With weight causing rampant health issues, it’s unsurprising that weight loss has become a goal for many. On average, 55% of US adults expressed a desire to lose weight between 2017 and 2021. However, only 26% of Americans have said they were seriously trying during the aforementioned period— and even then, weight loss can be challenging to maintain.
Several factors play a role in losing weight, such as genes, age, habits in eating, and physical activity. The right motivation for weight loss acknowledges these factors and will avoid quick fixes or fad diets, as these are difficult to stick with. For instance, bread-lovers will likely fail in going keto or swearing off carbs. To lose weight safely in the long term, it’s necessary for people to undertake good lifestyle changes gradually and choose an approach that suits their unique preferences and conditions. One tip health experts recommend that suits most people would be to consume more protein.
Why high-protein meals are great for weight loss
To maintain weight loss, people need to ensure they keep within a calorie deficit. However, many people find this challenging because of their set point weight, or the point their body is predisposed to stay at. When reducing the number of calories eaten to drop body fat, the body triggers specific adaptations, like increasing appetite, to make up for this loss. This bid to return to the set point weight makes it challenging to stay consistent with a diet, which means those who lose weight often regain it.
Thus, many experts recommend protein to help overcome hunger pangs. This macronutrient can change levels of satiety, mainly by lowering the hunger hormone ghrelin, while boosting levels of peptide YY, a hormone that improves feelings of fullness. Protein can also improve the body’s energy expenditure, also called the thermic effect of food. According to nutritionist Terezoe Tolar-Peterson, meals high in protein cause an 11% to 14% increase above the resting metabolic rate, which is around 6% more than diets high in either fat or carbohydrates. While this change isn’t huge, it can play a major role in weight loss.
Given the beneficial effects, it’s important to incorporate more protein into your daily meals for the best results. If you’re looking for ways to lose weight, listed below are three easy high-protein meals to maintain weight loss:
Chicken is one of the best high-protein meats available. Still, it can get repetitive eating it, so it’s recommended you add different flavors to change up your meals. Rather than ordering takeout, it’s simple to create your sesame chicken at home— you can choose between pan-frying or using an air fryer, whichever suits your preferences.
Red lentil soup
If you’re looking for plant-based protein, lentils are a great way to pack in those macronutrients. Boiling them into a soup is also easy, as you can easily make a flavorful broth by using veggie or bone broth. We recommend using red lentils with crushed tomatoes, lemon, and parsley or cilantro for a Greek twist.
Sheet pan honey lemon salmon
A great protein option high in nutrients is salmon, containing vitamin Bs to omega-3 fatty acids. Compared to other recipes that need active attention, this recipe calls on using a foil pack— so minimal supervision is needed as long as your oven temperature is right. You can easily pair this with some roasted veggies for added fiber to keep you full for longer.
Maintaining weight loss can be tricky if you face plenty of hunger pangs. But by eating high-protein meals, you can stay satiated longer, keep to your calorie deficit, and lose weight. If you’re interested in cutting out carbohydrates completely to help with weight loss, check out our post on keto dinner recipes for more inspiration.