80g Protein Meal: 12 Examples For Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

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Eating 80 grams of protein in one sitting may seem impossible, but it can be achieved by prioritizing the right foods at mealtimes.

Below, I outline 12 meal ideas containing 80 grams of protein to help you reach your targets at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

These recipes will be particularly useful for those who want to increase their protein intake to put on or maintain muscle mass. Bodybuilders and athletes who burn a lot of calories can benefit from these high-protein meal ideas.

If you’re new around here, my name is Colby Roy and I’m a nutrition coach that helps people create easy-to-follow meal plans.

Each meal idea contains a different protein source because eating a variety of protein sources is critical to ensure you’re getting essential vitamins and minerals and to keep you from getting bored of eating the same meals over and over.

Want to learn more about meal planning? Check out our complete guide on Beginner’s Guide To Bodybuilding Meal Prep.

What 80 Grams of Protein Looks Like?

What 80 grams of protein looks like

Can You Consume 80g of Protein in a Meal?

You can consume 80 grams of protein in one meal, but it may not be necessary since studies show that the human body can only utilize around 25-30 grams of protein in one sitting for muscle growth and tissue repair.

With that being said, if you decide to consume 80 grams of protein in one meal, your body will still use this extra protein by converting it to energy, so it’s not a waste.

Even though it’s not ideal, you may want to consume 80 grams of protein in a meal if it’s the difference between achieving your daily protein target or not. 

Reaching your daily protein goal is important to build muscle mass along with preventing muscle loss. So,if you’re running short on protein at the end of the day, then it’s worth having a meal with 80 grams of protein. 

It may not be as beneficial as having your protein intake dispersed evenly throughout the day, but it’s better than not consuming enough protein.

How to Get 80g of Protein Per Meal? 6 Tips

How to get 80g of protein per meal 6 tips

Below are 6 practical tips that you can use to increase your protein intake at each meal:

  • Increase your portions of meat, poultry, and fish
  • Eat plenty of high-protein dairy options
  • Include nuts and seeds into your diet
  • Supplement your protein intake with a protein powder
  • Eat plenty of high-protein grains and legumes
  • Try adding egg whites to your omelet or baked goods

1. Increase Your Portions of Meat, Poultry, and Fish

Even a slight increase in your portion size of meat, poultry, and fish at each meal can drastically increase the amount of protein you consume.

For example, 1 ounce of sirloin steak alone contains a whopping 8 grams of protein. So, increasing your portion by just 2 ounces can boost your protein intake by 16 grams.

The same goes for other protein sources such as pork, bison, poultry, and fish. Increasing your intake by just a few ounces per meal will help you to reach a higher protein intake.

2. Eat Plenty of High-Protein Dairy Options

Dairy products are another great high-protein food to incorporate to help you increase your protein intake. Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk, in particular, are the highest-protein dairy products.

Cheese is also a great food to use as a garnish on your meals which will help to boost the protein content of that dish. 

Keep in mind that cheese, along with some other dairy products, is also quite high in fat, so it’s best to use low-fat varieties to increase your protein intake without drastically increasing your fat intake

How to include dairy in your meals to increase the protein content:

  • Add 1 cup of Greek yogurt to your smoothie (+25 grams of protein)
  • Add ½ cup cottage cheese to your pasta (+14 grams of protein)
  • Add ¼ cup of low-fat cheese to your dish (+9 grams of protein)
  • Drink 1 cup of skim milk with your meal (+9 grams of protein)

3. Include Nuts and Seeds into your Diet

Nuts and seeds are not only a great source of protein but also a good source of fat, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals that contribute to your health.

This makes them a great food to add to your high-protein diet, offering benefits beyond their protein content.

Nuts and seeds are also extremely versatile; you can use them as a garnish on your salads, stir-fries, yogurt, and oatmeal bowls. You can also use nut and seed butters on toast or blended into smoothies.

For example, adding 2 Tbsp of almond butter to your yogurt bowl can boost the protein content of that meal by about 7 grams. Similarly, adding 1 oz of cashews to your stir-fry can add an extra 5 grams of protein to your meal.

4. Supplement Your Protein Intake with a Protein Powder

If you have high protein targets, then supplementing with a protein powder in your diet will make your life much easier. Eating a high-protein diet using only whole foods can be tough, so finding a high-quality protein powder that you enjoy can go a long way. 

For example, 1 scoop of whey protein powder contains roughly 25 to 30 grams of protein, so adding it to a meal with 50 to 55 grams of protein can help you get to 80 grams.

You can use protein powder in a smoothie, in your oatmeal or yogurt bowl, in baked goods, or have it as a beverage mixed with water.

If you can’t tolerate dairy, you can also opt for a plant-based protein powder option. These protein powders utilize protein from foods such as peas, rice, and soy.

5. Eat Plenty of High Protein Grains and Legumes

Although it might seem like a high protein diet would have you eating only animal foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy, plant-based foods such as certain grains and legumes can also contain a significant amount of protein.

While grains and legumes are primarily considered carbohydrates, they also offer a decent amount of protein. When your protein intake is high, you must take every opportunity to choose higher protein foods.

For example, grains such as wild rice and quinoa contain more protein (6-8 grams per cup) than refined grains such as white pasta or white bread. Similarly, eating high-protein legumes like lentils, edamame, chickpeas, and kidney beans will contribute to your overall protein intake (on average, 17 grams per cup).

I recommend throwing grains and legumes into stir-fries, breakfast hashes, soups, chili, and salads to increase their protein content.

You can even opt for specialty products such as chickpea pasta, high-protein bread, and wraps to help you get more protein from traditional carbohydrate sources.

6. Try Adding Egg Whites to your Omelet or Baked Goods

Egg whites are a bodybuilder’s secret weapon because they contain large amounts of protein without any carbs or fat, so they can help you reach your protein target when you’ve already met your carb and fat targets.

Adding ½ cup of egg whites to your meal can boost your protein intake by an impressive 13 grams of protein.

You can add these egg whites to your omelet, cook them into your oatmeal, or use them in high-protein baked goods.

My favorite ways to incorporate egg whites for more protein are in either an Egg White Omelette or Egg White French Toast.

80g Protein Meals: 12 Examples

Here are the best meals that contain 80g of protein. If you’re looking for more meal and recipe inspiration, check out our full meal plan category.

1. Egg and Egg White Omelet with Toast and Turkey Bacon

egg with toast and turkey bacon

Eating eggs in your morning meal is a great way to get your protein in, and adding egg whites into the equation helps to increase the protein content even more.

I also suggest choosing whole grain toast over white bread to add a few more grams of protein to your meal and swapping out your regular bacon for turkey bacon.

Adding turkey bacon to your breakfast increases your protein intake without the extra fat that comes with pork bacon.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 4 eggs- 24 grams
  • 5 egg whites- 18 grams
  • 1 oz shredded cheddar cheese- 11 grams
  • 3 chopped mushrooms (for omelet)- 2 grams
  • 1 cup spinach (for omelet)- 1 gram
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted- 8 grams
  • 4 slices turkey bacon- 15 grams

TOTAL:  79 grams of protein

2. High Protein Chocolate Oats

Chocolate oats

Oatmeal is a great breakfast food on its own for providing energy, but adding extra protein into your oats by using protein powder and egg whites will help to boost its nutritional value and help get you closer to your 80g of protein per meal.

While adding egg whites to your oatmeal might sound strange, cooking egg whites into your oats increases the protein content of your meal while making your oat bowl nice and fluffy (and you can’t taste the egg whites!).

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • ½ cup oats- 5 grams
  • 1.5 scoop chocolate whey protein powder- 45 grams
  • 4 egg whites- 15 grams
  • ½ a banana- 1 gram
  • 1 oz cashews (for topping)- 5 grams
  • 3 Tbsp chia seeds- 7.5 grams

TOTAL:  78.5 grams of protein

3. Vanilla Banana Blueberry Protein Smoothie

vanilla banana blueberry protein smoothie

Smoothies are a quick and efficient way to pack in a ton of protein into one meal, and you can easily change up the flavors so that you never get tired of them.

While it might not seem like a fruit smoothie would contain much protein, adding ingredients like protein powder, Greek yogurt, milk, and nuts/ nut butters will help you hit your 80g protein goal quite easily.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 1.5 scoops vanilla whey protein powder- 45 grams
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt- 12 grams
  • 2 cups skim milk- 16 grams
  • 1 frozen banana- 1 gram
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries- 1 gram
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter- 4 grams

TOTAL:  79 grams of protein

4. Greek Yogurt and Granola Bowl

greek yogurt and granola bowl

This meal can either be used as a high-protein breakfast or as a filling snack between your meals. Granola can often be high in fat and sugar, but certain granola brands (like KIND snacks granola) are particularly high in protein.

Choosing plain Greek yogurt is also a great way to increase your protein intake without the added sugar that comes with flavored yogurt. 

My favorite way to add flavor to plain yogurt is to mix in some protein powder, which enhances the taste and adds additional protein.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt- 24 grams
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder- 25 grams
  • 1 cup peanut butter protein granola– 30 grams
  • ½ cup raspberries- 1 gram

TOTAL:  80 grams of protein

5. Chicken Apple Sausage with Wild Rice and Kale

chicken apple sausage with wild rice and kale

Put a twist on your regular chicken and rice meal by using a tasty chicken apple sausage and pairing it with delicious wild rice. Wild rice is a great choice when trying to increase your protein intake since it has a higher protein content than other types of rice.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 3- 4 oz chicken apples sausages- 60 grams
  • 1 cup wild rice- 6 grams
  • 3 cups chopped kale sauteed in ½ tbsp coconut oil- 8 grams
  • 1.5 oz feta cheese- 6 grams

TOTAL:  80 grams of protein

6. Roast Beef Sandwiches

Sandwiches are an easy grab-and-go meal that you can pack full of protein-rich ingredients, like meat and cheese, to help you meet your high protein goal.

To boost the protein content in this meal even further, opt for a high-protein bread (I like Dave’s Killer Bread). The combination of this high-protein bread, American cheddar, and roast beef equal about 80 grams of protein in 2 sandwiches.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 6 oz roast beef (3 oz per sandwich)- 47 grams
  • 2 American cheese slices- 10 grams
  • 4 pieces of high protein Powerseed bread– 20 grams
  • 4 slices of tomato (2 per sandwich)- 1 gram
  • 2 pickles sliced- 0.5 grams
  • 2 tbsp honey mustard- 0.5 grams

TOTAL:  79 grams of protein

7. Ground Turkey Taco Bowl

ground turkey taco bowl

Taco nights can be enjoyable and filled with protein, especially if you prioritize protein-rich ingredients in your taco bowl. 

In this particular taco bowl, ground turkey is the primary source of protein because it’s leaner than beef, so you can get more protein with less fat.

Other significant protein sources in this bowl include beans, cheese, and wild rice to add additional nutrients and bump the protein content up to 80 grams. 

This meal is also packed with fiber and micronutrients, which are important when eating high amounts of animal protein (which lack fiber) because they help keep digestion regular.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 7 oz ground turkey breast- 54 grams
  • 1.5 oz shredded cheddar cheese- 11 grams
  • ½ cup refried beans- 6 grams
  • 1 cup wild rice- 6 grams
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce- 0.5 grams
  • 2 tbsp salsa- 0.5 grams
  • 1/3 cup guacamole- 1.5 grams

TOTAL:  79.5 grams of protein

8. Steak Quesadilla

steak quesadilla

This recipe makes two quesadillas, and it is packed with high quality protein coming from ingredients like steak, cheddar cheese, and high protein tortilla wraps. Opting for a higher protein wrap option helps to boost the total protein content of this meal.

Feel free to adjust the vegetables in this recipe to your favorite vegetables! Other great vegetable add-ins for quesadilla would be things like chopped spinach, yellow pepper, and olives. 

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 6 oz sirloin steak (3 oz per quesadilla)- 46 grams
  • 2 oz shredded cheddar cheese- 14 grams
  • 2 high protein wraps–  20 grams
  • ¼ cup chopped onion- 0.5 grams
  • 3 chopped mushrooms- 0.5 grams
  • ¼ cup chopped red and green bell pepper- 0.5 grams
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream- 0.5 grams

TOTAL:  82 grams of protein

9. Salmon and Quinoa with Roasted Broccoli

This meal combination of salmon, quinoa, and broccoli is a great meal for hitting your protein target of 80 grams, and it’s loaded with nutrients that your body needs to function optimally.

Salmon and quinoa are both high-quality protein sources on their own, but pairing them together in this meal helps to increase the variety of nutrients that you’re consuming to keep you from becoming nutrient deficient.

In addition to salmon’s protein content, it is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which play an important role in reducing inflammation levels in the body, ultimately reducing your risk of certain diseases.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 8 oz wild Sockeye salmon- 60 grams
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa- 8 grams
  • 2 cups roasted broccoli- 5.5 grams
  • 1 oz feta cheese (cooked on broccoli and salmon)- 4 grams
  • 1 tbsp tahini (drizzled as condiment onto meal)- 2.5 grams

TOTAL:  80 grams of protein

10. Spaghetti and Meatballs

spaghetti and meatballs

Although a pasta dish is normally thought of as a carbohydrate-packed meal, it can also contain a hefty amount of protein. This is especially true when you are using high-protein pasta options like chickpea pasta paired with another protein source.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 4- 2 oz beef meatballs- 48 grams
  • 3.5 oz chickpea pasta, cooked- 23 grams
  • 1 cup pasta sauce- 5 grams
  • ½ oz parmesan cheese- 5.5 grams

TOTAL:  81.5 grams of protein

11.  Bison Cheeseburgers

Bison Cheeseburgers

You can put a slight twist on a traditional burger by using bison instead of beef. Bison is a great source of protein and is often a leaner option compared to beef. 

In order to keep this a high-protein meal, I recommend using a high-protein hamburger bun such as the Carbonaut brand. These buns contain 12 grams of protein each, and also contain a whopping 17 grams of fiber.

If you wanted to keep the fat a bit lower in this recipe, you could opt for low-fat cheese, which will reduce your fat intake while still giving you the same about of protein.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 2 4 oz bison burger patties 
  • 2 Carbonaut burger buns 
  • 2 cheddar cheese slices 
  • 2 tomato slices 
  • 2 tbsp ketchup 
  • 2 tbsp mustard 
  • 2 dill pickles (sliced) 

TOTAL:  82.5 grams of protein

12. Chicken and Spinach Wrap

Chicken and Spinach Wrap

This chicken wrap can be a great option for either lunch or dinner, and it can easily be eaten while on the go.

While chicken is the main protein contributor in this meal, there is also a significant amount of protein in the high-protein wrap and the cheese. The vegetables and spreads add other beneficial micronutrients, texture, and flavor.

Ingredients and Protein Macros:

  • 6 oz seasoned chicken breast
  • 1 flat-out protein wrap
  • 2 oz cheddar cheese  
  • ½ cup spinach 
  • 3 slices tomato 
  • ½ tbsp mustard 
  • 1 tbsp mayo 

TOTAL:  78.5 grams of protein

Who Should be Eating 80g Protein Meals?

Whether or not you should eat 80 grams of protein in one meal will depend on your individual protein requirements, along with how many meals you prefer to eat in a day.

If you prefer to eat larger meals less often, then your protein requirements don’t necessarily have to be high to justify eating 80 grams in one meal.

For example, if your daily protein requirements are around 160 grams (roughly the amount necessary for someone who weighs 160lbs), then you could eat 2 meals per day, each containing 80 grams of protein.

Eating larger, less frequent meals would work well if you practice intermittent fasting (where you eat your daily calories in a limited time frame, like 12pm to 6pm).

However, if you are someone with a considerably high daily protein intake, you will need to eat more than just 2 meals per day containing 80 grams of protein. 

For example, if you weigh 280lbs, you’ll need around 280 grams of protein per day. If you were only eating 2 meals per day, this would be 140 grams of protein per meal, which is unrealistic.

Instead, a 280lb individual could eat roughly 4 meals, each containing 80 grams of protein, to reach their protein goal, which is much more attainable.

It is important to remember that eating 80 grams of protein is very high and likely isn’t necessary for most people. 

Key Takeaway: It’s only optimal or necessary if you have a higher calorie intake and are taking part in regular exercise with the goal of gaining muscle.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the potential side effects of consuming 80g of protein in a single meal?

Consuming 80g of protein in a single meal can sometimes lead to digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and stomach cramps. It’s also important to balance your diet with adequate amounts of carbohydrates and fats to ensure you’re getting a range of nutrients. 

Always consult with a healthcare professional or a dietitian before making significant changes to your diet.

Can vegetarians or vegans also consume 80g of protein in a meal? What would that look like?

Yes, vegetarians and vegans can also consume high-protein meals, although it may require more planning. Foods like lentils, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, seitan, and certain grains like quinoa are high in protein. 

Additionally, there are many plant-based protein powders available that can help boost protein intake.

Check out my other article on How To Get Enough Protein On A Plant-Based Diet

How does consuming 80g of protein in a meal affect weight loss or weight gain?

Protein can help with weight management because it makes you feel full and can prevent overeating.

However, if you’re consuming more calories than your body needs — even if those calories come from protein — you can gain weight. It’s important to balance your protein intake with your overall calorie needs and physical activity level.

Related Articles


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.

Pesta, D. H., & Samuel, V. T. (2014). A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutrition & metabolism, 11(1), 53. https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-11-53

Campbell WW, Trappe TA, Jozsi AC, Kruskall LJ, Wolfe RR, Evans WJ. Dietary protein adequacy and lower body versus whole body resistive training in older humans. J Physiol. 2002 Jul 15;542(Pt 2):631-42. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2002.020685. PMID: 12122158; PMCID: PMC2290421.

Snijders, T., Trommelen, J., Kouw, I. W. K., Holwerda, A. M., Verdijk, L. B., & van Loon, L. J. C. (2019). The Impact of Pre-sleep Protein Ingestion on the Skeletal Muscle Adaptive Response to Exercise in Humans: An Update. Frontiers in nutrition, 6, 17. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2019.00017

Simopoulos AP. Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases. J Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Dec;21(6):495-505. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2002.10719248. PMID: 12480795.

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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