You've finally decided to listen to your doctor and adopt a healthier lifestyle. But you're inundated with cravings for all those high-fat, high-carb, and sugary snacks you used to love. Perhaps you’re overcome by the urge to sneak a bite of the chocolate bars, potato chips, and muffins you've exiled from your life.
OK, now. Take a deep breath, drop that packet of almost-opened Cheetos in your hands, and let us guide you gently back into a world where you can enjoy a snack and not worry about the ingredients being bad for your health. We’ve compiled a list of 10 high-protein snacks that not only taste great, but are also good for your health.
Why Protein Is Important When It Comes to Snacking
We know, we know. Trying to maintain a healthy weight or sticking to a weight loss program can be difficult. Whether you're eating 100-calorie meals, reducing how many carbs you're eating, or lowering the amount of added sugar you're having, you might still find yourself craving blueberry muffins, chocolate chip cookies, and potato chips.
Why? The answer may lie in the amount of protein you're having (or not having). You see, protein is what helps you feel full — and stay full. It also helps you make better food choices throughout the day and reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
So, if you don’t have enough protein at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you could be hit with the urge to snack. All. The. Time. But aside from starting your day with a high-protein breakfast, what can you do to keep the hangry monster at bay?
You've guessed it. Snacking. But not just snacking. We’re talking healthy, high-protein snacks.
Healthy Snacks That Are High in Protein
It’s important to keep in mind that snacking isn't wrong — it’s what you're snacking on that might be the problem. Healthy snacks, especially high-protein snacks, can provide you with much-needed energy between meals, help decrease hunger, and prevent overeating when it's time for lunch or dinner.
When you have a little time to spare, consider trying these recipes to ensure you have a steady supply of delicious and satiating high-protein snacks in your life.
1. Roasted Chickpeas or Hummus
Image: The Plant Riot
As nutritious as they are, plain chickpeas can be pretty boring and bland. Thankfully, there are two easy ways to transform chickpeas into a tasty snack: roasted with spices, seasoning, and olive oil, or mashed with spices and whipped into a creamy hummus that you can enjoy with veggies.
Try both of these easy recipes, and before you know it, you’ll have a high-protein snack you can rely on time and time again.
2. Homemade Korean Beef Jerky
Image: Healthy Substitute
You could pop into a grocery store for some ready-made beef jerky, but many brands tend to be high in added sugar, salt, and artificial flavorings. Instead, do yourself a favor by making your own with this Korean beef jerky recipe.
Not only is this a savory snack food that's high in protein content, but it's also rich in iron, zinc, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. You could also try replacing beef with chicken, salmon, veal, pork, or turkey.
3. Salt and Vinegar Roasted Edamame
Image: Emilie Eats
With just four ingredients, this high-protein snack is a tasty substitute for your first love — you know, salt and vinegar deep-fried potato chips.
These roasted salt and vinegar edamame are a healthier option because they're not as high in fat as deep-fried potatoes. These little green bullets are also richer in nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and calcium, and are a great source of protein, fiber, and iron.
4. Quick and Easy Avocado Chicken Salad
Image: The Fit Cookie
Sometimes, what you really need is a mini-meal for a high-protein snack, and this avocado chicken salad is it. The combination of protein and healthy fats will keep you going until your next meal. This dish is also gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo-friendly, packed full of veggies, and free of added sugars.
Enjoy it on its own, served in lettuce cups, on cucumber slices, or over your favorite healthy crackers.
5. Green Protein Power Breakfast Smoothie
Image: I Love Vegan
The thing about snacks is that you don't just have to eat them, you can slurp them. That's where smoothies come in. This green smoothie recipe is not only packed with protein (thanks to the vanilla protein powder, pumpkin seeds, and hemp hearts), but it’s also filled with vitamins and minerals thanks to the banana, mango, and spinach.
As you'd expect from any smoothie recipe, you can switch up and experiment with the ingredients. Kale, arugula, celery, blueberries, strawberries, or pineapples are all tasty alternatives.
Don't forget you can always thicken your smoothie by adding more fruit or thin it out by adding more liquid.
6. Chia Seed Protein Pudding Snack
Image: Jessica Gavin
Chia seeds are a protein-packed powerhouse and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron, and calcium. (They’re so versatile, they can even replace egg whites in vegan cooking.)
This no-cook chia seed pudding recipe has only three ingredients and a healthy dose of probiotics to keep your gut happy and healthy. Top it with your favorite fruit, such as peaches, raspberries, or mangoes.
Quick and Easy High-Protein Snacks
If life is less like slow walks on the beach and more about zipping from meeting to meeting or task to task, reaching for something pre-made while you're on the go is probably the most convenient way to snack. We totally get that, which is why we ship our cereal straight to your door.
You could go for the tried-and-true options of protein bars and protein shakes, but there are other quick high-protein snack ideas that don't require much cooking time.
7. Hard-Boiled Eggs
It takes just seven minutes to boil a perfect hard-boiled egg, yet the nutrients and satiation last well beyond that. Keep organic eggs nearby at all times for one of the simplest ways to enjoy a high-protein snack morning, noon, or night. Enjoy with a dash of salt, paprika, dill, or any seasoning of your choice.
Creamy, salty, stringy, or hard, cheese is a wonderful protein source in many different forms. Enjoy string cheese straight from the packet, pair a small block of cheddar cheese with veggies, or combine some cottage cheese with fresh fruit, nuts, or crackers. Whatever you decide, having a piece of cheese is a great high-protein snack.
9. Nuts and Seeds
When it comes to high-protein snacks, go nuts with nuts. Opt for almonds or pistachios, which are slightly higher in protein than nuts such as walnuts or cashews. You can also make an easy trail mix with nuts and fruits. Just go easy on the dried fruit, which is often loaded with added sugar. Bonus points if you can find (or make) trail mix with high-protein seeds, including pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds.
10. Almond Butter With Fruit
Nut butters make for excellent high-protein snacks. While you can eat it as is, you can keep things interesting by pairing it with fruit or even veggies. As with trail mixes, opt for high-protein nut butters such as almond butter or peanut butter. Pair it with apple or pear for a sweet-and-salty, creamy-and-crunchy snack.
A Quick High-Protein Snack That Won’t Slow You Down
With a whopping 16 grams of protein per serving, you'll feel full after snacking on the Cereal School’s crunchy little balls. They're also low-carb (with just one carb gram per serving) and contain zero grams of sugar (all the sweetness comes naturally from monk fruit).
Even better, Cereal School is the ideal high-protein snack because it comes in convenient single-serving packets that are perfectly portioned. This means you can stash them anywhere — your handbag, backpack, desk drawer, or your car — to enjoy straight from the packet (yes, without milk) when you need a quick snack on the go.
The Cereal School is also versatile enough to be savored during life's slower moments. Pour it in a bowl with some almond milk or top it with Greek yogurt. With four different flavors — Cocoa, Fruity, Cinnamon Bun, and Peanut Butter — you’re sure to find a flavor that suits your taste.