33 Protein and Carb Meal Combos

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Add variety to your plate with these 33 protein and carb meal combos!

Ever since the day of Bill Phillips, Body for Life, I’ve tried to balance my meals by combining a protein and carb. I find it incredibly filling, satisfying, and delicious! It’s as if protein and carbs were meant for each other in every meal! It’s been an easy guideline for me when I don’t have a lot of control over my menu, like our recent healthy eating on a cruise!

What is a carbohydrate?

Carbohydrates, or carbs for short, are a macronutrient that provides energy to the body through fruit, grains, milks or vegetables in small amounts. For purposes here, the only vegetables I count in the carbs food category are starchy ones like potatoes. Otherwise, when I talk about carbs it’s mostly foods that are a grain or a fruit.

What is a protein?

A protein is a food that provides amino acid chains that our body uses to build muscle and other tissues. Animal based proteins include meats, eggs, and dairy. While plant based proteins include beans, nuts and seeds.

Why combine protein and carbs?

Combining protein and carbs on your plate not only provides you with the majority of the nutrition your body needs, but it’s also very filling. In combination, micronutrients from both food groups assist our bodies in utilizing the nutrients consumed.

So, these are 33 of my favorite go-to combos for balancing proteins and carbs for a meal! Bonus if you can add some veggies for extra bulk without making a big dent in your macro nutrient profile.

List of Protein and Carb Meal Combos

  1. Scrambled egg and a banana
  2. Ground beef with white rice (optional: avocado and Bolthouse ranch on top!)
  3. Chicken and sweet potato
  4. Egg on toast or bagel
  5. Protein powder mixed with frozen berries
  6. Apple and almond butter
  7. Tuna wrapped in a tortilla
  8. Steak and potato
  9. Orange plus string cheese
  10. Peaches in cottage cheese
  11. Teriyaki chicken and rice
  12. Oatmeal with nuts plus hard boiled egg
  13. Egg white, cottage cheese, oatmeal pancakes.
  14. Greek yogurt with fruit
  15. Hard boiled egg salad on bread
  16. Almonds and dried apples
  17. Roasted chickpeas
  18. Rotisserie chicken in a tortilla or wrap
  19. Rice cake and peanut butter
  20. Cottage cheese and beans
  21. Deli turkey with hummus or laughing cow cheese on a flour tortilla
  22. Granola on Greek yogurt
  23. Steak with rice
  24. Fajita: Steak strips with bell peppers, onion on a tortilla.
  25. Kodiak cake with Greek yogurt on top and berries.
  26. Salad with chicken and croutons.
  27. Pita bread with BBQ chicken
  28. Fish plus quinoa
  29. Tuna on toast
  30. Edamame and Rice
  31. Shrimp and Couscous
  32. Roast and potatoes
  33. Salmon with Quinoa
healthy balance of carbs and protein on a plate.

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To make your own combinations, use my portion plate food list and choose something from the protein column, and pair it with something from the grain or fruit column. The more veggies you can add to the meal, the better!

protein and carb dinner idea rice ground beef and mushrooms
33 healthy protein plus carb meal ideas

Download the free 7 Day Meal Plan here.

If you liked these Printable Portion Sizes Chart options, you might also like


  1. Hi I am just learning about Macros. I am 69 years of age and I am weight lifting. I want to build muscle and lose a few pounds. I am in very good shape. How do I find out how many calories I need a day and the amount of Macros protein fat and carbs

  2. Hello! Currently working on building muscle after losing 90 lbs. Working with a personal trainer and am in the gym 3 days a week doing weight training. My macro goals are around 200g protein, 80g fat, 380g carbs, and 2900 kcal per day. On days when I hit my caloric & protein goals, my fats always seem on the higher side. Any suggestions for meals that would help to keep things in balance?

    1. The only way to spare fat and hit your protein is to make sure you are using lean proteins without a lot of fat. Chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs or with skin. 99% lean turkey instead of 80%. Lean beef instead of fatty cuts. Egg whites instead of whole eggs, etc.

  3. I’m trying to do the pain inflammation weight loss plan. I have severe inflammation and pain and very overweight which it all makes sense. He says high fat high protein for lunch then high protein with carbs for f dinner rim not sure wat carbs I should eat with that dinner

    1. Hi Kathleen!
      I’m not qualified to create meal plans for specific medical conditions. Only a dietitian can do that. But, the carbs I like for dinner are stachy carbs like potatoes, sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, and other veggies!

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