It is posed that protein intake is tightly regulated by the human body. The role of sensory qualities in the satiating effects of protein, however, requires further clarification. Our objective was to determine the effect of within-meal protein content and taste on subsequent food choice and satiety. We used a cross-over design whereby sixty healthy, unrestrained subjects (twenty-three males and thirty-seven females) with a mean age of 20·8 (sd 2·1) years and a mean BMI of 21·5 (sd 1·6) kg/m2 were offered one of four isoenergetic preloads (rice meal) for lunch: two low in protein (about 7 % energy derived from protein) and two high in protein (about 25 % energy from protein). Both had a sweet and savoury version. At 30 min after preload consumption, subjects were offered an ad libitum buffet, consisting of food products differing in protein content (low/high) and taste (sweet/savoury). In addition, the computerised Leeds Food Preference Questionnaire (LFPQ) was run to assess several components of food reward. The results showed no effect of protein content of the preloads on subsequent food choice. There was an effect of taste; after eating the savoury preloads, choice and intake of sweet products were higher than of savoury products. No such preference was seen after the sweet preloads. No differences in satiety were observed. To conclude, within one eating episode, within-meal protein content in these quantities seems not to have an effect on subsequent food choice. This appears to be mostly determined by taste, whereby savoury taste exerts the strongest modulating effect. The results of the LFPQ provided insight into underlying processes.