Simple, balanced, protein-rich snacks are a healthy way to keep hunger and cravings under control throughout the day. Common vending machine snacks (think pretzels or granola bars) are high in carbohydrates, specifically simple sugars. This makes them quick and easy to digest, and can leave you hungry again just a short while after you’ve eaten them. High-protein snacks, on the other hand, take longer to digest, helping you feel more satiated and satisfied in between meals. Studies have also suggested that balanced diets including healthy high-protein snacks can lead to better weight management and help protect against the onset of certain chronic diseases over time. We’ve compiled a list of 12 easy high-protein snacks you can have on the go to keep you focused and going strong throughout the day.
1. Hard Boiled Eggs (2 eggs)
12.5 grams of protein, 156 calories
Hard boil a few eggs at night and take them with you on the go the next day. This portable, whole food snack is nature’s protein bar, with 6 to 6.5 grams of protein per egg. In addition to protein from the whites, egg yolks are also full of brain and energy-boosting vitamins and minerals like selenium and B vitamins.
Related: How Many Eggs Should You Really Eat?
2. Raw Almonds (1 oz; about 24 almonds)
6 grams of protein, 163 calories
A handful of almonds is one of the easiest protein-rich snacks out there. In addition to protein, almonds provide healthy monounsaturated fats and dietary fiber, two other hunger-curbing nutrients that make this a good choice at any time of day.
3. Low-Fat Greek Yogurt (6 oz) with Berries (¼ cup)
17 grams of protein, 180 calories
Greek yogurt with berries makes for a satisfying and indulgent mid-day snack. Because of the unique straining process, Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt, for a reasonable amount of calories. Pair plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt with ¼ cup fresh or frozen berries for an added boost of dietary fiber and antioxidant vitamins.
4. Almond Butter (2 tbsp) with Celery Sticks
5 grams of protein, 210 calories
Easy, fast and healthy: just pair 2 tablespoons of any natural nut butter (such as almond, cashew or peanut) with raw, water-rich veggies and you have a perfect snack. Almond butter contains approximately 5 grams of protein per serving and 3 grams of fiber, both of which majorly help curb hunger.
5. Pumpkin Seeds (½ cup) with Dried Fruit (⅙ cup)
5 grams of protein, 178 calories
Make your own trail mix using ⅓ cup raw or roasted pumpkin seeds and approximately ⅙ cup dried fruit for a sweet and crunchy snack you can grab on the go. Enjoy this plain or spice things up with herbs and spices like paprika, curry powder or turmeric.
13 grams of protein, 297 calories
A smoothie is a tasty and fast way to enjoy a healthy, high-protein snack with additional benefits. This 5-minute pineapple green smoothie gets most of its protein from plain Greek yogurt, but you can also use cottage cheese, kefir, nut butters, seeds or whole-foods-based protein powder for an added boost of protein in any of your favorite smoothie recipes. Just watch out for the calories — while this smoothie is balanced at under 300 calories, many smoothies can pack 500–600 calories.
Recipe and Photo: Pineapple Green Smoothie | EatingWell
7. Low-Fat Cottage Cheese (½ cup) with Apple Slices
14 grams of protein, 110 calories
If you’re not a fan of yogurt, cottage cheese might just be your jam. A half cup boasts 14 grams of protein, as well as B vitamins, phosphorus and other energy-boosting nutrients. Pair cottage cheese with fresh apples slices or your favorite berries for added fiber.
17 grams of protein, 159 calories
Get a little creative with your on-the-go high-protein snack with this easy recipe for Almond Butter Protein Balls. You can make them in 10 minutes or less the night before and grab them when you need a pick-me-up. In addition to protein-packed almond butter and seeds, this recipe is boosted with a few scoops of protein powder. It also includes energy-rich dried fruit and honey, making it a good snack to enjoy after prolonged intense physical activity such as hiking or biking.
Recipe and Photo: Almond Butter Protein Balls | The Lean Green Bean
9. Hummus (¼ cup) with Cucumber and Red Pepper
5.5 grams of protein, 125 calories
Savory hummus is a great source of protein. Pair your favorite flavor of hummus with a few sticks of cucumber and red pepper for a well-rounded and satisfying snack that contains a filling balance of protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.
Recipe and Photo: Classic Hummus | Gimme Some Oven via Yummly
4 grams of protein, 103 calories
This tasty recipe only takes 5 minutes to prep, but requires a little bit of bake time. Make a batch the night before — it’ll last you 2–3 days, and leave you with a crunchy, protein-rich snack that’s way better for you than chips or pretzels (but you won’t even notice the difference!).
Recipe and Photo: Spiced Chickpea Nuts | EatingWell
11. Shelled Edamame (½ cup)
10 grams of protein, 100 calories (for shelled edamame)
Edamame isn’t just a sushi restaurant appetizer: It can be a creative, high-protein snack any time! Purchase frozen edamame from your grocery store and let thaw overnight, then grab a cup to go for a tasty snack with a lot of protein for a very reasonable amount of calories.
12. Tuna in Water (½ can) with Raw Veggies and 5 Olives
16 grams of protein, 100 calories
Tuna may not seem glamorous, but it can be a satisfying low-calorie snack with a ton of protein. In addition to being a protein powerhouse, tuna is high in B vitamins and selenium, and is a good source of iron, so an overall great energy-boosting choice for omnivorous snackers. You can snack on it from a can or convenient pouch and pair with fresh veggies and a few olives for a savory pick-me-up.