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5 30-Gram Protein Meals You Can Make at Home

Written By: Rebeka Kuschmider

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about culture, health, and politics since 2010. Her bylined work has been seen at WebMD, MedicineNet, Health, Salon, and the Huffington Post.

Expert Reviewed By: Denise Hernandez, RD

Denise Hernandez is a Food Data Curator at MyFitnessPal. Denise received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biological and Physical Sciences from the University of Houston Downtown and completed her Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. Her areas of focus include adult and childhood weight management, women’s nutrition, and chronic disease management.

Chicken breast over quinoa with vegetables

Key Takeaways

In This Article

Tuna. Tofu. Cottage cheese. A lot of the MVPs of healthy eating have one thing in common: protein, and plenty of it.

It makes sense. Research shows that protein can reduce your overall calorie intake by making you feel fuller longer. Plus, increasing the amount of protein you eat can help maintain muscle mass even as you lose weight.

So how much protein do you need to hit the sweet spot? The answer is different for everyone, but it’s probably more than you think.

Here’s how to do it and 5 high protein recipes to help.

Is 30 Grams of Protein per Meal a Lot?

Most people’s daily protein needs fall within 15 to 30 grams of protein per meal

“Protein needs vary from person to person,” says Denise Hernandez, MS, RD, LD. “For example, people who do intense exercise may need more high-protein foods than people who have a less intense fitness routine. But, generally speaking, aiming for 30 grams per meal is a good goal.” 

General guidelines for protein consumption recommend a minimum of 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. This is the minimum to prevent deficiency but does little to maintain or gain muscle mass. MyFitnessPal’s registered dietitians suggest a higher amount of 0.6 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day, depending on activity level. For a 150 pound person, that’s an absolute minimum of 54 grams of protein per day. 

If that seems like a lot of math, MyFitnessPal  has a free macro calculator that gives you personalized protein recommendations.  

Knowing your protein grams per day goal is the first step to hitting it. From there, you can follow a few basic guidelines to help plan out your daily protein intake:

  • Spread your daily protein consumption out between meals. Some research suggests you can only absorb about 25 to 35 grams of protein at a time, so it make sense to eat protein throughout the day.
  • Focus on lean protein foods like lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and beans and legumes to hit your protein macro goals without a getting too much saturated fat.
  • Add protein to carbohydrate-rich foods to regulate blood sugar. Add peanut butter to an apple, for example. Carbohydrates, along with protein and fat, are one of the three macronutrients found in food. They provide energy to fuel the body. Examples include grains, fruits, and potatoes.

5 Delicious 30-Gram Protein Meals You Can Make at Home

Protein-rich foods don’t have to be an endless parade of boneless chicken breasts. 

You can get high-quality protein from lean meats, fish, dairy, and beans. When you vary these ingredients, you get high-protein meals that are anything but boring. 

These recipes all offer 25 to 30-plus grams of protein, flavored with delicious seasonings and tasty fresh vegetables for a healthy, delicious meal. 

1. Baked Ziti Casserole

This baked ziti recipe combines lean ground turkey and part-skim mozzarella for a protein-packed meal with plenty of cheesy goodness. 

The spinach supercharges the nutritional value of this meal. Dark leafy greens like spinach contain fiber, folate, vitamins C and K, and the minerals iron and calcium. 

With the pasta and sauce, this comes together as a perfect high-protein dinner.

Nutrition Information per Serving

  • Calories: 286
  • Total fat: 7 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 57 mg
  • Sodium: 400 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Dietary fiber: 7 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Protein: 31 g

2. Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie

If you can’t get enough pumpkin spice flavors, this pumpkin spice protein smoothie will have your mouth watering. 

It includes actual pumpkin as well as the famous pumpkin spice blend, so it tastes like the best fall treat. 

The pumpkin adds nutrients like vitamins A and C, as well. Greek yogurt and protein powder make it hearty and filling, while banana and maple syrup give it just the right amount of sweetness.

Nutrition Information per Serving

  • Calories: 331
  • Total fat: 2 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 19 mg
  • Sodium: 99 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 47 g
  • Dietary fiber: 7 g
  • Sugar: 33 g
  • Protein: 33 g

Fun fact: Did you know MyFitnessPal has one of the world’s largest food databases, with over 19 million foods? Track your protein and more on the app!

3. Big-Batch Turkey Barley Soup

Soup is one of the great make-ahead meal options for busy people. 

Turkey is an excellent source of lean protein, as well as a tasty ingredient in soup. 

Barley adds delicious flavor and texture, and it may bring surprising health benefits, as well. Research suggests that regular barley consumption may contribute to healthier aging. 

You can cook this savory, protein-packed turkey barley soup on the weekend and portion it out for hearty meals all week. You can also freeze it to have on hand when you need a quick meal. 

Nutrition Information per Serving

  • Calories: 351
  • Total fat: 12 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 8 g
  • Cholesterol: 57 mg
  • Sodium: 377 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 30 g
  • Dietary fiber: 5 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Protein: 25 g

4. Grilled Salmon With Spicy Mango Salsa

Salmon is an excellent protein source. It also contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids

Consuming omega-3 fatty acids can lower triglycerides, reduce the risk of certain cancers, and improve eye health. 

It lends itself to a range of cooking options, like this zesty high-protein dinner recipe

Nutrition Information per Serving

  • Calories: 464
  • Total fat: 25 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 13 g
  • Cholesterol: 107 mg
  • Sodium: 534 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 14 g
  • Dietary fiber: 4 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Protein: 41 g

5. New England-Inspired Shrimp Rolls

These shrimp rolls are a healthy twist on the classic lobster roll. 

Instead of lobster meat and mayonnaise, this sandwich uses chopped shrimp and Greek yogurt for a creamy, high-protein, low-fat seafood treat. 

Shrimp is also loaded with important antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and may have positive effects on heart and brain health. 

Green onions and some salt and pepper round out this simple but scrumptious meal. It’s the perfect high-protein lunch for a lazy summer afternoon.

Nutrition Information per Serving

  • Calories: 315
  • Total fat: 12 g
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 226 mg
  • Sodium: 438 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 22 g
  • Dietary fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Protein: 31 g

Discover More Protein-Rich Meals

Looking for more recipes to add food with more protein to your meal plans? 

The MyFitnessPal app has over 2,000 recipes that you can search and save. You can look for flavorful ways to cook your favorite meats and seafood, as well as meatless meals that don’t skimp on protein.

The app even lets you upload your own recipes to see the nutrition information. You can use the tool to edit ingredients so you can create a higher-protein version of your favorite foods and help you meet your health goals.

Download the free MyFitnessPal app today

About the Authors

Meet the people behind the post

Written By: Rebeka Kuschmider

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about culture, health, and politics since 2010. Her bylined work has been seen at WebMD, MedicineNet, Health, Salon, and the Huffington Post.

Expert Reviewed By: Denise Hernandez, RD

Denise Hernandez is a Food Data Curator at MyFitnessPal. Denise received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biological and Physical Sciences from the University of Houston Downtown and completed her Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. Her areas of focus include adult and childhood weight management, women’s nutrition, and chronic disease management.

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