Photo: Jennifer Causey

When you’re looking for a high protein, delicious post-workout meal, picks from one of our favorites that pack on 20g of protein or more.  

June 22, 2017

Weight training is just as essential to a healthy lifestyle as a nourishing diet and cardio. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps to rebuild the muscles you break down and has an important role in metabolism, immunity, fluid balance, and energy. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends we consume 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight every day, which would require around 50 to 175g of protein per day for someone following a 2,000-calorie diet.

When you’re lifting weights and exercising regularly, it’s important to keep in mind you’ll need a little extra protein to help rebuild the muscle you broke down. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends athletes consume around 1.2 to 2g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, a little bit more than the average person.

We found our favorite meals with at least 20g of protein to help you hit that protein sweet spot, meet your health goals, and enjoy delicious food.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

1. Shrimp Panzanella

Peppery arugula, succulent shrimp, and crunchy bread cubes make this simple salad a must try. We can already feel the energy from the 22g of protein.View Recipe: Shrimp Panzanella

 Photo: Erin Kunkel

2. Watermelon and Arugula Chicken Salad

Watermelon and mint is the perfect pair, but increase the flavor with chicken, almonds, and arugula for a salad with 20g of protein you won’t forget.View Recipe: Watermelon and Arugula Chicken Salad 

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

3. Kale and Beet Salad With Salmon

Crunchy kale, sweet beets, and tender salmon perfectly absorb the flavors of cider vinegar and honey for a perfect salad packing with 29g of protein.View recipe: Kale and Beet Salad With Salmon

 Photo: Linda Pugliese

4. Fennel and Clementine Salad with Chicken, Almonds, and Feta

Swap boring lettuce for a delightful mixture of fennel, watercress, and parsley. Then sprinkle on creamy feta and chicken for a meal that clocks in at 21g of protein.View recipe: Fennel and Clementine Salad with Chicken, Almonds, and Feta 

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

5. Tempeh Gyros with Tzatziki

These vegan tempeh gyros with a tofu tzatziki provide 22g of protein per serving. Who said vegans don’t get enough protein?View recipe: Tempeh Gyros with Tzatziki

 Photo: Brian Woodcock

6. Wasabi Pea Tofu with Red Cabbage and Leeks

By coating tofu slices with ground peas, you’ll get a sweet crunch (and 24g of protein) that will make you fall in love with the vegetarian dish.View recipe: Wasabi Pea Tofu with Red Cabbage and Leeks 

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

7. Tempeh with Charred Peppers and Kale

We love this super simple vegan dinner. Cook this up for your family and you’ll enjoy 22g of protein and veggie goodness.View recipe: Charred Peppers and Kale

 Photo: Colin Price

8. Tuna-Quinoa Toss

Combine high protein ingredients like white tuna, crumbled feta cheese, quinoa, and chickpeas for a tasty, colorful bowl and 27g of protein.View recipe: Tuna-Quinoa Toss

 Photo: Randy Mayor

9. Bruschetta Burgers

Heat up your grill, because this summertime favorite with fresh tomatoes and basil has 29g of muscle building protein.View recipe: Bruschetta Burgers

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

10. Carne Asada Bowls

Put Chipotle burrito bowls to shame with the most flavorful 28g of protein you’ll ever have. Flank steak, pinto beans, avocado, and queso fresco come together for this delicious Mexican fiesta.View recipe: Carne Asada Bowls 

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

11. Mostly Veggie Pasta with Sausage

Pasta night won’t ever be the same after you combine whole-wheat pasta with hearty Italian sausage and tons of fresh veggies. This unforgettable meal packs on 21g of protein.View recipe: Mostly Veggie Pasta with Sausage

12. Fragrant Red Lentils with Rice

If you’ve never tried cooking with this high-protein pulse, you’re definitely missing out. Clocking in at 20.6g per serving, this lentil dish serves up flavor with garam masala, garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, and bay leaves.View recipe: Fragrant Red Lentil with Rice

 Photo: Caitlin Bensel

13. Ancho Chile Pork Chops with Pickled Pepper Relish

Rub pork chops in chile powder and cumin for a smoky and spicy dinner you’ll be craving all week long. For 25g of protein, this is a meal you’ll cook up again and again.View recipe: Ancho Chile Pork Chops with Pickled Pepper Relish

 Photo: Caitlin Bensel

14. Coriander-Crusted Flank Steak with Cuban Black Beans

Coriander seeds add a lemony touch to the smoky, grilled steak. Pair with the delicious bean mixture for 32g of powerful protein.View recipe: Coriander-Crusted Flank Steak with Cuban Black Beans 

 Photo: Caitlin Bensel

15. Summer Salmon Niçoise Salad

Gorgeous salmon fillets lay on a bed of French green beans, butter lettuce, English cucumber, yellow corn, and hard-boiled eggs for a seasonal salad with 23g of protein.View recipe: Summer Salmon Niçoise Salad

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

16. Pork Medallions with Red Wine-Cherry SauceTender pork is bathed in a rich sauce of red wine, thyme, and cherry preserves, with the added bonus of 24g of protein.View recipe: Pork Medallions with Red Wine-Cherry Sauce

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

17. Sausage and Spinach Spaghetti Pie

After you try spaghetti pie, the noodle won’t ever be the same. Mix up creamy cheese, chicken sausage, and eggs for a slice of heaven that provides 24g of protein.View recipe: Sausage and Spinach Spaghetti Pie

 Photo: John Autry

18. Halibut with Leeks

This flavorful white fish pairs beautifully with golden raisins for sweetness and leeks for a little punch, all for 38.5g of protein.View Recipe: Halibut with Leeks

 Photo: John Autry

19. Sausage and Egg Burrito

This easy grab and go breakfast packs on 20.1g of protein from fluffy eggs, meaty pork sausage, and creamy pinto beans.View Recipe: Sausage and Egg Burrito

 Photo: Oxmoor House

20. Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon Bagel

Take your classic bagel and lox breakfast to the next level. Add fresh dill and grated lemon rind for 20g of protein that will keep you full through lunchtime.View Recipe: Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon Bagel