Getting enough protein in your lunches doesn’t have to be a chore. Lean meats, eggs, cheeses, lentils, and beans are just some of the easy options to add to almost any meal.

A pan full of colorful stuffed peppers — a tasty and high protein lunch option. Share on Pinterest
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As one of three essential macronutrients, our bodies rely on protein for so many vital functions. From supporting tissue growth to sending chemical messages to balancing our bodies’ pH, there’s a reason why we call proteins the “building blocks of life.”

Because protein is a necessary part of human metabolism, it’s essential to ensure we’re feeding our bodies enough protein through our food. One of the easiest ways is by filling our plates with protein-rich ingredients and food choices — even when things get busy during the day.

Ahead, we’ll explore some of our favorite recipe ideas for high protein lunch foods and share a few meal planning resources to make prepping high protein lunches easier.

Gaining weight isn’t always an easy task, especially when you’re trying to find a healthy balance between nutrients and calories. Focusing on a mix of lean and fatty proteins, protein-rich carbs, and foods rich in healthy fats is one way to meet your weight gain goals.

If you’re looking for a few new recipes to add to your weekly lunch rotation, consider giving these high calorie and high protein options a try:

  • Coconut Curry Shrimp: You can increase the calories and protein in this recipe by using full-fat coconut milk and adding diced chicken breast or thighs.
  • Turkey Burgers With Lime Mayo: Ground turkey, whole grain bread, and potatoes keep the protein levels high in this healthy lunch option.
  • The Best White Chicken Chili: If you want an extra boost of calories in this protein-packed lunch, use full-fat cream cheese and add a side of tortilla chips.

When you’re on a weight loss journey, protein plays a crucial role in keeping you full between meals, especially when you’re cutting calories. Instead of filling up with carbs, try and prioritize lean proteins, fiber-rich vegetables, and heart-healthy fats.

If weight loss is part of your current health plan, here are a few quick and easy lunch recipes that are lower in calories but higher in protein:

  • Healthy Cobb Salad: Grilled chicken and boiled eggs provide plenty of protein alongside heart-healthy fats from the veggies and dressing.
  • Egg Roll-Inspired Cabbage Rolls: You can bump up fiber and protein in this recipe even more by adding a side of brown rice.
  • Chicken Avocado Black Bean Salad: Enjoy this salad by itself or serve it with a side of low calorie veggie tortilla chips or a whole grain tortilla wrap.

Plant-based protein sources are more popular than ever right now, and many of these proteins are a powerhouse of nutrients. Even vegetarian and vegan lunch options focusing on simple ingredients can still allow you to meet your protein goals easily.

If your style of eating is primarily plant-based, whether vegan or otherwise, these meat-free recipes are a great protein-rich addition to any weekly meal plan:

  • Vegan Taco Salad: This Southwest-inspired recipe features plenty of plant-based protein sources, plus enough fiber to keep you satisfied until dinner.
  • Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers: You can easily incorporate your favorite plant-based crumbles into these peppers’ filling for even more protein.
  • Chickpea Veggie Burgers: Chickpeas are the star of this protein-rich plant-based lunch option — although the fresh veggies come in at a close second.

As a parent, you might know just how picky kids can be when it comes to food — especially younger kids. Getting more protein onto your child’s plate involves finding kid-friendly recipes that will allow you to make high protein substitutions.

If you’ve been trying to find ways to sneak more protein into your kid’s lunches, here are a few quick and easy customizable ideas you can try:

  • BBQ Chicken Wrap: This high protein chicken lunch wrap features kid-friendly flavors that even the pickiest lunch eaters might enjoy.
  • Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups: Deli turkey, shredded cheese, and cream cheese provide a great protein-packed filling for these whole grain roll-ups.
  • Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas: You can also easily hide extra veggies, like beans and sweet peppers, in this cheesy, beefy quesadilla.

Simplify your lunchtime with meal planning

As busy adults with too many responsibilities, it’s not always easy to find the time and energy to make high protein recipes from scratch. Luckily, there’s a little thing called meal planning — and it’s the key to having homemade meals ready to go whenever you need them.

Whether you’re completely new to meal planning or just looking for some tips to help spark new ideas, here are some helpful resources you can check out:

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Eating enough protein can be hard — but it’s much easier when you’ve got a solid list of high protein lunch foods that you can enjoy at home or on the go.

If you’re trying to increase your protein intake throughout the day, consider adding some of the protein-rich recipes above to your meal plan. For more high protein recipes you can try, check out these 12 high protein breakfast ideas and 30 healthy and high protein snacks.