Why eat high-protein, low-carb? The whole purpose of following this type of meal plan is that by reducing your carb intake, your insulin level is supposed to go down. Some say that as a result, this will eventually cause your body to ramp up its production of the hormone glucagon, which works to burn your stored fat.
In theory, this all sounds pretty great, but when it actually comes to what you’re supposed to eat, it can be a bit confusing. Which proteins are best to keep full when you’re cutting carbs? As with any new type of eating plan, it just takes a little research and planning. And don’t worry, because we’ve mapped out breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for you that are all protein-packed but still low in carbs.
Below find the top high-protein, low-carb recipes to bookmark—we swear you’ll be going back for seconds.
1. Baked Eggs in Stuffed Peppers
Just one large egg has about six grams of protein—wow—making these baked eggs in sweet bell peppers by Foodie Crush the ultimate breakfast. Butternut squash hash with feta makes a pretty great stuffing, especially when you top it with some tasty marinara sauce. Done and done.
2. Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Burrito
When we first saw the words "breakfast burrito," we figured there had to be eggs involved. But that’s not the case: Grilled tofu, a few potato hash browns, avocado, kale, and roasted peppers make up the filling. A pico de gallo or salsa of your choice is perfect drizzled over the top. And don’t worry: Half a cup of tofu has more than 10 grams of protein in it.
3. Blueberry Muffin Granola and Greek Yogurt Breakfast Bowl
For all of you out there who are constantly craving a Dunkin' blueberry muffin with sugar on top, this healthier recipe from Half Baked Harvest is for you. If you don’t go too crazy on the granola, it’s not too carb-heavy. All you need to do is add some goodness to your plain Greek yogurt with banana, blueberries, lemon zest, nuts, seeds, and sliced avocados. Then, put some homemade (or your favorite store-bought) granola over the top. As an FYI, Greek yogurt packs way more protein than regular yogurt.
4. Salmon Niçoise Salad With Dijon Vinaigrette
We like the idea of a fancy salad that’s much more than greens and some dressing. This particular recipe from The Beach House Kitchen calls for Atlantic salmon, so the protein is totally there, especially when it’s paired with some hard-boiled eggs. Green beans, Campari tomatoes, and kalamata olives round out the dish (just don’t add too many fingerling potatoes).
5. Healthy Harvest Chicken Soup
Chicken breast is an excellent source of protein, so we like it as the base of a soup. In this recipe by How Sweet Eats it's combined with a ton of veggies like butternut squash, carrots, kale, and sweet potato to add flavor to the broth. The trick to giving it real richness? Stirring in some browned butter right before serving.
6. Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Instead of high-carb taco or enchilada shells, carved-out zucchini squash serves as the ultimate “bowl” for a Mexican-style ground turkey filling. You can make these stuffed zucchini boats by Chelsea's Messy Apron as spicy or as mild as you like—they’ll please even the pickiest of palettes.
7. Sheet Pan Cuban Chicken With Citrus Avocado Salsa
Oh, how we love a one-pan wonder. Chicken breasts get doctored up with fresh orange and lime juice along with some seasonings in this recipe by Half Baked Harvest. Throw on all of your favorite sliced veggies, and let them cook all at once. While it’s baking, whip up a blood-orange salsa to serve as an update to a traditional dipping sauce.
8. Roasted Lemon Butter Garlic Shrimp
Did you know that shrimp provide almost as much protein as chicken, according to Health magazine? Now, go ahead and cook this entire dinner (veggies and all) by Carlsbad Cravings in 15 minutes flat. Sautéed lemon shrimp isn’t out of the ordinary, but it tastes even better and is twice as easy to make when it’s grilled up with asparagus spears on a sheet pan. Worth noting: Keep frozen shrimp on hand to make this meal on a moment’s notice.
9. Pesto Asparagus Noodles
We’ve seen all sorts of “noodles,” but asparagus noodles? This was a first even for us. The veggie serves its purpose in this recipe by Pinch of Yum because it’s one of the 10 vegetables that are the highest in protein, according to Medical News Today. Now, to take the taste up several notches, drizzle with pesto sauce and add bacon and pecorino cheese to finish. You can always toss in some shrimp or chicken for added protein, but trust us, it’s just as delectable without.
10. Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar and Zucchini Soup
Both broccoli and zucchini are some of the lowest-carb vegetables, according to Healthline, but are also high in protein. And to make things even better, this soup by Half Baked Harvest is created in an Instant Pot, so it's healthy and easy to make at the same time.
11. Detox Cauliflower Salad
If you're a fan of rice but don't want the carbs, this cauliflower version by Pinch of Yum is the perfect replacement. It also has chickpeas, which are high in protein, and avocado, for all that omega-3 goodness.
12. 30-Minute Caprese Chicken Recipe
According to Healthline, a skinless, cooked chicken breast that weighs around 172 grams contains 54 grams of protein. That's incredible considering, on average, a 50-year-old woman who weighs 140 pounds and is sedentary only needs around 53 grams of protein a day. Point is, this recipe by Foodie Crush will have you covered for the day when it comes to protein.
13. Pan-Seared Citrus Shrimp Recipe
We told you earlier how much protein shrimp has, so this pan-seared dish by Foodie Crush is the perfect high-protein, low-carb option.
14. Brussels Sprouts Breakfast Hash for Dinner
Brussels sprouts are high in protein for a green vegetable according to Medical News Today, and just one serving has enough vitamin C and K for the whole day. This delicious hash by How Sweet Eats has brussels sprouts and an egg on top so you're packed with protein and all the other nutrients your body needs.