21 High Protein Snacks That Are Healthy and Portable

Snacking is a convenient way to curb hunger on busy days, but it’s essential to choose snacks that are not only tasty but also nutritious. Many popular snacks are loaded with refined carbs and sugar, which might leave you feeling unsatisfied and craving more food.

A key factor for satisfying snacks is ensuring they are rich in protein. Protein promotes a sense of fullness by signaling the release of appetite-suppressing hormones, slowing down digestion, and stabilizing blood sugar levels. While animal-based foods like meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy are top sources of protein, plant-based options like nuts, beans, and legumes can also provide a good protein boost.

Diversifying your protein sources is beneficial for overall health, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which suggests incorporating more seafood and plant-based proteins into your diet.

Here are some healthy and portable snacks loaded with protein, perfect for those on the go:

1. Jerky

Jerky is a convenient snack made by trimming fat from meat, cutting it into strips, and drying it. It’s exceptionally high in protein; for instance, beef jerky contains an impressive 9 grams of protein per ounce.

While store-bought versions often contain added sugar and artificial ingredients, making your own jerky using only meat and seasonings is a healthier option.

2. Trail Mix

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Trail mix is a blend of dried fruit and nuts, sometimes including chocolate and grains. It’s a protein-rich snack, providing 8 grams in a 2-ounce serving. Opting for almonds or pistachios in your trail mix increases its protein content compared to other nuts like walnuts or cashews.

Since trail mix can be calorie-dense due to dried fruits and nuts, it’s advisable to enjoy it in moderation, with a handful being a reasonable serving size.

3. Turkey Roll-Ups

Enjoy a tasty and nutritious high-protein snack with turkey roll-ups, a creative twist on the classic sandwich. These roll-ups feature slices of turkey breast as the outer layer, embracing a delicious combination of cheese and veggies within. It’s like a sandwich without the bread.

Snacks like turkey roll-ups, high in protein and low in carbs, have shown benefits in improving blood sugar levels, crucial for effective appetite regulation.

Crafting these roll-ups is simple — place a slice of turkey on a plate, add a slice of cheese (like cheddar), top it with a pickle or strip of cucumber, a tomato slice, and roll everything into a flavorful wrap. Each roll-up delivers around 12 grams of protein from the turkey and cheese, along with extra nutrients and fiber from the tomato and cucumber.

4. Greek Yogurt Parfait

Greek yogurt is an excellent choice for a healthy and protein-packed snack, boasting 20 grams of protein per 200-gram serving. Studies suggest that it’s more satisfying than yogurts with lower protein content.

Beyond its protein benefits, Greek yogurt is rich in calcium, promoting bone health. Elevate the taste and satisfaction by creating a yogurt parfait — layer 1 cup of yogurt with granola and mixed berries.

Adding 1/2 cup (49 grams) of granola to your yogurt introduces an extra 4 grams of protein or more. Keep in mind, though, that this makes for a substantial snack with higher calories, so it might not be an everyday choice, depending on your overall calorie needs.

5. Veggies and Yogurt Dip

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While veggies are excellent for snacking, they lack protein. Enhance your protein intake by pairing veggies with a yogurt dip.

Opt for Greek yogurt, which packs nearly twice the protein of regular yogurt. Create a flavorful yogurt dip by combining yogurt with herbs and flavorings like dill and lemon juice.

A 100-gram portion of Greek yogurt provides a substantial 10 grams of protein. For convenience, prepare a batch of yogurt dip in advance and portion it into snack-sized containers for easy grabbing whenever hunger strikes.

6. Tuna

Loaded with protein, tuna is a healthy and convenient snack choice. A 3-ounce serving of canned tuna packs an impressive 20 grams of protein, making it exceptionally filling.

Tuna also brings additional nutritional benefits, including B vitamins, selenium, and a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

7. Roasted Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a nutrient-packed legume celebrated for their impressive profile. Rich in fiber and plant-based protein, chickpeas make an excellent snack choice, especially for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet.

A half-cup of cooked chickpeas provides 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber, along with essential vitamins and minerals such as folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese.

The fiber and nutrients in chickpeas contribute to reducing the risk of conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Roasting chickpeas with basic seasonings and olive oil results in a crunchy and portable snack, perfect for on-the-go enjoyment.

8. Baked Tofu

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Tofu is a versatile and protein-rich food, especially popular among those following vegan or vegetarian diets. Made from soybeans, a 3-ounce serving of firm tofu contains 9 grams of protein, making it a satisfying snack.

Baked tofu cubes, tossed in vegetable oil and seasoning for a crispy coating, are easy to pack and enjoy while on the move.

9. Cottage Cheese

Known for its high protein content, cottage cheese is a filling and convenient on-the-go snack. A half-cup serving offers a substantial 14 grams of protein, constituting 69% of its total calorie content.

Cottage cheese is also a rich source of essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12, and riboflavin. Whether enjoyed on its own or combined with fruits and nuts, cottage cheese makes for a delicious and nutritious snack.

10. Apple with Peanut Butter

Combining the crispness of apples with the richness of peanut butter creates a nutrient-dense, high-protein snack with various health benefits. The fiber and antioxidants in apples contribute to improved gut health and reduced heart disease risk, while peanut butter has been linked to positive effects on cholesterol levels.

A snack featuring a medium apple with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter provides 9 grams of protein, along with vitamin C and potassium. Due to its calorie density, it’s wise to enjoy peanut butter in moderation.

11. Roasted Watermelon Seeds

Don’t overlook the seeds when enjoying watermelon slices. Roasted watermelon seed kernels offer a crunchy and satisfying snack, containing about 8 grams of protein per ounce.

Roast your own seeds or opt for pre-roasted varieties. For a nut butter alternative, consider watermelon seed butter available for use in snacks or recipes.

12. Protein Bars

Protein bars are a convenient way to get a substantial protein boost. Homemade versions using seeds, dried fruit, and protein powder can provide 9 grams of protein per bar, without unnecessary additives or excessive sugar.

For a lighter option, skip the chocolate topping. When choosing store-bought bars, opt for healthier options with minimal additives.

13. Canned Salmon

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Canned salmon stands out as an excellent high-protein snack that’s easily portable. Just 1 ounce provides over 6 grams of protein, along with essential nutrients like niacin, vitamin B12, and selenium.

Salmon’s omega-3 fatty acids offer anti-inflammatory benefits, potentially lowering the risk of heart disease, depression, and dementia. Enjoy it on its own or paired with crackers or veggies. Single-portion pouches of cooked salmon make it convenient for on-the-go snacking.

14. Chia Pudding

Chia pudding, a popular and high-protein snack, packs 4 grams of protein in 1 ounce of chia seeds, along with calcium, phosphorus, and manganese. The omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds contribute to various health benefits, including lower triglyceride levels.

Create a protein-rich chia pudding by soaking chia seeds in cow’s milk or a high-protein alternative like soy milk. Customize with flavorings such as vanilla and cocoa or top with a caramel treat or fruit.

15. Homemade Granola

Granola, a baked snack of rolled oats, nuts, and sweetener, often provides around 4 grams of protein per 1/2-cup portion. However, store-bought options can be high in sugar and calories. Crafting your own granola at home allows you to boost protein and minimize sugar.

A homemade recipe featuring oats, nuts, seeds, and protein powder yields 9 grams of protein per 1/3 cup of granola. While healthy in moderation, be mindful of the calorie content, considering granola as a delightful topping for yogurt or berries.

16. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds make for a quick and nutritious snack, packing protein and various essential nutrients. With 5 grams of protein per ounce (28 grams), along with fiber, magnesium, zinc, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, these seeds offer a healthful bite.

Additionally, they provide disease-fighting antioxidants like vitamin E and carotenoids. Some evidence suggests that incorporating pumpkin seeds into your diet may contribute to preventing certain cancers, while the healthy fat content supports heart health.

Their protein and fiber content also makes them an excellent choice for curbing hunger. Enjoy them raw or try roasting them with spices for added flavor.

17. Nut Butter

Nut butter is a convenient option for a quick, portable, and high-protein snack. Single-serving nut butter packs are readily available in grocery store nut butter sections or checkout lanes. Alternatively, you can portion your favorite peanut or almond butter into small to-go containers.

Nut butters are nutrient-dense, providing healthy fats, B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, and trace minerals. A 2-tablespoon (30-gram) serving of peanut butter contains 9 grams of protein.

18. Protein Shakes

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While whole food sources are ideal, protein shakes offer a convenient way to sneak protein and other nutrients into your diet.

Choose from various protein powder types, such as whey, egg white, soy, or pea protein. Whey protein, in particular, may aid in promoting fullness.

A scoop of protein powder typically provides 20–25 grams of protein. To make a protein shake, blend 1 scoop of protein powder, 1 cup of water or milk, 1 cup of ice, and fruit if desired. Pour it into a portable container for an on-the-go snack.

19. Edamame

Edamame beans, immature soybeans in the pod, are a quick and nutrient-rich snack. One cup of edamame delivers a range of essential nutrients, including 18 grams of protein, along with significant amounts of vitamin K and folate.

Simply steam or heat precooked frozen edamame and pack them into a portable container for a convenient on-the-go snack. Enhance the flavor with your choice of spices and seasonings.

20. Canned Sardines

Canned sardines, though not as widely known in the United States, are a convenient and nutritious snack. Packed with protein, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, one Pacific sardine (38 grams) offers 8 grams of protein.

These small fish support cardiovascular health and help reduce inflammation. Enjoy them straight from the can, on a cracker, or as part of Mediterranean-style dishes.

21. Quinoa

Quinoa, a gluten-free grain-like food, is a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. With 8 grams of protein per cup, cooked quinoa makes for a versatile and nutritious snack. Incorporate it as a side dish or add a scoop to a salad of greens and chopped vegetables. For a quick snack, enjoy cooked quinoa as you would hot cereal, topped with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.

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