Packing a lunch with high protein content to hit your fitness goals can be a challenge in our modern, fast-paced lives. If you want to make progress on these goals, you can’t afford to compromise on your nutrition. Besides, planning your meals ahead of time has been shown to help you stick to nutritional guidelines while enjoying variety!
But if you’re wondering why you need more protein, it’s basically to maintain or grow your muscles. Even if muscle-building isn’t your primary goal, you will still benefit from a more muscular body composition, muscles being a key element in boosting your metabolism and burning more calories at rest, which is great if your target is to lose weight.
Whether it’s weight training or weight loss, incorporating high-protein foods into our lunch meals can provide sustained energy, help us feel fuller for longer, support muscle repair, and contribute to a balanced diet. To help you stay on track with your health goals, we’ve curated 3 low-effort high-protein lunch ideas that can effortlessly slide into your meal prep routine:
Wraps are convenient, customizable, and perfect for on-the-go lunches due to their condensed size where every bite is a burst of flavor. Here’s a simple yet delicious protein wrap recipe:
- Whole wheat tortilla: A fiber-rich base for your wrap.
- Grilled chicken or turkey slices: Lean sources of protein.
- Hummus or Greek yogurt spread: Provides creaminess and extra protein.
- Sliced avocado: Adds healthy fats and creaminess.
- Fresh vegetables: Choose your favorites, such as lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
- Optional: Sprinkle of feta cheese for added flavor.
- Lay the whole wheat tortilla flat and spread a layer of hummus or Greek yogurt.
- Add the grilled chicken or turkey slices, followed by sliced avocado and your choice of fresh vegetables.
- If desired, sprinkle some crumbled feta cheese on top.
- Roll up the tortilla tightly, tucking in the ingredients as you go.
- Cut the wrap in half for easier handling, and enjoy a quick and protein-packed lunch.
Protein Salad Jar:
Mason jars are so versatile as a food storage option, as seen in overnight oats and various desserts, and a mason jar salad is an easy way to carry around your protein-rich lunch with an extra serving of greens. Don’t forget your greens, we all know this, but vegetables do wonders for your health. Here’s an example of a protein salad jar:
- Quinoa or couscous: Cooked and cooled as the base.
- Canned tuna or salmon: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
- Hard-boiled eggs: Provides additional protein and nutrients.
- Cherry tomatoes: Adds freshness and a burst of flavor.
- Chopped cucumbers: Adds crunch and hydration.
- Mixed greens: Packed with vitamins and minerals.
- Dressing of your choice: Opt for a protein-rich dressing like a Greek yogurt-based or tahini-based dressing.
- Begin by layering the quinoa or couscous at the bottom of the jar.
- Add the canned tuna or salmon as the next layer, followed by the hard-boiled eggs.
- Layer the cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, and mixed greens on top.
- Seal the jar tightly and refrigerate until ready to eat.
- When it’s time for lunch, simply pour your desired amount of dressing into the jar, give it a good shake, and enjoy your protein-packed salad on the go.
High-Protein Buddha Bowl:
This is a simple, one-bowl meal filled to the brim with diverse ingredients, including your favorite proteins for a balanced, wholesome meal. They’re vibrant, nutritious, and perfect for busy-bodies with a high protein fix. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:
- Cooked quinoa or brown rice: A fiber-rich and protein-packed base.
- Baked tofu or grilled chicken: Excellent sources of plant-based or lean protein.
- Steamed or roasted vegetables: Choose a variety like broccoli, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers.
- Avocado slices: Adds healthy fats and creaminess.
- Optional: Sprinkle of nuts or seeds for added crunch and protein.
- Dressing of your choice: Opt for a protein-rich dressing like a tahini or miso-based dressing.
- In a bowl, arrange the cooked quinoa or brown rice as the base.
- Add your choice of baked tofu or grilled chicken on top.
- Surround it with steamed or roasted vegetables and avocado slices.
- If desired, sprinkle some nuts or seeds for extra protein and crunch.
- Drizzle your preferred protein-rich dressing over the bowl.
- Mix everything together and savor a satisfying and nourishing high-protein Buddha bowl.
When all is said and done – and eaten – the truth is that the single best protein-rich meal for everyone exists. It’s why we love the rich variety of protein-packed lunches for us to explore! As we’ve seen, these recipes don’t have to take up your entire day to prepare, and they allow so much room for your own preferences. Experiment and find the right lunch break meal for you.
And if you’re keen on diving deeper into meals that truly feel personal to you, then you’d love CircleDNA’s dietary suggestions, based on your very DNA. You can take the test from home, and from there, you have 500+ health insights in reports jam-packed with information ranging from nutrition to even cancer risks to help you tailor a lifestyle made for optimal health.