What are some healthy proteins I can eat for lunch or dinner?

The notes below show how you can eat healthy proteins -- from a variety of sources -- for lunch and dinner:
  • A cottage-cheese-and-fruit plate makes a quick and easy light meal.
  • Use flavored, baked tofu in stir-fry dishes.
  • Turn an ordinary salad into a high-protein meal by topping it with kidney, garbanzo, or black beans. Add a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, or slivered almonds for added protein and nutrients.
  • Use lean cuts of thinly sliced turkey for sandwiches on whole grain bread.
  • Experiment with different varieties of bean soups or chili. A few classics include navy bean and black bean.
Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics

There are lots of healthy protein options for lunch and dinner.  

  • Add sliced boiled egg (or egg whites) to spinach salad.
  • Add edamame, chickpeas, black beans or kidney beans to a mixed green salad.
  • Use pinto or navy beans for a flavorful vegetarian chili.
  • Add cubes of tofu to stir-fry and soups.
  • Make a healthy tuna salad of canned tuna (packed in water), olive oil, lemon and red onion. Serve it in a whole wheat pita with veggies like cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce.
  • Use fresh or leftover grilled, baked, broiled chicken or fish to mix into pasta, top salads or make sandwiches.
Chad Kramer
Chad Kramer on behalf of dotFIT
The options for a healthy lunch or dinner are increasing daily. You can have it all in your salad by adding your favorite protein like chicken, lean beef, fish, etc. This is a great choice since it is an easy way to get your important, often-neglected vegetables and necessary protein. You can also include grilled chicken or turkey breast, shrimp, beans, chopped hard-boiled eggs and low-fat cheese. Olive oil or low-fat dressings will add additional flavor without too many calories. 

Soup containing meats like chicken, turkey or beef are also a good option for a lunch or dinner. Soups with meats can provide it all: energy via carbohydrates, protein and necessary fiber as well. Make sure that you choose a soup that is low in sodium, whenever possible.

Another healthy option is a sandwich (which could go along with your soup for a nice, big dinner). Choose whole wheat bread and make sure the meat is low fat as well. You can add lettuce and tomatoes or other vegetables to help increase your vegetable intake for the day. Low-fat cheese and low-fat mayo can be added as long as you stay within your total daily calorie limit. Use the Free Sharecare Fitness Application to get full menu examples and find the calories you need: Click here for access:

Lower calorie Pizza (properly prepared) can also be incorporated into your daily meal plan for lunch or dinner as a healthy option. Use whole-grain dough for the crust, vegetables, tomato sauce, lean cuts of meat and low-fat cheese. Basil and oregano can be sprinkled to add more flavor.

Poultry without the skin, lean meat, such as roast beef, nuts, and beans are all healthy sources of protein at both lunch and dinner. Fish is also important. Eating two fish meals weekly, especially fatty fish such as salmon can help increase longevity. Canned salmon is an easy way to include fish at lunch.

Picture of salmon

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.