve digestive health and promote weight loss. Being a soy product, this is also a phytoestrogen They bind weakly to oestrogen receptors where they act as an anti-oestrogen, making this phytonutrient notably beneficial for women with hormones irregularities. In moderate amounts they are healthy, in large amounts they have the potential to cause adverse effects problematic for menstruation, fertility and post-menopausal women however this is largely depended on age, genetics, and gut microflora health.