Finding snacks that are healthy and taste good isn’t always easy. My eating habits tend toward the grazing type; eating more small meals throughout the day. Having high protein, low calorie snacks on hand when I get hungry stops me from reaching for the empty calorie, high sugar, high salt, overly processed kind. That’s not to say that I never eat those bad but oh so good tasting snacks once in a while, but I believe moderation is the key. I had to become very aware of my diet years ago when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. It was a lot of trial and error to determine what foods caused problems for me. When my daughter started having digestive issues in her teens, I was afraid she might have Crohn’s as well. After many doctor visits and tests, we discovered she has a sensitivity to gluten. To support her I decided I would stop eating gluten for awhile and see if I noticed any difference in the way I felt. Gluten was something I hadn’t tried omitting from my diet before and I was curious to see if it would have any effects on me. After three to four weeks of eating gluten free I had lost around 8 pounds and wasn’t having the afternoon blahs everyday, where I felt like I needed to take a nap. I also had fewer headaches and muscle tightness. Needles to say my diet is still gluten free, except for those moments of weakness when there is just no substitute for a croissant. Of course that little slip is quickly followed by a three day headache with knots in my muscles and tightness gripping my upper back and neck, with the inevitable proclamation “I swear, this time I’m never eating gluten again”. So this is how I roll, but I digress. Back to the snacks. A lot of my friends ask my advice about diet and nutrition since they know it’s a integral part of my life. I recently had lunch with a friend of mine who asked me for some ideas on high protein snacks she could keep on hand to help here steer clear of eating bad stuff when she gets home from work. I had a brain fart and couldn’t come up with anything, big help right? All I could say was I would think about it and text her with some ideas. The brain fart turned into a brainstorm and I decided it would make a good post, I’d be helping my friend out and others who might be facing the same challenge. This list of high protein snacks are tasty and relatively easy to make. I’ve also included a couple of packaged items and two protein based salad recipes. Be sure to click on the links provided to see even more smart and nutritious eating choices and informative articles. Enjoy and stay healthy.
Nut Butter Boat
Any vehicle for nut butter is perfection in our book. Try loading a few celery sticks with a serving of any nut butter (like almond, cashew, walnut) topped with a few whole almonds or raisins. If you’re not a fan of celery, try scooping out the middle of an apple and filling it with your nut butter of choice.
2 tbsp natural nut butter with 1 cup apple or celery slices: 8.3 grams protein
Consider it a sandwich without the bread! This Paleo-friendly savory snack packs in almost double the protein of a hardboiled egg, and sneaks in a few vegetables to boot! Remember to stick to a lower-salt variety of meat to keep those blood pressure-spiking sodium levels in check.
We like the Columbus brand of deli meats. Many of their selections, like the herb roasted turkey breast are reduced sodium, 99% fat free and no added nitrites. Costco carries the brand or click on the link above to go to their website for a list of other stores.
You can also choose a low fat variety of cheese if you’re watching the calorie count.
2 slices deli turkey rolled up with 1 slice cheese and 1 slice tomato: 11.9 grams protein
One Kind Plus Bar
We’re not huge supporters of prepackaged bars, but we make an exception for KIND Plus bars thanks to their all-nut base. When you’re really in a pinch but are reaching “hangry” status, keep one of these stashed in your bag as a quick, nutritious way to quell that grumbling tummy.
1 Almond Walnut Macadamia with Peanuts KIND Plus Bar: 10 grams protein
Mini Bean-and-Cheese Quesadilla
It might take an extra minute to prep, but combining these two high-protein treats is totally worth it, especially when the result boasts both fiber and calcium too. Cook it in a dry nonstick pan until the cheese is melted and tortilla is lightly browned, then wrap it in foil and stick in a plastic baggie for easy transport.
1/2 cup black beans, 1 tablespoon salsa, and 1 slice cheddar cheese in a small whole wheat tortilla: 17.9 grams protein
The only thing more fun than how much protein you can get from a serving of edamame is getting to eat these little beans out of their bright green pods. Buy them fresh and steam, or use the pre-cooked frozen variety and briefly microwave to defrost before chowing down.
1 cup edamame pods sprinkled with sea salt: 15 grams protein
How’s this for an unconventional use of a travel coffee mug? Put a few dollops of your favorite hummus in the bottom of the container, stick a handful of vegetable sticks (carrots, celery, and snow peas are a great mix) vertically in the hummus, screw on the top, and throw in a purse or gym bag for an easy, on-the-go, super-healthy snack.
1/3 cup hummus with 1/2 cup mixed vegetable sticks: 6.7 grams protein
Greek Yogurt and Granola
Picture sitting on a Greek isle with this snack in hand. Along with a higher level of protein than regular yogurt, the Greek stuff provides plenty of calcium and probiotics to fight inflammation . Now soak in that (imaginary) view and enjoy!
1 single-serving container yogurt with 2 tbsp granola: 16 grams protein
Tuna and Crackers
Along with protein, canned tuna adds some vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids to your mid-afternoon munchies. Scooped up with a few whole wheat crackers, it’s a mini-meal that’s both simple and satisfying.
1 single serving (3-ounce) pack of wild albacore tuna salad (try the Starkist brand) plus 11 Wheat Thin crackers: 12 grams protein
Try this unconventional way to enjoy the gluten-free superfood: lightly sweetened, and toasted to crunchy perfection. Pack it in a container on top of yogurt, or like we tend to do with our favorite granola, eat it by the handful!
1/3 cup quinoa mixed with ½ tbsp ground flax, 1 tbsp shredded coconut, and 1 tbsp maple syrup, toasted at 425 degrees for 10 minutes: 9.4 grams protein
No baking required, only four ingredients, portable, and tastes like dessert? This is our kind of quick-fix treat! Nut butter acts as the binder as well as the source of most of the protein in this recipe, while oats and dark chocolate chips give it its cookie-like quality while adding both fiber and antioxidants.
1 1/2 tbsp nut butter, 3 tbsp oats, 1/2 tbsp honey, 1/2 tbsp dark chocolate chips, rolled into balls: 8 grams protein
When it’s not doused in butter and artificial flavorings, popcorn can be a super healthy snack, thanks to being a fiber-rich, satiating whole grain. Ratchet up its protein content by dusting the kernels with nutritional yeast, the vegan, B vitamin-packed answer to Parmesan cheese.
3 cups air-popped popcorn coated with 2 tbsp nutritional yeast and a sprinkle of salt: 8.9 grams protein
“Cheesy” Kale Chips
The ultimate in salty cravings, potato chips are one of the easiest snacks to overdo it on (seriously, who eats just one serving at a time?!). Next time you need a big pile of something crunchy on the go, swap out the store-bought spuds for a baked bunch of homemade kale chips instead. While just as crisp as regular chips, this two-cup serving comes with the added benefits of giving you over 40 percent of your daily value of vitamin A and C, plus a hefty dose of protein from the nutritional yeast topping.
2 cups kale leaves coated with 1 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, baked at 325 degrees for 15 minutes: 9 grams protein
27. Homemade Chia Pod
This one requires some advance planning since it needs to be chilled for at least 4 hours, but we promise the effort is minimal and the wait is well worth it. Soak the chia seeds in non-dairy milk right in a portable container so that all you have to do is grab and go for a snack that’ll give you more than 30 percent of your daily value for calcium, iron, and magnesium.
1/4 cup chia seeds, 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 tbsp honey: 7 grams protein
All recipes are from greatest.com | 27 Healthy and Portable High-Protein Snacks BY KATE MORIN AND ANISHA JHAVERI
Dry Roasted Edamame
Available at most health food stores and Walmart.
RD, Elizabeth M Ward MS author of My Plate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better, chooses dry roasted edamame. Snacking on just half of a cup gives you 28 grams of protein.
Fair warning, even though these are a healthier snack than other kinds of chips and definitely higher in protein, the calorie count can creep up on you. We love The Daily Crave Himalayan Pink Salt Lentil Chips (3g Protein, 0g Sugar, Non GMO, 0g Trans Fats or Hydrogenated Fats, No Artificial Flavors or Coloring). You can buy them at Costco but visit their website for other stores. These chips are really good and go with lots of different things. You can crumble a few on salad to add crunch. They are delicious with hummus too.
High Protein Salad Recipes
Packed with protein and nutrients, these two great tasting and filling salads are great to take to work with you or enjoy as a healthy snack between meals.
Rochelle Sirota, MS, RD, CDN, advocates for plant protein along with “good quality fats from avocados, raw, unsalted nuts or seeds and lots of vegetables.” When it comes to a protein-rich snack, she suggests a bean or lentil salad.
Makes 4 to 6 side-dish servings
ACTIVE TIME – 25 min
TOTAL TIME – 35 min
- 1 cup dried lentils (preferably small French lentils)
- 1 large garlic clove, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 3/4 lb tomatoes, diced (2 cups)
- 4 large scallions, thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, or to taste
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan with lentils, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are just tender, 15 to 25 minutes. Drain in a large sieve, then transfer to a large bowl. Toss hot lentils with tomatoes, scallions, dill, basil, vinegar, oil, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste.
Black Bean, Corn, Cucumber, Tomato & Avocado Salad (recipe via popsugar)
At under 300 calories, one serving offers almost 12 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein.
1 English cucumber, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 1/4 cups corn
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes (I used half red, half yellow)
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the cucumber, black beans, corn, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, and chopped cilantro in a bowl. Squeeze the fresh juice from the lime onto the salad, and stir well.
- Mix in the avocado, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy.