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High Protein Lunch Ideas - Simple As Could Be
If you consume a lot of protein, you know first hand that the foods containing only protein are limited. For most foods, the nutrition label might show 22g of protein, but with this comes 11g of fat and 30g of carbs. In this article, I will be focusing on foods that are nothing more than a great protein source. If you’ve been looking for high protein lunch ideas, look no further!
Identifying Complete Protein Sources
Before we dive into the world of high protein food choices, it’s important to understand what makes a protein source good. There are nine essential amino acids that make up proteins. A complete protein source is a food that has an adequate amount of all nine of these amino acids. Unfortunately, there are not many foods that are truly a “complete” protein source, but there are still options. You don’t need to waste your time trying to make sure everything you eat is a complete protein source. Nonetheless, it’s still helpful to know which foods give you the most bang for your buck protein wise.
Some Common Complete Animal Protein Sources Include:
Common Complete Plant Protein Sources Include:
Nearly all legumes
Five High Protein Lunch Ideas
Tuna – Ah yes, one of the greatest staples of all. Tuna fish is perhaps the best complete protein source on a budget. If your nutrition plan is contingent upon a high protein intake, then tuna should definitely be in your diet. Tuna is unbelievable because there are no carbs, a very small amount of fat, and anywhere between 12-15 grams of protein per serving. Keep in mind that tuna generally has above average levels of sodium, and that mercury can pose a threat to your health if consumed excessively. For the most part though, tuna is safe to be consumed daily in moderation.
Egg whites – Egg whites are all protein. Literally. Yolks are what contain the fats within an eggs, so by subtracting the yolk you’re left with all protein. A single egg white provides 5 grams of protein, but you should have no trouble consuming four or five egg whites in a meal. Add your favorite seasonings, spices, and your favorite hot sauce for one of the best high protein lunch ideas.
Oikos Triple Zero Greek Yogurt – This is not only a great lunch idea, but a solid snack for any time. Dannon Oikos Triple Zero is greek yogurt with no fat and 15 grams of protein. With only 110 calories, this is a food that is comprised of mainly protein. Carbohydrates make up the remainder of the calories, but this is nonetheless a safe bet to add to your lunch. One of my favorite aspects about this yogurt is the fact that you get 6 grams of fiber per yogurt.
4. Spinach and Legume Salad – Spinach offers 3 grams of protein for every 100 grams of the leaf. Legumes on the other hand are pretty much all protein and they offer 8 grams per each cup. Combining these two foods will result in a super salad that is packed with protein. Keep in mind that there are a variety of legumes to choose from.
5. Whey Shake – The go-to whether you’re in a rush, too lazy to prepare something, or just don’t want to eat much. Whey, as you know, is all protein. Combine one scoop of whey with your favorite fruits and veggies in a blender. Add water to your preference and blend. You will be left with a liquid lunch that is nothing but protein and good carbohydrates.
Throughout this article I have covered some foods that are high in protein. Many of the foods mentioned in this post are known as complete protein sources. Unfortunately there are limited foods that are strictly protein. Most of these are going to be meats of some sort, fish, or legumes. Feel free to do your own research on high protein lunch ideas, as this is meant to offer minimal insight.