I've seen a lot of nutritional information on the web in regards to which foods to eat: notably labeled with words such as, "Eat This, Not That" and "Fat Burning SuperFoods" etc...
However, sometimes it's best just to take things one step at a time and break down not just the best foods to lose weight, gain muscle, burn fat, but the best types of foods in each category. For that reason, I thought it best to start with the nutrient protein and the types of foods that will provide you with the overall best sources for low-fat and lean sources of protein.
Now, I have to add here that not ALL sources of fat are bad. In fact, there are certain sources of fat that are GOOD for you in moderation, of which I will briefly discuss below so that you can get a good idea of what those fat sources are. So, without further hesitation, here are the four (4) best sources of food for daily lean protein.
1) Chicken breast.
Yup; this is the dreaded one that you already KNEW would be at the top of the list: Chicken breasts...they are plain, boring, and generally tasteless. Why is chicken breast so bland? Well, the overall low content of fat found in chicken breast can sometimes allow a lot of the moisture to escape and you are left with a hard and tasteless fillet of meat.
But it doesn't HAVE to be that way! You can brine the chicken (salt water mixture with broth) overnight to hold in moisture, cook at lower temperatures to ensure the meal is not over-cooked, and add spices such as Mrs. Dash without compromising the nutritional value of the meat.
Wait a minute: hold up. Aren't eggs just LOADED with fats that send your cholesterol soaring through the roof? Sort-of, but not really. Egg whites are nearly pure protein...and some of the best kind of protein I might add: this type of protein contains a COMPLETE profile of amino acids that turns out to be one of the best muscle builders on the planet.
Egg yolks are sometimes given the hard-end of the bargain. However, egg yolks, in moderation are excellent sources of B vitamins and choline as well as GOOD fat that will send your good cholesterol, or HDL (high-density lipoprotein), upwards while at the same time sending your bad cholesterol, or LDL (low-density lipoprotein), downwards. This creates a much more optimal ratio of good to bad cholesterol and is indeed healthy for you.
Can you over-do it with eggs? In my biased opinion: no way. I have eaten up to 54 whole eggs on a daily basis for months on end when preparing for shows and felt excellent (it is a MYTH that eggs cause digestion issues). Now, I doubt the average user is going to want to eat 54 whole eggs on a daily basis, but let's just say that eating 2 or 3 eggs in a given day is going to do nothing but good things for your body.
3) Wild-caught fish.
Notice this one. Fish in general is an excellent source for lean protein, but wild-caught fish are much more likely to contain a nice balance of Omega-3 fatty acids as compared to farm-raised swimmers.
Now, fish takes the wrap again for sometimes being bland, dry, and boring. However, there are ways to spice things up a little bit with fish. Salmon can be sprayed with citrus juices, teriyaki, and even a little brown sugar (it pains me to say!). Tilapia can be given a light breading and even a Parmesan coating (aren't you getting hungry now? I am.) to make it much more interesting than before.
4) Turkey: ground or sliced.
Turkey is going to be the final lean protein choice on my list. It has a high ratio of protein to fat content and also a high content of tryptophan in its corner as well. Although this one is not my FAVORITE choice in regards to flavor, it does definitely deserve a spot on the lean protein list.
Turkey can be used as a substitute in a number of meat preparations. Here a few to chew on: turkey burgers, ground turkey (I know, virtually the same thing), turkey hot dogs, turkey brats, turkey sausage (patties, links, polish sausage, etc...), and the list goes on and on.
Granted, an over-abundance of turkey DOES at times get a little common tasting and is worth a change. However, once or twice a week is sustainable (and the goal of dieting really is SUSTAINABILITY) and very possible to stomach over the long-term.
Let's sum it all up, shall we?
So there you have it! That is my list...but it's not EXHAUSTIVE by any means! In fact, I KNOW there are a number of you screaming and shrieking right now over the types of lean proteins that I've missed...I am aware of that. In fact, I could have added many other sources that you are free to comment and argue for such as: whey protein powder, lean flank or skirt steak, deli ham, pork chops, lamb chops, etc...
But guess what folks? That's what the COMMENTS are for. Know a better source of lean protein that I completely neglected altogether? Want to just argue with me in general? Go right ahead! Use the comments or even the Facebook comments to state your argument and make your case. Cheers to your lean protein choices!