By Rhian

Earlier this week we talked about how to get the optimal amount of protein at each serving in order to help build lean muscle and get the most out of your training (if you missed it, you can read it here!). Protein is essential for muscle growth & repair, but it also fuels your mood, immune system, helps you stay energised and is one of the key macronutrients needed for a healthy metabolism. Eating 20-40g of protein per meal is a great number to strive for if you're exercising regularly, but what does that look like in real life?

We've picked 12 great meals that will ensure you hit at least 20g of protein in each serving. The best part? They don't include dairy, red or processed meat, and they aren't all protein shakes (although protein powders do come in handy!) Don't underestimate the protein in pulses, vegetables and grains. It all counts, and you'll be surprised at how quickly it all adds up.

These aren't full recipes - they're just a guidelines of the critical items to help you hit your protein count. Feel free to add in any vegetables, healthy dressings or swap the fish/chicken according to your taste. Read on for a mixture of our favourite omnivore and plant based options that will help power your meals with protein.

Protein Shake With Plant Based Protein & Almond Butter
  • Plant based protein powder, like Sun Warrior from Energy Kitchen (18g)
  • 1 tbsp almond butter (4.5g)
Chia Pudding
  • 2 tbsp chia (6g)
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter (3g)
  • 1 scoop protein powder (20g)
  • 1 cup almond milk (1g)
  • add berries or fruit of choice for flavour!
Steel Cut Oats with Blueberries & Sunflower Seeds
  • 2/3 cup steel cut oats (19g)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds (4g)
  • 1.5 cup almond milk (1.5g)

* make sure you use jumbo or steel cut oats rather than milled oats or oat flakes

Quinoa & Green Lentil Salad
  • 1 cup green lentils (18g)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (4g)
  • 2 tbsp chopped almonds (2g)
  • add extra veggies & dressing of choice
Roasted Cauliflower & Lentils
  • 1/2 head of medium sized roasted cauliflower (7g)
  • 1 cup puy lentils (10g)
  • 2 cups kale, wilted (6g)
  • add dressing of choice
Grilled Salmon & Broccoli
  • Salmon fillet, about the size of your palm (19g)
  • 1 cup broccoli (3g)
  • spruce up your broccoli with garlic, chilli and olive oil
Chicken, Kale & Asparagus Salad
  • 1 breast chicken (23g)
  • 2 cups kale, wilted (6g)
  • 1 cup asparagus, cooked (3g)
Edamame & Pea Mash with Tahini, Lemon & Garlic
  • 1 cup edamame beans (17g)
  • 1/2 cup peas (4g)
  • 1 tbsp tahini (2.6g)
  • add sea salt & pepper to taste
Collard Green Wraps with Turkey, Hummus & Tomato
  • 2 collard leaves (4g)
  • 2 tbsp hummus /1 per wrap (3g)
  • 8 cherry tomatoes (0.9g)
  • 50g turkey (17g)
* if you can't find collard greens, use rice paper wraps or nori sheets. There won't be as much protein but you'll still hit 20g
Socca with Kale, Pine Nuts & Onion
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour (10.5g)
  • 1 egg (6g)
  • 1 cup kale, wilted (3g)
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts (2g)
  • 1/2 onion (0.6g)
Egg White Omelette
  • 6 egg whites (24g)
  • Filling of choice
Yellow Split Pea Dal with Spinach, Onion & Garlic
  • 100g yellow split peas (22g)
  • 3 cups raw spinach - will wilt down when cooked (2.7g)
  • cook the split peas in veggie broth & your favourite herbs


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