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    Updated on Sep 2, 2020. Posted on Oct 4, 2016

    19 High-Protein Dinners Under 550 Calories You'll Actually Want To Eat

    Because you shouldn't be ravenous by the time you're getting to bed.

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    Eating protein-heavy meals for dinner is great because they keep you super full — so full that you won't feel hungry again by the time you're getting ready for bed.

    NBC / Via popkey.co

    That's because it takes a lot longer for protein to digest than carbs, which means you can eat less food and still feel satisfied for the same amount of time (if not longer), Brian St. Pierre, director of performance nutrition at Precision Nutrition, tells BuzzFeed Health.

    Protein is also ~kind of~ necessary for certain things. It helps our muscles recover from a workout; it helps us build muscle, which is great if you're trying to lose weight; and it won't spike your blood sugar levels the way a carb-heavy meal would.

    Always here to help, we rounded up a bunch of dinners with more than 20 grams of protein that still come out to 550 calories or fewer per serving — mostly because they contain whole, minimally processed ingredients.

    Unless otherwise noted, nutritional information is for one serving as defined by the recipe. And our calorie calculations come from here.

    Cool, let's dig in!

    1. Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats

    Amanda Finks / Via thewholesomedish.com

    Zucchini stuffed with chicken Parmesan, guys.

    Calories: 500 (includes three zucchini boats)

    Protein: 57.3g

    Get the recipe here.

    2. Zoodles With Chicken and Spicy Almond Butter Sauce

    Lindsay (The Lean Green Bean) / Via theleangreenbean.com

    You'll want to douse everything in this spicy almond butter sauce. Trust.

    Calories: 370

    Protein: 39.3g

    Get the recipe here.

    3. Skinny Mini Meat Loaves With Sweet Potato Coins

    Kim (Kim’s Cravings) / Via kimscravings.com

    Make one medium sweet potato worth of coins per person to get the nutritional information below.

    Calories: 516 (for five mini meat loaves)

    Protein: 46.7g

    Get the recipe here.

    4. Garlic Teriyaki Shrimp

    Kendra (Kendra's Treats) / Via kendrastreats.com

    Probably better for you than takeout, and it only talks 30 minutes to whip it up.

    Calories: 272

    Protein: 43.95g

    With a cup of brown rice: Add 216 calories and 5 grams of protein.

    Get the recipe here.

    5. Asian Shredded Chicken Salad

    Kendra (Kendra's Treats) / Via kendrastreats.com

    This tangy, chicken-loaded salad will hit the spot. Yum.

    Calories: 512

    Protein: 40.2g

    Get the recipe here.

    6. Sesame Kale Glow Bowl

    Christine (The Glowing Fridge) / Via theglowingfridge.com

    Make this vegan recipe in only 20 minutes and easily pack any leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

    Calories: 428

    Protein: 20.9g

    Get the recipe here.

    7. Chipotle Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers

    Erin (Well Plated) / Via wellplated.com

    Use this recipe to whip up four chipotle burgers. Then throw them on some wheat buns and treat yo' self.

    Calories: 337

    Protein: 33.7g

    With a whole wheat bun: Add 130 calories and 7 grams of protein.

    Get the recipe here.

    8. Salmon Quinoa Bowl

    Megan Wells / Via megiswell.com

    Use 3 ounces of salmon, 2 ounces Greek yogurt, and 2 ounces of feta cheese to get the nutritional info below.

    Calories: 524

    Protein: 39.7g

    Get the recipe here.

    9. Marinara and Kale Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls

    Sarah (Making Thyme for Health) / Via makingthymeforhealth.com

    Halve a spaghetti squash, toss in the kale, cheese, and marinara, and you've got a stringy, gooey comfort food dinner.

    Calories: 513

    Protein: 23.8g

    Get the recipe here.

    10. Pizza Frittata

    Nupur (The Veggie Indian) / Via theveggieindian.com

    Pizza is good. So is breakfast. And with this dish, you can have it all.

    Calories: 450

    Protein: 29.2g

    Get the recipe here.

    11. Baked Salmon With Lentils and Lemon Herb Sauce

    Lindsay (Pinch of Yum) / Via pinchofyum.com

    Only takes five ingredients and one pan. Heck yes.

    Calories: 516

    Protein: 24.6g

    Get the recipe here.

    12. Parmesan Crusted Cod

    Kim (Kim's Cravings) / Via kimscravings.com

    Switch up your dinner routine with this baked cheesy cod recipe.

    Calories: 230

    Protein: 21.4g

    With a cup of brown rice: Add 216 calories and 5 grams of protein.

    Get the recipe here.

    13. Quinoa & Swiss Chard Patties With Avocado Tahini Dip

    Alexandra (Occasionally Eggs) / Via occasionallyeggs.com

    Eat four of these vegetarian quinoa patties to get the nutritional info below.

    Calories: 500

    Protein: 20g

    Get the recipe here.

    14. Ranch Pork Chops With Grilled Jalapeño Corn Salsa

    Megan (With Salt and Wit) / Via withsaltandwit.com

    Add a little kick to your dinner with this spicy dish.

    Calories: 284

    Protein: 24g

    With a cup of brown rice: Add 216 calories and 5 grams of protein.

    Get the recipe here.

    15. Dustin's Stir Fry

    Diane and Dustin (Homan at Home) / Via homanathome.com

    Serve up four delicious servings of this stir-fry in just 20 minutes.

    Calories: 158

    Protein: 21.7g

    With a cup of brown rice: Add 216 calories and 5 grams of protein.

    Get the recipe here.

    16. Sizzling New York Steak With Chimichurri Sauce

    Helen Tzouganatos / Via hungryandfussy.com

    Throw this on a bed of leafy greens (3 cups spinach, romaine, etc.) and you're good to go.

    Calories: 450 (includes 3 cups of greens and chimichurri sauce)

    Protein: 74.8g

    Get the recipe here.

    17. Turkey Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

    Nikki (Love and Food Foreva) / Via loveandfoodforeva.com

    Quickly toss together the filling, stuff the peppers, sprinkle some cheese, throw in the oven, and voilà — dinner is served.

    Calories: 496

    Protein: 45.9g

    Get the recipe here.

    18. Cheesy Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Arugula and Poached Eggs

    Jessica Merchant / Via howsweeteats.com

    Vegetarians meals can be high in protein too.

    Calories: 528

    Protein: 25.8g

    Get the recipe here.

    19. One-Pan Pesto Chicken and Veggies

    Julia (Julia's Album) / Via juliasalbum.com

    Mo' pans mo' problems. So this savory dish only uses one.

    Calories: 450

    Protein: 35.9g

    Get the recipe here.

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