18 Healthy Protein-Filled Snacks
Protein is an essential part of any diet. It’s great for filling up and building muscle, and fortunately for busy (and hungry!) bodies, many healthy protein snacks are foods you can take to work, the beach, on a road trip — pretty much just about anywhere.
But, before you pack your lunch, calculate how much protein a day you should eat. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Luckily, there are many healthy, good protein foods to help you meet this goal. And while a small cooler will expand your protein snack options somewhat, taking many of these easy healthy snacks with you is as easy as tossing them in your bag.
Here’s a healthy snack list featuring some of the tastiest protein snacks you can bring just about anywhere.
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1. Hard-Boiled Eggs
In just over 10 minutes, you can hard-boil a couple of eggs (making sure to cool them in ice water afterward for easy peeling), and you’ve got a good protein snack at the ready.
How much protein is in an egg? A whopping 6.29 grams. Eggs are one of the many delicious, protein-containing foods that taste great on their own, and it isn’t hard to peel and slice them and toss them in Tupperware for later.
Pro tip: Here’s how to make hard-boiled eggs.
2. Cottage Cheese
Having a portable cooler or ice pack will come in handy for some protein snacks. Cottage cheese has a whopping 10.4 grams of protein per 100-gram container.
And cottage cheese is “hip” again — and incredibly versatile: Add it to your next pan of mac-n-cheese to cut calories and make creamy and rich-tasting. Or swap it into any dip that calls for sour cream. It’s best to choose low-fat (not nonfat) cottage cheese (which is 1-2% fat) as opposed to full fat (which is 4%).
3. Greek Yogurt
Nonfat plain Greek yogurt is another good choice, with 6.47 grams of protein per 100-gram container. Enjoy by itself or with fresh fruit. Just remember to pack a spoon when you’re on the go. You can also try these 12 Creative and Tasty Greek Yogurt Recipes.
4. Canned Fish
Canned fish is kind of a love-it-or-hate-it protein snack. If you’re in the former category, be thankful, because a typical 6-ounce can of tuna contains 8.2 grams of protein per ounce, and sardines have 6.9 grams of protein per ounce. To put that into perspective, a whole can of tuna contains approximately 48 grams of protein, so it’s not necessary to eat the entire can.
And since lugging around a can opener is not super convenient, tuna is now available packaged in portable, resealable pouches, making it a much easier protein snack to enjoy wherever.
5. Nuts and Seeds
You might not think of nuts and seeds as good protein snacks, but pound-for-pound, dry roasted nuts and seeds are not just satisfyingly crunchy, they’re regarded as foods that provide protein and amino acids – which are the building blocks of protein.
A typical selection of mixed nuts contains 5.5 grams of protein per ounce, while almonds have 6 grams per ounce, and pumpkin seeds have 5.2 grams per ounce. But the real heavy hitter of this category is peanuts, which clock in at 6.9 grams of protein per ounce.
Yep, those steamed soybean pods you eat at a sushi dinner are a great way to get your daily dose of protein. With an impressive 18.4 grams of protein per cup, edamame is an easy mainstay if you’re looking for portable, good protein snacks.
Edamame is also one of the few plant-based complete protein sources, which is great news for vegans and vegetarians.
7. Beef Jerky
With 9.4 grams of protein per ounce (and so many chewy, delicious flavors to choose from), beef jerky is a no-brainer if you’re searching to up your protein intake.
It’s important to note that jerky tends to be high in sodium, so eat it with plenty of water. There is also “clean” jerky on the market, such as jerky from grass-fed or organic beef, as well as jerky options without added sugars, fillers, or additives.
8. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter has 7.7 grams of protein per tablespoon. You can feel OK about eating it with a spoon… just keep the serving size in mind as it’s pretty high in calories.
Spread peanut butter on apple slices for an easy protein snack in the afternoon. Look for all-natural peanut butter or other nut butters that don’t contain hydrogenated oils or added sugars. The fewer ingredients on the label, the better.
Hummus may not be the first food you think of when looking protein-filled foods, but with 4.85 grams per ¼ cup (the recommended serving), it deserves a spot on your radar. Try making your own hummus with this recipe.
A one-cup serving of guava contains 4.2 grams of protein and tops a list of fruits that contain a surprising amount of protein. It’s not chicken, fish, or even nuts, but a refreshing piece of tropical fruit sounds like a great change of pace for an afternoon snack.
11. Turkey Roll-Ups
One deli slice of turkey contains more than 4.5 grams of protein. Roll that turkey with lettuce for a savory, slightly sweet, crunch — everything you want in a snack! Just be sure to avoid brands with added sugars. If you are able to get your hands on fresh turkey breast at your deli counter, that would be best to avoid unwanted preservatives.
12. Quinoa Peanut Butter Protein Balls
Cottage cheese isn’t the only tasty protein snack. There are plenty of hard, soft, crumbly, sliced, and shredded varieties that can be a part of your healthy snacking routine. Here are a few of our favorites.
While some granola can be less healthy than advertised, there are some excellent options out there.
This organic fruit and seed granola from Trader Joe’s is gluten-free and contains 8 grams of protein (and 310 calories) per 2/3 cup serving, while muesli (basically raw granola) contains 4 grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving.
15. Protein Shakes
Sometimes there’s just no time to grocery shop or make a healthy, good protein snack. Enter the protein shake.
A scoop of Openfit Recovery contains 20 grams of whey protein to fuel your body while helping your muscles recover after a workout.
This healthy breakfast staple is also an excellent option for a healthy, good protein snack. Each ½ cup of uncooked oats contains 5 grams of protein.
So whether you cook them, or make them overnight, this snack will have you feeling your oats.
17. Roasted Chickpeas
Make your own, or you can find them in a variety of flavors online, or in the snack aisle.
18. Smoked Salmon
A Scandinavian favorite, this snack contains a whopping 12 grams of protein per 2-ounce serving.
Eat it by itself or serve with other good protein snacks like hard-boiled eggs for a snack that any Viking would be proud to call his own.