Dietitians will tell you that if you want to maintain good health (and/or lose weight), incorporating protein at every meal is key. That’s because protein helps you feel full, which means you’ll be more satisfied after a meal and less likely to overeat or snack mindlessly between meals.
Some people excel at meal planning and are always prepared with the right ingredients for a quick and healthy lunch. But for others, the day gets busy and suddenly you look up at 2 p.m., realize you’re starving, and reach for the most convenient option (we’re looking at you, PB&J!). If the latter sounds like you, then finding high-protein lunch recipes that are easy to make is essential.
Whether or not you’re eating protein for weight loss, this nutrient has a multitude of benefits and functions for your body, including, as mentioned, the ability to help keep you full for longer periods of time.
How high-protein lunches can keep you full
It takes longer to digest: Protein takes longer for your body to digest versus things like refined carbohydrates, which means your body will be able to use it as energy for longer periods of time.
Protein regulates hunger hormones: When you eat protein, it helps reduce your body’s levels of ghrelin, which is a hormone responsible for making you hungry.
As you can see, eating a high-protein lunch can help you stay full until it’s time for dinner, and it can help you avoid the frustrating cravings that sometimes strike during an afternoon slump at work. Ahead, you’ll find some of our favorite original recipes, plus ideas for dietitian-approved meals with ingredients that you can throw together and customize to your liking. Keep reading to get inspired with 15 high-protein lunch ideas perfect for every day of the week.
Protein Punch: 21 grams
Ingredients: Whole wheat bread, turkey, cucumber, tomato, bacon, romaine lettuce, low-fat ranch dressing.
When you think “protein,” you may assume that you’ll need a meat-heavy dish in order to fill your plate with this important macro. The good news is that if you’re more in the mood for a light, refreshing-yet-filling salad for lunch, you can get around 21 grams with this Turkey BLT Salad—a spin on the classic sandwich but with even more greens.
Get our recipe for Turkey BLT Salad.
Protein Punch: 32 grams
Ingredients: Fresh tuna, wasabi, scallions, ginger, olive oil mayonnaise, low-sodium soy sauce, whole wheat bun (like Dave’s Killer Bread).