Whether you're trying to lose weight or just maintain, protein is your friend. This powerful macronutrient helps you feel fuller longer, repairs and builds muscle tissue, and helps the body better digest and absorb important nutrients. If you're not getting the Recommended Dietary Allowance—0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight—rest assured, it's easier than you think to find delicious ways to work it into your diet.
If you’re not sure where to begin packing in the protein—why not start with lunch? After all, what better way to power up for the afternoon ahead than packing delicious, nutritious protein into your mid-day meal? And for those who are sick of the same old sandwich series, it's time to think outside the bread. Whether you're prepping lunch at home or need portable, office-friendly ideas, we've got your protein needs covered.
- Southwest Salmon Salad with Avocado Cilantro Dressing: Flavored with red onions, black beans and creamy avocado cilantro dressing, this light, yet hearty salad adds a southwestern flair to your lunch.
- Margherita Mushroom Pizza: Enjoy all the flavors of your favorite pizza, served inside a protein-packed portobello mushroom.
- Spicy Asian Meatballs: Baked and simmered in a spicy Asian sauce, these are delicious on their own or served over rice and veggies.
- Turkish Lentil Salad: Healthy, tasty and topped with a heavenly honey mustard dressing, this vegan salad will quickly become one of your go-to lunches.
- Pesto Chicken Salad: Who needs bread? This savory salad is yummy enough to eat all on its own, and will keep you satisfied and energized all afternoon.
- Salmon Bowl with Broccoli: The Asian-inspired maple syrup glaze is what sets this protein-packed dish apart.
- Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos: Made with just four ingredients, these tantalizing tacos make a super simple and satisfying lunch.
- Spicy Cashew Nut Chicken: Mixing all types of nuts along with chunks of chicken in a sweet and spicy sauce, this dish will keep your energy up and afternoon cravings at bay.
- Mini Apple-Sage Turkey Meatloaves: These petite loaves are packed with protein and infused with explosive flavor courtesy of apples, onions, garlic, ginger and sage.
- Zucchini and Hummus Wrap: Packed with grilled zucchini, veggies, cheese and hummus, this simple and versatile wrap will make lunch the highlight of your day.
- Lemon Basil Chicken Salad: Wrapped in your favorite fresh greens, the lemon- and basil-flavored chicken mingles deliciously with apples, celery, red onions and cashews.
- Shrimp, Cucumber and Feta Orzo Salad: Crisp, cool and refreshing, this salad keeps you satisfied without weighing you down.
- Chicken Taco Mason Jar Salads: Whip these healthy jar salads together in just 10 minutes for a satisfying grab-and-go lunch.
- Sesame Tuna Lettuce Wraps: Healthy and easy, these flavorful wraps combine albacore tuna with snow peas, carrots and peanuts, wrapped in fresh lettuce.
- Steak Rolls: Looking for a fun, easy way to incorporate more steak into your life? These protein-rich rolls are just as appetizing as they are adorable.
- Curried Tuna Patties: In less than 10 minutes, you'll have a high-protein, low-carb and insanely delicious lunch.
- Vegan Mexican Quinoa Salad: Satisfy your Mexican cravings without the extra calories. This simple vegan quinoa salad can be pre-made for easy weekday lunches.
- Chicken and Mushroom Pilaf: Cauliflower rice is the foundation of this low-carb, gluten-free version of traditional chicken and mushroom pilaf.
- Chickpea Spinach Salad: Chock full of fiber, protein, vitamins and amazing taste, this delightful medley comes together in just seven minutes.
- Thai Chicken and Quinoa Salad Bowl: Loaded with crisp veggies, tender chicken and crunchy almonds, this flavorful, 15-minute salad is packed with protein.
- Swoodles and Shrimp in Roasted Garlic Avocado Cream Sauce: Sweet potatoes are spiralized into "noodles," then topped with shrimp and a flavorful, creamy sauce in this high-protein dish.
- Pho Noodle Salad: This Greek couscous salad can be topped with the protein of your choice, from shredded chicken or steak to fresh shrimp.
- Pulled Tandoori Chicken: Ready in just 20 minutes, this tender pulled chicken is flavored with a mind-blowing tandoori sauce blend.
- Avocado Egg Salad: Not only is it the epitome of yummy, the “good fats” in avocado help to boost metabolism and lower cholesterol. Enjoy it in a whole-wheat tortilla or lettuce wrap.
- Light Lemon Garlic Pasta with Salmon: Light, fresh and healthy, this delicious pasta gets its flavor from olive oil instead of dressing.
- Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili: Prepare this filling and flavorful chili in your slow cooker and store it for grab-and-go weekday lunches.
Which of these would you like to try? What other high-protein dishes can't you live without?