6 High-Protein, Low-Calorie Chicken Recipes To Make For Nutrition Month: Baked Chicken & Quinoa, Plus More

woman putting roasted chicken dinner on table
woman putting roasted chicken dinner on table

During nutrition month, focusing on meals that are both nutritious and delicious is key to maintaining a balanced diet and promoting overall health. Chicken, known for its versatility and high protein content, serves as an excellent foundation for crafting meals that are not only satisfying but also conducive to weight management. Whether you’re looking to fuel your workouts, support muscle growth, or simply maintain a healthy lifestyle, these high-protein, low-calorie chicken recipes are sure to become staples in your kitchen repertoire this month.

We spoke with Sarah Alsing, MS, RD, registered dietitian and owner of Delightfully and Krutika Nanavati, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, to learn about six high-protein, low-calorie chicken recipes you can easily make during this month. They revealed that easy pesto chicken rice bowl, healthy yogurt chicken curry in pressure cooker, healthy chicken gnocchi bake, dijon mustard chicken and spiced sweet potatoes sheet pan, easy chicken lentil soup in pressure cooker, and baked chicken and quinoa are the ones to try!

Easy Pesto Chicken Rice Bowl

Pesto, primarily made from basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, adds an explosion of taste without piling on excessive calories. Chicken, renowned for its high protein content and lean profile, further elevates the nutritional value of this dish, supporting muscle maintenance and satiety.

Alsing says this recipe "is perfect for meal prep since it is easy to make with only four ingredients and provides 31 grams of protein with just 455 calories. You can easily adjust the amount of rice as well. The pesto gives this meal delicious flavor you’ll look forward to eating." Check it out here!

Healthy Yogurt Chicken Curry in Pressure Cooker

By utilizing Greek yogurt as the base of the curry sauce instead of heavy cream or coconut milk, this recipe significantly reduces the calorie content and adds extra protein while still delivering a rich and satisfying flavor profile. The pressure cooker expedites the cooking process, allowing for a quick and effortless meal preparation without compromising on taste or nutrition.

She says this "is an Indian-inspired meal with cauliflower and rice that provides 39 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, and 405 calories. Meals high in protein and fiber are more satiating so you feel full longer. It’s an easy meal that you toss into the pressure cooker and have flavorful meals to enjoy." See the full recipe here.

Healthy Chicken Gnocchi Bake

Cottage cheese is a fantastic addition to this chicken gnocchi bake sauce, providing creaminess and a boost of protein without adding excessive calories. Opting for a variety with lower milk fat content, such as 2% milkfat, ensures a balance between creaminess and calorie count. Gnocchi, made from potatoes, offers a satisfying carbohydrate base for the dish. While providing energy, it's still relatively low in calories compared to other pasta options, making it a suitable choice for those watching their calorie intake.

Alsing notes that this recipe "shows how you can enjoy pasta and still meet your nutrition goals. One serving provides 37 grams of protein, 6.5 grams of fiber, and 385 calories. The pasta sauce is high in protein from the cottage cheese mixed in. If you aren’t a fan of cottage cheese, then still give this recipe a try because you can’t taste it!" Full recipe here!

Dijon Mustard Chicken and Spiced Sweet Potatoes Sheet Pan

Sweet potatoes serve as an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and fiber in this dish. Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index, meaning they release energy more slowly, helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels and promote satiety. It's the perfect pair with chicken, which offers high-quality protein while being low in fat and calories.

Dijon mustard contains vinegar and white wine, which help tenderize the chicken while infusing it with delicious flavor. The addition of cayenne pepper provides a subtle heat that complements the other ingredients and may also offer metabolism-boosting benefits.

Alsing states that this meal "provides 47 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and 453 calories. The Dijon mustard marinade provides savory flavor to the chicken and keeps it juicy. The sweet potatoes provide fiber to keep you full longer." Follow the full recipe here!

Easy Chicken Lentil Soup in Pressure Cooker

Chicken breast serves as the main protein source in this soup, offering high-quality protein. Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse, providing a wealth of nutrients including fiber, protein, B vitamins, folate, iron, and potassium. As a rich source of plant-based protein, lentils contribute to satiety and muscle maintenance without adding excess calories.

Alsing highlights that this dish "is easy to make and has aromatic flavors from garlic, cumin, and bone broth. With 40 grams of protein and 16.5 grams of fiber, this soup will keep you satisfied and not craving snacks soon after eating. Each serving is only 355 calories." Instructions for full recipe here!

Baked Chicken and Quinoa

Quinoa, a whole grain rich in protein and fiber, serves as a hearty and nutritious base, offering sustained energy and promoting feelings of fullness. Together with chicken, these ingredients create a balanced meal that supports weight management and provides essential nutrients for overall health and wellbeing.

Nanavati says, "Quinoa is a complete protein, complementing the chicken, thereby providing all essential amino acids. This combination is also high in fiber, promoting digestive health."

Recipe: Bake seasoned chicken breasts in the oven. Cook quinoa as per package instructions. Serve chicken on a bed of quinoa mixed with roasted vegetables.