Protein-rich foods help you lose weight. The Cleveland Clinic recommends eating protein throughout the day rather than all at once since humans can only absorb 25 to 35 grams at a time. “The recommended percentage of daily calories from proteins is typically 10% to 35% protein,” Cleveland Clinic recommendations state. “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 takes up less space than fruits and veggies. Health Beet creator Amy Roskelley advises splitting your meal. Visually split your plate into half veggies (broccoli, cucumbers, carrots), one-quarter protein (chicken, steak, fish), and one-quarter carbohydrates (fruit, grains, starchy veg). (Roskelley created a portion-controlled plate to simplify meal portioning.)
Check out our weight loss-friendly high-protein meals.
Sandwiches are one of the easiest, tastiest meals that combine all food categories. They can be delicious or carb-heavy and sleep-inducing.
Trainer and diet coach Ashley Poladian enjoys discovering high-protein, low-calorie dishes to assist her clients lose weight without giving up their favorite foods.
- outside aisle sandwich thins
- low-fat cheese
- two turkey/chicken slices
two tablespoons of Target’s Good & Gather spinach artichoke dip, which provides protein and taste without calories.
“I love this lunch item because there is very little leg work for something that is not pre-made,” Poladian explains. “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!”
Garlic and Zest’s owner and publisher, Lisa Lotts, develops all the recipes. A tuna and white bean lettuce wrap is her favorite high-protein weight loss meal. “We love them stuffed into vibrant pink-hued radicchio leaves, but regular lettuce leaves work as well,” she says. This dish has about 30 grams of protein.
I Ate Tuna Every Day for a Week—What Happened
Beans provide plant-based protein. Dry beans are cheaper and greener than canned beans. “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,” explains Function Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and Limitless Body Architect creator Olesya Wilson. “After cooking, they keep well in the fridge and make a great cold salad the next day.”
Wilson recommends combining cooked, cold beans with avocado, cucumber, quinoa, olive oil, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, and parsley or cilantro for a simple lunch or supper side dish.
Joanna Wen, Spices & Greens founder and dietitian, recommends quinoa with chicken or fish. “Not only is the combination of lean protein and complex carbohydrates filling and tasty,” Wen explains, “but it’s also good for your overall health.”
Greek yogurt parfaits are tasty and easy to make on-demand or ahead for a quick lunch. Lola Elliott, RD, recommends this blend:
- Alternate layers of Greek yogurt (2–3 tablespoons) and low-fat granola (1/4 cup).
- 1/4 cup blueberries or other fruits
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
- Elliott claims this dish has 17 grams of protein and fruit antioxidants.
Quinoa has plant protein, whereas chicken is lean. They keep you satiated longer, minimizing nighttime overeating. Quinoa contains heart-healthy antioxidants and minerals. “Additionally, this power combo has plenty of fiber which can help control blood sugar levels while aiding digestion,” Wen explains.
This filling lunch has 25 grams of protein and healthy fats. Elliott’s recipe:
- tuna can
- avocado in tuna
- red onion,
- creamy mayonnaise or Greek yogurt,
- flavoring lemon juice
“Serve this sandwich on whole-grain bread with lettuce and tomato slices,” Elliott recommends. “Its high-protein content helps control appetite and provides essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12 and selenium, which are essential to good health.”
“Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein, with 18 grams per serving,” Elliott explains. “They are also full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help keep you feeling full until dinner time.”
- Simple lentil soup:
- cooked lentils
- sautéed carrots, celery, onions,
- boil low-sodium broth.
- Add fiber with whole-grain bread or crackers.
Admit it. When we’re busy, eating lunch—let alone making it—may seem impossible. Skipping lunch is bad for blood sugar and nutrients.