Whether you’re stepping into the gym for the first time or preparing for your next professional MMA bout, we have you covered. The right nutrition for MMA is crucial whatever stage you’re at. At Fitness To Diet, we are always on the lookout for practical high protein meals for MMA that are packed full of nutrition and most importantly flavor! Finding great high protein low carb meals can be difficult but we’ve got a few that you’ll love.
Having spent the last 7 years in the “fitness kitchen” I’ve experienced all the latest food fads and trends and can honestly say which ones are worth keeping, and which ones should be left alone for good. For a high protein meal for MMA to withstand the test of time and your taste buds it has to be exciting as well as nutrient-dense.
A high protein diet needs to be well balanced with the right nutrition in other areas such as vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. As a fighter your body needs to recover, and for that to happen amino acids are essential. Without the right amino acid profile in your diet you’ll struggle to feel fresh and ready to put your body through rigorous training.
For most ‘, Sunday night meal preppers’ who batch cook for the workweek, having 10 Tupperware tubs with boiled chicken and broccoli is not only disheartening but lacks the necessary macro and micronutrients your body needs.
We already understand protein intake is paramount to a healthy MMA diet, but this is all about meal timing and quality. Quality proteins are important – have you ever cracked a battery farm egg vs a free-range egg. The difference is a completely different shade of yellow.
If you’re here you probably already understand the benefits of a high protein meal. Having a weighty proportion of protein in your meal has a number of benefits.
3 Benefits of Protein
Protein reduces hunger levels and appetite
Protein, as a macronutrient has been shown to make you feel more full. The scientific effect of protein on your body is that protein reduces the level of ‘ghrelin’ in your body. Ghrelin is our hunger hormone. It sounds a lot like gremlin…which is what my body feels like when I am hungry!
Increases strength and muscle mass
Boosts your metabolism and burn fat
Granted, having a protein shake won’t zap away your muffin top or give you Francis Ngannou level punching power. It can however temporarily boost your metabolism. The Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) is the energy required to digest and absorb the ingested nutrients. However, not all foods are the same, our good friend protein has a much higher TEF effect than carbs or fat, roughly 20%-35% versus 5%-15%. So if you want to lose weight faster, then add more protein into your diet.
High Protein Meals For MMA
Sweet Potato Chorizo Hash (Spicy!)
This has to be my absolute favorite healthy high protein breakfast meal. It’s got around 440 calories and enough macros to fuel your body for the rest of the day. If you wanted, you could turn this into a high protein vegetarian meal by taking out the chorizo; the protein-packed chickpeas will still give you glorious gains! Although it seems like a great Spanish style high protein breakfast, it’s great for high protein dinner too.
What makes this protein meal great is that it contains some vital micronutrients if you were to opt-in for Chorizo (please do!). Chorizo, although high in fat, contains rich sources of vitamin B12 which is essential for fatty acid and carbohydrate metabolism. It also contains selenium which helps to produce thyroid hormones.
Ingredients needed for Sweet Potato Chorizo Hash:
- 500g sweet potatoes
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- ½ red onion (finely chopped)
- 200g tinned chickpeas (drained)
- 150g chorizo or pancetta (chopped into 1cm cubes)
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 4 medium free-range eggs
- Handful pickled and sliced jalapeños
- Peel the sweet potatoes, then chop into 2cm cubes. Throw the cubes into a saucepan and fill with water and bring to a boil. Once this has boiled, drain the water and keep a lid on it to allow the steam to continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
- While you wait, add coconut oil to a cast-iron skillet (or regular pan). Once hot and melted, throw in onions, chorizo/pancetta, and fry whilst stirring for 3-4 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium, throw in the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, jalapeños, salt, and pepper. Squash it all down the back of your spatula and allow it all to fry for 10 minutes without touching it. This will give the crispy bottom layer.
- Once crispy, make 4 wells in your pan, crack your eggs in the wells and cook for 2-3 minutes (to your preferred yolk consistency).
- If you want some extra kick – add some jalapeños on top, and serve!
|Nutritional Information||Sweet Potato Chorizo Hash|
Low-Carb Loaf Tin Lasagne
I know what you’re thinking… Lasagne is always a belly buster meal, how can it be low carb and high protein meal? I’ll tell you something now, right – it can, and it’s incredible. Rather than making an entire tray which you’ll probably end up throwing out, we’re using a regular baking tin to get 3 perfect portions. This is a great meal for when you’re craving comfort food, but because it’s a high protein low carb meal there is absolutely no guilt included! I won’t tout this as a high protein breakfast, but I will put my hand up to say that I’ve had lasagne in the morning 🤷♀️
Similar to the previous recipe, if you wanted to make this a high protein vegetarian meal you could substitute the turkey mince for Quorn.
Ingredients needed for Low-Carb Loaf Tin Lasagne:
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- 1 white onion, coarsely chopped (or 1 tbsp. onion powder)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
- 350g turkey mince
- 600g chopped tomatoes or tomato passata
- 400g lasagne sheets
- 1 courgette
- 1 tsp. sea salt and black pepper
- 400g cottage cheese
- 3 egg whites
- 100g High Protein Cheese (grated)
- We’ll start by making the turkey ragu. Add coconut oil to your pan or skillet on medium/high heat. Saute the onions first for 3 minutes, then add garlic and continue this for another 2 minutes.
- Add your turkey mince (or Quorn) and smash it up with your spatula, browning the mince for 3-4 minutes. Whilst stirring, add the oregano, some salt and pepper, and the tomatoes and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.
- Whilst that’s happening, hand whisk (or use a fork for forearm gains) the cottage cheese and egg whites in a bowl, add a dash of salt and pepper and put this aside. Turn your oven on to 200 C or 180 if it’s fan assisted.
- Grab your courgettes and use a vegetable peeler to slice lengthways to produce long slices. Wash your lasagne sheets under cold water in a colander.
- Your turkey ragu should be ready. Start layering up your loaf tin with courgette first (won’t stick as much), then switch it up between the ragu, cheese sauce, lasagne sheets, and courgette. Ensure you finish up with a layer of lasagne then cheese sauce and sprinkle some high protein cheese on top.
- Wrap some tin foil around your tin, bake in the oven for 15 minutes, remove the foil and continue for another 20. This should make 3 portions of a delicious high protein meal!
|Nutritional Information||Low-Carb Loaf Tin Lasagne|
High Protein Kedgeree
For a dish that includes rice, this is, in fact, a low carb high protein meal! Kedgeree (pronounced: keh-juh-ree), is a dish that originated from India way back in the 1340s. A high protein meal that includes some fantastic spices which not only add bangin’ flavor but have health benefits too. Turmeric is a great antioxidant, reduces inflammation, and is great for your heart ❤.
Ingredients for High Protein Kedgeree:
- 2 fillets smoked haddock
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- 1 white onion (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. medium curry powder
- 3 hard-boiled eggs (peeled and quartered)
- 150g cooked wholemeal rice
- Handful fresh coriander
- Take a frying pan that has at least 1 inch of depth to it, place the smoked haddock down and add an inch of water. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to simmer for 5 minutes. Once cooked, remove the haddock and break it up into small chunks.
- Pour the water out of your pan, add coconut oil and allow it to heat. Add your onions and allow them to cook until golden – about 5 minutes.
- Add in your turmeric, ground coriander, and curry powder and let this cook for 30 seconds whilst you stir.
- Add your cooked rice (I won’t teach you how to do this!), and haddock and stir gently. Ensure you heat through then add your cooked and quartered boiled eggs and stir once more. Serve onto a plate or transfer to meal prep containers – serve with your favorite veg.
|Nutritional Information||High Protein Kedgeree|
Now that you know a few more high protein breakfast meals to add to your arsenal, get in the kitchen and express yourself! 🙌