30g Protein Meal: 20 Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Getting 30 grams of protein at every meal might seem like a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be when you are intentionally planning and structuring your meals. In fact, it can be quite easy!

In this article, I have listed 20 different meal options that contain 30 grams of protein. These meals contain a ton of variety, with both animal and non-animal protein sources to help you reach your protein goal.

In addition to these meal examples, I will also discuss:

  • Whether or not you can consume 30g of protein in a meal
  • Who should be eating 30g protein meals
  • How to get 30 grams of protein per meal
  • Examples of 30g protein meals

Want to learn more about meal planning? Check out our complete guide on How To Make A Meal Plan For Bodybuilding.

Can You Consume 30g Of Protein in a Meal?

When you are creating a well-balanced meal, it is important to consider exactly how much protein is optimal to consume in one sitting.

According to experts, studies show that consuming around 25-30 grams of protein per meal is the optimal amount for your body to utilize in protein synthesis (building and repairing muscle tissue in the body).

Eating any more protein than this in one sitting is thought to be unnecessary.

In other words, eating 30 grams of protein in a meal is a great way to ensure that you are hitting your daily protein goal and maximizing protein synthesis. This is especially important if your goal is to put on lean muscle mass.

How To Get 30g of Protein Per Meal? 6 Tips

How to get 30g of protein per meal: 6 tips

Six simple tips to get 30 grams of protein per meal are:

  • Opt for egg whites over whole eggs
  • Choose lean cuts of meat
  • Utilize protein powders in smoothies and baked goods
  • Choose high-protein dairy sources
  • Opt for higher protein grains
  • Top your meals with high-protein nuts and seeds

1. Opt for Egg Whites Over Whole Eggs

While whole eggs provide a great source of protein at around 6 grams of protein per egg, you might be better off opting for egg whites instead if you are looking to boost your protein in your morning omelet.

While one egg white contains only 3.6 grams of protein, it does not come with the 5 grams of fat that a whole egg has. This makes it much easier to hit your protein goal without overdoing the fat content in your meal.

You could even try a combination of egg whites and eggs. For example, if you were to make an egg scramble that contained 2 eggs and 5 egg whites, this would equal about 30 grams of protein for that meal.

2. Choose Moderate Portions of Lean Cuts of Meat

If your goal is to consume 30 grams of protein in a meal, you can easily do so by choosing leaner cuts of meat and sticking with moderate portion sizes.

In addition to this, it can be helpful to pay attention to the specific types of protein sources that you are choosing (i.e. sirloin steak is higher in protein than salmon).

Choosing a moderate portion of most meat protein sources, or roughly 3-4 ounces, is a great way to ensure that you are hitting your protein goal. For example, 3.5 oz of chicken breast contains about 31 grams of protein.

This portion should be about the size of your palm or a deck of playing cards.

If you are serious about only eating 30 grams of protein per meal, you may want to use more concrete forms of measurement such as a food scale, as it can be easy to drastically overshoot your protein goal by underestimating your portion by even a few ounces.

3. Utilize Protein Powders in Smoothies and Baked Goods

Protein powders are an extremely easy and efficient way to hit your protein goal. With most protein powders packing between 15-30 grams of protein per serving, it doesn’t take much to hit your protein target for a meal.

Protein powders are also extremely versatile. While the conventional use for them is to be consumed as a protein shake or in a smoothie, they can also be used in baked goods such as muffins, cookies, pancakes, or protein bombs.

As well, protein powders can be stirred into oatmeal or yogurt bowls for added protein content and flavor (if your protein powder is flavored of course).

If you normally consume dairy products, a whey protein powder could work great for you. However, you can still enjoy protein powder on a vegan diet since there are a variety of plant-based protein powders on the market.

4. Choose High-Protein Dairy Sources

One easy way to increase the amount of protein that you eat in one meal is to choose dairy products that are high in protein. While pretty much all dairy will include protein, certain dairy products will pack more of a protein punch compared to others.

More specifically, dairy sources such as Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are packed full of protein. One cup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt contains around 23 grams of protein, while one cup of cottage cheese contains a whopping 28 grams of protein.

This is quite a substantial increase when compared to one cup of regular yogurt, which contains around 13 grams of protein.

5. Opt for Higher-Protein Grains and Legumes

While you may typically think of animal foods and meat when it comes to high-protein foods, you don’t want to forget about the impressive amount of protein you can find in certain grains and legumes.

Opting for whole wheat grain products over white products will help to ensure that you are eating more protein. You can also focus on consuming grains such as quinoa and wild rice, which are high in protein as well.

If you want to hit your protein target without overdoing your meat intake, you can focus on consuming more beans and legumes. You can even find high-protein pasta that is made from chickpeas!

6. Top Your Meals With High-Protein Nuts and Seeds

Not only are nuts and seeds a great source of dietary protein, but they are packed with healthy fats that are essential for your health. They are also a great source of fiber.

You can add nuts and seeds to your salads, stir-fries, oatmeal, yogurt bowls, and smoothies. You can also have nuts on their own as a quick and easy snack. Two ounces of almonds alone come packed with about 12 grams of protein.

Another easy and delicious way to include high-protein nuts into your diet is with nut butters such as peanut butter.

Keep in mind that nuts are also accompanied with a substantial amount of fat, so it is easy to overdo fat consumption if you over consume nut products.

30g Protein Meals: 20 Examples

 The best 30g protein meals are:

1. Greek Yogurt Bowl

greek yogurt bowl - 30 grams of protein

Greek yogurt is an excellent way to hit your protein goal for a meal. This yogurt bowl would work well as a light breakfast or even as a snack between your main meals.

In order to enhance or change the flavor of your yogurt bowl, you could add calorie-free ingredients such as stevia (to sweeten) or cinnamon. You could also change up the type of berries (for example, swapping strawberries for blueberries) or fruit that you are using.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt – 23 grams
  • 1 oz almonds – 6 grams
  • ½ cup mixed berries – 1 gram

TOTAL:  30 grams of protein

2. Egg Scramble with Toast

egg scramble with toast - 32.1 grams of protein

Utilizing both eggs and egg whites in your breakfast scramble will help to ensure that you hit your 30-gram protein target.

Egg whites are also great at increasing the overall volume of your meal without drastically increasing calories, which will help to keep you fuller for longer.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 2 eggs – 12 grams
  • ½ cup egg whites – 13 grams
  • ½ oz 2% cheddar cheese – 3.5 grams
  • 1 slice whole-wheat toast- 3.6 grams (check out my favorite breads you can eat on a high-protein diet)

TOTAL:  32.1 grams of protein

3. Greek Yogurt and High-Protein Cereal

greek yogurt and high-protein cereal - 30.5 grams of protein

Certain cereal brands can be very helpful when it comes to reaching your protein target since there are now high-protein options on the market.

Combining a high-protein cereal with some Greek yogurt and fruit creates an easy, quick, and delicious high-protein meal.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt – 11.5 grams
  • 1 cup Kashi Go Lean Cereal – 14 grams
  • 2 Tbsp of chia seeds – 4 grams
  • ½ cup mixed berries – 1 gram

TOTAL:  30.5 grams of protein

4. Protein Smoothie

protein smoothie - 32.3 grams of protein

A protein smoothie is a quick and easy source of nutrients that you can enjoy on the go. The main source of protein in this smoothie is coming from protein powder, with additional nutrients coming from fruit, peanut butter, and almond milk.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 1 scoop of protein powder – 26 grams
  • 1 frozen banana – 1.3 grams
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter – 4 grams
  • 1 cup of almond milk – 1 gram
  • Ice – 0 grams

TOTAL:  32.3 grams of protein

5. Protein Pancakes

protein pancakes - 30 grams of protein

Pancakes are typically looked at as more of a carb-heavy, cheat day food. However, you can still enjoy them as a part of your everyday diet in the form of protein pancakes.

In particular, certain brands of pancake mixes contain a higher amount of protein. When you combine this with eggs and peanut butter, you get a high-protein, satiating meal that you can enjoy at breakfast or any time of the day.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

TOTAL:  30 grams of protein

6. Cottage Cheese and Fruit

cottage cheese and fruit -  29 grams of protein

Cottage cheese is a commonly overlooked food source that is extremely high in protein. You can pair it with fruit and cinnamon for a quick and easy snack that will keep you full and satisfied.

Keep in mind that cottage cheese has a higher sodium content, so make sure that you fill the rest of your meals with low-sodium foods.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 1 cup 1% cottage cheese – 28 grams
  • ½ cup of mixed berries – 1 gram
  • Cinnamon – 0 grams

TOTAL:  29 grams of protein

7. High-Protein Chia Seed Pudding

high-protein chia seed pudding -  28 grams of protein

Chia seed pudding not only contains an impressive amount of protein but also contains a good amount of high-quality essential omega-3 fats.

It works best if you mix all of the ingredients together and let the mixture sit in the fridge overnight. The chia seeds will soak up the liquid from the almond milk and form a delicious, creamy pudding.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 4 Tbsp chia seeds – 8 grams
  • ½ scoop protein powder – 13 grams
  • 1 oz chopped almonds – 6 grams
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk – 1 gram

TOTAL:  28 grams of protein

8. Smoked Salmon Bagel

smoked salmon bagel - 30.5 grams of protein

Believe it or not, whole grain bagels actually contain an impressive amount of protein. If you pair that with cream cheese and smoked salmon, you have a savory, well-balanced meal that will keep you full and satisfied.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 1 multigrain bagel – 12 grams
  • 2 Tbsp low-fat cream cheese – 2.5 grams
  • 3 oz smoked salmon – 16 grams

TOTAL:  30.5 grams of protein

9. Protein Overnight Oats

protein overnight oats

An easy way to pack a good amount of protein into your breakfast is with protein overnight oats. By adding protein powder and chia seeds to your oatmeal, you drastically increase the protein content.

By mixing all of the ingredients below together in a mason jar and refrigerating overnight, you will create a delicious, healthy, and protein-packed breakfast.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • ½ cup oats – 5 grams
  • 1/2 scoop of protein powder -13 grams
  • 1 tbsp almond butter -3.4 grams
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds – 4 grams
  • 1 cup almond milk – 1 gram
  • 1 oz plain Greek yogurt – 2.9 grams
  • ½ cup berries -1 gram

TOTAL:  30.3 grams of protein

10. Hard-Boiled Eggs and Snap Peas

hard-boiled eggs and snap peas - 29.4 grams of protein

If you don’t have the time to cook a full meal that is high in protein, an easy grab-and-go source of protein is hard-boiled eggs. Just one hard-boiled egg contains a whopping 6 grams of protein.

Combining hard-boiled eggs with a serving of snap peas and a serving of hummus allows you to create a well-balanced meal containing healthy sources of fat, carbs, and fiber, while also allowing you to meet your protein goal.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 4 hard-boiled eggs – 24 grams
  • 1 cup of snap peas – 1.8 grams
  • 3 tbsp hummus – 3.6 grams

TOTAL:  29.4 grams of protein

11. Chicken and Chickpea Spinach Salad

chicken and chickpea spinach salad - 31.7 grams of protein

The combination of grilled chicken and chickpeas on a bed of greens not only provides a great source of protein but also provides other important nutrients, including fiber coming from the chickpeas and spinach.

Fiber is very important in a high-protein diet in order to keep blood sugar levels stable and the digestive system happy and healthy.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 3 oz grilled chicken – 26 grams
  • ¼ cup chickpeas – 4 grams
  • 2 cups spinach – 1.7 grams
  • Oil and vinegar dressing – 0 grams

TOTAL:  31.7 grams of protein

  • For more ideas on what to top your salad with, check out these low-sodium sauces and salad dressings.

12. Chicken Breast with Wild Rice and Brussel Sprouts

chicken breast with wild rice and brussel sprouts - 32.5 grams of protein

The combination of chicken, rice, and vegetables is a commonly consumed meal in the world of bodybuilding (and fitness in general) since this meal contains the perfect blend of protein, carbs, and fiber.

This meal is minimally processed, making it more likely to have a lighter impact on your digestive system.

When you are choosing what type of rice to eat on a high-protein diet, opt for wild rice, as it has the highest protein content out of all the types of rice.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 3 oz chicken breast – 26 grams
  • ½ cup wild rice – 3.5 grams
  • 1 cup Brussel sprouts – 3 grams

TOTAL:  32.5 grams of protein

13. High-Protein Turkey Wrap

high-protein turkey wrap - 32.4 grams of protein

When you pair a protein source like turkey with a high-protein wrap, you can hit your 30-gram protein target with ease.

There are many different combinations that you could use in your high-protein wraps that will help you to maintain a lot of variety in a high-protein diet.

Turkey is a great source of protein due to the fact that it is also quite low in fat, which allows you to hit your protein target without increasing your fats too much.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 2 oz sliced turkey breast – 17.4 grams
  • 1 high-protein flatbread wrap – 10 grams
  • ½ oz 2% cheddar cheese – 3.5
  • 3 slices tomato – 0.5 grams
  • 1 tbsp mustard – 1 gram

TOTAL:  32.4 grams of protein

14. Chili

chili - 31 grams of protein

Chili is a great comfort meal that is also very high in protein. Adding animal protein such as turkey or beef to your bean chili will help to boost the protein intake even more.

Using toppings like cheese is also a great way to boost the protein content of your chili dish.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 1 cup beef and bean chili – 17 grams
  • 2 oz 2% cheddar cheese, shredded – 14 grams

TOTAL:  31 grams of protein

15. Tuna Melt

tuna melt - 33.2 grams of protein

A tuna melt is a perfect high-protein meal that contains quality protein from tuna, whole grain bread, and cheese.

Tuna is a great source of protein since it is quite low in fat. If you are choosing canned tuna, make sure you opt for tuna that is packed in water, not oil.

Whole-wheat bread is also going to pack more of a protein punch in comparison to white bread, which makes it the optimal choice if you are aiming for 30 grams of protein in your meal.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 2 oz tuna (in a tuna salad mixture with low-fat mayo) – 16.2 grams
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted – 7 grams
  • 2 slices of 2% cheddar cheese – 10 grams

TOTAL:  33.2 grams of protein

16. Sirloin Steak and Potato

sirloin steak and potato - 30 grams of protein

Sirloin steak is a fantastic source of protein, so much so that if you want to keep your meal at 30 grams of protein or less, you want to ensure that your steak serving is not too big.

It can be very easy to overdo meat portions, and if you find this is the case for you, weighing your food might be a good option.

Pairing a high-protein food like steak with lower-protein sides like potato and asparagus makes this a perfectly balanced and delicious meal.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 3.5 oz sirloin steak – 27 grams
  • 1 medium baked potato – 2.5 grams
  • 5 spears of asparagus – 0.5 grams

TOTAL:  30 grams of protein

17. Turkey Meatballs and Whole-Wheat Spaghetti

turkey meatballs and whole-wheat spaghetti - 30.6 grams of protein

If you didn’t think that your favorite pasta dish could be high in protein, think again! When choosing whole-wheat spaghetti, you are opting for a higher protein pasta that is going to help you to reach your protein goal.

In addition to this, opting for leaner meat such as turkey for your meatball will allow you to add a large amount of protein to your meal without adding a ton of fat the way that meatballs made with beef would.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 3 oz turkey meatballs – 17 grams
  • 1 cup whole-wheat spaghetti noodles – 7 grams
  • ½ cup pasta sauce – 2.5 grams
  • 2 oz parmesan cheese – 3.8 grams

TOTAL:  30.6 grams of protein

  • Concerned that you’ll have to give up pasta if you’re trying to lose weight? We debunk this myth and show you how you can still eat pasta while cutting.

18. Salmon Burger and Whole Wheat Bun

salmon burger and whole wheat bun -  29.5 grams of protein

While the beef burger is the most conventional of all the burgers, it is beneficial to switch up your protein sources, and a great way to do that is with a salmon burger. The protein content of a salmon burger will vary depending on the size of the patty.

There are many other vegetable toppings (such as peppers and onions) that you could add to this burger for flavor which will have a minimal effect on its protein content since it already has more than enough protein without any other added toppings.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 4 oz salmon burger – 20 grams
  • 1 whole-wheat bun – 8 grams
  • Roasted garlic aioli – 1 gram
  • Sliced tomato – 0.5 grams

TOTAL:  29.5 grams of protein

19. Bison Steak Salad

bison steak salad

Bison is an exceptional source of protein, and when it is paired with a high-protein dairy source like feta, it becomes very easy to meet your 30-gram target.

Adding in low-calorie vegetables and greens will help to ensure you are meeting your daily requirement of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and fiber for the day as well.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 4 oz grilled bison – 21 grams
  • 2 oz feta cheese – 8 grams
  • 1 cup of mixed green salad – 1 gram
  • Oil and vinegar dressing – 0 grams

TOTAL:  30 grams of protein

20. Roast Beef and Quinoa Salad

roast beef and quinoa salad - 31 grams of protein

Roast beef is an extremely versatile protein source that can be used in soups, sandwiches, or eaten on its own.

The ingredients in quinoa salad will vary but typically will contain a mixture of cooked quinoa, cucumber, red pepper, red onion, chickpeas, and a dressing made of olive oil and lemon.

These two high-protein food sources paired together make a perfectly balanced dish that will allow you to hit your 30-gram protein target.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 3 oz roast beef – 25 grams
  • ½ cup quinoa salad – 6 grams

TOTAL:  31 grams of protein

Who Should Be Eating 30g Protein Meals?

The amount of protein that you consume in a meal will ultimately depend on your daily protein goal, along with how many meals you choose to eat in a day. Many people can benefit from eating 30 grams of protein per meal.

An example of someone that would need to consume 30 grams of protein per meal is an individual who has a protein goal of 90 grams per day and regularly consumes 3 meals per day.

In this case, it’s important to ensure that each of the 3 meals they eat contains 30 grams of protein.

You could also apply this to someone who has a higher protein requirement, say 180 grams per day, and also aims to eat every few hours.

This individual would need to consume 6 meals a day with 30 grams of protein in order to hit their protein goal of 180 grams.

While protein requirements will vary depending on the individual, a meal that contains 30 grams of protein could be beneficial for pretty much anyone who is looking to create a well-balanced, highly satiating meal.

For Sedentary Individuals

The recommended protein intake for a sedentary adult is about 71 grams for a male and 61 grams for a female per day (around 0.36 grams per pound of bodyweight).

Even if an individual does not engage in much physical activity, they could still incorporate around 1 meal a day that contains 30 grams of protein.

For Athletes

In the case of athletes, protein requirements rise to about 0.5-0.9 grams per pound of bodyweight. Therefore, a 180-pound athlete would need to consume around 90-162 grams of protein per day.

In this scenario, aiming to eat meals that contain 30 grams of protein will make it easier to reach their protein goal.

For Bodybuilders

Bodybuilders are encouraged to eat at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. A 200-pound bodybuilder would need to consume around 6.5 meals in a day that contained 30 grams of protein in order to reach his or her goal.

Additional Meal Plan Resources


Schoenfeld BJ, Aragon AA. How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018 Feb 27;15:10. doi: 10.1186/s12970-018-0215-1. PMID: 29497353; PMCID: PMC5828430.

Helms, E.R., Aragon, A.A. & Fitschen, P.J. Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 11, 20 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-11-20

de Falco, B., Amato, M. & Lanzotti, V. Chia seeds products: an overview. Phytochem Rev 16, 745–760 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-017-9511-7

About The Author

Colby Roy

Colby Roy is a holistic health and nutrition coach. She is certified through Precision Nutrition and has a passion for all things nutrition and healing the body. More specifically, Colby likes to work with clients who want to optimize their gut health and energy levels.

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