It’s that time of the year again; when most of us make a concerted effort to make better eating choices, adopt a consistent exercise routine, and try to live healthier. Eating meals high in protein and low in calories have many benefits. Don’t be put off thinking that they require too much time and effort to prepare.
It is easy to adopt a diet that is high in protein and low in calories. It is essential to include meals that are quick and easy to prepare and that taste delicious! The star of your meals should be lean meat and poultry, fish, beans, lentils, eggs, and certain dairy products.
Whether you are looking for high-protein, low-calorie meals to lose weight, maintain more consistent energy levels, or improve your health and well-being, it is vital to have a stash of meal ideas on hand so that you always have an idea of what to cook.
17 Meal Ideas That Are High-Protein and Low In Calories
You may be the type who eats one main meal and snacks for the rest of the day. Or you may prefer to have three well-balanced meals a day. Whichever you choose, it is a good idea to eat high-protein and low-calorie meals or snacks throughout the day. To consistently eat healthy, ensure that you enjoy your food.
Feel free to try new flavor combinations and experiment with different herbs and spices. There are so many ways to add new life to traditional ingredients.
High Protein Low-Calorie Breakfast Ideas
Say no to glugging down a cup of coffee before dashing out the door! These breakfast ideas are easy to prepare and can be made in no time. They are sure to keep you feeling full until lunchtime.
These are all the rage on TikTok right now! They are simple to make, and the best thing is that you can make it on a Monday morning and enjoy it all week for breakfast. All you have to do is whisk some eggs with a splash of milk, seasoning, herbs, and spices before pouring the mixture into a baking sheet.
Top with some spinach, bacon, or any protein you have on hand. Sprinkle some cheese over it and bake in the oven.
Creamy, delicious, and satisfying, I prefer overnight oats to cooked oats because it is not so stodgy. There are also so many varieties of flavors and toppings that you can add to overnight oats. To make overnight oats, I add Greek yogurt, protein powder, chia seeds, and a splash of milk to rolled oats.
Now, this is the fun part – I divide this mixture into 4 or 5 servings and then add different toppings. Chocolate Peanut Butter is my favorite! Use chocolate protein powder and add a teaspoon of peanut butter. Top with slices of banana.
Whip up some Turkish eggs for a hearty, wholesome, high-protein, low-calorie breakfast. Heat up a glug of olive oil and then sauté red onions, garlic, chili peppers, and spinach (frozen spinach works very well). Break two eggs into the pan and fry until done. Enjoy with a dollop of full-fat Greek yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Frittatas are great to make, as you can add any leftovers you have, from meats to veggies, to make them. Add spinach, cheese, or turkey meat to the frittata to pack in even more protein. To keep the calories down, use olive oil instead of butter.
Chia Yogurt Bowls
On the mornings when you wake up craving something sweet, make a chia yogurt bowl. Made with full-fat Greek yogurt, chia seeds, vanilla extract, a dash of milk, and honey, a chia yogurt bowl will satisfy your sweet tooth while giving you enough protein to fuel your body. For added protein, top with nuts, seeds, and granola.
Protein Shake Bakes
Pancakes, muffins, and waffles don’t have to be unhealthy. Whip up a batch using a protein shake.
Make a high-protein smoothie for the mornings when you have to eat your breakfast on the go. Add a good quality protein powder to the milk of your choice (almond milk is a good option). Next, add frozen or fresh fruit and blitz in a blender.
Must-try combinations are dates, bananas and peanut butter, mixed berries, walnuts and spinach, pureed pumpkin, walnuts, and cinnamon and banana, almond butter, and vanilla extract.
High Protein Low-Calorie Lunch-On-The-Go Ideas
Beat the midday slump by ensuring you keep your sugar levels up. Having a nutritious lunch will also stop you from reaching for empty carbs, and sugar come 3pm. These lunch ideas are more appetizing than sandwiches; you can prep them the night before, saving you time in the morning.
Chop up chicken into bite-sized pieces and marinade in your favorite flavors. Quickly stir fry the chicken, then add to your lunchbox with either pasta, noodles, quinoa, or rice. Include any veggies that you have in the fridge.
Popular marinades include Teriyaki, honey and sesame, spicy Mexican, and garlic and herb.
Tip – for succulent and tender chicken, add a teaspoon of cornflour when marinating the chicken.
Tangy and creamy, a tuna salad with sweet peas and bell peppers makes a light lunch. Substitute the mayo for Greek yogurt to reduce your calorie intake. Add tomatoes, red onions, and a dash of mustard for added flavor. The salad can be enjoyed on its own, on a bed of lettuce and other greens, or in a wrap or bagel.
Add chunks of tuna to baby spinach and avocado and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
Instead of a sandwich, make kale wraps. Roll turkey or other deli meats along with cheese in a kale leaf. You could also use cabbage or lettuce to make the wrap. Add extra punch with mustard and red onion slices.
Add more protein to your salad. Chop up leftover meat from last night’s dinner and add it to your salad. You could also add cheese, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
High-Protein, Low-Calorie Dinner Ideas
After a long day, it is so tempting to grab a takeaway on the way home from work or to tuck into a frozen pizza. These dinner ideas are packed with protein and are quick and easy to prepare.
Spicy Chicken Kebabs And Black Bean Salsa
A great mid-week dinner idea, you can either barbecue or pan-grill chicken skewers that have been rubbed with smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, and olive oil. The black bean salsa will add protein and pair well with the chicken’s spiciness.
Meat And Two Veg
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to nutritious dinners. Elevate the usual meat and two veg by infusing delicious flavors into your dishes. Think lean steak with a smokey barbecue sauce served with a corn salad or salmon drizzled with garlic butter and served with charred tomatoes and asparagus.
Cauliflower fried rice cooked in a wok with shrimp and garlic makes a tasty, nutritious dinner. Add other vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and bell peppers to extend the dish and add in more protein.
Made with sweet potato and mixed beans, vegan chili is flavored with red chili, garlic, paprika, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cumin, and lime juice. Serve with rice or cauliflower rice. If there is any leftover, pack some for lunch to enjoy the next day; it also freezes well.
For those days you need to end the day with comfort food, try a slow-cooker chicken casserole. Cooking it in the slower cooker will ensure fewer calories go into the dish.
High-Protein, Low-Calorie Snacks
Don’t let snacking be your downfall! Make sure you always have healthy snacks on hand, so you don’t binge on high-calorie junk food.
These are excellent high-protein, low-calorie snacks –
- Jerky or beef sticks
- Turkey roll-ups
- Protein bars (you can make your own using nuts, dried fruit, and dates)
- Fruit and nut bars
- Protein shakes
- Trail mix
- Roasted chickpeas
- Greek yogurt parfait
- Veggies with a hummus dip or Greek yogurt dip, or cottage cheese
- Celery sticks or slices of apples smeared with peanut butter
- Energy balls made with oats, seeds, peanut butter, and dates
- Almonds, peanuts, cashews, macadamia, walnuts, Brazil nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia pudding
Frequently Asked Questions
What Foods Are High In Protein But Low In Calories?
A list of foods that are high in protein but low in calories is helpful when grocery shopping. It is beneficial to glance at this list before going to a restaurant to make better choices when ordering off the menu.
The following foods are high-protein and low-calorie.
- Certain dairy like cottage cheese and Greek yogurt
- Nuts and seeds
- Leans meats like turkey and skinless chicken
- Seafood like tuna and salmon
Is High Protein Dinner Good For Weight Loss?
We all know that it is vital to eat a balanced diet for our health and well-being.
Eating a dinner that is high in protein can help with weight loss as most people are less likely to overeat once they have filled up on protein.
It is best to eat high-protein meals throughout the day and not just for dinner. Eating high-protein foods throughout the day will ensure your energy levels are up and you do not hit that midday slump. This mid-day slump causes many people to crave unhealthy snacks.
What Are The Cheapest High-Protein Meals?
Eating healthy does not have to put a dent in your budget. Here are some ideas for cheap meals that are high in protein
- Canned sardines served on toasted bread and topped with tomatoes, basil, and a squeeze of lemon. If the sardines come canned in oil, wash off any excess oil before preparing.
- A hearty lentil salad is so easy to make and packed with protein! Add lentils to a bowl. Finely chop veggies like red onion, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, and bell peppers, then add to lentils. Make a dressing with lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, and seasoning and pour over lentil salad. You could also substitute lentils with chickpeas.
- Oats is so versatile. You can make it sweet or savory.
- Ground turkey is packed with protein and can go a long way! Use it to make chili, burgers, and meatloaf; it is also great in wraps and bagels.
- Eggs are inexpensive and can be cooked in so many different ways.
What Meal Has A Lot Of Protein And Little Fat?
To create meals that have a lot of protein but little fat, center your dish around lean meat like turkey, skinless chicken, sirloin steak, and lean ground beef and serve with quinoa or brown rice and vegetables like spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, edamame, and sweet potatoes.
With some preparation and planning, it is easy to eat high-protein, low-calorie dishes at every meal. To ensure that you continue making healthy food choices, you must enjoy the food you prepare. Experiment with different marinades and flavors so that you don’t get bored and look forward to each meal.