50 High Protein Lunch Ideas

1 Comment
17 minutes
October 3, 2022
Carole Jones

It is no secret that protein is extremely important to your diet but for some reason, finding high protein lunch ideas that you look forward to eating, yet aren’t too difficult to prepare can be a hurdle in your healthy eating goals. Each of these 50 high protein recipes will keep you full and energized until dinner.

If we are going to reach the recommended 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, skipping protein at lunch isn’t an option. When you have a proper balance of important nutrients in all three meals of your day, you have so much more energy because your blood sugar levels don’t go crazy.

So, here we go my friend…50 of the best high protein lunch ideas to get your new year started right!

15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls - high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Caitlin Bensel

1. 15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls

Packed with 36 grams of protein from chicken breasts, chickpeas, Greek yogurt, and fresh veggies, these bowls can be prepped ahead of time making them an easy grab-and-go lunch.

Print the recipe here: 15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls from Cooking Light

high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Carole Jones

2. Chicken Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Chicken Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing is a favorite summertime dinner when it is just too dang hot to cook! I love the feta cheese and toasted almonds on top of this chicken poppyseed salad. They add the perfect saltiness and crunch.

Print the recipe here: Chicken Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing by Carole Jones

Mediterranean Chicken and Couscous Bowls - high protein lunch
Credit: Caitlin Bensel

3. Mediterranean Chicken and Couscous Bowls

One bowl alone provides over 35 grams of protein. It includes your favorite Mediterranean flavors with a combination of chicken, feta cheese, tomatoes, red onion and cucumbers. And don’t forget that tangy sauce as well! Meal prep doesn’t get much more simple.

Print the recipe here: Mediterranean Chicken and Couscous Bowls from Cooking Light

high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Carole Jones

4. Mango Shrimp Sushi Bowl

This gorgeous shrimp sushi bowl recipe is done in a few minutes and packed with flavor! The soy ginger sauce coats every bite with a delicious finishing touch, along with those crunchy almonds.

Print the recipe here: Mango Shrimp Sushi Bowl from Carole Jones

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Veggie Wraps - high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Jennifer Causey

5. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Veggie Wraps

You better believe that this vegetarian wrap can still pack a powerful 28 grams of protein! It is packed with vegetables, goat cheese, and hummus and you will love how easy they are to prepare.

Print the recipe here: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Veggie Wraps from Cooking Light

50 High Protein Lunch Ideas
Credit: Carole Jones

6. Healthy Smoked Sausage and Roasted Vegetables

This healthy dinner of Smoked Sausage and Roasted Vegetables gets tossed together on a sheet pan before roasting in the oven. Loaded with chicken or turkey sausage, baby potatoes, asparagus, and brussel sprouts. You will not only adore how amazing it tastes, but how quickly it all comes together as well!

Print the recipe here: Healthy Smoked Sausage and Roasted Vegetables from Carole Jones

Ham and cheese sliders - high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Averie Cooks

7. Easy Hawaiian Roll Sliders

Baked juicy ham and Swiss nestled in soft Hawaiian rolls and brushed with a buttery Dijon, onion, and poppy seed topping!! If you are looking for comfort food in your high-protein diet, this is a delicious way to do it.

Print the recipe here: Ham and Cheese Sliders by Averie Cooks

quick chili recipe - healthy lunch idea
Credit: Carole Jones

8. Quick Beef Chili

A quick chili recipe can save the day on a busy, cold weeknight! My homemade beef chili recipe comes together with just three ingredients and some simple spices.  Ready for dinner in 15 minutes or less so you can carry on with the craziness of life? This easy chili will get you past your family’s demand for a tasty, healthy dinner….especially if you throw in some cornbread.

Print the recipe here: Quick Beef Chili Recipe from Carole Jones

spicy salmon bowl for lunch
Credit: Parker Feierbach

9. Spicy Salmon Bowl

There is something magical about grain bowls. They are perfect for meal prepping and packing up for lunches. All of the components are great on their own, and once they’re tossed together, they somehow become even better. This spicy salmon bowl has all of our favorite things, brown rice, avocado, pickles, and a spicy sauce.

Print the recipe here: Spicy Salmon Bowl by Delish

Fish tacos for high protein lunch idea
Credit: Carole Jones

10. Fish Tacos

Fish is loaded with healthy fats, along with the fresh avocado you can slice on top! Love the shredded cabbage and red onions on top for the needed crunch factor. This midday meal is light, yet filling enough to keep you full until dinner. And yes, you can convert this to fried fish if you like that option better for your high protein lunch ideas.

Print the recipe here: Fish Tacos from Carole Jones

Burrata Salad for lunch
Credit: Jon Cospito

11. Burrata Salad with Asparagus and Snap Peas

The perfect summer salad with 18 grams of protein per serving and loaded with stone fruit, fresh burrata cheese, asparagus and sugar snap peas. Don’t dismiss this simple genius until you try it!

Print the recipe here: Burrata Salad with Asparagus and Snap Peas by Pure Wow

Grilled salmon
Credit: Carole Jones

12. Healthy Grilled Salmon Marinade

A deliciously addictive healthy salmon marinade you can use in the summer on the grill, or directly in your oven. Loaded with tons of flavor because no one likes boring salmon for dinner. This is also delicious on top of your favorite salad as well!

Print the recipe here: Healthy Grilled Salmon Marinade by Carole Jones

Enchilada bake for lunch idea
Credit: Carole Jones

13. Layered Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Bake

This Layered Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole only has FIVE ingredients and is so easy to make! It our family’s personal favorite high protein meals loaded with beans, chicken, and cheddar cheese. Bake up a recipe, then portion them into containers for the whole week.

Print the recipe here: Layered Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Bake by Carole Jones

Mediterranean white bean salad
Credit: The Mediterranean Dish

14. Easy White Bean Salad

Simple white bean salad loaded with bright Mediterranean flavors! Canned beans, chopped veggies, and fresh herbs tossed together in one big bowl. No fancy dressing here, a squeeze of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil is all you need for one of these high-protein meals.

Print the recipe here: Easy White Bean Salad by The Mediterranean Dish

roasted chicken salad for healthy lunch idea
Credit: Carole Jones

15. Roasted Chicken Salad

Roasted Chicken Salad is always a favorite for our family when we are trying to eat healthy without feeling deprived! Most chicken salads are loaded with mayonnaise but this recipe not only makes a large batch, but the calorie count is only 163 per half cup serving. Roasting the chicken gives the meat such an amazing flavor

Print the recipe here: Roasted Chicken Salad by Carole Jones

Asian Ramen Chicken Salad - high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Carole Jones

16. Asian Ramen Chicken Salad

This easy meal is so amazing with fresh napa cabbage, chicken, and toasted almonds and ramen noodles. Plus, it comes together in just a few minutes and uses only a few ingredients! If you’ve never had a napa cabbage salad before, you are in for a treat because you only think you don’t like cabbage. Napa cabbage will change your mind instantly!

Print the recipe here: Asian Ramen Chicken Salad by Carole Jones

three bean taco salad for lunch

17. Three Bean Taco Salad

You can’t say there isn’t enough protein in this salad with ground beef, black beans, refried beans, and chili beans….which are basically pinto beans in a chili powder sauce. This is one of the first meals my kids learned to prepare on their own so you know it is easy prep.

Print the recipe here: Three Bean Taco Salad by Carole Jones

chicken and barley soup
Credit: Carole Jones

18. Chicken Barley and Cabbage Soup

Looking to up your protein intake in the winter time? This soup is simple ingredients that come together in one of my favorite healthy high protein lunch ideas for when it is cold outside.

Print the recipe here: Chicken Barely and Cabbage Soup by Carole Jones

Candied pecan chicken salad
Credit: Carole Jones

18. Candied Pecan Chicken Salad

This is a copycat recipe I created years ago after eating at one of my favorite restaurants in Minnesota. After having the salad for the first time, the next day I was experimenting to recreate it. That was 15+ years ago and this is still one of my favorite high protein lunch ideas.

Print the recipe here: Candied Pecan Chicken Salad by Carole Jones

chicken lettuce wraps for high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Carole Jones

20. Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Looking for some extra protein without extra carbs? These lettuce wraps are a great way to meet those needs because one serving is 30 grams of protein. If you love the PF Chang dish, you will adore this one just as much….or maybe even more.

Print the recipe here: Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps by Carole Jones

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwiches  - high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Eating Well

21. Avocado Egg Salad Sandwiches

Lighten up classic egg salad by swapping in creamy avocado instead of using mayonnaise. Sandwich it between toasted whole-wheat bread and you’ve got an easy, packable lunch ready for work or school with 17 grams of protein per sandwich.

Print the recipe here: Avocado Egg Salad Sandwiches by Eating Well

Shrimp tacos - high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Carole Jones

22. Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa Verde

This is one of those delicious meals you just can’t put down! Smoky chipotle is perfectly balanced with the avocado salsa. While it definitely is perfect for your high-protein dinners, they work just as well for lunches as well.

Print the recipe here: Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa Verde by Carole Jones

Italian pin wheels - protein lunches
Credit: Liz Andrew

23. Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwiches

We all know a wrap is always better than two slices of bread, especially when the protein clocks in at 41 grams! The added veggies provide the perfect crunch for your lunch. Hands down, one of the fastest high protein lunch ideas in this collection.

Print the recipe here: Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwich by Pure Wow

sweet potato soup - high protein lunch idea
Credit: KrispxKristin

24. Sweet Potato and Chick Pea Soup

A perfect fall lunch in soup form and the combination of sweet potatoes and chick peas provide a ton of plant based protein for your meal. The directions are for cooking on the stove, but this could easily be made in an instant pot or slow cooker to save time.

Print the recipe here: Sweet Potato and Chick Pea Soup by KrispxKristin

Green bean salad with eggs
Credit: Diethood

25. Green Bean and Egg Salad with Garlic Parmesan Vinaigrette

A simple salad of green beans, eggs and bacon tossed with an amazing Garlic Parmesan Vinaigrette. This is Spring in a salad bowl with 12 grams of protein per serving.

Print the recipe here: Green Bean and Egg Salad with Garlic Parmesan Vinaigrette by Diethood

Brie grilled cheese
Credit: Carole Jones

26. Grilled Cheese with Brie, Pear, Bacon & Caramelized Onion

This grilled cheese with brie is a favorite family 15 minute meal that tastes fabulous! It’s no ordinary sandwich because it also adds pear for sweetness, bacon for a salty crunch, & caramelized onions for the perfect finish. You won’t believe how mind-blowing these are!

Print the recipe here: Grilled Cheese with Brie, Pear, Bacon & Caramelized Onion by Carole Jones

Vegetarian burrto bowls
Credit: A Couple Cooks

27. Vegetarian Burrito Bowls with Cauliflower Rice

This low-carb vegetarian burrito bowl with cauliflower rice is a delicious way to eat more vegetables! It’s Whole 30 vegetarian and customizable for all diets.

Print the recipe here: Vegetarian Burrito Bowls with Cauliflower Rice by A Couple Cooks

Egg Quesadillas
Credit: Cookin Canuck

28. Egg & Avocado Quesadilla

Packed with 19 grams of protein, this breakfast carry-over meal is perfect for lunch or dinner! Super quick and packed with flavor! Let’s be honest, there are a ton of breakfast foods that make great high protein lunch ideas as well.

Print the recipe here: Egg & Avocado Quesadilla by Cookin Canuck

Lentil wraps for lunch
Credit: Simple Veganista

29. Spicy Lentil & Quinoa Wraps

If you are a fan of Trader Joe’s spicy red lentil wraps, you will LOVE these Spicy Quinoa-Lentil Wraps with tahini sauce! They’re easy to make and are great for meal prep! Plus, the tahini dipping sauce is the perfect condiment.

Print the recipe here: Spicy Lentil & Quinoa Wraps by Simple Veganista

50 high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Running with Spoons

30. Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos

These sweet potato nachos are made with seasoned baked rounds topped with black beans, jalapeños, onions, cheese, salsa, and guacamole for an easy vegetarian, Mexican-inspired meal that’s way healthier than traditional nachos.

Print the recipe here: Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos by Running with Spoons

50 high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Carole Jones

31. Black Bean Butternut Squash Flatbread

Easy Black Bean Butternut Squash Flatbread is ready in 15 minutes and uses the amazing whole food resources of the frozen food section of your local grocery store! The fresh avocado slices and cilantro lime crema on top makes the perfect topping for these naan flatbreads. You will be amazed that a vegetarian dish could be so delicious and satisfying!

Print the recipe here: Black Bean Butternut Squash Flatbread by Carole Jones

steak and blue cheese salad
Credit: Slow the Cook Down

32. Steak Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

This steak salad recipe is so full of flavor and easy to make. Flank steak is marinated in lemon juice and quickly cooked in garlic butter and paired with simple fresh salad. Dressed in a delicious creamy blue cheese sauce, this is not your regular salad recipe! It comes together in less than 20 minutes.

Print the recipe here: Steak Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing by Slow the Cook Down

Shrimp mango salad as a high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Running to the Kitchen

33. Shrimp Avocado Mango Salad

This shrimp avocado mango lime salad is bursting with light summer flavors. The best part is you can have it ready in just 10 minutes for an easy lunch or light dinner.

Print the recipe here: Shrimp Avocado & Mango Salad by Running to the Kitchen

Asian chicken salad
Credit: Key to My Lime

34. Chinese Sesame Chicken Salad

This beauty is both loaded with protein and is low carb as well! The Asian dressing has a hint of sweetness that pairs perfectly with the chicken, avocado, veggies, and almonds.

Print the recipe here: Chinese Sesame Chicken Salad by Key to My Lime

50 High Protein Lunch Ideas
Credit: Carole Jones

35. Mediterranean Veggie Quesadilla

This Mediterranean Veggie Quesadilla is one of my favorite quick lunches when I think there is nothing to make. It uses a few frozen veggies and pantry staples and is done is less than 15 minutes! I like to think of these as feta cheese quesadillas but they do use mozzarella cheese as well. You can never have enough cheese!

Print the recipe here: Mediterranean Veggie Quesadilla by Carole Jones

Beef nacho casserole lunch idea
Credit: Carole Jones

36. Easy Beef Nacho Casserole

This nacho bake is loaded with ground beef, black beans, corn, cheese and corn tortilla chips. It makes one big pan so you can eat it all week long for lunch!

Print the recipe here: Easy Beef Nacho Casserole by Carole Jones

Vegetarian Panini - high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Carole Jones

37. Italian Vegetarian Panini

I love this vegetarian panini recipe because not only is it healthy, but it is loaded with Italian flavors, provolone cheese and basil pesto.  This sandwich is especially delicious if you happen to have some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes on hand!

Print the recipe here: Italian Vegetarian Panini by Carole Jones

Avocado BLT salad
Credit: Carole Jones

38. Avocado and Feta BLT Salad

Super quick and super delicious, especially when the tomatoes are ripe from the garden. The vinaigrette dressing is the perfect finishing touch on this high protein lunch ideas.

Print the recipe here: Avocado and Feta BLT Salad by Carole Jones

Chicken burrito bowls - lunch meal prep
Credit: Jar of Lemons

39. Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls

These Meal Prep Chicken Burrito Bowls (southwest edition) are pretty easy to make! They only take about 30 minutes to put together. They’re great for lunch on the go or for a quick and easy dinner for busy weeknights!

Print the recipe here: Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls by Jar of Lemons

chicken fried rice for lunch
Credit: Carole Jones

40. Chicken Fried Rice

A lunch recipe that will turn out better than take-out from your favorite Chinese restaurant!  Loaded with veggies and chicken, then finished with some egg for tons of protein. The recipe also includes the best tricks and tips to make sure this turns out perfectly every time.  

Print the recipe here: Chicken Fried Rice by Carole Jones

Southwest chicken soup - high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Carole Jones

41. Southwest Chicken Soup

This hearty lunch is ready in 15 minutes and will last you all week long! Loaded with chicken, black beans, corn, and green chiles for all the best Mexican flavors.

Print the recipe here: Southwest Chicken Soup by Carole Jones

homemade mac and cheese for lunch
Credit: Carole Jones

42. Homemade Mac and Cheese

If you love a good comfort food like pasta, you can’t go wrong with some mac and cheese made from scratch. It is SO much better than the orange stuff in a box and it is loaded with protein.

Print the recipe here: Homemade Mac and Cheese by Carole Jones

Beef and barley soup - high protein lunch idea
Credit: Carole Jones

43. Beef and Barley Soup

This is winter comfort in a bowl…after bowl…after bowl. And each bowl boasts 27 grams of protein plus that barley is whole grain deliciousness. The prep time is short but it does take a bit of time for it to simmer on the stove but a batch of this can be easily frozen into servings you can pull out before heading off to work in the morning.

Print the recipe here: Beef and Barley Soup by Carole Jones

Avocado toast - healthy lunch ideas
Credit: Jar of Lemons

44. Avocado and Goat Cheese Toast

Looking for a quick and healthy lunch idea? It’s so delicious and only takes 5 minutes to make. Topped with goat cheese spread, fresh avocado, arugula, grape tomatoes, and sprinkled with a dash of salt and pepper!

Print the recipe here: Avocado and Goat Cheese Toast by Jar of Lemons

Thai chicken salad - high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Carole Jones

45. Thai Chicken Salad

Thai Chicken Salad is hands-down the best salad I have ever made!  Fresh, healthy greens combine with grilled and marinated chicken, veggies, peanuts, a spicy Thai peanut sauce and sweet chili dressing.

Print the recipe here: Thai Chicken Salad by Carole Jones

italian stuffed mushrooms - high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Carole Jones

46. Italian Stuffed Mushrooms

These easy Italian Stuffed Mushrooms are little gems of amazingness! Each one is loaded with sausage, spinach, garlic, and parmesan cheese…making each bite pure perfection. 

Print the recipe here: Italian Stuffed Mushrooms by Carole Jones

Shrimp quesadilla for healthy lunch idea
Credit: Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

47. Chipotle Shrimp Quesadilla

This quesadilla is plenty cheesy with the abundance of spicy shrimp and caramelized vegetables for less than 350 calories and tons of protein to keep you satisfied until dinner. 

Get the recipe here: Chipotle Shrimp Quesadilla by Eat This

Italian Tuna melt - high protein lunch
Credit: Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

48. Italian Tuna Melt

This recipe is fast and easy, and the ingredients are tasty, yet affordable, and they are even nonperishable, so you can keep extras on hand as a go-to during a particularly packed or stressful day, and your waistline won’t suffer a bit.

Print the recipe here: Italian Tuna Melt by Eat This

Waffle Iron Turkey Melt Panini - lunch ideas
Credit: Cooking Light

49. Waffle Iron Turkey Panini

Who needs a panini press when you have a waffle iron to make a delicious hot and crusty sandwich that is packed with 33 grams of protein. A hot, cheesy sandwich is the comfort food version of high protein lunch ideas.

Print the recipe here: Waffle Iron Turkey Panini by Cooking Light

walking taco - high protein lunch ideas
Credit: Carole Jones

50. Walking Tacos

This concept is simple, stuff all your favorite taco toppings into a bag of Doritos or Fritos and eat it all with a fork. But you don’t have to walk when you eat it….enjoy your protein packed lunch sitting down 🙂

Print the recipe here: Walking Tacos by Carole Jones

Need even more high protein lunch ideas?

If you are trying to get off the junk food wagon at lunch time, there are so many natural sources of protein to help you feel full and build muscle mass and each of these are even quicker than these recipes. All the foods below can be eaten when time is even shorter than normal for meal prep:

Nuts

Cheese

Jerky

Hard boiled eggs

Greek yogurt

Edamame

Hummus

Lunch meat

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Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.

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