5 High-Protein Recipes To Help Improve Your Diet

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Food that’s unequivocally good for you has an image problem – it’s too often seen as boring. Nonesense, of course, and to prove it, we’ve put together five dishes that are not only good for you – high in protein and micronutrients and low in calories, fat and sugar – but also so plain good you’ll never miss junk food again.

Loaded Chicken Fajitas

Photography James Ransom

Ingredients (Makes 2 Servings)

  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 200g chicken breast, sliced into long strips
  • ½tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • ¼tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½tsp garlic powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 taco-style sprouted-grain tortillas
  • ¼ avocado, sliced
  • 2tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1tbsp salsa, no sugar added
  • 2tbsp shredded lettuce
  • 1tbsp grated Monterey Jack or cheddar

To make

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/gas 5.
  2. In a small baking pan, spread the sliced peppers and onion on the bottom, then spread the chicken strips on top of the peppers and onions.
  3. Add the olive oil and spices to the chicken, peppers and onions. Toss the mixture until they’re well coated. Completely cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. While the chicken and vegetables are cooking, heat the tortillas in the microwave (about 30 seconds) or oven (60 seconds).
  5. Fill one warm tortilla with half of each of the chicken mixture, the avocado, the Greek yogurt, the salsa, the lettuce and the cheese. Then repeat with the other tortilla.

Nutrition (per fajita): 510 calories, 40g protein, 45g carbs, 20g fat

Coconut Curry Buffalo Fried Rice

Ingredients (Makes 1 serving)

  • ½tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ an onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 140g bison mince (or beef if you can’t get it)
  • Large handful of frozen mixed vegetables (sweetcorn, peas, carrots)
  • 100g brown rice, cooked
  • 2tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1tbsp Sriracha or other hot sauce
  • 1tbsp coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1tsp curry powder
  • 1tsp ginger paste (or ½tsp ground ginger)
  • ¼tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites

To make

  1. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Stir and let the onions start to caramelise. Then add the bison mince, breaking it up with a large spoon as it cooks.
  2. Once the meat is starting to brown, add the frozen vegetables. Stir, then cover and cook for three to five minutes.
  3. Uncover and stir in the cooked brown rice, soy sauce, hot sauce, shredded coconut, curry powder, ginger paste and sea salt.
  4. Make a hole in the centre of rice mixture (revealing the bottom of the pan) and carefully add the egg and egg whites to it. Cook the eggs in the hole, then mix into the rest of the dish. Serve in a large bowl.

Nutrition: 487 calories, 37g protein, 36g carbs, 22g fat

Turkey Bacon and Kale-Stuffed Sweet Potato

Ingredients (Makes 1 serving)

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus 1tbsp for sautéing
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • ½ a red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 slice unsmoked turkey bacon, sliced into thin strips
  • 170g turkey mince
  • 60g kale, chopped
  • ½tsp smoked paprika
  • Pinch of black pepper

To make

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C/gas 7. Wash the sweet potato and coat it with 1tsp olive oil, sea salt and garlic powder. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. It’s done when a fork can pierce the skin easily. Let it cool for ten minutes.
  2. While the potato is baking, place a large skillet over medium heat and add 1tbsp olive oil, onion, garlic and turkey bacon. Cook for about three minutes until the onions caramelise, then mix in the turkey.
  3. Once the turkey begins to brown, add the kale, paprika and black pepper. Stir, then cover and cook for about five minutes to let the kale wilt and the flavours develop.
  4. When the potato has cooled, carefully cut off a thin layer from the top and scoop out a few spoonfuls, forming a hole in the middle.
  5. Spoon the turkey mixture in and serve.

Nutrition: 440 calories, 37g protein, 46g carbs, 12g fat

Blueberry and Almond Overnight Oats

Ingredients (Makes 1 serving)

  • 45g rolled oats
  • 180ml unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1tbsp chia seeds
  • 1tbsp natural almond butter
  • 75g blueberries
  • 4tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1-2tsp sugar-free sweetener (optional)

To make

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate overnight, or for at least three to four hours.

Nutrition: 495 calories, 45g protein, 49g carbs, 19g fat

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Banana Pudding

Ingredients (Makes 1 serving)

  • 2tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ a ripe banana, mashed
  • ½tsp vanilla extract
  • 120ml unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1tsp cocoa powder
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1tsp sugar-free sweetener (optional)
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1tbsp peanut butter powder
  • ½tbsp peanut butter

To make

  1. In a bowl, combine the chia seeds, mashed banana, vanilla extract and almond milk.
  2. Slowly add the cocoa powder, cinnamon, sweetener, protein powder and peanut butter powder, whisking with a fork as you go. Protein and cocoa tend to clump, so stir enough to make it smooth. Top with peanut butter
  3. Refrigerate for ten to 15 minutes. Chia seeds expand in liquid, so the mixture will thicken in the fridge.

Nutrition: 384 calories, 32g protein, 27g carbs, 14g fat

A version of this article first appeared in the US edition of Men’s Fitness