Lean Proteins with Low Calories & Big Portions (Plus Recipes)

Sep 14 2018
Recently, on “The Protein-Packed Episode” of the Hungry Girl podcast, we revealed our top seven protein picks: The lean protein sources that give you the most bang for your calorie buck! Today, we’re counting down four of them and serving up recipes. Don’t miss next Friday’s email for the rest of the list and even MORE recipe creations...

Egg Whites

1/2 cup (about 4 large) egg whites: 63 calories, <0.5g total fat (0g sat fat), 202mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0g fiber, 1g sugars, 13g protein -- SmartPoints® value 0*

One reason egg whites are so low in calories is that they're practically pure protein. Almost no fat or carbs whatsoever! You could have SIX hard-boiled egg whites for about 100 calories, with nearly 22g of satisfying protein. Enjoy them at breakfast, as a midday hunger buster... even as a lunch ingredient! And feel free to use liquid egg whites in any recipe that calls for egg substitute (and vice versa).


3 oz. (about 8 large), cooked: 93 calories, 1g total fat (<0.5g sat fat), 201mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 19.5g protein -- SmartPoints® value 0*

Here’s another big winner in the "pretty much PURE protein" arena. We love that shrimp is commonly sold in ready-to-eat form, or close to it. Frozen precooked shrimp (minus the shells and tails) is such a smart freezer staple. Add shrimp to salads, stir-frys, noodle dishes... You name it. In fact, any place you’d use chicken, you can probably use shrimp. And don’t discount the idea of snacking on shrimp straight. (That’s what cocktail sauce is for!)  

Skinless Turkey Breast 

3 oz., cooked: 129 calories, 1.5g total fat (<0.5g sat fat), 128mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 26.5g protein -- SmartPoints® value 0*

Pro tip: Don't save the turkey roasting for November! Pick up a whole turkey breast or a pack of cutlets for deliciously healthy protein year-round. You know those turkey sandwiches you love to make from Thanksgiving leftovers? They’re just as good in September! And each ounce of turkey has a little over 40 calories and over 8g protein. For a fast fix, always keep deli slices on hand... So good wrapped around pickles, cucumber spears, and light string cheese! 

Canned/Pouched Tuna 

One 2.6-oz. pouch albacore: 80 calories, 1.5g total fat (<0.5g sat fat), 194mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 16g protein -- SmartPoints® value 0*

This fish couldn't be easier to get into your life, especially if you pick the pouched varieties. No draining required: Just tear and go. Where else can you find a whopping 16 grams of ready-to-eat protein in an 80-calorie, grab & go pack? Mix it with some creamy Dijon and light mayo, or reach for flavored tuna pouches like StarKist Tuna Creations. Perfect for salads, slaws, wraps, stuffed veggies, casseroles... Talk about versatile!

Chew on this:

Today is September 14th, National Cream-Filled Donut Day. Let’s mix it up with red velvet donuts drizzled with cream-cheese icing!

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We may have received free samples of food, which in no way influences whether these products are reviewed favorably, unfavorably, mentioned with indifference, or mentioned at all. Click for more about our editorial and advertising policies.

SmartPoints® value* not what you expected? We follow the same method as WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) when calculating the value of a recipe: We add up the SmartPoints® values* of the individual ingredients using the Recipe Builder, not the calculator. (Many foods have a value of zero and remain zero in recipes.)

*The SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by WW International, Inc., the owner of the SmartPoints® trademark.