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Protein is one of the primary building blocks of your diet. It gives us energy and builds muscle to make us stronger. You can get protein from meat sources, and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Here are 10 high-protein dinner ideas utilizing a variety of different foods. Most of these recipes take a short amount of time and require little preparation.
1. Classic Beef Burgers
Burgers are an American favorite. No matter the time of year, you can find people grilling burgers in the backyard or ordering one in a restaurant. Here’s a recipe to make your burger higher in protein and lower in calories. One burger will be about 343 calories and contain 25g of protein. Use lean ground beef (containing 10% fat or less) to increase the protein while keeping the calories down.
2. Baked Feta Shrimp & Tomatoes
Do you remember the feta pasta trend that went viral on social media? This recipe is similar and only takes about 30 minutes to prepare, which is perfect for beginners and people on a time crunch. It yields 34 grams of protein per serving plus more if you serve it on top of pasta. Most grocery stores sell protein pasta, giving you an extra boost with the same or fewer calories than regular noodles.
3. Sheet Pan Salmon & Vegetables
If you like foods from the Mediterranean diet, this recipe is a great dinner idea for you. The protein & healthy fats from the salmon, the carbs from the sweet potatoes and the fiber from the broccoli make this a well-balanced meal that tastes delicious. This sheet-pan meal requires little effort, which is convenient on a night you want an easy dinner. It makes meal prep easy, too, with four servings. Each serving contains 34g of protein and 504 calories.
4. Sticky Sesame Tofu
Protein comes from more than meat sources, and even the most unlikely of sources can house high protein dinner ideas. Tofu, made from soybeans, is a tasty protein that goes well with various dishes. This recipe takes an Asian inspiration with a sesame sauce that tastes delectable. One serving of this dish yields 34g of protein and 592 calories. This recipe is another great one for meal prepping to save yourself time throughout the week.
5. Cajun Chicken Red Beans & Rice
This recipe will be perfect if you like heat and cajun flavor. The chicken and beans provide excellent protein sources and tasty vegetables and spices. This recipe makes about four servings, each producing 27 grams of protein and 410 calories. It only uses one pan, making the cleanup easy afterward.
6. Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup
If you like slow cooker meals, this chicken taco soup packs a punch with flavor and protein. It doesn’t require prep beforehand, so starting the recipe is as easy as dumping everything in the pot and leaving it alone all day. One serving of this soup has 434 calories and 27 grams of protein.
Like the cajun recipe above, the chicken and beans provide low-calorie protein sources. This recipe makes about eight servings, so it’s perfect for feeding a family, having guests over or meal prepping for the week. Plus, the pot will make your kitchen smell wonderful as it gets closer to mealtime.
7. Shrimp Fried Rice
Are you telling me a shrimp fried this rice? Fried rice is a great weeknight meal that’s inexpensive and has a lot of flexibility. This recipe uses the essentials you typically find in your dishes from an Oriental restaurant. Shrimp and eggs provide protein, and rice gives you a boost of carbs. The vegetables are carrots and peas; you can add more or substitute for other veggies if you wish. One bowl of this deliciousness packs 34g of protein and around 510 calories.
8. Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers
Ground turkey is an excellent substitute if you don’t eat red meat or want something a little bit lower in calories. This recipe takes ground turkey, onions, rice and seasonings and pours the mixture into halved bell peppers. Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses for a great flavor on top and extra protein. Two peppers give you 55 grams of protein and only 538 calories.
9. One Pan Mexican Quinoa
This recipe is another favorite for vegans and vegetarians. Plus, it cooks in one pan and only requires about 40 minutes of total preparation time. The black beans are the star of the protein show with this recipe. The avocado, lime and cilantro give a nice Southwest flavor. One serving produces about 20g of protein and can serve as a filling for wraps and burritos.
10. Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats
If you’re looking for a recipe high in protein and low in carbs, these chicken parmesan zucchini boats have you covered. Typical chicken parmesan can run up the calories since you typically fry the chicken. This recipe is as simple as ground chicken, zucchini, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, pasta sauce and seasonings. One serving gives you two zucchini boats with 38 grams of protein and only 332 calories.
Protein-packed Meals for Your Dinner
Protein is an essential nutrient for our bodies by strengthening our muscles and keeping us satiated until the next meal. There are many ways to get protein; you can eat meat, tofu, beans, lentils, dairy products and other foods. Whatever your dietary needs your fitness goals are, you can use these recipe ideas to pack high protein dinner ideas into your schedule and reduce the stress of cooking.