Looking to increase your daily protein intake? Enjoy this extensive list of yummy high-protein snacks to keep you satisfied and energized all day!
I love a good snack.
Sometimes after a workout or an outing with Dustin and the kids, I get a craving for a little something to tide me over until I start thinking about what to make for dinner.
With the clean-eating lifestyle I lead, I don’t really go for snacks that aren’t healthy. Sure, if we’re on vacation, I’m good to go like everyone else with a sweet snack that celebrates the fun of travel and being away.
But in general, if I’m going to snack, I want to make it count and have it fit my macros. I want it to be good for me and keep me going all day without continuous cravings.
That’s why I opt for a high-protein snack, which is like a treat with a power-packed punch.
What does protein do for you?
Protein does so much for the body, including the following:
- Protein reduces the level of ghrelin, the hunger hormone
- Protein helps you retain bone mass
- When you eat protein, you have less cravings
- Your muscle mass and strength increase with protein
- High protein intake boosts metabolism
- Higher protein intake is linked to lower blood pressure
- Protein can help your body repair after injury
Why is protein important for a snack?
Eating high protein snacks throughout the day as opposed to treats with empty calories and too much sugar can do a lot for your physical well-being. You won’t feel sluggish – in fact, you’ll have more energy.
Protein boosts your metabolism and gives you the energy to keep moving all day long. You will be more alert, and as well, your blood sugar levels will be maintained. No more spikes and drops that leave you feeling exhausted.
Are protein snacks good for weight loss?
Yes, protein is ideal as a food to consume for weight loss. Relying on high protein snacks as a way to keep you going in between meals and not reaching for sugary or fatty foods is a great idea.
It’s easier to lose weight or maintain your weight when you are eating fewer calories. In a nutshell (and yeah, nuts are a great source of protein!), when you replace fat and sugar with protein, the satiety hormones (like GLP-1 and peptide YY) in your body are increased.
You eat less because you feel full and satisfied. That, along with keeping active and sufficiently hydrated, helps you lose or maintain weight.
Protein makes a snack healthy because of the effects eating protein has on your body. Increasing muscle and strength is ideal if you are looking for a stronger, leaner you. But not only should you look for protein. There are other things to keep in mind, too.
- Look for refreshment that includes nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables
- Fiber-filled snacks are good for the digestive system (think strawberries and plain Greek yogurt)
- Keep the sugar content low (less than 5 grams)
Does protein burn belly fat?
Yes, protein can help burn belly fat. Studies have linked protein to the regulation of central abdominal fat and I think that’s a pretty strong point. The study lists dairy, beef, and eggs as 3 of the protein sources they used with good results. But if you are vegan or vegetarian and reading this, don’t worry.
Protein sources like pea protein and whey protein are high quality too. My post on 9 Awesome Benefits of Pea Protein can give you some guidance and you may want to look at my thoughts on the 4 Best Protein Powders.
Finally, if belly fat is getting you down, you’ll see in my post 15 Tips to Lose Belly Fat (and it’s based on science) that factors like sleep and eating clean really make a difference. I list foods to burn belly fat too.
What foods are highest in protein?
Here are some of my top high protein picks:
- Lean chicken and pork
- Full-fat plain Greek yogurt
As you go through the list below, you’ll see many of these tasty snacks!
High Protein Snacks
1. Hardboiled Eggs
Eggs are very high in protein and a lot of other things! They keep you full and feeling satisfied. One egg has 6 grams of protein. Read more about the goodness of eggs in my post 10 Benefits of Eggs and Why You Should Eat Them More Often!
2. Protein Muffins
Muffins can be a great protein source, too. Recipes with 4 or 5 eggs, egg whites, and even unrefined flours all add to the protein count. Here are a few recipes that make a sweet, yet high protein snack.
- 9-Ingredient Blender Chocolate Muffins
- The Best Healthy Strawberry Muffins
- Paleo Apple Muffins with Crunchy Crumb Topping
3. Homemade Trail Mix
Notice I say homemade trail mix. Store bought brands will have added sugars you want to avoid. Combine ingredients like walnuts, almonds, dried fruit (natural sugars only!), healthy dark chocolate morsels, and seeds. Two ounces will give you 8 grams of protein. This snack has more calories than some I have listed, so eat in moderation!
4. Beef Jerky or Turkey Jerky
Make your own beef or turkey jerky for a high protein snack with 9 grams of protein per ounce. Store-bought versions tend to have added salt, artificial ingredients and sugar, so beware of that, and make the best choice you can when buying. My post on the best beef jerky for weight loss will point you in the right direction.
5. Kale Chips
Drizzle olive oil, salt, and garlic on washed and dried kale to make chips. Powerful antioxidants fiber, and yes, lots of protein (5g in 1 medium-sized bunch of kale) make this a super healthy choice.
6. Protein Shakes
I’m a big fan of protein shakes. They are delicious, easy to throw together, and perfect for a snack on the run ← LOVE. Here are all my fave protein shakes,
Tuna is very high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are vital nutrients. Canned tuna is a great option, especially if canned in water, and can carry upwards of 45 grams of protein per can!
Hummus is a healthy snack that’s high in protein, too. It’s great to have prepped in the fridge for an easy, high protein snack. I make my own chickpea hummus, and with 4g of protein per serving, I always have it ready in the fridge for dipping veggies in any time of day! It works well as a high protein replacement to mayo on sandwiches as well.
One-half cup of edamame (soybeans) gives you a delicious treat containing 8 grams of protein. Buy this fiber-rich food in the freezer section of the grocery store, shelled and ready to eat. You can also roast them at home.
10. Cottage Cheese
A half-cup serving of full-fat cottage cheese has about 100 calories, 12 grams of protein, and 4.5 grams of fat (1.8 grams of saturated fat). Top cottage cheese with avocado, cucumber, and tomato for a snack that combines heart-healthy fat with vitamins and lots of protein. Flavorings like cinnamon and nutmeg sprinkled on cottage cheese are delish too! So good!
11. Pumpkin Seeds
When you eat pumpkin seeds, you get a great boost of zinc and magnesium. They contain antioxidants as well, and 8 ounces will supply 5 grams of protein. I love roasted pumpkin seeds. Seasonings like paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper add that extra pop of flavor. Yum!
12. Nut Butter
I’ve always been a fan of peanut butter, but now I go for other nut butters, too, every chance I get. Healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, along with protein, make nutter butter an excellent high-protein go-to.
You may not realize it, but broccoli is a good protein source. One cup of this crunchy green veggie has 3 grams of protein. I often eat it as a quick high protein and high fiber snack. Toss broccoli in a small chicken and avocado salad for an afternoon snack that’ll tide you over till dinner.
Nuts provide a lot of protein in a yummy little package! An ounce of cashews, for instance, contains 5 grams of protein. The same amount of almonds has 6 grams of protein. Look for raw, unsalted nuts when possible.
Chickpeas are pretty impressive. The protein and fiber in this legume work together to keep you full. They’ve got amino acids, are low on the glycemic index, and the fiber I mentioned is also top-notch for the digestive system.
16. Cheddar Cheese
A serving of cheddar cheese cut into cubes packs 7g of protein, which makes it a great filling, high protein snack. Not only that, but you’ll boost your intake of calcium and Vitamin A also.
17. Energy Bites
A sweet (and healthy) cookie is always a great snack! I’ve got a few recipes you are going to love. With ingredients like chia seeds and peanut butter, these bites are perfect, and high in protein.
- Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Edible Cookie Dough Bites
- Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites – a little pop of protein in every bite
18. Full Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
A one-cup serving of plain Greek yogurt has 20 grams of protein, really making it the star of the show. Not only is the protein count high, but it is also rich in calcium, which is excellent for the bones. I think Greek yogurt is fabulous – so impressive that I’ve written an entire post on the benefits of Greek yogurt. Take a peek; it’s a healthy alternative to lots of foods.
19. Black Beans
Black beans have about 7.5 grams of protein in one-half a cup. They are low on the glycemic index (meaning they are slowly digested, absorbed. and metabolized), and have lots of fiber. Try my recipe for Instant Pot Black Beans. Couldn’t be simpler!
Believe it or not, but popcorn is a good source of fiber, protein, and contains antioxidants. Add 2 tbsp. of nutritional yeast (it’s a wonderful sub for parmesan) to 2 cups of plain, air-popped popcorn, and you have a snack with 8g of protein.
What snack has 10 grams of protein?
If you are looking for ways to quickly add 10 grams of protein to your day, a few easy changes will work.
Are you a smoothie lover like me? Throw some chia seeds in. How about avocado toast? Top your avocado toast with chia seeds. Four tablespoons of chia seeds equals about 10 grams of protein. Use them throughout the day in various ways for an easy protein addition.
Two tablespoons of peanut butter can give you about 10 extra grams of protein, and if you spread it on two slices of healthy bread (see my list of the best store bought breads here) you’ll get another 10 grams or so by eating the bread topped with peanut butter. You can also go for almond butter. Try spreading it on a piece of celery for extra crunch or on an apple, a fiber rich food.
So as you can see, not difficult to add protein to your day. And it’s very good for you also!
What snacks are high in protein but low in fat?
The last of my fave high protein snacks is popcorn, low in fat, yet has 8g of protein (remember the nutritional yeast for an extra boost!).
Head on over to my post on healthy deli meats when you are done here, and see what the best brands of deli meat are. I’m telling you that because a quick and tasty turkey roll up is high in protein and low in fat. I like to cut up red peppers and lettuce, lay them on the deli meat, and roll it up for a high protein snack.
Remember I mentioned above that protein shakes are a terrific high protein snack. I like to have a shake after a workout, especially my resistance workouts, which make me hungry! Of course, I love Cleanish Plant Based Protein Powder – gotta love the Chocolate + Sea Salt flavor. One serving has 20g of protein!
How much protein should you eat a day to lose weight?
About 30% of your daily calorie intake per day should be good for optimal weight loss. The protein will help to sate your appetite and boost your metabolic rate. Remember, adding in exercise is a piece of the healthy living puzzle. Studies show that protein and exercise make a good combo for weight loss.
Nutrition is such a big part of taking care of ourselves. It doesn’t have to be hard either! I have lots of posts to get you on the right track. Try The 15 Best Foods to Lower Your Blood Sugar, What Causes Food Cravings? | What Do Food Cravings Mean?, and Healthy Meal Plan For Beginners | 5 Days Of Healthy Recipes. These will get you started!
Don’t be discouraged by the thought of exercise and a change in eating habits. It’s one wonderful package! Try adding more steps to your day (see my post on steps and weight loss) and having a high protein snack either before or after a walk. You’ll feel amazing and be glad you did!
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