10 of Our Favorite High Protein Snacks

Photo: Claire Lower

High protein snacks are a godsend when it comes to healthy eating. They can tide you over between meals, or supply extra calories and protein if you chose something too low-cal for lunch. You can even combine several snack servings into a meal of their own if you’re running out of dinner ideas.

We’re focusing on high protein snacks here because protein makes snacks more filling, and because a lot of meals don’t have quite as much protein as you might need to hit your goals–so a high protein snack will go a long way to balancing the numbers. Here are some of the best recipes and ideas we’ve posted–feel free to riff on them to make your own creations.

Photo: Claire Lower

Hard boiled eggs are a classic high-protein snack, but do yourself a favor and cook them in a way that makes them delicious and gives them the perfect texture. This 5-5 (not 5-5-5) instant pot method does the trick. Eggs have about 6 grams of protein each.

Photo: Claire Lower

Cottage cheese has a reputation as repulsive diet food, mainly because we’ve all seen too many dishes of the low-fat version surrounding watery canteloupe slices. But it’s actually a delicious, versatile snack component. If you have trouble getting over the curds-and-whey texture, try whipping it and using it as a high-protein dip or a toast topping. Lowfat (1%) cottage cheese contains 14 grams of protein in a half cup, or 12 grams if you use the full-fat version.

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Legumes are a great plant-based protein source, and I think sometimes we get so fixated on the likes of lentils and black beans that we forget about the humble chickpea. Try tossing a can of chickpeas into your air fryer and dressing them with oil and your favorite seasonings. (You can also bake them in a regular oven or toaster oven, but it takes a bit longer.) Half a can of chickpeas contains 13 grams of protein.

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This one is a personal favorite of mine, and I’ll often eat it in portions large enough to qualify as a meal. You simply mix protein powder into yogurt (unflavored whey works well, but vanilla would be my second choice) and then top with honey and fruit as desired. A four-ounce portion of Greek yogurt with half a scoop of whey powder will come out to somewhere around 20 grams of protein.

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If you like tuna, you have an easy, high protein meal available anywhere that sells those little tuna packets–treat yourself to the flavored ones if you like. But if you’d like to make your own tuna salad, we have a guide to doing it perfectly here. A three-ounce can of tuna has about 24 grams of protein; the packets are a little bit smaller, usually clocking in around 15.

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To be honest, peanut butter isn’t that high in protein the way most people use it, which is applying a thin smear of it to your bagel because you’re afraid of the fat or calories. But at 9 grams of protein in a 2-tablespoon serving, it’s worth including on this list. We have a collection of peanut butter sandwich ideas that go beyond jam or jelly. Try pickles, potato chips, or fruit.

Photo: Claire Lower

Cheese. That’s it, that’s the snack. You can do so much with cheese: Add it to crackers, enjoy it with apples, or just snarf it down solo. To make it more interesting, why not try making your own? We have recipes for homemade ch?vre, ricotta, and mascarpone. Going by store-bought nutrition labels, half a cup of whole-milk ricotta has 14 grams of protein.

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Nuts are tasty and convenient, whether you eat them on their own or mix them with raisins or other dried fruit for a homemade trail mix. Try this simple recipe for turning raw nuts into the more complexly flavored salt-roasted version. Each ounce of nuts contains 5 to 7 grams of protein, depending on the type of nut.

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Soy beans are little nuggets of protein and deliciousness, and they become even tastier when you saut? their pods in butter and garlic, or the seasonings of your choice. Or if you’re lazy, just buy the frozen, already-shelled kind, and sprinkle them with salt. Measured after shelling, a half-cup of edamame has 10 grams of protein.

Photo: Anna_Pustynnikova (Shutterstock)

Hummus is a great snack, not least because it is made of vegetables and you can also scoop it up with vegetables (like carrots and celery). And since it’s made of chickpeas, it has a non-negligible protein content: a quarter-cup contains about 5 grams of protein, depending on the recipe. Try this recipe for ultra-smooth homemade hummus if you’re bored with the grocery store versions.


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