High protein foods: High protein lunch and dinner recipes

From chicken to lentils, we’ve rounded up some rather important foods packed full of protein which are perfect for munching on when you’re in need of that protein fix...

High protein foods: Beef
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If you always find yourself hungry after meals or you want to stop yourself snacking throughout the day it might be time to up your protein levels.

From chicken to lentils, we've rounded up some foods packed full of protein which are perfect for lunch or dinner on when you're in need of that high protein food fix. If you always find yourself hungry after meals or you want to stop yourself snacking throughout the day it might be time to up your protein levels.

From chicken to lentils, we've rounded up some rather important foods packed full of protein which are perfect for munching on when you're in need of that protein fix.

Protein plays a big part in our diets and is key to keeping us fuller for longer. If you're after diets that work fast (opens in new tab) for better health and weight loss, the high protein diet (opens in new tab) is certainly one to go for. The amount of protein we each need really depends on our age, current diet and general fitness levels. For example a teenage girl will need less protein in her diet in comparison to an adult woman, a man who exercises on a daily basis will need more protein than a man who doesn't exercise daily or a person on a vegetarian diet is likely to need more protein than a person who eats meat.

Keeping this in mind, the average recommended daily intake (RDI) of protein for an adult woman is about 45 grams a day and the average for an adult man is about 55g. So, if you're feeling the hunger and want to start eating a little healthier, it's time to substitute some of those carbs for protein instead!

High protein foods: Beef

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Protein per 100g: There is about 36g of protein in a 100g serving of beef which is three quarters of your average RDI.

High protein recipes to try:

  • Burritos (opens in new tab)

    are a great choice if you're looking for something protein filled. A

    delicious mixture of minced beef and beans will keep you full most of

    the evening plus you can add nuts or seeds to the mix. The homemade

    guacamole will count towards your five-a-day too.

  • Tender meatballs and soft cannellini beans make all the difference in our meatballs and beans in tomato broth recipe (opens in new tab). Not only is it only 300 cals per portion, it's also full of protein too!
  • Nothing beats a hearty bowl of warming chilli con carne (opens in new tab). This dish includes minced beef and kidney beans. It's so filling that you might not need the rice or bread to serve.

Healthy cooking tip: When

it comes to buying beef mince, always opt for lean or extra-lean beef

mince as it's much healthier and will have less fats than your regular

pack.

High protein foods: Lentils

High protein foods: Lentils

(Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

Protein per 100g: There is about 9g of protein in a 100g serving of lentils which is just about a fifth of your average RDI.

High protein recipes to try:

If you're looking for something healthy and filling our lentil and pancetta warm salad is the perfect choice. Handful of lentils, diced pancetta and eggs makes this dish a protein feast.

Our easy-to-make lentil and chickpea soup might not look the part, but it tastes delicious and is a great way of getting some protein into your diet at lunch time.

Feed your whole family with a Moroccan red lentil and lamb stew. The lentils in this recipe provide most of the protein along with the tender chunks of lamb.

Healthy cooking tip: Cook your lentils in water with half a stock cube. It'll add flavour to your lentils and you won't need to add any extra salt to them afterwards.

High protein foods: Turkey

High protein foods: Turkey

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Protein per 100g: There is about 30g of protein in a 100g serving of turkey which is more than half of your average RDI.

High protein recipes to try:

  • Turkey is just like chicken - full of protein. Our turkey curry (opens in new tab) is high in protein as it's packed full of turkey chunks and green beans too which have 1.8g of protein in a 100g serving.
  • Our turkey hash cakes (opens in new tab) are just like fish cakes, swapping the fish for turkey instead. You can add ground nuts to the mix for even more protein. The yogurt dressing adds to the protein count too.
  • If you want something light for lunch make it a turkey salad (opens in new tab). Our recipe combines chunks of turkey with pecan nuts and blue cheese which are both packed with protein.

Healthy cooking tip: When cooking turkey, without any sauce, season with herbs and ground pepper instead of adding extra fat or salt for flavour.

Grilled salmon with white beans and bacon

High protein foods: Fish

Simple fresh flavours of lettuce and beans enhanced with smoked crisp bacon make the perfect accompaniment for grilled salmon.Get the recipe: (opens in new tab)Grilled salmon with white beans and bacon recipe

High protein foods: Cheese

High protein foods: Cheese

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Protein per 100g: There is about 32g of protein in a 100g serving of cheese which is more than half of your average RDI.

High protein recipes to try:

  • Our Stilton, apple and walnut salad (opens in new tab) is the perfect example of how to make a healthy and protein packed dish in one. The walnuts add to the protein count and the apple and salad leaves count towards your five-a-day.
  • If you're looking for something simple our cheese and ham omelette (opens in new tab) is sure to tick the box. Egg, ham and cheese are all packed with protein - add some veggies to make this dish a little healthier too.
  • Treat the family to this hearty cheese, spinach and walnut pasta bake (opens in new tab). The cheese and the walnuts provide the protein and the spinach adds some iron to the mix too. Cut the fat count by choosing skimmed milk and lower-fat cheese too.

Healthy cooking tip: Low-fat cheese is good if you're trying to cut the fat count in your meals but if you've not got any low-fat options, then opt for a stronger flavoured cheese and use half the amount you usually would.

High protein foods: Chickpeas

High protein foods: Chickpeas

Protein per 100g: There is about 9g of protein in a 100g serving of chickpeas which is just about a fifth of your average RDI.

High protein recipes to try:

  • Give your salad a filling makeover by adding some chickpeas and tuna (opens in new tab). Both are high in protein and will help you to stop snacking. 
  • Our delicious sausage and chickpea stew (opens in new tab) is sure to keep the whole family fuller for longer. Plus this dish is just bursting with flavour too. Warming, hearty and delicious - what more could you want?
  • Our couscous, chickpea and salmon salad (opens in new tab) doesn't take long to make. Your source of protein in this dish is from the salmon and the chickpeas which when added together nearly make your RDI of protein.

Healthy cooking tip: If you want to add some flavour to your chickpeas, choose something spicy like paprika or cayenne pepper. Spices are a great alternative to sauces.

High protein foods: Egg

High protein foods: Egg

Protein per 100g: There is about 13g of protein in a 100g serving of egg which is about a third of your average RDI.

High protein recipes to try:

  • Smoked salmon and egg makes a delicious combination and is packed full of protein too. Add in some fresh asparagus spears and you've got a hearty brunch for the whole family. Try our smoked salmon and asparagus omelette (opens in new tab).
  • If you're bored of scrambled egg on toast jazz it up a bit like our scrambled egg and crab on garlic croutes recipe (opens in new tab). The white crabmeat and the four eggs really up the protein count in this recipe.
  • If you love making omelettes, you'll love making frittatas too. Whip up our mushroom and sausage frittata (opens in new tab) for a delicious lunch or light dinner. Served with some fresh salad leaves, you've got a dish which will keep you fuller for longer.

Healthy cooking tip: Usually when we scramble eggs we add a dash of milk to the mix. Cut out the milk to reduce a little bit of the fat from your chosen recipe. You'll get more flavour out of the eggs once they're cooked too.

High protein foods: Chicken

High protein foods: Chicken

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

Protein per 100g: There is about 33g of protein in a 100g serving of chicken which is more than half of your average RDI.

High protein recipes to try:

  • Our chicken, pea and noodle salad recipe (opens in new tab)

    (pictured above) is oozing with protein from both the chicken and the

    toasted cashew nuts sprinkled throughout. You can adjust the quantities

    in this recipe too - the more nuts, the better!

  • If you fancy trying something new why not make it our chicken tagine with couscous (opens in new tab)?

    The chicken and chickpeas are your main source of protein in this

    recipe and swapping rice for couscous makes this dish even healthier.

  • Salads don't have to be plain and boring. Add some protein to the mix. Our big and tasty chicken Caesar salad (opens in new tab) is packed with chicken, egg and even bacon - it's a protein party on a plate!

Healthy cooking tip:

Baking, steaming and grilling chicken are the healthiest ways to cook

chicken. When it comes to frying, swap the olive oil for cooking spray

instead - they're much lighter than using oil and don't affect the taste

of your dish either.

High protein: Quinoa

High protein: Quinoa

Protein per 100g: There is about 4.4g of protein in a 100g serving of quinoa, under a quarter of your average RDI.

High protein recipes to try:

  • Quinoa and chicken (opens in new tab) make a delicious combination - and they're both full of protein. The quinoa will add a nutty texture to the dish and is perfect served with finely chopped veggies scattered throughout.
  • Make a hearty sausage and lentil casserole (opens in new tab) to feed the whole family. Not only is this casserole full of protein-packed sausages and lentils, its also got plenty of quinoa in it too.
  • It doesn't take much to make this lentil, squash and mushroom stew with quinoa (opens in new tab). A creamy sauce, plenty of quinoa and lentils (your two main sources of protein) and some tender butternut squash chunks make this dish extra special.

Healthy cooking tip: If you want to add some flavour to your quinoa when cooking, add a stock cube to the water when simmering. This means you won't have to add any salt to your dish when serving.

High protein: Nuts and seeds

High protein: Nuts and seeds

Protein per 100g: There is about 33g of protein in a 100g serving of nuts and seeds which is more than half of your average RDI.

High protein recipes to try:

  • Our superfood salmon salad (opens in new tab) is bursting with protein and is a super healthy option at dinner time. The salmon, chopped nuts and mixed seeds provide most of the protein.
  • If you fancy making something different, these seeded tuna fishcakes (opens in new tab) are sure to do the trick. Just serve with fresh salad leaves for lunch or dinner. The tuna and the mixed seeds will keep you fuller for longer.
  • Stuffed peppers (opens in new tab) are just delicious and if you've never stuffed a pepper before now is your chance, stuff them with buts, seeds and whatever else tickles your fancy. You could even add mince to the mix for a pepper full of protein.

Healthy cooking tip: Nuts and seeds are best added to dishes at the last minute especially when cooking - you don't want to cook out all the flavour and goodness.

High protein foods: Pork

High protein foods: Pork

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Protein per 100g: There is about 25g of protein in a 100g serving of pork which is around half of your average RDI.

High protein recipes to try:

  • Our Sichuan pork stir-fry recipe (opens in new tab) combines pork and handfuls of cashew nuts together to make a protein-packed dish. You could make this dish even healthier by swapping the rice for couscous or quinoa (another source of protien) instead.
  • Paella is a great recipe when you're trying to get protein into your diet in bulk. Our traditional Spanish paella (opens in new tab)uses pork, chicken, chorizo and prawns which means you won't have to have a big portion and you'll be full to the brim in no time!
  • Ditch the sauce and make this light and healthy pork and cashew nut (opens in new tab) stir-fry in just 25 mins. The more nuts you add, the better.

Healthy cooking tip: Make sure you cut off all the fat from your pork before cooking. This will decrease the calorie and fat count straight away.

High protein: Beans

High protein: Beans

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Protein per 100g: There is about 17g of protein in a 100g serving of beans which is just over a third of your average RDI.

High protein recipes to try:

  • Our Brazilian bean risotto (opens in new tab) is perfect for feeding the whole family at the weekend. The protein in this recipe is taken from the sausage, bacon, cheese and kidney beans - they'll be no room for dessert after this dish!
  • Have you ever made a bean burger (opens in new tab) before? If you're looking for something with lots of flavour and protein, a bean burger is the perfect choice. Served with or without a bun and with some fresh salad leaves, our bean burger blends cannellini, butter and kidney beans together.
  • Our hearty sausage and bean casserole (opens in new tab) only takes 40 mins to rustle up and it's a great way to get some veggies into your kids diet. The sausage and the bean combo add up to just under a half of your RDI of protein.

Healthy cooking tip: Beans don't have to just be cooked in a jar of sauce you know. Ditch the sauce for something lighter instead, sprinkle with herbs, drizzle in balsamic vinegar or boil with a stock cube.