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Whether you’re trying to bulk up, lose body fat, make snacks more filling, or simply get more protein throughout the day, easy, go-to protein snack ideas that are convenient and nutrient-dense are a must.

Having healthy, high-protein meals and snacks in mind and on hand can help make it much easier to reach your health and fitness goals. As a registered dietitian, I’ve seen firsthand how helpful it is to plan your daily nutrition ahead of time. Pre-planning your snacks may seem like overkill, but doing this can make a difference when you’re short on time or if something unexpected comes up. 

These protein-packed ideas can help you feel satisfied throughout the day and keep you on track to meet your macro goals.

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider.

1. Meat and Cheese Plate

Have you ever thought about taking your favorite charcuterie board and making it snack-sized? It can provide a big protein punch while making your day feel just a little bit fancier. Use different meats and cheeses for a variety of flavors and textures, and consider adding a few whole-grain crackers or pieces of fruit for some complex carbohydrates.

As an example, a meat and cheese plate with one ounce of salami and one ounce sharp cheddar cheese provides 12 grams of protein.

meat-and-cheese-on-a-plate

Try not to overdo it on the cold cuts, though—processed meats like these are often high in sodium and nitrates and may increase your risk of colorectal cancer1 if consumed too frequently. Try to choose reduced-sodium, uncured varieties and alternate with some of the other snacks listed below. You can also try plant-based varieties made from seitan or tofu.

RELATED: Low-Sodium Meal Delivery Service

2. Apple and Greek Yogurt

Apple slices with Greek yogurt are a light, refreshing way to up your protein intake. Greek yogurt is incredibly high in protein, with 12 grams per half cup. When paired with an apple, this gluten-free snack is also a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C. 

3. Jerky and Jerky Sticks

Beef jerky is one of the more travel-friendly snacks on this list and boasts about 10 to 14 grams of protein per one ounce serving. 

jerky

Plant-based jerky is becoming increasingly available as well. Some types contain 10 or more grams of protein, but vegan jerky varies widely in its protein content based on what ingredients are used to make it, so be sure to check the nutrition facts label before you buy.

RELATED: Plant-Based Protein Powder Benefits

To make this snack a little more balanced, consider pairing it with sliced vegetables, whole grain crackers, or fruit.

4. Turkey and Veggie Roll-Ups

Roll lean turkey and fresh veggies up in a whole-grain tortilla for an incredibly balanced snack (or light lunch). You’ll get around 12 grams of protein when using two ounces of deli turkey and one whole wheat wrap. 

Using two tablespoons of cream cheese or hummus as a spread will add a couple more grams of protein, and the hummus will give you some heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

RELATED: Best Heart-Healthy Meal Delivery

5. Tuna Salad and Crackers

Tuna can help you meet your protein goals with the extra benefit of being rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. A three-ounce serving of tuna salad contains an impressive 14 grams of protein, and spreading it on whole grain crackers will provide the carbohydrates necessary for replenishing muscle glycogen after a workout.

Traditional tuna salad too boring? Try mixing things up by using hummus, avocado, or Greek yogurt in place of mayo and adding in finely chopped vegetables like bell peppers or cucumber. 

6. Veggies and Yogurt Dip

Maximize the amount of protein in this refreshing snack option by using Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt that has been fortified with extra plant-based protein. Use different colored vegetables to make your plate visually appealing and for a boost of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

veggies-and-dip

A half-cup serving of Greek yogurt with one cup of vegetables such as carrots or bell peppers provides about 13 grams of protein. A serving of broccoli, one of the best high-protein vegetables, will add a couple more grams. 

7. Hard-Boiled Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs have six grams of protein in each large egg. Try pairing a couple of them with fresh fruit, vegetables, or nuts for a balanced, filling snack. 

8. Fruit and Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is becoming increasingly popular due to its impressive protein content and versatility, with people adding it to lasagna, stews, and even pancakes. Kept simple, cottage cheese is great paired with fresh or thawed-from-frozen fruit for a bit of natural sweetness and dietary fiber. 

You can eat cottage cheese straight from the container or whipped for a smoother texture and fluffier consistency. If you prefer a savory snack, drizzle your cottage cheese with a little olive oil and spices and use it as a dip for sliced veggies.

fruit-and-cottage-cheese

A half-cup of low-fat cottage cheese has 10 grams of protein, about the same amount found in Greek yogurt.

9. Mozzarella and Prosciutto Roll-Ups

Mozzarella cheese and prosciutto can be rolled in whole-wheat tortillas for a Mediterranean-inspired snack. A roll-up using one whole grain tortilla, one ounce of prosciutto, and a fourth-cup of part-skim mozzarella will give you an impressive 17 grams of protein.

Try adding roasted red bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, or fresh spinach for extra flavor, color, and nutrition.

10. Greek Yogurt Parfait

Fruit-and-yogurt parfaits aren’t just for breakfast! Using Greek yogurt or protein-fortified non-dairy yogurt will up the protein content and provide a creamy base for berries and other fruit, granola, nuts, or chia seeds. 

Both also provide a boost of bone-supporting calcium, as long as the non-dairy varieties are calcium-fortified.

RELATED: High-Protein Foods for Weight Loss, Chosen By A Dietitian

11. Apple with Peanut Butter

This classic sweet-and-salty pairing has about seven grams of protein when using two tablespoons of peanut butter and is surprisingly filling thanks to the healthy fats. 

Not a fan of peanuts? Try almond butter, pecan butter, or tahini for a different (but still delicious) flavor profile. You can even add a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips for a healthy (ish) dessert.

12. Roasted Chickpeas and Pumpkin Seeds

Chickpeas

Roasted beans may not sound like a very exciting snack, but chickpeas become pleasantly crispy and flavorful when cooked in the oven or air fryer with a little olive oil and your favorite spice blend. 

Eating them with pumpkin seeds adds extra crunchiness in addition to the amino acid methionine, which is slightly lower in chickpeas. This is a great plant-based pairing that has a complete amino acid profile to help optimize muscle growth. 

A half-cup of roasted chickpeas with one ounce pumpkin seeds provides 15 grams of protein.

13. Edamame

Edamame is one of the best plant-based sources of protein, with 10 grams per half cup of shelled edamame. Because edamame are immature soybeans, they’re also a great source of anti-inflammatory isoflavones and complex carbohydrates.

Shelled edamame can be: 

  • Roasted with olive oil and seasonings to make a crunchy snack
  • Blended into a creamy “hummus” alternative and paired with sliced veggies or a whole grain pita
  • Chilled and tossed in a salad with diced bell peppers, cucumbers, quinoa, and a sesame-ginger vinaigrette

14. Protein Bar

Easy to grab and store in a purse, backpack, or gym bag, the best protein bars are some of the most convenient high-protein snacks. Most are made from whey protein, while plant-based bars can be made from a variety of sources like soy, pea, almond, or pumpkin seed. Depending on the product, protein bars can contain anywhere from six to 25 grams of protein.

An image of Rise protein bars

Protein bars also vary in their content of added sugars, net carbs, and dietary fiber. It’s best to check nutrition labels and read reviews in order to choose the best one for your needs.

RELATED: Best Low-Sugar Protein Bars 

15. Protein Shake

Protein shakes can be store-bought or homemade, the latter of which are easily customizable. Most commercial varieties are made from whey protein, although plant-based and dairy-free versions are also available. 

Most store-bought protein shakes have around 16 to 25 grams of protein. If you make your own shake with a serving of protein powder and a cup of dairy, soy, or pea milk, you’ll get about 28 grams of protein. If desired, you can increase the protein content further by blending hemp seeds, chia seeds, or more protein powder into your shake.

Aloha Protein Shake Drinking

RELATED: How Many Protein Shakes a Day Should You Consume?

Protein Snack Ideas: Final Thoughts 

Including one or two protein-rich snacks throughout the day can be a helpful strategy for meeting your protein goals, especially if you struggle to eat three full meals a day. To optimize your snack game, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Spread your protein intake throughout the day to optimize muscle growth
  • Protein bars and shakes are helpful supplements, but shouldn’t take the place of whole foods in the diet
  • Pairing protein-rich foods with whole grains, nuts, fruits, and/or vegetables will provide a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to make snacks more satisfying and support healthy blood sugar levels
  • Include some plant-based proteins for extra dietary fiber and antioxidants and less saturated fat

RELATED: What Should My Macros Be?

Looking for more ideas? Check out these high-protein foods for muscle-building, or consult a registered dietitian nutritionist for individualized recommendations and strategies for optimizing your protein intake and overall diet.

Protein Snack Ideas: FAQs

How can I get protein fast?

Extra quick ideas for protein include protein bars or shakes, nuts, seeds, jerky, nut butters, pre-roasted chickpeas or edamame, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese.

What snack has 10g of protein?

There are 10 grams of protein in the following snacks:

– 1 serving whole grain crackers with 2 tablespoons peanut butter
– ½ cup Greek yogurt dip with veggies
– ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese with fruit
– ½ cup shelled edamame
– Most protein bars
– 2 hard-boiled eggs

How can I eat 100 grams of protein per day?

Eating three meals per day that include lean proteins like chicken, fish, tofu, tempeh, or lentils and snacking on nuts, nut butter, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or roasted chickpeas can help you eat 100 grams of protein per day. 

If you find it difficult to get 100 grams from whole foods alone, try adding a protein shake or protein bar. You can also add protein powder to smoothies or oatmeal.

RELATED: Protein Smoothie Recipes

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider.

References

  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Cancer: carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat. WHO website. October 2015. Accessed October 9, 2023.

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