I’m so excited to share these high protein lunch ideas for work as the first post in our “healthy living” category. Are you in need of healthy lunch ideas? Whether a vegetarian or not, you’ll be sure to find delicious options, here!
At the end of the post, you’ll find a free printable for quick reference.
Who Benefits from High Protein lunch ideas for work
Proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates have long remained a staple of the food pyramid. While these three macronutrients normally remain in perfect balance and are necessary to meet our body’s needs, there are times where we’ll need more of one than the other.
The first thing anyone thinks about when the term “diet” is thrown around is either a low-carb or low-fat diet. While both diets do have the benefits of weight loss, blood sugar control, and lower blood pressure, a healthy diet can also include high-protein meals.
High-protein meals benefit those who:
● Want to gain muscle mass
● Are older adults
● Have a protein deficiency and need extra protein
● Suffer from metabolic or blood sugar problems
Often, high-protein diets are synonymous with low-carb diets and are the perfect way to maintain healthy energy levels while keeping blood sugar low.
For athletes, it’s a no-brainer to consume higher levels of protein for performance and recovery. The general rule of thumb for athletes is 1-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight a day for maintaining strength and muscle. The average adult needs a little less than that at around 0.7 or 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Those not getting enough protein in their diet, have little time to eat because of their work schedule or have a health condition that makes them protein-deficient also need to turn to high-protein foods. They, especially, will benefit from these high protein lunch ideas for work.
Benefits Of a High Protein Lunches for Work
The benefits of a high-protein lunch are simple: it fits into almost any diet or fasting plan. There are plenty of high-protein lunch options that don’t include junk food or anything you can get from a vending machine.
A midday meal full of protein is a great way for those following the intermittent fasting plan to have a steady source of energy. This is especially important for those at risk of diabetes who need a low-carb meal to maintain their blood sugar.
Whether you’re a vegetarian, looking to increase your protein intake with plants as a protein source, or the average adult, who is okay with animal products, needing more protein in your diet, you’ll want to consider a range of high protein lunch ideas for work. Protein options such as:
● Lean meats, such as chicken breast or ground turkey
● Eggs, including egg whites
● Plant-based proteins, such as black beans
● Greek yogurt
Now that we know who needs higher levels of protein in their daily diet, it’s time to look at some high-protein lunch ideas you can meal prep from home to eat the next day or even the rest of the week.
These healthy lunch ideas have simple ingredients, get your taste buds stimulated, limit your carb intake, and are a good food resource to keep your health and other nutritional goals on the right track.
Vegetarian Lunch Ideas
Travis and I are both vegetarians – actually leaning more towards being vegans. I work from home, and he’s usually on the go. So, we’re always looking for easy vegetarian high protein lunch ideas for work. We hope you, too, enjoy these suggestions.
Black Bean Soup
Black bean soup is easy to make, and you can meal prep it a couple of days ahead of time with a slow cooker. If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, then black bean soup is the perfect high-protein lunch idea that’s low in fat and cholesterol-free. The high fiber content of black bean soup keeps you feeling full and can even aid in weight loss.
Being on a low-carbohydrate diet is a daunting task for those so used to the joys of consuming pasta. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a substitute with a lower carbohydrate count that’s just as delicious when replaced in any recipe that calls for pasta noodles. Just one cup of zucchini noodles contains only 4 grams of total carbs.
As you would expect with egg salad, this quick lunch idea is high in protein and low in fats and carbohydrates. If you’re looking to lose even more weight with this high-protein lunch idea, then you can get a little creative by adding vegetables and using less yolk. Since egg salad is high in protein, it will help keep you feeling fuller, which means you’re consuming fewer total calories throughout the day.
Veggie Power Bowl
A veggie power bowl is completely customizable to your needs. Whether your goal is to lose weight, improve your heart health, or lower your cholesterol, you can do all types of fun things with a veggie power bowl.
Your high-protein lunch ideas don’t have to go stale if you want to add plant-based proteins such as beans, tofu, quinoa, or almonds.
Cauliflower Bites in Buffalo Sauce
When you’re switching to a plant-based diet for your high-protein lunches, that, unfortunately, means you must give up boneless chicken wings. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up the flavor and texture of boneless chicken wings.
You can simply replace them with breaded cauliflower. Breaded cauliflower has a similar texture to boneless chicken wings and, when paired with a delicious buffalo sauce, is as close to the real deal as you will get.
Fresh Veggies and Sweet Potatoes
On their own, sweet potatoes are a significant source of fiber and antioxidants. A single cup of sweet potatoes contains 4 grams of protein. The taste of sweet potatoes also pairs well with other sources of plant-based protein such as lentils or almonds to mix up the texture of this high-protein lunch idea.
Fried Cauliflower Rice
White rice spikes blood sugar because of it is higher on the glycemic index. If you’re used to white rice with your protein-packed lunches, then you can substitute cauliflower rice instead. Frying cauliflower rice with plant-based proteins such as lentils or even tempeh is a delicious high-protein lunch idea.
Beans, packed with plant-based protein and fiber, have almost no fat content. Beans are adaptable to any type of salad. Whether you want to toss beans into a Caesar salad, any Asian-inspired salad dish, or simply want to toss a few beans with avocados, red onions, and lime juice, there are many perfect ways to enjoy this midday meal.
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
Vegetarian chili is very adaptable, and you can simply throw all the ingredients you want into a slow cooker to make a few days’ worths of protein-packed meals. You can mix no-sugar chili sauce with sweet potatoes, pinto beans, black beans, or even kidney beans to make a low-carb, but high-protein lunch.
Tofu in Chili Sauce
A 4-oz. serving of tofu gives you about 10 grams of protein alongside fiber to keep you feeling full until dinner. You won’t be tempted to snack in between meals and increase your caloric intake. Since tofu is adaptable to almost any sauce, chili sauce makes the most sense for those wanting a spicier midday meal.
Chickpeas have a very grainy texture as a legume, but a cup of chickpeas packs a whopping 15 grams of protein. You can use chickpea flour to create a pizza crust that you can customize with fresh vegetables, red onions, or any of your favorite plant-based pizza toppings.
Baked Potato with Avacado
If you’re not concerned about your carbohydrate content, then a baked potato is the perfect empty palette for those with little time to prepare food. You can top a baked potato with cheddar cheese, fresh veggies, avocados, or any plant-based protein as an easy way to tantalize your taste buds.
Vegan Tuna Salad
The vegan tuna salad uses the consistency of chickpeas as a plant-based substitute for tuna meat. Adding red onions, pickles, mustard, and capers gives you plenty of healthy fats while keeping your cholesterol and heart health in check.
Plant Based Sloppy Joes
You don’t have to give up the finer tastes in life when you’re switching to plant-based proteins for your lunches.
Sloppy joes are just as sloppy and delicious when prepared the same except, instead of ground beef, you add plant based protein, such as jackfruit or Beyond meat.
Black Bean Burgers
Black bean burgers are a favorite among those seeking high-protein lunch ideas because it’s as close as you’ll get to the texture of a meat-based burger while sticking to a plant-based diet.
Crushing plenty of black beans to create this burger is the perfect way to stave off heart disease, lower blood pressure, and increase your fiber content. To save time, you can heat up your favorite frozen black bean burgers.
Olive Oil Fried Rice with Plant-Based Protein
Surprisingly, you still get enough protein in your healthy diet by adding plant-based proteins to your fried rice. Instead of using vegetable oil, try switching to olive oil instead. Olive oil is the more natural choice in place of vegetable oil due to the latter’s highly refined processing.
Tofu Lettuce Wraps
If you truly want to keep your meal prep and high-protein meals free of as many hard carbohydrates as possible, then you can’t go wrong with tofu lettuce wraps. The protein mainly comes from the tofu while you can fill the lettuce wraps with fresh vegetables, sesame oil, garlic, and almonds or peanuts for the added crunch.
Meat-Based Lunch Ideas
If you don’t mind consuming the perfect balance of real meats, fresh vegetables, and low carbohydrates, then these meat-based high-protein lunch ideas will truly activate your taste buds.
When choosing meat-based high protein lunch ideas for work, you want to consume red and white meat in moderation while avoiding processed meat. High protein lunches can include red meats such as:
White meat high protein lunch ideas for work can include:
With fresh meat, you’re getting the highest-quality protein for your high-protein lunches. These are the best protein sources for pure protein compared to plant-based protein. There are plenty of benefits for eating protein-rich meats from improving iron absorption to better muscle health.
Meat will always be a mainstay in the diets of the average human. Of course, whether you’re consuming plant-based protein or meat, it’s important to remember to enjoy everything in moderation.
Hawaiian Pizza Chicken
There’s nothing quite like that island flavor that you can prep days ahead of time. The best part about Hawaiian pizza chicken is you can combine the chickpea pizza recipe above with the delicious combination of ham and pineapple to give you that extra protein punch. This is a great recipe to keep in your back pocket for days where you need a high-protein lunch but don’t have very many ingredients.
Chicken salad is always a great way to enjoy a creamy protein source that’s adaptable to salads, bowls, or even wraps. Not only is chicken salad highly customizable with simple ingredients, but you can have an affordable meal prep for a whole week.
Instant Pot Roast
You can customize a pot roast depending on your favorite type of meat. Whether you want tender brisket or a chuck roast that falls apart, making an instant pot roast is as simple as throwing all the simple ingredients you want, such as potatoes and carrots, into the instant pot and letting the slow cooking do the rest.
Easy Mahi Mahi
Flaky and flavorful, Mahi Mahi only requires simple ingredients such as garlic, lemon juice, butter, and salt and pepper to pull off an easy and quick lunch. Add some chili powder if you want to bring out a little spice.
Easy Pork Chops
Pork chops are easy enough to cook in a skillet and offer enough protein to keep you full between your midday lunch and your evening dinner. Throwing some fresh herbs on top of your pork chops only helps enhance the flavor.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Slow cooker pulled pork is one of the simpler lunch options with its preparation being just as simple. Simple turn on the slow cooker, add garlic, red onions, and any spices you’d like and let time take care of the rest.
Salmon and Quinoa Salad
One serving 5 oz serving of salmon gives you about 30 grams of protein with a cup of quinoa gives you about 8. Both salmon and quinoa are great for your heart and help to control your, blood sugar.
Salmon with Bean Salad
Now that you know how much a bean salad can benefit you, why not add about 30-40 grams of salmon on top of it? Bean salad pairs perfectly with a flaky and delicious salmon, especially drizzled with lime juice.
Steak Fajita Power Bowl
Think of the veggie power bowl but add steak fajitas on top of it. If you want whole grain instead of quinoa, try using brown rice instead. This power bowl packs some serious energy with extra protein compared to its veggie counterpart.
Chicken Lettuce Wrap
A lettuce wrap is perfect for those wanting a high-protein lunch while watching their blood sugar by sticking to a low-carb diet. Chicken lettuce wrap only uses simple ingredients and adding lime juice truly brings out their flavor.
Spicy Salmon Bowl
A spicy salmon bowl is an interesting choice for a quick lunch because of how versatile it is. Adding some chili powder or sriracha to salmon while customizing your bowl with grains or fresh veggies ensures a quality high-protein lunch.
Lime Shrimp Bowl
If you really want to get into citrus flavors, then lime juice, shrimp, and your choice of legumes with some whole grains make for a great and tarty high-protein lunch.
Easy Crab Cakes
Crab cakes might be a bit on the expensive side, but it’s something you should treat yourself to once in a blue moon. If you’re truly a culinary genius, then you can try making it yourself with some crab meat, red pepper, lime juice, garlic powder, and breadcrumbs.
Tuna Stuffed Avacado
Now, if you want high-fat and high-protein then look no further than one of the best sources of healthy fats and healthy proteins: avocados and tuna. Two simple ingredients make for one of the best high-protein lunches.
Blackened Fish Tacos
If you want a healthy midday meal to incorporate into your healthy diet that has the perfect balance of flavors for your palette, then look no further than blackened tilapia with your favorite taco toppings. A low-carb option would be replacing any tacos you use with a bowl instead.
Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken
The instant pot comes to save the day again by giving us the option to have tender pull apart chicken in buffalo sauce. If you want to get creative, then try adding fresh herbs, lime juice, and fresh veggies to get a little more fiber into your diet with this delicious midday meal.
Buffalo Tuna Melt
Buffalo sauce can adapt to almost any meal, just as much as tuna can. When you put the two together, you get almost 50 grams of protein to keep in your back pocket for days where you only have a few simple ingredients, such as bread, tuna, and buffalo sauce.
Easy Chicken Breakfast Burrito
Just because you need a quick midday high-protein lunch doesn’t mean eggs are off the menu.
Shred some chicken breasts, scramble some eggs, mix in some black beans, and sprinkle it with shredded cheese, and you have a breakfast burrito packed with as much protein as you need to get you through the day.
All these high-protein lunch ideas are meant to keep your energy levels up as you’re getting through your workday.
Plus they are keeping you on the right track towards lowering your cholesterol, blood pressure, and keeping your blood sugar in check.
Whether you’re looking for plant-based or meat-based lunch options, the high protein lunch ideas for work on this list only take simple ingredients that take little time to meal prep.
Free Printable for Lunch Ideas
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Before you go, here is another blog post on healthy living: