34 High-Protein Lunches That Are Simple, Satisfying and Scrumptious

·9 min read

If your lunch typically looks like a handful of pretzels or whatever snacks your kids didn’t finish, you’re not alone. All it takes is a little planning to ensure that your stomach isn’t grumbling again at 3 p.m. Here are 34 high-protein lunches that are packed with satisfying ingredients that will keep you full until dinnertime.

RELATED: 28 High-Protein Breakfast Ideas That Will Keep You Full ’Til Lunchtime

1. 20-Minute Paleo Egg Roll in a Bowl (21g protein)

All the essentials of the savory filling, minus the fried shell. The recipe calls for ground pork, but you can easily substitute ground turkey or chicken.

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2. Buffalo Tuna Melt (47g protein)

Canned tuna to the rescue! Odds are you already have the ingredients you need in your fridge and pantry for this creamy, spicy handheld.

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3. Rotisserie Chicken Ramen (32g protein)

Store-bought rotisserie chicken just might be our favorite shortcut in the book. It’s affordable, lasts a long time and can be easily shredded and transformed into a ton of different dishes. Case in point: a 35-minute bowl of ramen, complete with a jammy egg.

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4. Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Curried Lentils, Carrot and Yogurt (16g protein)

Meat is most definitely not a requirement when it comes to high-protein lunches. In this vegetarian stunner, red lentils and Greek yogurt hold down the fort.

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5. Avocado and Black Bean Pasta Salad (18g protein)

This picnic-ready side follows suit by bulking up on protein with canned black beans, diced avocados and corn instead of meat or fish.

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6. Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwiches (41g protein)

Sure, you could slap some deli meat and cheese between two slices of bread and call it lunch. But don’t these pinwheel wraps look a million times more appetizing? We’ll take extra pepperoncini with ours, please.

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7. Cauliflower Fried Rice (13g protein)

Not only is this recipe impressively filling (shoutout to you, fried egg), but it’s also lower in carbs than the original, thanks to cauliflower rice.

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8. Keto Steak and Blue Cheese Salad for One (24g protein)

Grilling a few flank steaks at your next barbecue? Save a few ounces for the next day, so the simple salad will take no more than five minutes to assemble.

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9. Chicken and Snap Pea Stir-Fry (20g protein)

Once you have the chicken breast and produce on hand, the rest is all pantry staples. Serve it atop a bed of steamed white rice with an extra sprinkling of sesame seeds and cilantro.

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10. 10-Minute Macaroni and Cheese in a Mug (29g protein)

How is it possible, you ask? Chalk it up to your magical microwave. Just combine the basics in a big mug, nuke it until the pasta is tender, then stir in the sauce ingredients until melted.

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11. 20-Minute Burrata Salad with Stone Fruit and Asparagus (18g protein)

It can double as a stunning centerpiece, but that doesn’t mean it’s tough to pull off. You can even blanch the asparagus and snap peas a day ahead, so all you have to do before lunchtime is assemble them with peaches, plums, cherries and cheese.

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12. Meal-Prep Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles (33g protein)

Good-for-you veggies. Juicy ground turkey. Your favorite marinara sauce. All the Parmesan cheese. Any questions?

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13. Rainbow Collard Wraps with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce (15g protein)

The dipping sauce is sweet, zingy and creamy, so even your kids won’t mind finding all those veggies in their lunchbox as long as they can dunk their hearts out.

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14. Ginger-Pineapple Shrimp Stir-Fry (15g protein)

Shrimp is a total weekday warrior when it comes to making fast, filling meals. It cooks up in mere minutes, is super versatile and is basically pure, low-calorie protein.

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15. Tomato Salad with Grilled Halloumi and Herbs (9g protein)

Whether you pop the slabs of salty halloumi cheese on the outdoor grill or a grill pan, this simple, summery dish will win your heart at first bite. Ditch your laptop and enjoy your lunch alfresco—you deserve it.

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16. Mini Chicken Shawarma (22g protein)

These cuties are equal parts hearty, refreshing and creamy. Might we suggest upping the vinegary ante by crowning each pita with a mound of pickled red onions?

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17. Quick Guacamole Quinoa Salad (15g protein)

If there’s guac on it, we want it in our bellies, stat. Nutritious quinoa, canned black beans and crisp romaine lettuce are a much healthier vehicle for it than tortilla chips.

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18. 15-Minute Mediterranean Couscous with Tuna and Pepperoncini (30g protein)

Tinned fish does it again with this lightning-fast dish that looks way more complicated than it is. Once the couscous is fluffy and cooked through, all that’s left to do is toss together the mix-ins, like briny capers and juicy cherry tomatoes.

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19. Buffalo Chicken Wraps with Blue Cheese and Celery (36g protein)

Using diced store-bought rotisserie chicken makes assembly a breeze. If you’re a fan of meal prep, slice the meat, toss it in the buttery Buffalo sauce and store it in the fridge to add to wraps, pasta, salads and more throughout the week.

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20. Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Stuffed Peppers (60g protein)

Personally, we never show up to a cookout without these vibrant gems in hand. The chicken salad is mayo-free but still just as creamy: Greek yogurt and Dijon mustard get the job done on their own.

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21. Easy Homemade Hummus with Za’atar Pita Chips (11g protein)

Store-bought hummus is our go-to on days when we don’t have spare time to cook, since it’s made from protein-rich chickpeas. But TBH, it’s way cheaper to make it yourself, and it’ll only take you 15 minutes—fresh pita chips included.

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22. Crispy Tofu Bánh Mì (30g protein)

Our twist on the traditional Vietnamese sandwich stars fried tofu instead of roast pork. It’s dredged and coated in sesame seeds for extra crunch. (Oh, and you’ll want to save the pickled carrots, cukes and radishes to put on *everything*.)

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23. Lemon Salmon with Garlic and Thyme (32g protein)

Our favorite thing about salmon: It doesn’t take much to make it ridiculously tasty. This mind-blowingly easy recipe is proof, since it only calls for EVOO, fresh garlic, lemon juice and herbs.

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24. Grilled Peach, and Prosciutto and Mozzarella Sandwich (61g protein)

Prosciutto can be so much more than just part of a cheese board. Put it front and center in this chewy, summery sammy that pairs the cured meat with pillowy fresh mozz and smoky grilled peaches.

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25. 15-Minute Skillet Pepper Steak (21g protein)

Serve the beef with white rice and it’s a guaranteed hit. But you could also use this dish as the base for an Asian-inspired quesadilla, burrito or fajitas.

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26. Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich (25g protein)

We substitute some of the traditional mayo with tangy Greek yogurt, zingy Dijon mustard and a whole avocado, which make the salad just as creamy and a million times more flavorful.

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27. Radicchio, Lentil and Apple Salad with Vegan Cashew Dressing (15g protein)

A creamy dressing can totally elevate basic veggies. But if you’re vegan or dairy-free, you don’t have as many options. Enter the cashew dressing that’ll change your salads forever with just four basic ingredients.

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28. Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwiches (30g protein)

This recipe wants to prove that chicken salad doesn’t need to be boring. It’s made with lots of fresh tarragon, egg, Dijon mustard and vinegar, but the tastiest part is the finishing touch: a combo of quick-pickled onions and peppery arugula.

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29. 15-Minute Cheater’s Pad Thai (34g protein)

Quick enough to make on a weeknight, impressive enough to serve to guests. They’ll never guess the mix of rice noodles, ground pork, bean sprouts and peanuts only took you 15 minutes.

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30. Vegan Keto Coconut Curry (18g protein)

You can thank extra-firm tofu and peanut butter for the protein content. But what we’re really in love with is the savory, spicy coconut milk broth, spiked with red curry paste.

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31. 20-Minute Shrimp Scampi Zoodles (28g protein)

Bring on the butter, baby. This citrusy, garlicky meal is always good to have in your back pocket (that’s why there’s always a bag of frozen shrimp in our freezer, BTW). Feel free to swap zoodles for pasta if you’d like—we won’t judge.

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32. Pizza with Cauliflower Crust (24g protein)

You might not know it yet, but your food processor is a miracle worker. Just pulse cauliflower and garlic into a fine meal, add cheese, egg and herbs, then press the mixture onto a sheet pan and bake until crispy.

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33. One-Pot, 15-Minute Pasta Limone (22g protein)

Forget waiting for the spaghetti to cook in its own pot of water. This recipe saves a ton of time by boiling all the ingredients together, then finishing the pasta off with fresh lemon juice and Parmesan.

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34. Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich (14g protein)

When all else fails, you can always lean on old faithful. We’re suckers for creamy peanut butter and tart black raspberry jam, but there are endless tasty combinations to explore.

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RELATED: 17 High-Protein Desserts That’ll Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

For even more great recipes, check out our first cookbook, Only the Good Stuff.