You know the feeling. You spent your weekend inhaling one too many slices of pizza for dinner, capped off with bagels smothered in cream cheese for breakfast, and now your body is practically begging you to give the carbs a break. So, what’s for dinner? A meal that’s high in protein. It’s just that we’re a little sick of eating grilled chicken with steamed broccoli every night. Not that we don’t love chicken (we do!), but when it’s nested on our plates at least four times a week, our taste buds get tired. It’s time to pull out of the Perdue rut and find out just how tasty a high-protein dinner can be.
So what exactly counts as “high protein”? While the FDA defines it as anything with more than 10 grams, we asked registered dietitian Elizabeth Jarrard to weigh in—she suggests aiming higher. With new research that recommends splitting your intake throughout the day, Jarrard suggests getting closer to 20 grams for a meal.
This is essentially an easy Thai-style stir-fry, but it’s so much cuter tucked into lettuce wraps. The recipe uses powdered peanut butter for its sauce, but go for the real stuff if that’s what you have—the protein count won’t change much.
Protein per serving: 40 grams
Need a chili recipe to keep in your back pocket for those big gatherings and game nights? This one just might be your winner. It’s full of lean turkey meat and has a super-rich flavor filled with spices and tomatoes. It also doesn’t require hours in a slow cooker.
Protein per serving: 30 grams
Enjoy Thai takeout with a fraction of the oil, sugar, and sodium with this homemade sesame beef recipe. Ready in less than 20 minutes, it’s even faster than delivery! Serve on top of brown rice to make it a full meal.
Protein per serving: 23 grams
This is a pretty flexible recipe as far as vegetables go—use up whatever is in your fridge to sauté along with the pork. Anything will go well with the fragrant lemongrass and ginger. While you do need fish sauce for the dish, it’s usually easy to find in the grocery store.
Protein per serving: 27 grams
You could always sear salmon fillets and squeeze some lime over them, but getting those same flavors and protein-packed nutrients in patty form is so much more fun. Plus, it barely requires any more time, thanks to the food processor and the oven doing most of the work for you.
Protein per serving (2 cakes): 32 grams
Made out of the limited ingredients the blogger had in her fridge, the recipe may not be traditional, but definitely proves that getting creative can be worth it. The slightly sweet, slightly spice shrimp and shredded cabbage duo makes for servings that are huge in volume, but don’t weight you down.
Protein per serving:25 grams