This article brought to you by BuzzFeed

Eating protein-heavy meals for dinner is great because they keep you super full — so full that you won’t feel hungry again by the time you’re getting ready for bed.

That’s because it takes a lot longer for protein to digest than carbs, which means you can eat less food and still feel satisfied for the same amount of time (if not longer), Brian St. Pierre, director of performance nutrition at Precision Nutrition, tells BuzzFeed Health.

Protein is also ~kind of~ necessary for certain things. It helps our muscles recover from a workout; it helps us build muscle, which is great if you’re trying to lose weight; and it won’t spike your blood sugar levels the way a carb-heavy meal would.

Always here to help, we rounded up a bunch of dinners with more than 20 grams of protein that still come out to 550 calories or fewer per serving — mostly because they contain whole, minimally processed ingredients.

Unless otherwise noted, nutritional information is for one serving as defined by the recipe. And our calorie calculations come from here.

Cool, let’s dig in!

1. Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats

Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats

Amanda Finks / Via thewholesomedish.com

Zucchini stuffed with chicken Parmesan, guys.

Calories: 500 (includes three zucchini boats)
Protein: 57.3g

Get the recipe here.

2. Zoodles With Chicken and Spicy Almond Butter Sauce

Zoodles With Chicken and Spicy Almond Butter Sauce

Lindsay (The Lean Green Bean) / Via theleangreenbean.com

You’ll want to douse everything in this spicy almond butter sauce. Trust.

Calories: 370
Protein: 39.3g

Get the recipe here.

3. Skinny Mini Meat Loaves With Sweet Potato Coins

Skinny Mini Meat Loaves With Sweet Potato Coins

Kim (Kim’s Cravings) / Via kimscravings.com

Make one medium sweet potato worth of coins per person to get the nutritional information below.

Calories: 516 (for five mini meat loaves)
Protein: 46.7g

Get the recipe here.

4. Garlic Teriyaki Shrimp

Garlic Teriyaki Shrimp

Kendra (Kendra’s Treats) / Via kendrastreats.com

Probably better for you than takeout, and it only talks 30 minutes to whip it up.

Calories: 272
Protein: 43.95g

With a cup of brown rice: Add 216 calories and 5 grams of protein.

Get the recipe here.

5. Asian Shredded Chicken Salad

Asian Shredded Chicken Salad

Kendra (Kendra’s Treats) / Via kendrastreats.com

This tangy, chicken-loaded salad will hit the spot. Yum.

Calories: 512
Protein: 40.2g

Get the recipe here.

6. Sesame Kale Glow Bowl

Sesame Kale Glow Bowl

Christine (The Glowing Fridge) / Via theglowingfridge.com

Make this vegan recipe in only 20 minutes and easily pack any leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

Calories: 428
Protein: 20.9g

Get the recipe here.

7. Chipotle Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers

Chipotle Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers

Erin (Well Plated) / Via wellplated.com

Use this recipe to whip up four chipotle burgers. Then throw them on some wheat buns and treat yo’ self.

Calories: 337
Protein: 33.7g

With a whole wheat bun: Add 130 calories and 7 grams of protein.

Get the recipe here.

8. Salmon Quinoa Bowl

Salmon Quinoa Bowl

Megan Wells / Via megiswell.com

Use 3 ounces of salmon, 2 ounces Greek yogurt, and 2 ounces of feta cheese to get the nutritional info below.

Calories: 524
Protein: 39.7g

Get the recipe here.

9. Marinara and Kale Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Marinara and Kale Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Sarah (Making Thyme for Health) / Via makingthymeforhealth.com

Halve a spaghetti squash, toss in the kale, cheese, and marinara, and you’ve got a stringy, gooey comfort food dinner.

Calories: 513
Protein: 23.8g

Get the recipe here.

10. Pizza Frittata

Pizza Frittata

Nupur (The Veggie Indian) / Via theveggieindian.com

Pizza is good. So is breakfast. And with this dish, you can have it all.

Calories: 450
Protein: 29.2g

Get the recipe here.

11. Baked Salmon With Lentils and Lemon Herb Sauce

Baked Salmon With Lentils and Lemon Herb Sauce

Lindsay (Pinch of Yum) / Via pinchofyum.com

Only takes five ingredients and one pan. Heck yes.

Calories: 516
Protein: 24.6g

Get the recipe here.

12. Parmesan Crusted Cod

Parmesan Crusted Cod

Kim (Kim’s Cravings) / Via kimscravings.com

Switch up your dinner routine with this baked cheesy cod recipe.

Calories: 230
Protein: 21.4g

With a cup of brown rice: Add 216 calories and 5 grams of protein.

Get the recipe here.

13. Quinoa & Swiss Chard Patties With Avocado Tahini Dip

Quinoa & Swiss Chard Patties With Avocado Tahini Dip

Alexandra (Occasionally Eggs) / Via occasionallyeggs.com

Eat four of these vegetarian quinoa patties to get the nutritional info below.

Calories: 500
Protein: 20g

Get the recipe here.

14. Ranch Pork Chops With Grilled Jalapeño Corn Salsa

Ranch Pork Chops With Grilled Jalapeño Corn Salsa

Megan (With Salt and Wit) / Via withsaltandwit.com

Add a little kick to your dinner with this spicy dish.

Calories: 284
Protein: 24g

With a cup of brown rice: Add 216 calories and 5 grams of protein.

Get the recipe here.

15. Dustin’s Stir Fry

Dustin's Stir Fry

Diane and Dustin (Homan at Home) / Via homanathome.com

Serve up four delicious servings of this stir-fry in just 20 minutes.

Calories: 158
Protein: 21.7g

With a cup of brown rice: Add 216 calories and 5 grams of protein.

Get the recipe here.

16. Sizzling New York Steak With Chimichurri Sauce

Sizzling New York Steak With Chimichurri Sauce

Helen Tzouganatos / Via hungryandfussy.com

Throw this on a bed of leafy greens (3 cups spinach, romaine, etc.) and you’re good to go.

Calories: 450 (includes 3 cups of greens and chimichurri sauce)
Protein: 74.8g

Get the recipe here.

17. Turkey Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Turkey Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Nikki (Love and Food Foreva) / Via loveandfoodforeva.com

Quickly toss together the filling, stuff the peppers, sprinkle some cheese, throw in the oven, and voilà — dinner is served.

Calories: 496
Protein: 45.9g

Get the recipe here.

18. Cheesy Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Arugula and Poached Eggs

Cheesy Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Arugula and Poached Eggs

Jessica Merchant / Via howsweeteats.com

Vegetarians meals can be high in protein too.

Calories: 528
Protein: 25.8g

Get the recipe here.

19. One-Pan Pesto Chicken and Veggies

One-Pan Pesto Chicken and Veggies

Julia (Julia’s Album) / Via juliasalbum.com

Mo’ pans mo’ problems. So this savory dish only uses one.

Calories: 450
Protein: 35.9g

Get the recipe here.

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4 thoughts on “19 High-Protein Dinners Under 550 Calories You’ll Actually Want To Eat

    1. Of course! I have been eating higher protein meals lately, and seeing many benefits. It’s easy to get bored with meals, so I will also be trying a lot of these!

      Like

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