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13 Flavorful High-Protein Lunch Ideas

March 8, 2024
Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

When you think about lunch at work or on the go, you probably choose the quickest and easiest option. But with a little planning and meal prep, you can make lunches that will help you stick to your daily protein-intake goals — and we don’t just mean plain chicken salads. 

Here are our favorite, flavorful high-protein lunch ideas. You’ll look forward to eating them, and they’ll you a boost of energy for a strong and productive afternoon. 

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1. Creamy Ranch Protein Pasta Salad

High-Protein Lunch Ideas, Ranch Pasta, Courtesy of Nourished by Nic

Courtesy of Nourished by Ni

Instead of tossing ranch on yet another pile of romaine, try this pasta salad, which is rich in protein thanks to chickpea pasta. Plus, Greek yogurt in the dressing adds even more protein. Use your favorite chopped veggies, such as cucumbers and peppers, and finish with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Try this recipe from Nourished by Nic.

2. Protein Snack Packs

High-Protein Lunch Ideas, Snack Packs, Courtesy of The Forked Spoon

Courtesy of The Forked Spoon

You can pick up a protein-rich snack pack at your local coffee place – but making it yourself is more economical, and you control the ingredients. Fill yours with vegetables, dip, and your favorite protein sources, like hard-boiled eggs, cheese, deli meat, or even leftover chicken from last night’s dinner.

Try this recipe from The Forked Spoon.

3. Chicken Bowl with Cashew Lime Crema

High-Protein Lunch Ideas, Chicken Bowl with Lime Crema, Courtesy of A Sweet Pea Chef

Courtesy of A Sweet Pea Chef

Spicy chicken and black beans are the stars of this filling bowl. Make it as is, or cut down on cooking time with pre-cooked brown rice. The cashew lime crema adds a pop of color and bright flavor thanks to the garlic, cilantro, and lime.

Try this recipe from A Sweet Pea Chef.

4. Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa

High-Protein Lunch Ideas, Garlic Shrimp Quinoa, Courtesy of WellPlated

Courtesy of WellPlated

Try this one-pan garlic shrimp with quinoa – it’s ready in just 30 minutes. Quinoa is a hearty fiber- and protein-rich base that’s perfect for a high-protein lunch. Shrimp is a tasty quick-cooking protein that’s loaded with key nutrients like vitamin B12. 

Try this recipe from WellPlated.

5. Turkey Cobb Salad

Turkey Cobb Salad, Courtesy of Downshiftology

Courtesy of Downshiftology

Count on a Cobb salad to supply plenty of protein. This version features turkey, bacon, and hard-boiled eggs on a spinach base, with butternut squash and cranberries for a little sweetness. Tip: Make the components in advance, so all you have to do at lunchtime is quickly assemble.

Try this recipe from Downshiftology.

6. Buffalo Chicken Wraps

High-Protein Lunch Ideas, Buffalo Chicken Wraps, Courtesy of Insanely Good

Courtesy of Insanely Good

This bacon and chicken buffalo wrap is an ideal lunch for buffalo sauce lovers. Instead of flour, use whole-grain or almond flour tortillas for additional fiber and nutrients. The buffalo sauce adds the perfect amount of heat, while the tomatoes contrast with a burst of sweetness.

Try this recipe from Insanely Good.

Related: 6 High Fiber Crockpot Recipes Dietitians Love

7. Salmon Stir Fry

High-Protein Lunch Ideas, Salmon Stir Fry, Courtesy of All Nutritious

Courtesy of All Nutritious

Why order takeout when you can whip up an easy high-protein lunch of salmon stir fry in 30 minutes? Combine salmon with vegetables you have on hand and sauté in soy sauce and sesame oil, with a touch of honey for natural sweetness. Serve over white or brown rice to soak up the sauce.

Try this recipe from All Nutritious.

8. Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad, Courtesy of She Likes Food

Courtesy of She Likes Food

Vegetarians need protein-packed lunch options, too. Try this quinoa salad, which only takes 15 minutes to make and packs 24 grams of protein. Combine chickpeas and diced red peppers, cucumbers, red onion, and tomatoes with feta cheese, and fold into cooked quinoa. For even more protein, top with a hard-boiled egg or two.

Try this recipe from She Likes Food.

9. Chicken Caesar Wrap

High-Protein Lunch Ideas, Chicken Caesar Wrap, Courtesy of Lauren Fit Foodie

Courtesy of Lauren Fit Foodie

This easy go-to recipe only has 8 ingredients and takes just 10 minutes to make, perfect for a busy lunchtime. Combine lettuce, shredded chicken, and light Caesar dressing in a tortilla, roll it up, and you’re good to go. Use almond flour tortillas for even more protein and fiber.

Try this recipe from Lauren Fit Foodie.

10. Chicken Teriyaki Bowl

High-Protein Lunch Ideas, Chicken Teriyaki Bowl, Courtesy of FeelGoodFoodie

Courtesy of FeelGoodFoodie

Here’s a satisfying bowl that will motivate you to get up from your desk to eat lunch. With 29 grams of protein (and 4 grams of fiber, thanks to broccoli), plus a tangy sauce, this meal will keep you full for hours. Tip: Swap brown rice for cauliflower rice if you want to keep the carbs light at lunchtime.

Try this recipe from FeelGoodFoodie

11. Cheeseburger Bowl

Cheeseburger Bowl, Courtesy of Fresh Apron

Courtesy of Fresh Apron

There are a few ways to enjoy a cheeseburger for lunch, and this one might just be our favorite. Along with ground beef, bacon, and cheese for protein, there’s a generous amount of vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and onion to fuel your day. Tip: Try ground turkey instead, if you prefer it.

Try this recipe from Fresh Apron.

12. Smoked Salmon BLT

High-Protein Lunch Ideas, Smoked Salmon BLT, Courtesy of Foxes Love Lemons

Courtesy of Foxes Love Lemons

Salmon is high in protein, and since this recipe calls for smoked, you don’t have to cook it, just pile it on the sandwich. Tip: If you’re watching your sodium intake, forgo the smoked salmon and make a salmon salad instead, with canned fish, a little mayo, and some chopped celery for crunch.

Try this recipe from Foxes Love Lemons.

13. Sweet and Spicy Sesame Chicken Meatball Bowls

Sesame Chicken Meatball Bowls, Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

Meatballs are a meal-prep classic, and these are super tasty. The sweet and spicy ginger-sesame sauce wakes up ground chicken, and crisp broccoli adds fiber. Serve over coconut rice for extra flavor.

Try this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen

Read Next: The 6 Best Plant-Based Protein Sources To Add to Your Diet

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