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Light 20g protein meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Proteins are an essential part of our diet and are the building blocks of our muscles, organs and tissues. They are also necessary for the production of enzymes and hormones.

Proteins can be found in both animal and plant foods. Animal sources include meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. Plant sources include beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.

Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids that can be combined to form a protein.

The human body can make some of these amino acids, but others must be obtained from the diet. These are known as essential amino acids.

close up photo of eggs

Amino acids can be divided into two groups:

1. Essential amino acids: These are amino acids that the body cannot make and must be obtained from the diet. Examples include leucine, isoleucine and valine (known as the branched-chain amino acids), as well as phenylalanine, tryptophan, methionine and histidine.

2. Non-essential amino acids: These are amino acids that the body can make from other amino acids. Examples include alanine, glycine and serine.

Proteins are essential for growth and development, as well as for the repair of damaged cells and tissues.

The recommended daily intake (RDI) for protein is 0.36 grams per pound (0.8 grams per kg) of body weight.

That said, here are some examples of light meals that provide 20 grams of protein:

1. 3 egg omelet with spinach and cheese

2. Chicken salad with 1/2 cup cooked chicken, 1/4 cup chopped nuts, 1/2 cup diced fruits and 1/4 cup salad dressing

3. Tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread with 1/2 cup canned tuna, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise and 1/2 cup shredded lettuce

4. Turkey wrap with 1/2 cup cooked turkey, 1 tablespoon cream cheese, 1/2 cup chopped vegetables and 1 whole wheat tortilla

5. Quinoa bowl with 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 cup diced tomatoes, 1/4 avocado and 1 tablespoon dressing

6. Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup granola, 1/2 cup diced fruit and 1 tablespoon honey

7. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread with 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 tablespoon jelly and 1/2 cup sliced strawberries

8. Cottage cheese bowl with 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1/4 cup diced pineapple, 1 tablespoon chopped nuts and 1 tablespoon honey

9. Chicken wrap with 1/2 cup cooked chicken, 1 tablespoon ranch dressing, 1/2 cup chopped vegetables and 1 whole wheat tortilla

10. Lentil soup with 1/2 cup cooked lentils, 1/4 cup diced vegetables, 1/4 cup diced tomatoes and 1 tablespoon olive oil

11. Egg salad with 1/2 cup cooked eggs, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup diced celery and 1 tablespoon relish

12. Hummus and veggies with 1/4 cup hummus, 1/2 cup chopped vegetables and 1 whole wheat pita

13. Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with 1/2 cup cooked turkey, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1/2 cup shredded lettuce and 1 tomato

14. Chicken and quinoa bowl with 1/2 cup cooked chicken, 1/4 cup cooked quinoa, 1/4 avocado and 1/4 cup salsa

15. Tofu stir-fry with 1/2 cup diced tofu, 1/4 cup chopped vegetables and 1 tablespoon soy sauce

16. Peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat bread with 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 1/2 a banana

Light meals that are high in protein can help you to feel fuller for longer and provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally. Experiment with different combinations of foods to find what works best for you.

Including a source of protein at every meal is a good way to ensure that you are meeting your daily needs.

Krystal | Sunny Sweet Days
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