400 Calorie High-Protein Meals: 15 Examples

Hitting your protein requirements in a 400-calorie meal is easy to do when you focus on incorporating the right types of quality high-protein foods.

To help you, I’ve prepared 15 meals that are high in protein and contain around 400 calories.

For a 400-calorie meal, 40 grams is considered to be a high amount of protein. Each meal contains different types of high-protein foods and various fat and carb sources to ensure you get the nutrients your body needs.

How Much Protein Should You Consume In a 400-Calorie Meal?

What a high-protein meal looks like will vary depending on the size and calorie content of your meal. In general, a high-protein diet consists of getting about 40% of your total calories from protein-rich foods.

In the case of a 400-calorie meal, this would equal around 40 grams of protein. This could look like 5 oz of chicken breast, 6.5 oz of Atlantic salmon, 1.5 scoops of whey protein powder, or 11 large egg whites.

While you can increase your protein intake even higher than 40% of your total calories, you could start to notice some negative side effects that come from not eating enough calories from carbohydrates and fat (a decrease in energy, poor digestion, and a lack of healthy hormone production).

As such, if you follow a high-protein diet, an optimal macronutrient split would be 40% protein, 35% carbs, and 25% fat.

Who Would Benefit from Eating High-Protein 400-Calorie Meals?

You might benefit from eating high-protein 400-calorie meals if:

1. You Are an Active Individual Looking to Maintain/Build Muscle Mass

People who participate in regular physical activity and strength training (4-6 days per week at a moderate/high intensity) will benefit from a higher protein intake since protein is essential for maintaining and building lean muscle mass.

For example, if a female athlete with a calorie requirement of 2000 calories per day wanted to get 40% of her calories from protein, she could eat 5 meals per day, each consisting of 400 calories and 40 grams of protein.

2. You Are in a Fat Loss Phase

Another instance where it is beneficial for someone to eat high-protein meals is when fat loss is desired. This is because eating a high-protein diet can help you to feel more full throughout the day, making it less likely to exceed your daily calorie limit.

Protein is also considered the most thermogenic macronutrient, meaning it burns the most calories (compared to carbs and fat) while your body digests it.

This can be beneficial during a fat-loss phase since the goal is to burn more calories than you consume during the day (creating a calorie deficit).

For example, a female in a calorie deficit eating 1600 calories per day could meet this goal by consuming 3 high-protein 400-calorie meals, each containing around 40 grams of protein, and 2 snacks consisting of 200 calories and about 20 grams of protein.

This would have her consuming 40% of her calories from protein while still remaining in her calorie deficit for the day.

Tips on Eating More Protein

tips on eating more protein

A few tips you can implement to increase your protein intake at each meal are:

1. Include More Lean Cuts of Meat, Poultry, and Fish Into Your Meals

One of the easiest ways to hit a high-protein target while still adhering to a specific calorie goal is to choose lean cuts of meat, poultry, and fish for most of your meals.

Certain cuts of meat contain high amounts of fat, which could result in your eating over your calorie target, making leaner cuts the optimal choice.

For example, eating 5 ounces of chicken breast in your meals can give you around 38 grams of protein. Similarly, 5 ounces of flank steak (a leaner cut of steak) boasts around 40 grams of protein. This would be considered a high amount of protein for a 400-calorie meal.

2. Opt for High-Protein, Low-Fat Dairy

Dairy can be a fantastic source of protein, but certain dairy products are more optimal when aiming for high protein without overdoing calories. Good sources of high-protein, low-fat dairy include foods like non-fat Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, skim milk, and low-fat cheese.

Some dairy products only have a small amount of protein and aren’t ideal when following a high-protein diet.

For example, while 1 cup of regular yogurt contains around 8.5 grams of protein, 1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt can provide 22 grams of protein, which makes it a much better choice when eating a high-protein diet.

3. Utilize Nuts and Seeds for an Extra Protein Boost

Nuts and seeds are high-quality protein source that also contains a good amount of fiber you can’t find in protein sources like meat and poultry, making them a solid addition to a well-balanced diet.

Adding chia seeds to a smoothie, sliced almonds to your oatmeal or pumpkin seeds to your salad will help to boost both the protein content and the flavor of your meal.

For example, adding 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds to your salad can provide an impressive 5 grams of protein. Pumpkin seeds are also high in nutrients such as manganese, vitamin K, and zinc, making them beneficial beyond their protein content.

Keep in mind that if you are trying to stay within a certain number of calories, portion control with nuts and seeds is important since they are also a significant source of dietary fat.

A 1-ounce serving of almonds, for example, contains 165 calories and 14 grams of fat.

4. Try Incorporating a Protein Powder Into Your Meals

While I recommend getting most of your protein from whole food sources such as meat, fish, and poultry, opting for a high-quality protein powder can help boost the protein content of meals that are normally void of protein (such as a fruit smoothie or a bowl of oatmeal).

Just 1 scoop of whey protein powder contains around 25 grams of protein. It is also faster for your body to digest it compared to meat.

This makes protein powder a great option in your pre- or post-workout meal since it won’t weigh you down while you train and will help your muscles recover faster afterward.

5. Go for Whole Grains and Legumes

Opting for whole-grain carbohydrate sources (i.e., choosing whole-sprouted bread over white bread) and including beans and legumes in your diet is a great way to boost your protein intake.

For example, choosing 2 slices of white bread and 2 slices of whole sprouted bread for your sandwich can be about an 8-gram protein difference!

The same goes for foods like pasta. The whole grain variety will provide around 8 g of protein compared to white and refined versions, which only have around 2.5 g of protein.

Including beans and legumes like chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, and black beans in your diet is another great way to boost your protein intake without increasing your animal protein intake.

For example, 1 cup of black beans contains an impressive 15 grams of protein!

When it comes to high-protein grains and legumes, it is important to remember that these foods are also accompanied by a significant amount of carbohydrates. 

This needs to be taken into consideration when trying to hit a protein goal in a 400-calorie meal since eating too much of this type of protein could potentially put you over your calorie and carbohydrate goal.

For this reason, I recommend consuming protein from a variety of food sources (not just whole grains and legumes).

15 High Protein 400-Calorie Meals

Below are 15 different 400-calorie meals that contain around 40 grams of protein:

1. Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie

chocolate banana protein smoothie

A protein smoothie is an extremely effective way to hit your protein target in one tasty and satisfying meal. Using a protein powder alongside the other common ingredients found in a smoothie, such as fruit, will help to boost your protein intake.

In this particular smoothie, you get protein from the chocolate-flavored protein powder, peanut butter, and skim milk. The rest of the ingredients help balance the meal with quality carbohydrates, fat, and fiber.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein powder – 25 grams of protein, 127 calories
  • 1 cup skim milk – 8 grams of protein, 83 calories
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter – 4 grams of protein, 95 calories
  • 1 frozen banana – 1 gram of protein, 100 calories

Total Protein: 37 grams
Total Calories: 405 calories

2. Egg and Sweet Potato Scramble

egg and sweet potato scramble

Eggs are a powerhouse food when it comes to protein. If you want to boost the protein content of your egg scramble without drastically increasing the calories, try adding egg whites, which are exceptionally high in protein and low in fat.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 2 eggs – 12 grams of protein, 140 calories
  • 5 egg whites- 18 grams of protein, 86 calories
  • 0.5 oz cheddar cheese – 3.5 grams of protein, 58 calories
  • 3 oz diced sweet potato – 1 gram of protein, 99 calories
  • 2 mushrooms, chopped – 1.5 grams of protein, 10 calories
  • 2 cups spinach – 2 grams of protein, 12 calories

Total Protein: 38 grams
Total Calories: 405 calories

3. Apple Cinnamon Protein Oats

apple cinnamon protein oats

Not only are oatmeal bowls extremely versatile, but you can also make them high in protein. In this particular oatmeal bowl, the combination of protein powder, egg whites, and chia seeds help to make this 400-calorie meal high in protein.

Cooking your egg whites into your oatmeal helps increase the protein content of your meal and the volume of the oats, which will help you feel more full.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 1/3 cups quick oats – 4 grams of protein, 99 calories
  • 5 egg whites (cooked into oats) – 18 grams of protein, 86 calories
  • ½ scoop vanilla whey protein powder – 12 grams of protein,65 calories
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds – 4 grams of protein, 120 calories
  • ½ a granny smith apple, chopped – 0 grams of protein, 40 calories
  • Cinnamon (to taste) – 0 grams, 0 calories

Total Protein: 38 grams
Total Calories: 410 calories

4. Turkey and Swiss Wrap

turkey and swiss wrap

Both turkey and Swiss cheese are considered to be high-protein foods. When paired with a high-protein wrap, this meal will easily get you to your protein goal within 400 calories.

Turkey breast, in particular, is a great source of protein when you don’t want to go over your calories since it is high in protein and lower in fat.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 3 oz turkey breast – 22 grams of protein, 125 calories
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese – 8 grams of protein, 80 calories
  • 1 high protein wrap – 10 grams of protein, 120 calories
  • 1 tbsp honey mustard – 0 grams of protein, 10 calories
  • 1.5 tbsp light mayo – 0 grams of protein, 38 calories
  • 3 slices tomato – 0 grams of protein, 8 calories
  • 1 cup spinach – 1 gram of protein, 6 calories
  • 2 dill pickles – 0 grams of protein, 10 calories

Total Protein: 41 grams
Total Calories: 397 calories

5. Chicken Taco Salad Bowl

chicken taco salad bowl

The taco salad bowl packs in a ton of protein with a combination of foods like chicken breast, cheese, and kidney beans.

This meal can also provide you with a lot of volume coming from lower-calorie vegetables like romaine to help ensure you don’t exceed your 400-calorie target.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 4 oz shredded chicken breast – 26 grams of protein, 150 calories
  • 1 oz low fat cheddar cheese – 7 grams of protein, 49 calories
  • 1/3 cup kidney beans – 3 grams of protein, 36 calories
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce – 1 gram of protein, 10 calories
  • 1 tbsp guacamole – 0.5 grams of protein 50 calories
  • 1/3 cup salsa – 0 grams of protein, 50 calories
  • 2 tbsp sour cream – 0.5 grams of protein, 50 calories

Total Protein: 38 grams
Total Calories: 395 Calories

6. Blueberry Greek Yogurt Bowl

blueberry greek yogurt bowl

This yogurt bowl might not seem like a meal on its own, but it can actually contain a significant amount of protein, which makes it a great filling snack if you have to go a longer amount of time between meals.

When you are trying to hit a higher protein goal without overdoing calories, opt for low-fat, high-protein dairy options like low-fat Greek yogurt. Adding a bit of protein powder helps to boost the protein content of this meal as well.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt – 22 grams of protein, 170 calories
  • 1/3 scoop vanilla whey protein powder – 12 grams of protein, 65 calories
  • 0.5 oz sliced almonds – 3 grams of protein, 80 calories
  • 1 cup blueberries – 1 gram of protein, 84 calories

Total Protein: 39 grams

Total Calories: 399 calories

7. Cottage Cheese and High Protein Cereal Bowl

cottage cheese and high protein cereal bowl

Like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese is a great high-protein dairy source and can be used in many different meals.

In this instance, this cottage cheese cashew bowl would serve as a tasty and filling snack, or it could even work as a breakfast bowl.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 1 cup 1% cottage cheese – 28 grams of protein, 160 calories
  • 0.5 oz cashews – 2.5 grams of protein, 81 calories
  • 1 cup Special K High Protein Cereal – 10 grams of protein, 120 calories
  • ½ cup raspberries – 1 gram of protein, 39 calories

Total Protein: 41.5 grams
Total Calories: 400 calories

8. Shrimp Stir-fry

shrimp stir-fry

Shrimp is a great low-fat, high-protein food source to utilize in your meals. Pairing shrimp with wild rice and vegetables such as edamame, mushrooms, and broccoli help to bring this meal up to the 40-gram target.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 4 oz shrimp – 23 grams of protein, 103 calories
  • 1/2 cup wild rice – 4 grams of protein, 83 calories
  • 1/3 cup edamame beans – 8 grams of protein, 79 calories
  • 1 cup broccoli – 2 grams of protein, 27 calories
  • ½ cup mushrooms – 2 grams of protein, 11 calories
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce – 1 gram of protein, 8 calories
  • ¾ tbsp coconut oil – 0 grams of protein, 91 calories

Total Protein: 40 grams
Total Calories: 402 calories

9. Salmon and Asparagus

salmon and asparagus

Baked salmon and asparagus is a simple and delicious high-protein, low-carbohydrate meal that can easily get you to your 400-calorie target.

Asparagus spears actually contain a significant amount of protein, making them a great choice if you have a higher protein target.

Topping this meal with feta cheese also adds protein with a boost of flavor to make this meal even more delicious.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and calories:

  • 5 oz Atlantic salmon – 29 grams of protein, 198 calories
  • 10 asparagus spears – 3.5 grams of protein, 42 calories
  • 1 oz feta cheese (on salmon and asparagus) – 8 grams of protein, 150 calories

Total Protein: 40.5 grams
Total Calories: 390 calories

10.  Toasted Tuna Melt

toasted tuna melt

A tuna melt can provide a high amount of protein, especially if you opt for whole grain, whole sprouted, or high-protein bread.

The type of bread that you choose can really make a big difference when it comes to whether or not you hit your high-protein target. As I mentioned above, whole grain and high protein bread contain more protein than white bread.

Tuna is also a great low-fat source of protein, and when paired with cheese, it makes it easy to hit your protein goal. In this recipe, opt for skim cheese in order to stay within the 400-calorie range.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 4.5 oz tuna (packed in water) – 25 grams of protein, 106 calories
  • 2 slices whole sprouted bread, toasted – 8 grams of protein, 160 calories
  • 1 oz cheddar cheese – 7 grams of protein,116 calories
  • 2 slices of tomato – 0 grams of protein, 8 calories

Total Protein: 40 grams
Total Calories: 390 calories

11.  BBQ Chicken Breast and Sweet Potato Fries

bbq chicken breast and sweet potato fries

Chicken breast is not only high in protein, but it is also a low-fat cut of poultry, which makes it a good choice when you have to stay within a certain calorie range.

While sweet potatoes are not a significant source of protein, adding them to this meal ensures you get a balanced amount of nutrients from whole food sources.

Fries are cooked in some sort of oil much of the time. But for the purposes of keeping calories below 400, these sweet potato fries do not require any oil and can be seasoned with salt, pepper, and other spices of your choice.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 6 oz chicken breast – 39 grams of protein, 216 calories
  • 3 oz sweet potato fries (seasoned and baked, no oil) – 1.5 grams of protein, 99 calories
  • 3 Tbsp BBQ sauce (for chicken) – 0 grams of protein, 90 calories

Total Protein: 40.5 grams
Total Calories:  405 Calories

12.  Crispy Baked Tofu and Quinoa

crispy baked tofu and quinoa

If you want a meat-free, high-protein meal, incorporating foods like tofu and quinoa into your diet will help you achieve this goal.

Both tofu and quinoa are complete protein sources, meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids (which are compounds your body needs to function properly that you have to get through your diet).

Brussels sprouts are also a vegetable with a good amount of protein per serving, making them an excellent choice since they also contain a good amount of fiber.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 6 oz baked firm tofu – 16 grams of protein, 143 calories
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa – 5 grams of protein 111 calories
  • 1 cup roasted Brussels sprouts – 3 grams of protein, 38 calories
  • 1.5 oz low-fat feta cheese (to top on Brussel sprouts) – 12 grams of protein, 113 calories

Total Protein: 36 grams
Total Calories: 405 Calories

13.  Flank Steak and Roasted Broccoli

flank steak and roasted broccoli

When you are aiming to eat higher amounts of protein without going over 400 calories, opting for leaner cuts of meat such as a flank steak is a great way to achieve your goal.

While many cuts of red meat can contain higher amounts of calories due to fat content, flank steak has less fat and therefore has fewer calories. Pairing this protein with roasted broccoli topped with cheddar cheese makes it easy to meet a higher protein target.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 5 oz flank steak – 30 grams of protein, 225 calories
  • 2 cups roasted broccoli – 4 grams of protein, 60 calories
  • 1 oz low-fat cheddar cheese (melted onto broccoli) – 7 grams of protein, 49 calories
  • 0.5 tbsp coconut oil (for cooking broccoli) – 0 grams of protein, 61 calories

Total Protein: 41 grams
Total Calories: 395 calories

14.  Tenderloin Pork Chops and Roasted Spaghetti Squash

tenderloin pork chops and roasted spaghetti squash

Pork chops are the primary source of protein in this dish, and specifically opting for the tenderloin cut of pork helps to ensure you do not go over your 400 calorie content due to a high fat content.

Tenderloin is one of the leaner cuts of pork you can eat, making it a great option when you need to consider total calories.

Spaghetti squash is a great addition to this meal since it is filling, full of fiber, and lower in calories than other side dishes such as regular potatoes or rice. One cup of cooked spaghetti squash only contains around 27 calories, which is a great option if you want to opt for high-volume, low-calorie foods.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 4 oz tenderloin pork chop (seasoned and baked) – 31 grams of protein, 190 calories
  • 1.5 cups cooked spaghetti squash – 0.5 grams of protein, 41 calories
  • 0.5 cup tomato pasta sauce – 1 gram of protein, 90 calories
  • 0.5 oz skim mozzarella cheese (to top the spaghetti squash) – 8 grams of protein, 76 calories

Total Protein: 40.5 grams
Total Calories: 397 Calories

15. Chickpea Pasta Spaghetti and Turkey Meat Sauce

chickpea pasta spaghetti and turkey meat sauce

Since chickpeas are a high-protein legume, chickpea pasta contains more protein per serving compared to regular white or even whole wheat pasta.

In fact, one serving of chickpea pasta contains a whopping 13 grams of protein.

Ingredients, Protein Macros and Calories:

  • 3.5 oz extra lean ground turkey – 23 grams of protein, 105 calories
  • 2 oz chickpea spaghetti – 13 grams of protein, 213 calories
  • 0.5 cup tomato pasta sauce – 1 gram of protein, 80 calories

Total Protein: 37 grams
Total Calories: 398 calories

Other High-Protein Meals

Looking for more high-protein meal ideas? Check out:


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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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