High protein bowls are my go-to dinner – they’re macro-friendly, easy to throw together and can be customized in so many ways! In this post, we will discuss the basis of making a high protein bowl with over 28 recipes and some tricks on how to maximize the protein.
Essentially, it’s a power bowl that prioritizes protein. Add in some veggies and whole grains for a nutritious, well-balanced meal.
So if you’re looking for some inspiration for quick, healthy meals – add these protein bowls to your weekly rotation – or meal prep for easy lunches!
The Basis of a Protein Bowl
The Link Between Protein and Weight Management
Our body needs protein for a multitude of bodily processes, but why is it so important for weight management? Several clinical studies have found that consuming more than the recommended daily allowance of protein can help to reduce body weight and decrease fat mass. It can even help prevent weight regain after weight loss.
If you’re in a calorie deficit, consuming a diet higher in protein preserves lean muscle mass – which helps to maintain or increase the number of calories we burn at rest.
When compared to carbohydrates and fats, protein takes the longest to digest- and therefore keeps us fuller for a longer period of time. Therefore, meals high in protein could potentially lead to less overall caloric intake.
How Much Protein Should We Eat At Each Meal?
I typically recommend that a meal contains 20-30 grams of protein, distributed across 3-4 meals per day. Research has shown that this is the amount our body uses for muscle protein synthesis – and anything higher than this has no additional benefits.
Distributing protein intake throughout the day is an effective strategy to increase overall protein intake while ensuring meals are satiating and satisfying.
Most animal protein sources contain at least 20-25 grams of protein in a 4 ounce serving, which is about the size of a deck of cards.
Putting Together a Protein Bowl
What I love about protein bowls is that they can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be.
Start with a grain, add in 1-3 veggies (the more, the better), add protein source(s) and top with a flavorful sauce or any other add-ins.
Everything can be made from scratch – or you could just buy an already-made sauce from the store. Striking the right balance between nutrition and convenience makes life easier, while also prioritizing home-cooked meals.
Tips to Increase Protein For a Protein Bowl
- Incorporate Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. Greek yogurt can be used to marinate chicken, and make flavorful, creamy sauces that are higher in protein. Mix Greek yogurt and hot sauce together, replace mayo in a bang bang sauce, mix it with taco seasoning – so many options!
- Roast your vegetables with a little olive oil and nutritional yeast for a parmesan-like flavor.
- Add nuts and seeds to meals: Chopped nuts contain protein and healthy fats – plus a nice crunch!
- Read food labels: You’d be surprised at the difference in protein content of products at the grocery store. For example, my favorite pasta is Barilla Protein+ with 10 grams of protein per serving.
- Include beans and lentils more often: Plant-based protein sources, like beans and lentils, add more protein and fiber to any meal. Fiber is similar to protein in that it aids in keeping us full by slowing down digestion, and preventing spikes in blood sugar.
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- 120 Grams of Protein Per Day Meal Plans
- Low Calorie Lunch Meal Prep Ideas
- 120 Grams of Protein Per Day Meal Plans – Vegetarian
Protein Bowl Recipes
Use these protein bowl recipes as inspiration to create your own bowls based on your preferences and lifestyle! I’ve included a variety of different flavor profiles – the possibilities are endless!
Customize your protein bowl with a variety of different protein sources, grains, veggies, and flavor profiles so there is variety, while still maintaining the basis of a simple protein bowl.
Chicken Fajita Protein Bowl
This is my go-to protein bowl. Season chicken, peppers and onions with taco seasoning. Sauté in a pan, serve over rice and top with guacamole or avocado slice!
Mexican-inspired bowls are easy to customize – add beans, shredded cheese, olives, or jalapenos!
Other Mexican-inspired bowls:
— Shrimp Taco Bowl with Greek yogurt avocado cream sauce; 40 grams of protein per serving.
— Chicken Burrito Protein Bowl (Feel Good Foodie).
— Ground Beef One Pot Burrito Bowl (I Heart Naptime).
— Cilantro Lime Steak Bowls (Charlotte Shares).
Tofu Rice Bowl with Greek Yogurt Bang Bang Sauce
Try this tofu rice bowl for a vegetarian option with 35 grams of protein per serving. The tofu is baked until crispy, and topped with a sweet and spicy Greek yogurt bang bang sauce.
More tofu ideas:
— Spicy Sriracha Tofu Rice Bowl (skinnytaste).
— Tofu Rice Bowl with Black Beans and Corn Salad (Delish Knowledge).
— Protein Buddha Bowl (The Conscious Plant Kitchen) — 25 grams of plant-based protein.
Mediterranean Protein Bowl
This is another one of my favorite recipes! This Mediterranean-inspired quinoa bowl is topped with chicken, chickpeas, diced cucumber, onion, red bell peppers, feta cheese and topped with chopped walnuts.
It’s dressed in a simple olive oil and vinegar – the flavors are so fresh. Simple yet flavorful, with a lot of texture from the raw cucumbers and nuts.
More Mediterranean flavors:
— Greek Chicken Orzo Power Bowl (Cravings of a Lunatic).
Loaded Burger Salad Bowl (Haute & Healthy Living)
I think a protein bowl can be in the form of a salad as well – why not? This loaded burger salad bowl contains 37 grams of protein per serving and is topped with a yummy special sauce.
Chicken, Brussel Sprouts and Feta Protein Bowl
Shaved Brussel sprouts, creamy feta, juicy chicken thighs and a drizzle of balsamic glaze – a unique yet flavorful combination.
Asian Stir-Fry Bowl
Asian-inspired bowls are a staple in my household. I keep a few different sauces on hand so I can throw one together at any time. These bowls have ground sausage, lots of veggies, and a teriyaki and sesame oil drizzle. So simple yet flavorful!
Customize these bowls with different protein sources – shrimp, ground beef, chicken, tofu – and change the flavor profile with a honey garlic sauce, Kung Pao sauce, Pad Thai, or peanut sauce.
Crispy Salmon Bites Protein Bowl
These super easy crispy salmon bites take only 8 minutes to cook in the air fryer. It’s a simple way to get some protein and omega-3’s!
Serve over your preferred grain, pick a veggie and top with sauce! This specific recipe uses a bang bang sauce (26 grams of protein per serving – for just the salmon bites).
Buffalo Chicken Inspired Protein Bowls
If you love spice, try this Buffalo Chicken Rice Bowl from Hello Frozen Bananas – with 32 grams of protein per serving.
Butternut Squash Quinoa and Chicken Bowl
This protein bowl has comforting flavors, perfect for fall or winter. Quinoa acts as a base and the salty bacon pairs well with the sweet butternut squash.
Top each bowl with chopped walnuts for the added texture and crunch – then drizzle with honey for a sweet and savory combo!
— Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl with Honey Sriracha Sauce
— BBQ Chicken and Roasted Sweet Potato Bowls (The Creative Bite).
- Spicy Shrimp Rice Bowls (Peas and Crayons).
- Cottage Cheese Chicken Parm Bowls (Fit Healthy Macros).
- Chicken Pesto Quinoa Bowls (Our Balanced Bowl).
- Easy Grilled Harissa Chicken Bowls (Bowls Are the New Plates).
- Indian-Inspired Butter Chicken Bowl (Fed and Fit).
- Italian Bowl with Roasted Vegetables and Quinoa (Bowls Are the New Plates).
- Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Bowl — low-carb with a cottage cheese sauce.
Protein Bowl Breakfast Ideas
You can utilize the basis of a protein bowl for breakfast, too!
It can be hard to consume the recommended 20-30 grams of protein for breakfast – even with the addition of eggs (which only contain 6 grams of protein).
Here are some ideas for a high protein breakfast bowl:
- Egg and cottage cheese bowl with avocado slices. Adding beans to breakfast bowls can also increase the protein and fiber content.
- Tofu scramble bowl with potatoes.
- Smoothie bowls made with Greek yogurt or protein powder to increase protein.
- Overnight oats (Greek yogurt or protein powder), topped with fruit.
- High protein oatmeal bowl with nut butter and hemp heats.
- Two eggs over quinoa with shredded cheese and topped with nuts.
Quick, Easy, and Well-Balanced Meals
Protein bowls are quick, easy and versatile – making them the perfect meal to throw together when you just don’t know what to make for dinner. These recipes would also be ideal for high protein meal prep.
A well-balanced protein bowl can be both filling and satisfying – the perfect vessel for protein, fiber and healthy fats. All of this combined can promote weight management and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Some images from this post were created using AI with Canva.