High Protein Food With Low Carbs

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Protein is an essential part of the human diet. It helps you maintain your muscle mass and it keeps you feeling full for longer. But what if you’re trying to cut back on carbs?

Well, we’ve got some good news for you! There are plenty of foods that can help you stay full and feel strong without the added carb load. Here are some high-protein foods that have fewer than 20 grams of carbohydrates per serving:

High Protein Food With Low Carbs

Consuming complex carbohydrates like fiber is an important part of a healthy diet, but eating lots of processed simple carbs like baked goods, sweet drinks, and refined grains can increase a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Instead, some people opt for a low-carb, high-protein diet, which may help with maintaining a healthy weight or controlling blood sugar levels.

Typically low-carb foods are anything you can consume in moderation that won’t tip you over 135 grams for the day. Meanwhile, a high-protein food is one that contains about 10 grams per serving, says Angie Asche, RDN, founder of Eleat Sports Nutrition.

Important: Children and teens should not follow a low-carb diet, says Dayle Hayes, RDN, co-author of the American Dietetic Association’s Nutrition Guidance for Healthy Children Ages 2 to 11 Years. Carbohydrates in the form of fruits, vegetables, and whole or refined grains are vital for normal growth and development.

They’re available fresh or frozen, so sprinkle some salt — or cayenne pepper for an extra kick — and boil or steam them for a refreshing snack.

One cup of edamame contains:

  • 129 calories
  • 9 g of carbohydrates (3.3% DV)
  • 13 g of protein (26% DV)

13. Chia seeds 

Raw chia seeds in a bowl.
Top meals with a spoonful of chia seeds for a nutritious boost. 
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Often referred to as a “superfood,” chia seeds pack a big protein punch in their small size. Eat them in yogurt or on a salad for an extra nutrient boost of protein and healthy fats.

A two-tablespoon serving of chia seeds contains:

  • 138 calories
  • 12 g of carbohydrates (4.4% DV)
  • 5 g of protein (10% DV)

14. Peanut butter

Granola bowl with fruit and peanut butter.
Boost your protein by adding a dollop of peanut butter to your breakfast. 
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Peanut butter is an excellent plant-based protein option. Add peanut butter to celery stalks or apple wedges to increase your protein intake.

A two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains:

  • 188 calories
  • 7.7 g of carbohydrates (2.8% DV)contain
  • 7 g of protein (14% DV)

15. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese in a bowl with cucumber slices.
Try dipping veggies or crackers into a light dip made with cottage cheese. 
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Cottage cheese is a versatile option to help you increase your protein intake. Try it plain as a savory snack or top it with fresh fruit, like pineapple, for a filling breakfast.

A half-cup of cottage cheese contains:

  • 90 calories
  • 9 g of carbohydrates (3.3% DV)
  • 24 g of protein (48% DV)

16. Soy milk

A bottle of milk and glass of milk on a wooden table on a blue background.
Drink your protein and get hydrated at the same time by sipping a glass of soy milk. 
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If you’re looking to increase your protein through a drink, soy milk is a terrific pick. Just like dairy milk, it packs vitamins like calcium, so go ahead and swap in soy to get more protein in your diet. 

One cup of soy milk contains:

  • 82 calories
  • 6 g of carbohydrates (2.2% DV)
  • 6 g of protein (12% DV)

Insider’s takeaway

Eating a high protein, low-carb diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and manage blood sugar levels, but it isn’t for everyone, Sauza says. Excessive protein in the diet could damage your liver or kidneys if done long-term, and extreme low-carb diets like the keto diet should not be done without the supervision of a dietitian or medical professional. 

While increasing your protein intake and limiting carbohydrates can be part of a healthy diet, eating nutrient-rich foods from all food groups is more likely to ensure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need.

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