These 30 high-protein dinners are easy to make in 30 minutes or so. They contain between 15-77 g of healthy protein, making the perfect meal for busy people on a high protein diet.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is protein?
- 2 Why include protein in your diet
- 3 How much protein an adult should consume daily?
- 4 High Protein Foods
- 5 When is the best time to consume protein?
- 6 Health Benefits of a High Protein Diet
- 7 High-Protein Dinners for Weight Loss
- 8 High-Protein Meals for Muscle Gain
- 9 How to Make High-Protein Dinners
- 10 High-Protein Dinner Ideas
- 11 Other Dinner Recipes:
- 12 30 High Protein Dinners Collection
What is protein?
Proteins are the building blocks to building body tissues such as muscle tissue, bones, blood, and hormones too. They are large molecules found in our cells.
Why include protein in your diet
Although our bodies are capable of making certain amino acids (the building blocks of protein), essential amino acids can only be obtained through food.
To have an idea, cell growth, repair, and maintenance require protein!
In other words, the protein foods you eat will be used to replace old tissues with new tissues (e.g. skin tissue).
How much protein an adult should consume daily?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020–2025 recommends that 10% to 35% of your calories should come from protein.
This means, that if you ingest 2,000 calories daily, 200–700 calories should come from protein (50–175 grams).
Of course, this is a general rule! It varies depending on your age and also your level of activity as follows:
- To prevent deficiency, an average sedentary adult should consume 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. This means a person who weighs 170 pounds (about 77 kg) should consume 61.6 grams of protein per day.
- But once you reach ages 40–50, your protein intake needs to increase to about 1–1.2 grams per kilogram.
- People who exercise regularly should ingest about 1.1–1.5 grams per kilogram.
- Those who regularly lift weights, or are athletes need 1.2–1.7 grams per kilogram.
Make sure to avoid excessive protein intake (or more than 2 g per kilogram of body weight daily), which has become common in male adults’ diets nowadays.
Moreover, if you are overweight, the advice is to adjust your weight before calculating your daily protein intake to avoid overestimating.
High Protein Foods
Would you like to make high-protein dinners?
Here is a list of both animal and plant-based protein foods:
Plant-based protein foods:
- Nuts and seeds
- Beans and lentils
- Nut butter
Animal protein foods:
- Meats, especially lean meats (e.g. skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey)
- Fish and seafood
- Egg white
- Low-fat dairy (e.g. low-fat yogurt or milk).
- Whey protein powder
When is the best time to consume protein?
The recommendation is to spread out your protein intake evenly throughout the day.
It is key to eat enough protein at breakfast time because it decreases the hunger and helps with weight management.
The general recommendation is to eat around 15–30 grams of protein at each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), depending on your age and level of activity.
Health Benefits of a High Protein Diet
Here are a few benefits of consuming protein, including high-protein dinners:
- Reduces Appetite and Hunger Levels
- Increases Muscle Mass and Strength
- Reduces Cravings
- Boosts Metabolism and Increases Fat Burning
- Lowers Your Blood Pressure
- Helps Maintain Weight Loss
- It’s Key for Bone Health and Prevention of Osteoporosis
- Not Harmful to Healthy Kidneys
- Aids Your Body Repair Itself After Injury
- Helps You Stay Fit as You Age
High-Protein Dinners for Weight Loss
Adopting a high-protein diet can help you lose weight, even without counting calories, controlling portions, or restricting carbs.
This is not all! A modest increase in protein consumption can also help prevent weight regain because of the health benefits mentioned above.
High-Protein Meals for Muscle Gain
To increase muscle mass in combination with physical activity, one should eat from 1.2 to 1.7 grams of lean protein per kilogram of body weight per day (or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight).
The total protein intake must be distributed between all the meals, instead of eating all at once such as dinner time.
How to Make High-Protein Dinners
- Choose one of your favorite high-protein dinner recipes, either animal or plant-based.
- Gather all the required ingredients.
- Prep a high-protein dinner in 30 minutes or so!
How to Store High-Protein Dinners
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days, depending on the protein source.
Freezing will depend on the type of protein and recipe.
High-Protein Dinner Ideas
Here are 30 high-protein dinners that you can make mostly in 30 minutes and are perfect for busy weeknights. Only a few are ideal for the weekends because it takes more than half an hour to put together.
But all of them contain between 15-77 grams of protein per serving. Some are meat-based and others are high-protein vegetarian dinners.
Here they are:
With 25 g protein, these low-carb, vegetarian Baked Caprese Zucchini Roll-Ups are loaded with zucchini, different types of cheese, and marinara sauce.
You can make it ahead and bake it before eating.
This budget-friendly dish makes a comforting summer meal that you want to enjoy on and on.
Love grilling? So you can’t waste the opportunity to make this tender and juicy grilled flank steak, either on the grill or on the stovetop.
Marinate it and then cook it in up to 10 minutes. Then eat in tacos, fajitas, sandwiches, and more.
Because flank steak is one of those budget-friendly cuts of beef, it makes a cheap high protein dinner that you can cook either indoors or outdoors with ingredients that you may have already in your pantry.
It is low fat and has 33 g of protein per serving!
3. Skirt Steak
Cook this 4-ingredient skirt steak on the stovetop in less than 10 minutes.
It has 175 calories, 24 g protein, and only 8 g fat, making a high protein low-fat dinner meal.
As if it wasn't enough, it is one of the cheapest meats you’ll find in the grocery store and you can cook it using different types of cooking methods.
This is one of the simplest dinner meals to prepare.
Just marinate the Lamb Chops and then cook them in the air fryer for just 7 minutes.
They come out flavorful, tender, and juicy with an irresistible crisp sear!
Ooohhh… each chop has about 28 g of protein, making one of the best high-protein dinners ever!
Will you be working all day long? Or perhaps want something special for the weekend?
Grab your slow cooker and cook these braised lamb shanks low and slow in a rich red wine sauce until falling off-the-bone tender and flavorful.
In addition, they make one of those comforting meals that you serve over mashed potatoes or with a cauliflower mash and peas.
Guess what? Each portion has a whopping 44 g of protein!
Black beans are one of those high-protein legumes that combined with ground beef make this chili mac and cheese a 22 g protein dinner meal.
As if it was not enough, you’ll need just 5 ingredients to make this pasta dish in 15 minutes.
Moreover, it costs about $1 per portion, making a cheap high protein dinner.
What are you waiting for? Grab your Instant Pot and prepare the easiest dinner of your life!
With 46 g protein, Air Fryer Steak is cooked in just 8-10 minutes (medium-rare) and turns out super juicy, tender, and delish.
My family still raves about it!
Our ribeye steak recipe calls for olive oil and a simple homemade seasoning blend, making it one of those easy protein meals that are of restaurant quality.
Thus, save big bucks making it at home!
Do you love comfort foods? This keto mac and cheese is the apex of comfort food without all the carbs!
Grab some cauliflower, chicken thighs, and spinach and prepare a complete meal in one pan in 30 minutes.
It has 41 g of protein and big flavors!
With 24 g protein, 3 net carbs, and about 200 calories, this 3-ingredient baked chicken breast is ready in 30 minutes.
It comes out juicy and tender!
If you want, you can even make a large batch in 30 minutes and either freeze some to use in your favorite dishes later or to meal prep for the week.
These baked chicken thighs are one of those high-protein meal-prep dinners that you can pair with different sides and carry to school or work easily.
You can also freeze and serve later after a long day of work.
Each thigh has about 24 g of protein!
These Air Fryer Chicken Legs (Drumsticks) are quick to make in just 30 minutes.
They are nicely browned and crispy outside and juicy inside, and have a great Asian flavor that the whole family will love.
Every leg has about 15 g of protein and less than 200 calories per leg.
My kids love them!
Cook these air fryer chicken thighs, either bone-in and skin-on or boneless and skinless, in less than 30 minutes as one of those quick high protein dinners that everyone will rave about.
They are succulent inside and crispy outside… and contain 24 g of protein and 1 g of net carbs!
The Instant Pot is your BFF! It can cook a whole chicken in half of the time that it would take to roast it in the oven.
Yep! In about 30 minutes, you can have a whole chicken that is tender, juicy, and looks like a rotisserie chicken but without all the hassle.
In addition, you only need 3 ingredients to prepare this low-carb high protein dinner.
It contains 24 g of protein, 3 net carbs, and less than 300 calories, costing just $0.75 per portion.
With 71 g of protein, this Gluten-Free Chicken Parmesan is stuffed with cheese, breaded with cornmeal, and baked directly in the oven.
It makes the perfect dinner meal for busy weeknight days!
As my husband says: “It is a comforting Italian-American dinner that is better than takeout!”
Grab your cast-iron skillet and make these grilled pork chops in just 30 minutes.
Then served with chimichurri sauce and your fave side.
They come out with those amazing grilling marks and are super tender and juicy inside.
Moreover, they are gluten-free, keto, Whole30, and have 76 g of protein!
Love Asian food?
Make these 30 g protein pan-seared pork chops with a sweet teriyaki sauce quickly… and have a restaurant-quality meal.
They are tender, succulent, and full of flavor! Then pair with some bok choy, edamame, or any other Asian veggie of your choice.
17. Pork Fajitas
If Mexican food is one of your things, you will love these pork fajitas.
Make them in the convenience of your kitchen in 30 minutes and serve with some hot whole wheat tortillas for a healthy high protein dinner meal that contains 52 g of protein.
18. Gyro Meat
Greek food is one of my favorites!
I love gyro meat although I don’t have the rotisserie grill seen in the kitchen of some Mediterranean restaurants.
But this didn’t prevent me to adapt the cooking method, making the best homemade Gyro meat ever!
Using ground beef, ground lamb, and a blend of seasonings, easily cook those ingredients in the oven and then thinly slice your gyro to serve on Pita bread with Tzatziki sauce and a Greek salad.
It is one of those high-protein dinners that has 20 g of protein and a ton of flavor!
Find out how to make ground beef in the Instant Pot either frozen or fresh.
It is a kitchen hack that comes in handy on busy days and especially when you forgot to thaw your ground beef one day ahead!
Then use it to make tacos, enchiladas, or this pasta bolognese.
As you can see, it makes a cheap high protein meal prep that can save you time on busy weekdays.
Yes, it has 23 g of protein and only costs about $0.75 per person!
With 46 g of protein, our easy grilled salmon is marinated and then grilled to perfection, making a healthy high protein dinner meal that is ready in just 30 minutes.
We served it with a refreshing tropical Caribbean Salsa in the summertime.
It will save a trip to the Bahamas!
With 35 g of protein, this Baked Blackened Salmon makes one of those low-carb high protein dinners that you can cook in just 15 minutes.
All that you need is olive oil, butter, garlic, and blackening seasoning.
The result is a super flavor Cajun dish that you want to have often.
You won’t have to travel to NOLA to enjoy it!
22. Air Fryer Salmon
This Air Fryer Salmon is cooked to perfection in just 10 minutes with a minimum amount of oil.
It comes out crispy and golden brown outside and tender and succulent inside, making one of those healthy high protein meals that the entire family will love!
This dish contains 34 g of protein and less than 300 calories per portion.
This fish soup recipe is an adaptation of the classic Norwegian fiskesuppe, made into a low-carb dish.
All that you’ll need is one pot to prepare this salmon chowder in less than 30 minutes, saving you time cause you won’t have to wash a load of dishes later.
It's perfect for those chilly, busy days! You can enjoy 32 g of healthy protein and then cozy up under your blanket.
It is one of those perfect high-protein dinners you want to have again and again!
This 5-Ingredient Shrimp a la Diabla recipe was inspired by the Mexican dish camarones a la diabla, which translates to “deviled shrimp” because it has some kick as the name suggests.
Serve it over brown rice or whole-wheat pasta, or with crusty multigrain bread to soak up the sauce and enjoy 52 g of protein!
25. Air Fryer Shrimp
Did you forget to thaw the shrimp overnight?
No worries? You can make this Air Fryer Shrimp from frozen (or fresh) in up to 10 minutes.
It turns out plump, tender, and super delish.
Because it is a versatile dish, you can eat it as an appetizer or as a main dish for a quick and easy high-protein meal.
It has 47 g of protein and less than 240 calories per portion.
With 49 g of protein, our creamy shrimp scampi makes a comforting high protein dinner meal that is ready in 20 minutes.
Because you’ll need only one pan, it is also mess-free!
Serving a gluten-free, low-carb, and pescatarian meal has never been so easy, right?
This easy Brazilian dinner meal is made with shrimp stewed in a blended vegetable and coconut sauce for 30 minutes.
It is creamy, delish, and can be served over rice, cauliflower rice, pasta, and more.
Moreover, it is pure comfort food and has about 38 g of protein per portion.
Have a taste of Brazil at the convenience of your home!
28. Keto Dirty Rice
Cajun dirty rice is a spicy and tasty main dish from Louisiana, traditionally made with white rice, ground beef, seasonings, vegetables, and chopped chicken livers (optional), from which it gets its “dirty” color.
However, our 25-minute, low-carb dirty rice calls replace rice with cauliflower rice, making it perfect for diabetics and those on a PCOS or keto diet.
Moreover, it has 25 g of protein and 7 g of net carbs, making it ideal for a low-carb high protein diet.
It is one of our most popular dishes!
With 37 grams of protein, it calls for 5 ingredients and is ready in only 15 minutes, bringing big flavors to your table.
As if it wasn’t enough, it is mess-free because it uses only one pan.
Plus, it's gluten-free, dairy-free, and pescatarian!
Serve this shrimp recipe either as an appetizer or a main dish over pasta or rice.
It is one of those high-protein dinners you can get ready in less than 30 minutes.
So it is something that you make on a busy weekday and tastes like comfort food.
Moreover, you can easily adapt the recipe by replacing a few spices and adding more veggies.
It has 18 g of plant-based protein!
Other Dinner Recipes:
- 75 Easy Dinner Ideas
- 80 Low-Calorie Dinners
- 30 Quick and Easy Low Carb Dinners
- 45 Easy Gluten-Free Dinners
- 70 Easy Chicken Recipes for Dinner
- 55 Beef Recipes for Dinner
- 85 Easy Freezer Meals
- 35 Easy Pantry Meals
PIN & ENJOY!
30 High Protein Dinners Collection
- 1 Pan, Instant Pot, Air Fryer, or Slow Cooker
- Baked Zucchini Roll Ups
- Grilled Flank Steak
- Skirt Steak
- Air Fryer Lamb Chops
- Braised Lamb Shanks
- Black Bean Pasta
- Air Fryer Steak
- Keto Mac and Cheese with Chicken Thighs
- Baked Chicken Breast
- Baked Chicken Thighs
- Air Fryer Chicken Legs
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- Instant Pot Whole Chicken
- Baked Chicken Parmesan
- Grilled Pork Chops
- Pan Seared Pork Chops
- Pork Fajitas
- Gyro Meat
- Instant Pot Ground Beef
- Easy Grilled Salmon
- Baked Blackened Salmon
- Air Fryer Salmon
- Norwegian Fish Soup
- Shrimp a La Diabla
- Air Fryer Shrimp
- Creamy Shrimp Scampi
- Shrimp in Coconut Sauce
- Keto Dirty Rice
- Honey Garlic Butter Shrimp
- Easy Lentil Curry
- Choose your favorite recipe.
- Gather all the required ingredients.
- Prep a high-protein dinner in 30 minutes or so!
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