High-Protein Lunch Ideas and Sides You Can Easily Tote to Work
Power Veggie Sandwich
Sandwiches get a bad rap sometimes, but they can make a healthy comeback with upgraded versions like this vegan stack. Using whole-grain bread gives you killer taste and texture, and this veggie-stuffed recipe clocks in at 44 grams of whole grains and 10 grams of protein. Hummus, avocado, and fresh veggies offer a healthy dose of nutrition in this protein lunch idea. (Related: You’ll Want to Eat This Plant-Based Bacon With Everything)
Get the recipe: Power Veggie Sandwich
Cobb Salad Wrap
Wraps are what happens when a salad meets a sandwich, making this protein lunch idea perfect for those watching their carb intake (just like these 20 keto lunch recipes). It uses a ProteinUP Flatout wrap, which packs more than 12 grams of protein and only 8 grams of carbs. Plus, wrapping bacon with fresh greens is always a tasty choice.
Get the recipe: Cobb Salad Wrap
Veggie Power Bowl
Stay fueled for the afternoon with this veggie power bowl. Not only will you get protein from the tofu, quinoa, and cashews, but this meal serves up additional health benefits thanks to the dried Montmorency cherries—better heart health, faster post-workout recovery, and improved sleep. (Discover more nutrient-rich power bowl combinations.)
Get the recipe: Veggie Power Bowl
Raw Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Bars
No time for breakfast but need something to hold you over through a series of meetings? A bar is a great idea to keep on hand for occasions like this, and making a batch at home allows you to control the ingredients and sugars. For a complete protein lunch idea, snack on one of these PB treats with some veggies and hummus.
Get the recipe: Raw Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Bars
Tofu Banh Mi Wrap
This slimmed-down take on the Vietnamese sandwich uses tofu instead of pork, and flatbread instead of regular bread. The lighter version packs some serious protein—7 grams from the tofu and about 12 grams from the flatbread—making this a high-protein lunch idea.
Get the recipe: Tofu Banh Mi Wrap
Trail Mix Energy Cookies
Cookies can have their rightful place in a balanced, protein-packed lunch. Especially when the cookies feature whole grains, seeds, and delicious fruit. These Trail Mix Energy Cookies are the perfect way to satisfy any mid-day cravings while delivering a hefty dose of nutrition, too. Pair one with one of the more savory protein lunch ideas above for a better brown bag.
Get the recipe: Trail Mix Energy Cookies
Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes
If you're hankering for pasta come lunchtime, Julie Harrington, R.D., culinary nutrition consultant at RDelicious Kitchen, suggests swapping out plain old pasta for chickpea pasta to pump up the protein . "Chickpeas are high in both protein and fiber, which helps you feel full and can curb those afternoon snack cravings," she says.
Get the recipe: Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes
Sweet Potato Pie Yogurt Parfait
Rethink your urge to dive into those stale office donuts and plan ahead with this yogurt parfait. Packed with twice as much protein as regular yogurt, nonfat plain Greek yogurt mixed with fresh fruit or vegetables, like sweet potato, satisfies sweet cravings and provides the ultimate midday meal. This protein lunch idea is made with only natural ingredients and no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or flavors—so basically the exact opposite of what you'd find in the vending machine.
Get the recipe: Sweet Potato Pie Yogurt Parfait
Edamame Quinoa Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing
"This quinoa salad contains 14 grams of protein from the black beans, edamame, and tofu," says Charlene Pors, R.D., owner of Euphoria Nutrition. That's 28 percent of your daily recommended amount. And since this salad is loaded with fiber-rich ingredients like spinach, tomatoes, and carrots, "it will surely keep you fueled and full until your next meal," she says. (Another option? This Vegan Quinoa Salad Recipe Will Be Your New Go-To Lunch)
Get the recipe: Edamame Quinoa Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing
Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Sweet Apple Slaw
Chickpeas are packed with protein, yes, but they're also a great source of folate—and that's good for maintaining heart health, says Natalie Rizzo, M.S., R.D., owner of Nutrition à la Natalie. Bonus: The high-protein lunch idea is ready in minutes thanks to the help of a food processor.
Get the recipe: Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Sweet Apple Slaw
Red Lentil Chili in an Acorn Squash Bowl
Lentil chili is a great source of plant-based protein, fiber, and folate, says Elizabeth Shaw, M.S., R.D., nutrition communications consultant at Shaw's Simple Swaps. "By placing this chili in an acorn squash bowl, you also amp up your vegetable intake." (Then try these high-fiber lentil recipes for dinner.)
Get the recipe: Red Lentil Chili in an Acorn Squash Bowl
Roasted Chickpeas 3 Ways
Remember the days when corn nuts and candy-coated peanuts were considered a "healthy" afternoon snack or lunch side dish? Thank goodness for these natural, protein-packed, plant-based chickpeas! The unique flavor combinations—including buffalo, chili lime, or garlic Parmesan rosemary—really add a flavorful punch. (Then use the rest of your chickpea haul for an entree to add to your protein lunch idea list: Saffron Chicken Soup with Spinach and Chickpeas)
Get the recipe: Roasted Chickpeas 3 Ways