3 Easy Protein-Packed Summer Recipes

Summer is packed with family get-togethers and outdoor activities, so you need quick and easy protein-packed meals to satisfy everyone. We have you covered with these healthy low-carb and bariatric-friendly recipes that take summer favorites to a whole new tasty level.

We encourage you to get in the kitchen and try these healthy summer recipes approved by dietitians at the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital.

Mexican Chicken Bites


  • 2 pounds of ground chicken
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • Mexican seasoning (recipe below)
  • Olive oil


  1. Gently break apart the ground chicken into a large bowl.
  2. Add eggs, cheese and Mexican seasoning. Combine gently with hands.
  3. Portion out using a 2-oz. metal scoop.
  4. Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Place chicken in pan, leaving room to flatten it with a spatula.
  6. Allow to cook for three minutes, then flip over and flatten with spatula.
  7. Allow to cook about three minutes more or until chicken is cooked through.

Mexican Seasoning Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Store in airtight container.

Italian Sliders


  • 2 packages Lewis Bakery Keto Hawaiian Rolls
  • 1 16-oz package ground Italian sausage (Johnsonville brand preferred)
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese
  • Low-carb marinara sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Divide sausage in eight equal pieces, roll into balls and place on foil lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until the meat thermometer registers 160 degrees.
  4. Slice rolls in half and place one piece of cheese on each half. Bake for 350 degrees until toasted and cheese melts (about 10 minutes).
  5. Evenly space meatballs onto half the rolls and spoon marinara sauce over meatballs.
  6. Top with other half of the rolls and bake another 10-15 minutes.

Nutrition per sandwich:

  • Calories: 207
  • Fat: 13 grams
  • Protein: 18 grams
  • Carbs: 13 grams carbs (3 net carbs)
  • Fiber: 10 grams

Chicken BLT Wraps*


  • Grilled chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • Mission low-carb tortillas (soft taco size)
  • Boston lettuce
  • Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • Bacon, pre-cooked
  • Smoky mayo (recipe below)


  1. Place three leaves of lettuce on a tortilla.
  2. Top with six ounces of chicken breast, tomatoes, one slice of bacon and two tablespoons of smoky mayo.
  3. Roll up and cut in half. To make it easier to cut, roll up the wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  4. Serve with smoky mayo if desired.

Smoky Mayo ingredients:

  • ½ cup mayo (Duke’s is preferred)
  • ½ cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup fat free buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Mayo directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Nutrition per serving (2 tablespoons):

  • Calories: 42
  • Fat: 4 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 0.5 grams

*The recipe is appropriate for bariatric surgery patients who are on the lifetime/regular bariatric phase.

If you have chicken and lettuce left over, try this Greek lettuce wrap that is perfect for an easy summer meal. Find more recipes for every occasion, healthy eating tips and heart health information.