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30 Protein-Packed Small Meal Ideas Under 250 Calories

For anyone who hopes to build a LEAN body with a killer set of abs, eating 5-6 small, protein-packed meals every day is a phenomenal way to do it. Here are 30 delicious, low-calorie meal ideas that rev metabolism (they’re thermogenic), build muscle mass, and keep the body fueled all day long — each of which comes loaded with 15+ grams of protein, sub 250 calories.

And for all protein powder based recipes — if you’re looking for something new — check out our full-blown Protein Powder Buyer’s Guide for our top recommendations and value picks.

*’30 High Protein Small Meals Under 250 Calories, V2’ is our second article featuring 30 LEAN recipe ideas with over 15 grams of protein and 250 calories or less. You can access the second edition and 30 additional protein-packed small meal ideas here.


30 Protein-Packed Small Meal Ideas Under 250 Calories


1. Chocolate Banana Protein Shake

Chocolate Banana Protein Shake





215 calories, 25 grams protein




2.  Berry Blast Protein Shake

Berry Protein Shake, Berry protein smoothie, berry smoothie


  • 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein (110)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (42)
  • 1 cup raspberries (64)
  • water


216 calories, 25 grams protein




3.  Mango Madness Protein Shake

Mango Protein Smoothie


  • 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein (110)
  • 1 cup mango chunks (107)
  • water


217 calories, 25g protein




4.  Strawberry Banana Protein Shake

Strawberry Banana Protein Shake


  • 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein (110)
  • 1/2 large banana (60)
  • 1 cup strawberries (50)
  • water


220 calories, 26g protein




5.  Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake

 Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake


  • 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein (110)
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter (100)
  • water


210 calories, 28g protein



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Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto

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  • LeanItUP

    @Thrive90 Thanks for the shout out! Much appreciated 😀

  • coolchic

    These are great!  I would love to be able to print out the list of 30 snack ideas so that I can reference them but I can’t find an easy way to do this.  Any ideas or am I missing something obvious on the site?

    • That’s a great idea — I’m going to start including printer-friendly version for recipes, lists, and workouts.
      I’ve added a “print it out” link to the end of the original article, but you can download the printer-friendly version directly from here:

    • That’s a great idea — I’m going to start including printer-friendly versions for all recipes, lists, workout plans, etc.
      I’ve added a “print it out” button to the end of the original article, but you can download the printer-friendly version directly from here:

  • Ash

    This is great! Thanks for making a printable version! 🙂

  • RiaKat

    Awesome … thanks. Printed out … no excuses 🙂

  • lhet2 sanchez

    first tym on pinterest…awesome!!

  • first tym on pinterest…awesome!!tnx 4 d ideas

  • jj_onthemountain

    I’m curious as to how #9, with 2 eggs, tomatoes and hot sauce can be nearly double the protein of the similar 2 egg dishes? 52 grams seems pretty high.

    • It’s 2 CUPS of egg whites, not 2 eggs. That’s why the protein count is so ridiculously high.

      Egg whites are one of the purest sources of protein with a very high protein-to-calorie ratio.

      • Angee

        Another great reason to pay attention to the details! Thanks for clarifying 🙂

  • kathlyn knight

    It takes the guess work out of figuring portion sizes to protien to calories.

    Like the variety of foods. Love the taste of Greek yoghurt too.

  • Bernie

    So one tuna can in the land of freedom packs 120 cals? Odd. Down here it’s 95 cals.

    • It’s likely the difference between solid white + chunk light.

  • Joe

    Is the amount of water in each of the shakes simply to taste, or is there a specific amount you find works best?

    • Use 1.5 cups. If that’s still too thick for your own taste, add another .5 cup.

  • rbln

    More meals means your teeth have to re mineralized more. It’s a fast way to lose them.

    • Ben Larkin

      I’ve noticed that most people eat 5-6 times a day, just 2-3 of those are small snacks, but teeth don’t care what you call the meal. If eating 5-6 times a day made your teeth fall out, 1) all ‘grazer’ type people would have no teeth and 2) all old people wouldn’t either. What you say is true, but 5-6 meals isn’t many. Eating 15+ times a day, -thats- a great way to lose your teeth 🙂

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