5 Low-Calorie Protein Sources For Lean Muscle Building

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foods build lean muscle

So you’ve got your next vacation all planned out. You booked your trip, and even used coupon codes from CouponGo.org so that you don’t pay more than you have to. You have your hotel booked, tours all setup. But there’s just one thing: your beach body isn’t ready.

Building muscle without gaining fat requires a delicate balancing of caloric intake with exercise. In order to meet these needs, most people find that they must turn to low-calorie sources of protein that will give them the nutrients needed for muscle growth without pushing them past their caloric limits. Here are five great sources of protein that will not add too many calories to your diet.

foods build lean muscleTilapia

A common food fish that can be found frozen in almost any supermarket, tilapia is a remarkably good source of protein. An average tilapia fillet will come in under 120 calories while offering an impressive 23 grams of protein with only about 2 grams of fat. Being a fish, tilapia also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for good overall health.


Made from soy milk curd, tofu is one of the best all-vegetarian sources of protein, containing roughly 10 grams of protein per half cup serving. The same serving size contains just under 100 calories, giving it a fairly high protein content relative to its caloric density. Though tofu is an excellent source of protein, it should be noted that it is somewhat high in fat, containing roughly 6 grams per serving. Nutritionally, tofu is fairly well balanced, offering large amounts of iron and calcium and a decent amount of magnesium.

Mozzarella Cheese

Despite its frequent inclusion in foods that are far from healthy, pure mozzarella cheese is a surprisingly good source of protein with relatively few calories. A standard 1-ounce serving offers 8 grams of protein for less than 80 calories. The same serving, however, will contain about 4.8 grams of fat, so be sure not to over-indulge. For an improved ratio of protein to fat, several brands of reduced-fat mozzarella cheese are available. Although it would be unwise to rely on mozzarella as a primary protein source, it does make a good high-protein snack.


Arguably the best meat-based protein source that can readily be found in any supermarket is tuna. 3 ounces of tuna contains an incredible 25 grams of protein with only 5 grams of fat and just over 150 calories. Besides its remarkable protein quality, tuna offers a rich source of B-vitamins and vitamin A. Tuna is especially good for those who work long hours or otherwise have busy schedules, as canned tuna can be cooked and eaten extremely quickly for a fast, healthy meal.

Greek Yogurt

Though most people turn to lean meats or fish for their primary sources of protein, Greek yogurt is one of the few dairy products that could easily be used to replace meat-based protein sources entirely. Coming in at only about 100 calories for an average serving-sized cup, Greek yogurt contains roughly 17 grams of protein. Even more impressive is its extremely low-fat content, which is less than 1 gram per serving. In addition to this excellent protein density, Greek yogurt is a rich source of calcium and vitamin B12.

If you are looking to add muscle without increasing your caloric intake, these five protein-rich foods can help. Remember, however, to incorporate other foods to ensure that you are getting the proper amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients along with your protein. A balanced and nutritious diet is just as important for building muscle as consuming the right amount of protein.

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