25 Protein-Packed Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

high protein salmon kale caesar salad
Photo Credit: A Saucy Kitchen

March 18, 2021

By Carrie Havranek

Protein, as they say, is the building block of life. That’s not hyperbole. Every single one of our cells contains protein and we need it to repair cells and make new ones. It gives us energy and improves our metabolism by slowing digestion and regulating blood sugar. A high protein meal, in balance with some combination of fats, complex carbohydrates, and fiber, helps us stay full longer and makes us less prone to crashes and cravings.

How much protein you need varies on your sex, your age, your level of activity and more. But no matter how much you need, the important thing is to space out your consumption throughout the day. Most of us eat the majority of our protein at dinner, according to a 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study authors say this imbalanced intake may negatively impact muscle health and metabolic health. Instead, aim to get a good amount of protein — around 20-30 grams — at every meal.

We’ve got you covered with high protein recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:

egg ideas
Photo Credit: Eating Bird Food

High Protein Breakfasts

Eggs are always a good bet: A single egg contains 6 grams of protein, about half in the yolk and half in the whites. Plus, there are endless ways to serve them up. Not into eggs? Try a chickpea scramble in the morning instead. Not only are chickpeas a good source of protein, they also contain vitamin C and zinc, both of which help boost collagen production. Bonus!

high protein lentil salad
Photo Credit: Love and Lemons

High Protein Lunches

There is nothing wrong with PB & J every once in a while. But, it’s never a bad idea to mix things up. These salads, wraps, and foil packs will keep you from getting bored at lunchtime—or skipping lunch altogether. These recipes lean on quick or no-cook proteins such as shrimp and canned tuna or salmon, and proteins you can make ahead of time, such as lentils or turkey.

High-protein dinners
Photo Credit: Budget Bytes

High Protein Dinners

Protein is an easy fit at dinner time and where most of us fit in 60% of our protein. Whether you’re an omnivore or lean toward plant-based eating, these recipes make a complete meal for dinner and great leftovers the next day — on their own or repurposed over greens or cauliflower rice.