9 Real-Food High-Protein Snacks

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Protein is one of those “magic” nutrients—the kind that can help you stay full and satisfied, even when you’re watching calories and portion sizes. If you’re struggling to meet your daily protein goals, adding real-food, protein-packed snacks is a great way to boost your intake without the artificial ingredients often found in some protein supplements. When you’re ready to boost your protein intake the natural way, we’ve got 9 snack-worthy ideas to get you started.

Peanut butter. Eight grams of protein in two tablespoons of peanut butter make this food a snack to consider. Go for one of the natural options smeared on a stalk of celery, with an apple or in your favorite smoothie. Check the label to make sure the only ingredients are peanuts and salt.

Cottage cheese. Talk to any bodybuilder or health-conscious eater and they’ll praise cottage cheese for its protein power. With a whopping 13 grams of protein and just 90 calories in a half-cup serving of the low-fat variety, adding cottage cheese to your snack rotation should be a no-brainer. If the taste doesn’t do it for you, try adding pineapple, strawberries or even a slice of tomato.

Tuna. Tuna doesn’t have to be reserved for lunch—it makes a great snack, too! Just three ounces of tuna contains a surprising 20 grams of protein. Mix the fish with a little light mayo or plain yogurt, then add to a whole-wheat pita or crackers.

Part Mozzarella Cheese. For a mere 72 calories, you can get seven grams of protein in one ounce and still have room for an ounce of deli turkey (30 calories, four grams of protein) or a serving of whole-grain crackers (120 calories, four grams of protein).

Hard-boiled egg. One egg—which contains six grams of protein and less than 80 calories—paired with some fruit, vegetables or whole-grain crackers is a snack that is sure to keep you feeling satisfied for hours.

Trail mix. Although the calories can add up quickly, many trail mix varieties have six grams of protein per serving. To get a solid protein benefit, opt for a mix that includes mostly unsalted nuts, and avoid the dried fruits and chocolate to keep the sugar low and satisfaction high. Additionally, check your labels to make sure there are no sneaky added sugars or oils.

Greek yogurt. Depending on the brand, one 5.3 ounce single-serving container can have anywhere between 11 and 15 grams of protein. When buying Greek yogurt, be aware of the calories and sugar in the flavor you choose in order to keep the snack healthy. Going with plain flavor and adding your own fruit offers the same protein boost for fewer calories (90 vs. 160 or more) and less sugar (4 grams vs. 18 grams).

Milk. Drink one cup of milk for a boost of eight grams of protein. If you’re not a fan of the taste, try adding a small amount of chocolate syrup for a sweet treat with a nutritional benefit.

Edamame with hummus. Combine these two foods for a delicious snack with an added protein boost.  Enjoying a half-cup serving of edamame and two tablespoons of hummus provides 10 tasty grams of protein to get you through to your next meal.

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Member Comments

The recommendation to drink 8 oz of milk with protein could be a real problem for some of us who can't deal with with that much dairy at one time. Report
Protein! Report
10/25/2020 TODAY'S TIP

Keep Protein on Hand

Lately, I'm noticing protein-packed everything—from breads to nut butter and milk.
While you don't need to load up on weird franken-foods to ramp up your intake of nutrient, if you're trying to drop a few pounds. Then it's wise to keep some high-protein snacks on hand.
Noshing on these can prevent eating something high-calorie every time hunger strikes.
thank you Report
Thanks Report
Thank you. I enjoy most of the foods listed. It is a nice variety that should please most people. Report
Trail mix is good! Report
I love mixed nuts, minus the raisins Report
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Thanks for sharing Report
I am so glad to have this information. My Husband and I can both use it. Thank You Report
Good to know - thanks! Report
Good need-to-know information! Report


About The Author

Jen Mueller
Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach and medical exercise specialist, with additional certifications in behavior change, functional training and senior fitness. She is also a RRCA-certified running coach. See all of Jen's articles.