athlete mom

7 Easy, Protein-Rich Meals for Active People

Last Updated on February 14, 2024

Whether you’re an athlete training for an event or a busy parent rushing from work to managing kids and a household, you need your body in condition to meet your goals. And when it comes to fueling that body, there are certain nutritional guidelines that can help get you the energy you need: Emphasizing whole foods; avoiding processed foods and refined sugars and flours; loading up on fruits and vegetables, as well as quality complex carbohydrates; and eating plenty of grass-fed, pastured and wild-caught protein.

Another thing busy, active people need in their meals: Ease and convenience. We curated 8 healthy meals with performance and recovery in mind that are also simple and fuss-free to prepare. Now you can answer the perennial “What’s for dinner?” question with these recipes, designed to help you thrive in your active life.

Pork Loin with Sauerkraut and Brussels Sprouts

One slow cooker, five simple ingredients and 10 minutes of prep is all you need to get this hearty meal going. Set it up in the morning, turn on your slow cooker, and it’s all done when you get home. Heritage-breed pork, vibrant shaved Brussels sprouts and small red potatoes will stick to your ribs, while sauerkraut lends the dish plenty of tang.

Pro tip: Look for sauerkraut in the refrigerated section of the supermarket, and be sure it says “live,” “raw,” or “fermented” on the label. Along with what’s in the dish, add a spoonful to your plate right out of the fridge before serving to get the probiotic benefits.


One-Pan Smoky Ribeye with Sweet Potato Hash

Here’s a 30-minute, one-pan meal with great nutrition and so many flavors and textures, it’s a celebration of good food. The ribeye is loaded with protein, iron and B vitamins. And the hash features sweet potatoes, shaved Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, feta, and cashews, delivering healthy fats, fiber and carbs to keep you going. Have it for dinner, or add fried eggs for a hearty brunch.


Quick Beef and Kidney Bean Chili

Meal preppers, meet your new favorite: A quick beef and kidney bean chili that tastes even better after a day or two in the fridge. With just 15 minutes of prep (and 45 total), you get a protein-packed meal with tons of complex flavor thanks to plenty of spices, tomatoes, celery, onions and Poblano pepper. Make it even more nutritious — and tasty — with healthy toppings like cilantro, chopped avocado, shredded cheese, and sliced radishes. Or, spoon some chili onto a baked sweet potato.

Chipotle Orange Pork Loin with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans

Sweet and spicy get together in this slow cooker dish, made with vitamin C-rich orange juice and chipotle peppers. Green beans and sweet potatoes round out the meal — but you can make swaps for either or both. Try butternut squash in place of sweet potatoes, and broccoli or asparagus in place of the green beans. Or toss a salad on the side.

Instant Pot Chuck Roast with Dirty Mash and Citrus Carrots

Instant Pot aficionados will appreciate this dish, which cuts chuck roast cooking time from several hours to under 2. The roast gets deep flavor from garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, red wine, beef broth and dried porcini mushrooms. The meat goes beautifully with Yukon gold potatoes mashed with butter, milk, garlic and chives. Citrusy carrots balance the dish with brightness.


Grilled Sockeye Salmon, Asparagus and Tomatoes with Peppadew Butter

Who knew you could get that much flavor and good nutrition on the table in 20 minutes? This dish makes it possible. Smother our sockeye salmon with a compound butter that includes the juice from sweet and tangy Peppadew peppers as well as parsley and garlic, and the fish becomes a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. Don’t forget to put some of that magical butter on the asparagus and tomatoes, too.


Lemon Garlic Marinated Top Round London Broil with “Squoodles”

If cauliflower can be rice, then butternut squash can be pasta. These “squoodles,” combined with tomatoes, garlic, and chili flakes, make a perfect foil for London broil. The meat is marinated in garlic, lemon, thyme and rosemary, then seared and finished in the oven. On the plate: A flavorful, satisfying meal that’s loaded with flavors, textures and great nutrition.