Protein isn’t just a necessary part of our diet anymore, but a bit of a food trend too. We hear a lot about protein shakes and ‘high protein’ snacks but what is protein and why do we actually need it?
Protein is responsible for helping the body build and repair muscle and tissue, hence it is essential for our bodies to feel strong and functional and this is also the reason why people looking to gain muscle mass consume a lot of it.
The NHS recommends all children and adults have ‘some’ protein in their diet in some form. They recommend you choose leaner cuts of meat and reduce the amount of red and processed meats eaten. The NHS also recommends adults eat at least two portions of fish a week and also advise you to look to incorporate other low-fat sources of protein such as pulses, beans and lentils as these aren’t just high in protein but fibre, vitamins and minerals too.
So, you need protein for a healthy diet but you also need to track your calories – not a worry! Here are our top low calorie but high protein meals that are also quick and easy to make!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry
A stir fry is one of the quickest and easiest meals you can make and this delicious sweet and sour chicken stir fry is packed full of vegetables and protein!
The following quantities will feed one:
125g Diced Chicken Breast
100g Tenderstem Broccoli
130g Red/Orange Pepper
75g Sugar Snap Peas
75g Fine Rice Noodles
60g Sweet and Sour Stir Fry Sauce
Calories Per Portion: 461
Protein Per Portion: 43g
- Warm up a large wok with some low calorie cooking spray.
- Stir fry your chicken until completely cooked.
- Add your prepared vegetables and beansprouts and cook until slightly softened.
- Add your ‘straight to wok’ noodles and stir until soft.
- Finally, add your sauce and stir to warm through.
Rainbow Vegetable Omelette
Another quick and healthy meal and this one is even suitable for vegetarians, this three egg rainbow vegetable omelette packs in plenty of protein and even a few of your 5 a day!
The following quantities will feed one:
3 Large Eggs
130g Red Pepper
90g Chopped Red Onion
80g Tinned Sweetcorn
Calories Per Portion: 401
Protein Per Portion: 29.45g
- Turn your grill onto a medium heat and warm a large frying pan on the hob with some low calorie cooking spray.
- Wash and prepare all vegetables.
- Crack your eggs into a jug or bowl and whisk. You may add a little milk if desired.
- Pour your egg mixture into your frying pan and allow the underside to cook.
- After a couple of minutes, add your ingredients on top. If you run out of space, feel free to serve the leftover on the side or on top.
- Pop your omelette under the grill, still in the pan for a few minutes to cook the top.
Turkey Burgers with Cranberry Cheese
Turkey is one of the best sources of protein you can buy and is also low in fat and calories and what better way to get it into your diet than with these tasty turkey burgers with cranberry cheese, inspired by a BBC Good Food recipe!
The following quantities will make one burger:
140g 2% Fat Turkey Mince
½ Red Onion, diced
½ Garlic Clove, minced
½ Granny Smith Apple, grated
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
½ Teaspoon Paprika
20g Wensleydale with Cranberries
1 Gluten Free Brioche Burger Bun
1 Large Lettuce Leaf
1 Teaspoon Mayonnaise
Calories Per Portion: 550*
Protein Per Portion: 50.25g*
- Preheat your oven to 160 degrees fan.
- In a mixing bowl, add your mince, onion, garlic, egg and apple and use your hands to mix everything together.
- Add salt and pepper alongside your oregano and paprika and mix everything again.
- Shape into a burger patty, place on a lined baking tray and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until completely cooked through.
- Grill your burger bun until toasted on the inside and add your mayonnaise and lettuce leaf to the bun.
- Once your burger is fully cooked, place your cheese on top and pop under the grill until melted.
- Pop the patty in the bun and put the top on. Serve with salad or homemade fries!
Tuna and Tomato Pasta Bake
Tuna is an affordable and high protein ingredient to keep in the cupboard and this tomato and tuna pasta bake is a super easy way to get your protein in for the day
The following quantities will feed four:
200g Brown Rice Pasta
320g Tuna in Spring Water
320g Tinned Sweetcorn, drained
1 Clove Garlic
80g Cheddar Cheese, grated
Calories Per Portion: 295*
Protein Per Portion: 23.9g*
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees fan
- Boil your pasta for around 10 minutes in some slightly salted water
- While your pasta is boiling, heat up a pan with some low calorie cooking spray
- Pour in your passata, crushed garlic and salt, pepper and oregano to taste
- Stir the sauce through until warm, add a little water if it needs thinning down
- Once your pasta is cooked, drain and pour into your pan with the sauce
- Mix together before adding your drained tuna and sweetcorn
- Mix together and pour in an ovenproof baking dish. Sprinkle your grated cheese on top before placing in the oven for 10-15 minutes
- Serve between 4 and enjoy!
So, that’s our four favourite low calorie yet high protein meals but which sounds nicest to you? Let us know which one you’re looking forward to trying!