April 21, 2024

10+ High-Protein Diabetes-Friendly Lunch Recipes

Refuel for the afternoon with these nutritious lunch recipes. Not only do these meals pack in 15 or more grams of protein per serving, but they also feature complex carbs like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Plus, we made these lunches with low counts of saturated fats and sodium-conscious ingredients, making them well-suited for a diabetes-friendly eating pattern. Recipes like our Green Veggie Bowl with Chicken & Lemon-Tahini Dressing and Green Goddess Quinoa Bowls with Arugula & Shrimp are flavorful meals that will help you stay full and satisfied all afternoon.

Grilled Chicken Taco Salad

Peppery arugula, grilled corn and a tangy lime vinaigrette give this healthy taco salad recipe a serious upgrade. This recipe is the perfect vehicle for using the crushed-up tortilla chips at the bottom of the bag.

Chile-Garlic Salmon Bento Box with Avocado

Charlotte and Johnny Autry

Keeping salmon in your freezer means you always have something on hand for dinner, and—bonus!—you can cook it from frozen as we do here.

Green Veggie Bowl with Chicken & Lemon-Tahini Dressing

For this healthy 30-minute dinner, treat your veggies like pasta and cook until al dente, or just done. If you have a little extra time, double or triple the lemon-tahini dressing and use it to quickly dress a salad or as a sauce for steak or shrimp.

The Best Tuna Salad Recipe for Sandwiches

Photographer: Jen Causey, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

The tuna salad in this easy recipe has crunch from the celery and apple, which also delivers a hint of sweetness. We use Greek-style yogurt in place of mayonnaise to bind everything together and to add a tangy, creamy finish. You could take this up a notch and make it a “Waldorf tuna salad” by adding 2 tablespoons toasted chopped walnuts, 3 tablespoons quartered small grapes and 1 tablespoon additional Greek yogurt. Serve over a bed of greens or between two slices of whole-grain bread.

Mason Jar Power Salad with Chickpeas & Tuna

This power salad will keep you fueled for hours, thanks to 26 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. Tossing the dressing and kale, and then letting it stand in the jar, softens it enough so you don’t need to massage or cook it to make it tender.

Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps

These turkey lettuce wraps come together fast for a healthy dinner or try them as a fun appetizer for entertaining. Adding instant brown rice to the filling increases the fiber, making them more satisfying. Serve with chile-garlic sauce and rice vinegar for extra zip.

Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

This flavorful burrito bowl features grilled chicken coated in a spicy chipotle glaze. Loading it with vegetables and using quinoa in place of rice adds nutrition for a healthier dinner.

Grilled Steak Salad with Corn, Cucumbers & Sweet Onion Dressing

Photographer: Rachel Marek, Food stylist: Annie Probst

Grilled onion does double duty in this quick, summery steak salad. Its sweet and smoky flavor is blended into the dressing, and the leftover wedges flavor the salad itself alongside grilled corn and sliced steak. Use a grill basket to grill the onions so they don’t fall through the gaps between the grill grates.

Avocado, Tomato & Chicken Sandwich

In this healthy chicken sandwich recipe, the avocado is mashed to create a healthy creamy spread.

Green Goddess Quinoa Bowls with Arugula & Shrimp

We’re taking advantage of all the healthy items you can find at your local specialty grocery store to create these healthy meal-prep lunches. To add extra protein (while minimizing prep time), we’re using fully cooked quinoa and cooked shrimp, both of which you can find in the freezer section. With a few more simple items, including bottled salad dressing, you’ll have all the ingredients you need to make these high-protein green goddess salad bowls in under 20 minutes.

Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken & Zucchini

Laura Kanya & Breana Killeen

In this creamy peanut noodle recipe, we swapped half the pasta for zucchini noodles to reduce the carbs and calories, and bump up the vegetables. Zucchini noodles can be found in the prepped vegetable section of your grocery store, or grab your spiralizer and make them from scratch. Two medium or one large zucchini should give you 6 cups.

Goddess Veggie Bowls with Chicken

Dark green lacinato kale contrasts with the warm tones of bell peppers and tomatoes in this healthy green goddess salad recipe.

Salmon Pita Sandwich

This quick lunch recipe is loaded with heart-healthy omega-3s thanks to the canned sockeye salmon. If you’re bringing this sandwich for lunch, keep the salmon salad separate and stuff the pita just before eating.

Rainbow Grain Bowl with Cashew Tahini Sauce

This vibrant bowl is packed with nutrients to keep you full for hours. Look for precooked lentils in the refrigerated section of the produce department.

Curried Chicken Apple Wraps

Shredded chicken and chopped green apples are a delightful combination in this quick and easy curried sandwich wrap.