8 Best High-Protein Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss (2023)

    Home Food

    8 Best High-Protein Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss (1)Jaime StathisUpdated: Apr. 19, 2023

      If you’re trying to lose weight, eating enough protein is critical. Lunchtime is an easy window to fill up on healthy protein.

      Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

      8 Best High-Protein Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss (2)rudisill/getty images

      If you’re looking to lose weight, eating balanced meals focused on protein is important. According to theCleveland Clinic, we can only absorb about 25 to 35 grams of protein at one time, so spreading your protein needs throughout the day is better than packing it all in during a single meal. “The recommended percentage of daily calories from proteins is typically 10% to 35% protein,” Cleveland Clinic guidelines note. “This means, if you eat about 2,000 calories per day, you’d want to aim for 50 to 175 grams of protein in your daily diet.”

      Protein tends to be more compact than fruits and vegetables, and it doesn’t take up as much room on your plate or in your belly. This is why Amy Roskelley, founder of the health and fitness blog Health Beet, suggests dividing your plate as a starting point. Without having to pull out scales and measuring cups, you can visually divide your plate so it looks like: half meal veggies (broccoli, cucumbers, carrots), one-quarter meal protein (chicken, steak, fish), one-quarter meal carbs (fruit, grains, starchy veg). (Roskelley even designed a portion-controlled plateto make meal portioning super simple.)

      To make sure you’re packing every meal with the protein you need, check out our picks for high-protein lunches for weight loss.

      7 Best High-Protein Dinner Ideas for Weight Loss

      8 Best High-Protein Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss (3)Azurita/Getty Images

      Low-calorie, high-protein sandwich

      Sandwiches are one of the easiest, most satisfying lunches that include all the food groups. Done right, they can be a great choice, but done wrong, they can be carb-heavy and nap-inducing.

      Ashley Poladian is a trainer and a diet coach who loves finding high-protein and low-calorie foods to help her clients achieve fat loss without giving up foods they love.

      For one sandwich serving, Poladian recommends:

      “I love this lunch item because there is very little leg work for something that is not pre-made,” Poladian says. “At only 206 calories per serving and 20 grams of protein, this sandwich will help you stay full and satisfied without the midday crash we usually see from eating carb-heavy lunches!”

      Research Says This One Goal Will Motivate You to Exercise—and It’s Not Weight Loss

      8 Best High-Protein Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss (4)TMB Studio

      Tuna lettuce wraps

      Lisa Lotts is the owner and publisher of Garlic and Zest, a food and cooking website where she is the recipe developer behind every dish on the site. Her favorite high-protein lunch for weight loss is a tuna and white bean lettuce wrap.“We love them stuffed into vibrant pink-hued radicchio leaves, but regular lettuce leaves work as well,” she says. This dish contains an estimated 30 grams of proteins.

      I Ate Tuna Every Day for a Week—Here’s What Happened

      8 Best High-Protein Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss (5)WRS Photos/Getty Images

      Bean Salad

      Beans are an often overlooked, plant-based source of protein. You can buy canned beans, but buying dry beans in bulk is both cost-effective and more environmentally friendly. “Soaking your beans overnight in water is simple and begins the sprouting process, which can reduce anti-nutrient levels up to 66% in some studies,” says Olesya Wilson, a Function Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and founder of the Limitless Body Architect. “After they are cooked, they keep well in the refrigerator and leftovers can make a great cold salad the next day.”

      For a quick lunch that can also serve as a side dish at dinner, Wilson suggests mixing cooked, cold beans with avocado, cucumber and quinoa in olive oil, salt, pepper and apple cider vinegar with your choice of parsley or cilantro.

      You can also add beans to almost any soup—even store-bought soups—for an added protein boost.

      8 Best High-Protein Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss (6)nerudol/Getty Images

      Quinoa bowl

      Joanna Wen, nutritionist and founder of Spices & Greens, praises the pairing of quinoa with a classic lean protein (think chicken or fish). “Not only is the combination of lean protein and complex carbohydrates filling and tasty,” Wen says, “but it’s also good for your overall health.”

      Chicken is a lean source of protein, while quinoa is a good source of plant protein. Together they help to keep you fuller for longer periods of time, reducing overeating at night. Quinoa is also packed with heart-healthy antioxidants and minerals. “Additionally, this power combo has plenty of fiber which can help control blood sugar levels while aiding in digestion,” Wen says.

      For another impressive high-protein meal, check out TV chef Alton Brown’s salmon-quinoa bowl.

      8 Best High-Protein Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss (7)Manuta/Getty Images

      Greek yogurt parfait

      Greek yogurt parfaits are easy to make on-demand or make ahead for an on-the-go lunch, plus they’re a delicious way to get your protein intake for the day. Registered dietitian Lola Elliott suggests the following blend:

      • Alternate layers of Greek yogurt (two to three tablespoons) with one-fourth cup of low-fat granola.
      • Add 1/4 cup blueberries or other fruits
      • Add a tablespoon of honey or agave nectar

      “This meal provides 17 grams of protein per serving plus the added benefit of antioxidants from the fruit,” Elliott says.

      20 Deliciously Healthy Lunch Ideas That Aren’t Salad

      8 Best High-Protein Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss (8)icetocker/Getty Images

      Tuna Salad Sandwich

      This satisfying lunch option packs 25 grams of protein per serving, and it’s also high in healthy fats. Elliott’s recipe is:

      • one can of tuna
      • half an avocado mashed into the tuna
      • diced red onion,
      • a tablespoon of mayonnaise or Greek yogurt for creaminess,
      • some lemon juice for flavor

      “Serve this sandwich on whole-grain bread with lettuce and tomato slices,” Elliott says. “The benefits include improved appetite control due to its high-protein content, and providing essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12 and selenium, which are vital to good health.”

      8 Best High-Protein Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss (9)Westend61/Getty Images

      Lentil Soup

      Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein, with 18 grams per serving,” Elliott says, “They are also full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help keep you feeling full until dinner time.”

      To make a simple lentil soup, combine:

      • cooked lentils
      • sautéed vegetables such as onions, celery, and carrots,
      • low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth and simmer.

      Serve it with some whole-grain bread or crackers for extra fiber.

      The 10 Best Recipes for Dry Lentils

      8 Best High-Protein Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss (10)MurzikNata/Getty Images

      Protein Shake

      Let’s face it. Sometimes we’re busy and sitting down to eat lunch—let alone preparing it—might not feel realistic. But skipping lunch altogether isn’t ideal for blood sugar or the nutrition you need.

      An alternative to skipping lunch is to use a meal replacement shake such as HLTH CODE, created by Ben Bikman, PhD, a cell biologist and metabolism scientist. These shakes come in chocolate macadamia or creamy vanilla and delivers an impressive 27 grams of protein per shake. For an added nutritional boost, you can add bananas, berries, greens or nut butter for an additional hike in protein.

      For more nutrition inspiration, get The Healthy @Reader’s Digestnewsletterandfollow The Healthy onFacebook,Instagram, andTwitter.Keep reading:

      • 14 Best High-Protein Breakfast Ideas for Weight Loss
      • Eating These Foods Can Lead to Premature Death, Says New Study
      • Love to Walk or Run Outside? 6 Tools to Help You Stay Safe
      • Here’s How Many Americans Have Had the Flu So Far This Year, the CDC Says


      United States Department of Agriculture, “Skipping Breakfast or Lunch Has a Larger Impact on Diet Quality Than Skipping Dinner

      Originally Published: January 19, 2023

      8 Best High-Protein Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss (11)

      Jaime Stathis

      Jaime Alexis Stathis is a nonfiction writer whose favorite topics are humans, technology, animals, wildlife, and the places where they intersect. She writes about health, wellness, technology, nutrition, and everything related to being a human being on a constantly evolving planet. Her work has been published in Self, Wired, Parade, Bon Appétit, The Independent, Rachael Ray In Season, and others. She is also a Licenced Massage Therapist. Jaime is working on a novel about a heroine who saves herself and a memoir about caring for her grandmother through the dark stages of dementia.


      Is high protein lunch good for weight loss? ›

      Eating a protein-rich diet can help people lose weight because it can help them avoid overeating. A high protein diet can help build lean muscle when combined with exercise. Lean muscle helps to burn more calories throughout the day, which can also help with weight loss.

      What is the best thing to eat for lunch to lose weight? ›

      Thus, plant-based diets like vegan or vegetarian diets have been associated with weight loss in some people ( 1 ).
      • Lentil soup. ...
      • Garden veggie chickpea salad sandwiches. ...
      • Spicy peanut tofu Buddha bowls. ...
      • Veggie wraps. ...
      • Quinoa and black bean stuffed sweet potatoes.
      Jul 30, 2021

      What should I eat for lunch to lose belly fat? ›

      There are a number of foods that have been shown to help reduce belly fat, including eggs, artichokes, avocado, peanuts and chickpeas. Try to include at least one or a combination of these foods at lunchtime. We've incorporated a number of these foods into our three meal-prep recipes below.

      What is a good high protein lunch? ›

      High protein lunch recipes
      • Fresh salmon with Thai noodle salad. A star rating of 3.7 out of 5. ...
      • Cheesy seafood bake. A star rating of 4.8 out of 5. ...
      • Scrambled egg & feta hash. ...
      • Indian chicken protein pots. ...
      • Miso roast salmon, lentil & pomegranate salad. ...
      • Egyptian egg salad. ...
      • Spicy fish stew. ...
      • Chicken satay salad.


      Top Articles
      Latest Posts
      Article information

      Author: Twana Towne Ret

      Last Updated: 12/05/2023

      Views: 5964

      Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

      Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

      Author information

      Name: Twana Towne Ret

      Birthday: 1994-03-19

      Address: Apt. 990 97439 Corwin Motorway, Port Eliseoburgh, NM 99144-2618

      Phone: +5958753152963

      Job: National Specialist

      Hobby: Kayaking, Photography, Skydiving, Embroidery, Leather crafting, Orienteering, Cooking

      Introduction: My name is Twana Towne Ret, I am a famous, talented, joyous, perfect, powerful, inquisitive, lovely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.