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Protein forms an essential part of our diet, even more so if you’re looking to pack on muscle. Paying close attention to what you are eating should be a necessary part of your overall training, and taking time to plan and prepare your meals should be scheduled to ensure you are eating correctly.
All too often, we rush around, snacking and don’t give ourselves enough time to think about the nutritional content of our food as we try to satisfy our hunger with whatever is the most convenient food near to hand.
But it’s important that you get protein into your lunch (as well as breakfast and dinner) to help keep you satiated and stop you from reaching for unhealthy snacks.
So, we’re sharing some of our favorite high-protein lunch ideas…
Are you getting enough protein in your diet?
It’s common to watch your calories, sugar and salt intake, but ensuring that you’re getting enough protein to stay healthy is equally important.
Protein is vital in creating and maintaining every cell in your body. Protein is a necessary component of any diet because it fuels your cells, so you have the energy you need to stay active.
A high-protein diet isn’t just for muscle growth. We all need a reasonable amount in our system to stay healthy. It helps to keep your blood sugars stable, maintains hunger and is responsible for the growth and repair of cells.
As we are well aware, amino acids- the building blocks of protein- play a significant role in our overall health. This includes hair growth, hormonal regulation and keeping your skin healthy. If you don’t get enough protein, your body may use muscles for energy instead.
How do I get more protein in my diet?
Most of your protein comes from meat, fish and eggs, or plant-based protein. Giving yourself time to think about what you’re consuming to maximize your protein intake is a must if you want to take yourself to the next level.
We’ve compiled a list of simple, easy-to-prepare, high-protein lunch ideas so you can recharge confidently at lunchtime. Each one contains between 10 and 50g of protein.
How to prep your high-protein lunch
Top tip before we get started - always prep your meals a few days in advance as it will help you stick to healthy, nutritious, high-protein lunches even when you are busy.
Meal prep starts with a shopping trip to gather all the essential ingredients for your daily diet. Make a list of your lunch ideas and the ingredients you’ll need to assemble them. Once you’ve put your seven meals together, place them in airtight containers, and you’re all set for the next week. You don’t have to make all seven in one go. You can plan a few days at a time if you prefer. It’s a personal choice.
Planning and making the meals ahead means you won’t have to overthink what you’re eating; you can grab and go, safe in the knowledge that you’ve prepped a high-protein lunch.
It’s highly possible that what you thought was an excellent lunch idea when planning for the weekend isn’t something you fancy eating on a particular day. No problem; you can swap around what you eat on any specific day with a choice of lunch ideas in the fridge.
The goal is to save a lot of time for those who have a busy lifestyle.
So here are some of our favorite meals…
A Sushi Bowl
A sushi bowl is simple to prepare and is a great high-protein lunch.
Mix brown sushi rice, rice vinegar, and some sushi-grade salmon, tuna and prawns. You can add salt, green onions for extra taste, and even some avocado.
The avocado will help keep the mixture fresh when stored in the fridge. A delicious mix and will set you up nicely for the rest of the day.
Greek Chicken and Rice
This budget-friendly dish makes a comforting, delicious protein-packed meal.
Dice some cooked chicken breasts and add to a bowl. Mix red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, feta cheese and garlic. Chop up bell pepper and add to the mix along with some chicken broth.
Add some cooked rice (brown rice, basmati or jasmine) and stir—a healthy choice that will become a regular on your weekly menu.
A DIY Pizza
Pizza is a tasty lunch choice, but the best part is that you can get creative and top it with protein foods. Just take a store-bought pizza, add some tomato paste, mozzarella cheese, smoked ham, a few veggies, and hard-boiled eggs, and you’re all done.
You can eat it on the go, or - if you have time - heat it for a delicious lunch that won’t pack on the calories but will give you a protein boost. Easy, quick prep and a healthy choice.
Smoked Salmon Salad
Salads can be an unexciting thought, but they can be spiced up into a tasty protein packed lunch. Add some mixed leafy greens to a bowl and mix with red onion, sliced bell peppers and green onions. Thinly slice the smoked salmon and add to the mix.]
If you want to pack that extra punch, why not add a sliced hard-boiled egg to the mix?
Add some virgin olive oil dressing to finish it off. A chicken salad, tuna salad or classic egg salad are great alternatives.
Drain and rinse some chickpeas and place them into a blender with soy sauce, olive oil, mustard and lemon juice. Chop bell pepper and some green onions, add them to the mix and blend until smooth. Make some toasted whole wheat bread and spread the paste on top. If you do not want toast or a sandwich, it tastes great if added to a mixed salad. A versatile, vegan paste that will add protein to your diet.
A protein-packed Sandwich
Sometimes, the most straightforward options are the best. Wholemeal bread (toasted if you prefer), packed with high-protein food, is a simple but effective high protein lunch idea.
Lean meats, such as beef, lamb or pork and poultry, such as Chicken, turkey, duck, or seafood, should be your first choices. Eggs and cheese are also a great choice.
A protein smoothie
Smoothies are perfect for lunch if you’re in a hurry. Make them up in the morning, and they’re ready to drink on the go. For that extra protein punch, chop up one banana, add a handful of berries of your choice, a cup of almond milk, a scoop of protein powder and half a cup of greek yogurt. Blend until smooth and place in the fridge until you’re ready to drink.
Savory smoothies can be made, too, using Carrots, Green Peas (lightly cooked), corn, cucumber and steamed sweet potato. A savory smoothie might not be everyone’s first choice, but if it’s to your taste, it’s a great way to pack a super high amount of protein into one drink.
A Greek Yogurt Parfait
Use one cup of low-fat Greek yogurt. Add mixed berries, almonds or crumbed walnuts, coconut flakes, and flaxseeds and blend these for a wonderfully-textured mixture.
You can also add low-sugar granola or muesli for a more filling lunch. This is a delicious and nutritious lunch for those with a sweet tooth, and it’ll give you a significant boost of energy for your afternoon tasks.
How to ensure you get protein in your lunch
Ensure you dedicate time to meal prepping to ensure your body gets what it needs. Listing your lunch choices in advance, shopping for the ingredients well ahead of time and putting it all together will ensure you have the confidence to know you won’t be making the wrong choices at lunchtime.
Crazynutrition’s Tri-Protein powder is the perfect addition to your lunchtime meal. It’s ideal for increasing gains, promoting muscle growth, boosting energy, and satisfying hunger with 21 grams of 3 different protein sources.