A balancing act
If you’re looking to lose weight, eating balanced meals focused on protein is important. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit multi-specialty academic medical clinic, we can only absorb about 25 to 35 grams of protein at one time, so spreading your protein needs throughout the day is better than packing it all in during a single meal. “The recommended percentage of daily calories from proteins is typically 10 per cent to 35 per cent protein,” Cleveland Clinic guidelines note. “This means, if you eat about 2000 calories per day, you’d want to aim for 50 to 175 grams of protein in your daily diet.”
Protein tends to be more compact than fruits and vegetables, and it doesn’t take up as much room on your plate or in your belly. This is why Amy Roskelley, founder of the health and fitness blog Health Beet, suggests dividing your plate as a starting point. Without having to pull out scales and measuring cups, you can visually divide your plate so it looks like: half meal veggies (broccoli, cucumbers, carrots), one-quarter meal protein (chicken, steak, fish), one-quarter meal carbs (fruit, grains, starchy veg). (Roskelley even designed a portion-controlled plate to make meal portioning super simple.)
To make sure you’re packing every meal with the protein you need, check out our picks for high-protein lunches for weight loss.
Low-calorie, high-protein sandwich
Sandwiches are one of the easiest, most satisfying lunches that include all the food groups. Done right, they can be a great choice, but done wrong, they can be carb-heavy and nap-inducing.
Ashley Poladian is a trainer and a diet coach who loves finding high-protein and low-calorie foods to help her clients achieve fat loss without giving up foods they love.
For one sandwich serving, Poladian recommends:
- a slice of sandwich thins
- a slice of low-fat cheese
- two slices of turkey or chicken
- two tablespoons of a spinach artichoke dip
“I love this lunch item because there is very little leg work for something that is not pre-made,” Poladian says. “At only 206 calories per serving and 20 grams of protein, this sandwich will help you stay full and satisfied without the midday crash we usually see from eating carb-heavy lunches!”
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Tuna lettuce wraps
Lisa Lotts is the owner and publisher of Garlic and Zest, a food and cooking website where she is the recipe developer behind every dish on the site. Her favourite high-protein lunch for weight loss is a tuna and white bean lettuce wrap. “We love them stuffed into vibrant pink-hued radicchio leaves, but regular lettuce leaves work as well,” she says. This dish contains an estimated 30 grams of proteins.