26 High-Protein Lunches That Aren't a Sandwich

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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.
  1. 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.

Image via Avocado Pesto
  1. Margherita Mushroom Pizza: Enjoy all the flavors of your favorite pizza, served inside a protein-packed portobello mushroom.

Image via The Cooking Jar
  1. Spicy Asian Meatballs: Baked and simmered in a spicy Asian sauce, these are delicious on their own or served over rice and veggies.

Image via Maebell's
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

Image via Foraged Dish
  1. Salmon Bowl with Broccoli: The Asian-inspired maple syrup glaze is what sets this protein-packed dish apart.

Image via The Cooking Jar
  1. Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos: Made with just four ingredients, these tantalizing tacos make a super simple and satisfying lunch.

Image via Simply Sissom
  1. 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.

Image via The Cooking Jar
  1. 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.

Image via Simply Sissom
  1. 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.

Image via Maebell's
  1. 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.

Image via Tastes Lovely
  1. Shrimp, Cucumber and Feta Orzo Salad: Crisp, cool and refreshing, this salad keeps you satisfied without weighing you down.

Image via Fannetastic Food
  1. Chicken Taco Mason Jar Salads: Whip these healthy jar salads together in just 10 minutes for a satisfying grab-and-go lunch.

Image via The Seasoned Mom
  1. Sesame Tuna Lettuce Wraps: Healthy and easy, these flavorful wraps combine albacore tuna with snow peas, carrots and peanuts, wrapped in fresh lettuce.

Image via Maebell's
  1. 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.

Image via Maebell's
  1. Curried Tuna Patties: In less than 10 minutes, you'll have a high-protein, low-carb and insanely delicious lunch.
  1. 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.

Image via Fannetastic Food
  1. Chicken and Mushroom Pilaf: Cauliflower rice is the foundation of this low-carb, gluten-free version of traditional chicken and mushroom pilaf.
  1. Chickpea Spinach Salad: Chock full of fiber, protein, vitamins and amazing taste, this delightful medley comes together in just seven minutes.
  1. Thai Chicken and Quinoa Salad Bowl: Loaded with crisp veggies, tender chicken and crunchy almonds, this flavorful, 15-minute salad is packed with protein.

Image via The Seasoned Mom
  1. 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.

Image via The Foraged Dish
  1. Pho Noodle Salad: This Greek couscous salad can be topped with the protein of your choice, from shredded chicken or steak to fresh shrimp.
  1. Pulled Tandoori Chicken: Ready in just 20 minutes, this tender pulled chicken is flavored with a mind-blowing tandoori sauce blend.
  1. 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.

Image via The Roasted Root
  1. Light Lemon Garlic Pasta with Salmon: Light, fresh and healthy, this delicious pasta gets its flavor from olive oil instead of dressing.

Image via The Cooking Jar

  1. 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.

Image via The Pretty Bee

Which of these would you like to try? What other high-protein dishes can't you live without?

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KHALIA2 1/5/2019
I will be going on a 21 day Fast with my church. It is called the Daniel Fast, only eating fruits and vegetables. No meat, sugar, or sweets of any kind. Report
RD03875 12/17/2018
They look good, worth trying a couple. Report
MBPP50 12/16/2018
Thank you Report
DIGIT00 12/16/2018
Lots of neat ideas. Report
97MONTY 12/15/2018
Thanks Report
JUCINJU 12/15/2018
These would be better as a dinner for me, as it is not always easy to prep these the day before work, or even have fish/salmon in the office. But great ideas! Report
HEDSTS58 12/15/2018
Some of these look like a good alternative to a sandwich. I pinned it for recipe ideas Report
AKELAZ 12/15/2018
WOW - these look so good! I'm cutting down on carbs and a lot of these will be not only useful but absolutely delicious. Great flavour combos - thank you. Report
These were some great ideas and looked delicious! Definitely going to try next week. Report
I am amazed at how good the combinations of different food can be so exciting, yet healthier. Thanks for sharing..... Report
These all look great. I love the tuna patty. I am definitely going to start adding Chickpeas to my salads for extra protein. Report
A lot of these look fantastic and can be modified easily if need be! Report
Some of these look really good - can't wait to check them out! Report
Recipes look great. These are better as dinners with any leftovers being for lunch the next day. For me, that's more practical than just making these for lunch unless I use them as part of my Sunday meal prep for the week. Report
Recipes look delicious! Report
Great information. I'll have to try some of these recipes. Report
I Love all these recipes. I got hungry just reading article! Report
Thanks -- on a low carb diet, so need some alternatives to sammiches! Report
Looks good, but many are labor intensive. Report
I made similar avocado and tuna. I'll try egg salad next! Report
Does anyone ever have issues with reheating fish like salmon at work? I want to incorporate more in my diet but I don't want to tick off my coworkers either. The salmon bowl looks tasty! Report
That Turkish lentil salad looks amazing, as do the zucchini and hummus wraps! Report
I want a long article for people Sick of salads, salad pictures make me want to barf, so tired of the leaves..... Report
I just had egg whites and avocado in a whole wheat tortilla for breakfast! Trying to incorporate some avocado into my diet as well as increase the protein and healthy fats in my diet. Will check out some of the other recipes here too! Report
Oh my they all look so good and many will work for my picky DH for lunch or dinner! Will be using these.! Report
I love my bread I could never get sick of sandwiches. Report
Saved a few of these to use soon, yum! Report
Good suggestions. Report
Some great suggestions, that I'm going to try. Report
Thanks for posting - these look like amazing recipes ... great ideas for lunch (or anytime actually)... Report
Looks good. Report
great ideas Report
To USMAWIFE: It's wonderful of you to be concerned for those less fortunate but if there were only recipes that the whole world could afford, I think one would be tired of page after page of rice only. Ingredients in the recipes posted can be substituted. Report
great ideas but sadly not everyone can afford these suggestions. Report
I would try over half of them but change the salmon to another fish Report
You can save these to your recipe box, just paste the URL in SP enter recipes section Report
would be awesome if the recipes could be saved to our sparkespeople recipe boxes Report
These all look delightful, and easy enough to make/pack that I have no excuses to not try them all! Report
These look delicious!! Report
This is an exciting article. These look great and I don't know which one to try first. What a great time to share these recipes when I am looking for some great new meals for 2017! Report
I have actually made the Sweet Potato and Quinoa chili (a friend shared the recipe with me a couple of years ago). I used Purple Okinawan sweet potatoes instead of the traditional orange yams, and the calories per 1 cup serving came to about 420 calories. It was really tasty. Report
The recipes look great, but I can't seem to find any link to Sparkpeople. Maybe I'm missing something? When given a choice between manually creating my own grouping and/or a clickable Spark recipe, I'll always choose the latter. Some of them look like they might require some calorie trimming, but I wouldn't know that until I actually enter them in my tracker since no nutrition info is present that I can find. I usually base my menu choices on nutrition content and if there is none, I usually opt for the easier route. Report