When it comes to getting enough protein in your diet, whether your goals are weight-loss, muscle building or simply to avoid being hangry all the time, there’s no better time to sneak in loads of it than lunchtime. These easy, healthy lunch ideas are all protein packed, perfect for meal prep and are suitable for a gluten free diet. There are also options for a low fodmap diet and vegan/vegetarian friendly choices as well!
When it comes to delicious and satisfying meals, sometimes lunch can feel like the trickiest meal of the day. Often we’re hitting the afternoon wall and in need of a midday energy boost, so ensuring we’re eating enough protein for lunch is super important to help fuel you through your busy day.
Whether you’re prepping entire meals or just making individual ingredients ahead of time, adding more protein to your lunch has never been easier.
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High Protein Foods to Add to Any Lunch
A high protein, filling lunch doesn’t have to be complicated. Some of my favorite ways to add additional protein to a healthy, quick lunch is by meal prepping things like:
- Hard boiled eggs. Each egg has 6g of vegetarian friendly protein. Add them to salads or sandwiches.
- Cottage cheese. 1 cup of cottage cheese packs a whopping 25g of vegetarian friendly protein! It’s perfect for adding to salads or using in meals like chicken salad in place of mayo.
- Greek Yogurt. 1 cup of greek yogurt contains 17g of protein. You can also use this in chicken salad, egg salad or as a substitute for sour cream in homemade taco bowls. It’s also delicious added to smoothies or on its own with some berries & low carb granola.
- Lean deli meat. Look for gluten free brands that do not contain a lot of fillers. Turkey is usually the best low in fat high in protein option. You can add it to salads, sandwiches or make turkey, spinach and cheese roll ups for a fast, healthy lunch.
- Lean ground chicken or ground turkey. Meal prepping ground chicken or turkey is the perfect way to add more protein to salads and is a great choice if you want to make quick and easy homemade taco bowls!
- Tuna. Stock up on wild caught tuna canned in water or in pre-portioned packs. This is a great option for making tuna salad and is also one of my favorite toppings for a quick salad when you want to add more protein.
- Salmon. Prep wild caught salmon ahead of time or stock up on pre-portioned packs to add healthy fats and protein to sandwiches, pasta and salads.
- Protein Powder. When all else fails, adding a bit of protein powder to a smoothie, muffins, or even a dessert like rice krispies treats can be a helpful way to get more protein in your day at lunchtime, snacktime or anytime. If you’re looking for more information on the best gut-friendly protein powders, you can check out this helpful guide I created.
How much protein should I eat in a day?
The amount of protein you need to consume is dependent on your lifestyle. As a general guideline, you should aim to eat 1-2 grams protein per kilogram of body weight. It is recommended that a sedentary adult eat 0.8 grams of protein per day for proper nourishment, so if you are healthy and active you’ll want to aim for a larger protein intake.
Healthy High-Protein Lunch Ideas for Meal Prep
Poultry & Red Meat
1. Gluten Free Chicken Salad (fodmap friendly)
Gluten free chicken salad is the perfect make ahead high protein lunch option packed with delicious flavor thanks to fresh herbs like dill. Use greek yogurt instead of mayo to add even more protein to this easy dish. If you’re following a low fodmap diet, check out the tips in the ingredients section of the post for serving sizes of add ins like celery and grapes.
Get the recipe for Gluten Free Chicken Salad here.
2. Gluten Free McChicken Copycat (fodmap friendly)
If you’ve been craving a crispy chicken sandwich but you follow a gluten free diet, then this Copycat McChicken Sandwich Recipe is for you. It’s higher in protein, has a lower fat content & has less grams of carbs than its fast food cousin and so simple to make at home!
Get the recipe for this Copycat McChicken Sandwich here.
3. Gluten Free Chicken Salad with Wild Rice
Looking for an easy, healthy meal prep idea? A classic chicken salad recipe is a versatile option that you can customize to your taste. Simply reduce the amount of celery used if you’re following a low fodmap diet to no more than 1 stalk.
Get the recipe for Gluten Free Chicken Salad with Wild Rice here.
4. Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
These healthy buffalo chicken stuffed sweet potatoes are made in just 20 minutes with 5 ingredients. Packed with protein and flavour, this easy meal or snack is sure to be a favourite in your home.
Get the recipe for these Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes here.
5. Tomatillo Chicken Savory Cottage Cheese Bowl
This has all of the flavors of green chilies, chicken, and spices with the added bonus of extra protein from cottage cheese. This bowl is a fantastic high-protein meal that comes together in minutes for an incredible savory dish to enjoy anytime.
Get the recipe for this Tomatillo Chicken Savory Cottage Cheese Bowl here.
6. Chicken Shawarma Plate (fodmap friendly)
This chicken shawarma recipe is such a flavorful and high protein lunch! It is delicious served over rice, quinoa, over a salad, or in a gluten-free wrap and makes amazing leftovers.
Get the recipe for this Chicken Shawarma Plate here.
7. Chicken Cobb Salad
Classic ingredients with a fun twist! This healthy cobb salad is made with a dairy-free cobb salad dressing that’s both easy and refreshing! It’s a summertime salad that hits the sweet spot of protein-packed deliciousness.
Get the recipe for this Healthy Chicken Cobb Salad here.
8. Air Fryer Top Sirloin Steak (fodmap friendly option)
If you want to make a delicious air fryer top sirloin recipe, this is the recipe for you! Air fryer top sirloin is the perfect easy family dinner and perfect for high protein meal prep for the week ahead. To make this fodmap friendly, choose a low fodmap certified steak seasoning.
9. Slow Cooker Taco Soup (fodmap friendly)
Spice up your Taco Tuesday with this easy slow cooker Taco Soup, made with ground beef. It’s a delicious healthy high protein dish the whole family will love.
Get the recipe for this Slow Cooker Taco Soup here.
Fish & Seafood
10. Quinoa Sushi Salad
This deconstructed sushi salad is perfect for lunch. Quinoa is a protein-packed ingredient and perfect combined with avocado and crab.
Get the recipe for this Quinoa Sushi Salad here.
11. Sardine Paté (fodmap friendly)
This sardine pate is very quick and easy to make, and a great way to add a portion of oily fish to your diet. Super healthy and budget friendly.
Get the recipe for this Sardine Paté here.
12. Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp (fodmap friendly option)
Gluten free air fryer coconut shrimp make for the perfect topping to any salad if you’re looking for an easy protein-packed lunch. You can also make shrimp tacos using your favorite low carb tortillas to keep those midday energy levels high! To make this more fodmap friendly, reduce the coconut flakes to 3/4 cup and omit the coconut sugar as well as the dipping sauce.
Get the recipe for Air Fryer Gluten Free Coconut Shrimp here.
13. Tuna & Cannellini Bean Salad
A delicious, easy to make protein-packed salad will be a favorite to have for lunch. The copycat recipe for a famous Italian canned salad, you’ll understand why it’s a midday meal hit with the first taste!
Get the recipe for this Tuna & Cannellini Bean Salad here.
14. Cornmeal Crusted Fish Tacos (fodmap friendly option)
These homemade fish tacos are THE BEST. Tilapia fillets are breaded in a cornmeal crust and pan-fried to create delicious and crispy fish tacos. Serve with your favorite tortillas and toppings and enjoy a protein-rich lunch! To make this more fodmap friendly, omit the southwest seasoning.
Get the recipe for these Cornmeal Crusted Fish Tacos here.
15. Tuna & Sweetcorn Fritters (fodmap friendly)
Tuna fish and sweetcorn fritters are a super easy healthy lunch recipe. They are quick to make and portable, making them great for picnics and healthy packed lunches.
Get the recipe for these Tuna & Sweetcorn Fritters here.
16. Salmon Bacon Lettuce Avocado & Tomato Lettuce Wrap (fodmap friendly option)
This Salmon Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado Tomato (BLAT) wraps has crunchy bacon, creamy avocado and tasty salmon. Perfect for low carb, gluten free or keto lunches. To make this fodmap friendly, omit the avocado or reduce to 1/8th avocado.
Get the recipe for this Salmon BLAT Lettuce Wrap here.
17. Lemon Pepper Salmon
This Lemon Pepper Salmon is everything you want a weekday meal to be. Salmon baked with broccoli and baby potatoes for a tasty, lip-smacking meal.
Get the recipe for Lemon Pepper Salmon here.
18. Drunken Mussels with Turmeric & White Wine (fodmap friendly)
Drunken mussels are one of those fancier weekend lunch meals that are perfect if you still have a protein goal you want to hit, but want to indulge a bit. Swap the white wine for chicken or vegetable broth to add even more protein.
Grab the recipe for Drunken Turmeric Mussels here.
Protein Packed Vegan & Vegetarian Lunch Options
19. Grain Free Falafel with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce (fodmap friendly)
Chickpeas are one of the most delicious vegan & vegetarian friendly protein sources, and they’re also fodmap friendly in smaller serving sizes, like the serving size in these veggie packed Grain Free Falafel. Serve them with a side of creamy dressing to start your afternoon on the right foot.
Get the recipe for Grain Free Vegan Falafel here.
20. Mediterranean Salad with Cucumbers & Tomatoes
This quick and refreshing Mediterranean bowl is perfect for lunch filled with plant-based protein from sources like vegan feta cheese and chickpeas. It’s one of my favorite vegan friendly high protein salads and a great easy lunch recipe to have in your back pocket on a busy day when you only have a few minutes to make a meal.
Get the recipe for this 5 Minute Mediterranean Salad Bowl here.
21. Protein Snack Packs (fodmap friendly option)
Protein Snack Packs filled with hard-boiled eggs, almonds, hummus, sweet cherry tomatoes and crunchy veggies. An easy and delicious lunchtime meal-prep solution perfect for any protein lover, these fantastic little protein snack packs are perfect for school lunches, post-workout snacks, or picnics in the park. Skip the deli meat to make this a vegetarian friendly lunch. To make this fodmap friendly, omit the deli meat and hummus.
Get the recipe for these Protein Snack Packs here.
22. Stone Fruit Caprese Salad without Tomatoes
This stone fruit caprese salad is bursting with healthy ingredients, and so flavorful with juicy sweet fruit. Easy to make as a high protein lunch idea! Top it with proteins like shrimp, chicken or steak for an even higher protein meal if you’re not vegetarian.
Get the recipe for Stone Fruit Caprese here.
23. Keto Friendly Egg Salad (fodmap friendly)
Serve this keto egg salad in lettuce wraps for a quick gluten free lunch! (Be sure to choose a garlic and onion free mayo if you are making this low fodmap friendly.)
Get the recipe for this Keto Egg Salad here.
24. Kale & Quinoa Power Salad
This Kale and Quinoa Power Salad fills you up and tastes good too! Packed with vegetarian friendly protein from the quinoa and goat cheese, you can easily make this a vegan friendly meal or pescatarian friendly by adding salmon for some additional protein.
Get the recipe for this Kale & Quinoa Power Salad here.
25. High Protein, Low Carb Pizza Crust (fodmap friendly option)
This high protein low carb pizza crust recipe needs only 2 simple ingredients. Enjoy a keto pizza crust with almost zero carbs, ready in 15 minutes, and perfect with any toppings. Use a fodmap friendly unflavored protein powder if necessary.
Get the recipe for High Protein Low Carb Pizza Crust here.
26. Ultimate Vegan Buddha Bowl
The Ultimate Vegan Buddha Bowl is loaded with nutrient dense vegetables, healthy fats, the best vegan protein, and healthy grains. This Buddha bowl is complete, well balanced meal in just one serving and isn’t hard to make. The vibrant colors and rich flavors make it incredibly satisfying and you’ll want to enjoy this vegan bowl of yumminess again and again.
Get the recipe for this Ultimate Vegan Buddha Bowl here.
27. Vegan Quinoa Poke Bowl
Fuel your body with this delicious and nutritious High-Protein Vegan Poke Bowl that is packed with plant-based protein and an array of colorful veggies. With a burst of bold flavors and textures, this bowl is the perfect way to satisfy your hunger and keep you energized throughout the day.
Get the recipe for this Vegan Poke Bowl here.
28. Quick & Simple Protein Overnight Oats (fodmap friendly)
These protein overnight oats are a quick and simple protein-rich meal for your busy lifestyle. They’re made using your favorite protein powder, nutritious, contain about 22 grams of protein per serving, and last all week long. Have these easy oats prepped in just 5 minutes!
Get the recipe for these Protein Overnight Oats here.
29. Protein Overnight Oats with Greek Yogurt
These delicious protein overnight oats are vegan, gluten-free, and made with healthy ingredients. They pack over 15g of protein per serving! Add your favorite fruit, nut butter, or other toppings for a delicious and filling lunch that you can prep ahead.
Get the recipe for Protein Overnight Oats with Greek Yogurt here.
30. Salmon Caesar Salad
This Salmon Caesar Salad is made with gluten free croutons as well as low fodmap friendly dressing, so it’s high in protein and easy to digest.
Find the recipe for Salmon Caesar Salad here.