High Protein Low-Calorie Snacks

Healthy Snacks That Boost Your Protein Intake

Edamame

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

When you're hungry, do you choose snacks with protein? Research has suggested that people who consume more protein throughout the day have greater weight loss success than people who consume less. So when you're trying to lose weight, you should not only include protein in your meals, but also in your snacks.

The problem is that many high protein snacks are also high in fat, calories, and sometimes even high in sugar. Why? Because some of these foods are designed for athletes who are trying to gain weight, so calories and fat content is not a big problem.

In addition, some high-protein snacks are simply not healthy. For example, some high protein snack bars contain added sugars and other ingredients that you don't need. So what's a dieter to do? Use this to find smart high protein, low-calorie snacks.

High Protein Low-Calorie Snacks

If you're on the go and you need to find a quick bite, you don't have to go to a specialty vitamin store. You'll find a few healthy, high-protein snacks in your local grocery or convenience store. Look for any of these healthy, convenience items. Many of them are naturally low in calories, but you may have to be careful with portion control to keep the numbers in line.

Hard-Boiled Egg

Eggs
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Make a batch of hard-boiled eggs and keep them in the refrigerator for a quick, grab-and-go snack. Worried about the fat in the yolk? Scoop it out and add a dollop of hummus and you'll increase your fiber intake.

Beef Jerky

Beef jerky
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Beef jerky is a high-protein snack easily found in most convenience stores. It's a good choice if you find yourself craving a quick snack, but aren't near a healthy market. However, some products are high in sodium so make your selection carefully if you are watching your salt intake.

Lean Beef or Turkey

Turkey
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Head to the deli and grab a few slices of beef or turkey to curb your cravings between meals. You can also make roll-ups, slicing some thin veggies (carrots, cucumber, jicama) and rolling the meat for an easy-to-eat option.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

You'll have plenty of options to choose from when you buy cottage cheese. This high protein snack is low in calories if you choose the lower-fat varieties. Curd size does not change the nutritional benefits of this food, so choose the curd that you enjoy most.

Greek Yogurt

Plain yogurt
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Single-serving cups of Greek yogurt are an easy snack or light meal. And the good news is that they can also curb your cravings for a sweet treat. However, some brands contain added sugar. So choose wisely if you are trying to cut back. The calories in this high-protein snack will depend on the fat level that you buy. Low-fat Greek plain yogurt is lowest in calories. Add your own fruit for a nutritious snack.

Edamame

Edamame
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Need a high-protein alternative to potato chips? Edamame is the perfect salty, savory snack for you. Steam them, roast them, peel them, eat and enjoy.

Milk

Chocolate milk is one of the most popular (and healthy) post-workout snacks because it provides a smart balance of protein and carbohydrates. Choose non-fat or low-fat milk if you want to cut calories.

Shrimp

shrimp
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Boil and eat shrimp are often available in the seafood section of your local market. They don't keep for a long period of time (unless you freeze them), but they can make a satisfying low-calorie high protein snack. Dip them in a fresh cocktail sauce for a spicy flair.

Grab-and-Go Grain Salad

Many markets package grab-and-go salads made with quinoa or other grains and lentils. These are smart choices for a quick snack or meal. Choose one with higher protein veggies like spinach or broccoli to boost your protein intake even further.

Protein Smoothies

Some fast-food restaurants and quick markets make smoothies that are easy choices when you're in a hurry. Packaged smoothies can be a healthy, convenient snack with protein, but be careful to check the Nutrition Facts label before you buy. Some bottled protein shakes are made with fruit juices to boost sweetness. The end result is that you get added sugar without fiber and less protein. 

High Protein Healthy-Fat Snacks

Looking for a low-protein low-fat snack? You'll find that many of the most healthy high protein foods also contain fat. But, they contain healthy fat, like poly- or monounsaturated fat.

Keep portion control in mind, but don't skip these foods because you fear fat. They are high in protein and also high in important nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and fiber.

Sushi or Sashimi

Sushi
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Head to the Asian food section of the market when you are craving protein and savory flavors. Sushi with tuna, salmon, and other types of healthy seafood is a good choice. Sushi (make with rice) with also provide carbohydrates. Sashimi (made with no rice) will give you a quick boost of protein without the carbs.

Almonds, Walnuts, and Other Nuts

almonds
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Plain or roasted nuts are delicious, crunchy and easy to eat, making them a perfect high-protein snack. They are also easy to overeat. A single serving is usually between 10 and 15 nuts. So to keep your protein snack lower in fat and calories, grab just a small handful. Also, look for nuts with less seasoning. Many seasoned nuts are very high in salt and sugar.

Nut Butters

Peanut butter
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Peanut butter, almond butter or other types of nut butter can be part of a healthy- high protein snack. But the benefits it provides will depend on the nut butter you choose, how much you consume, what you spread the butter on. Check the ingredients and Nutrition Facts label of your favorite brand and try to find one with fewer added ingredients (like added sugars or oils). Then measure the spread (a single serving is just two tablespoons!) and spread it on top of an apple slice or a small slice of whole-grain bread to boost your healthy carb intake.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Pumpkin seeds can make a quick and easy snack when you're hungry and on the move. These seeds also provide fiber to help you feel full longer. The best pumpkin seeds are the ones you roast yourself using a healthy oil, but you can also buy them in many convenience markets.

More Healthy High Protein Snack Ideas

Need a few more ideas for creative ways to boost your protein intake? Use any of these guides to fill your fridge and your pantry with healthy, muscle-boosting foods.

Lastly, always keep in mind that even though protein helps to build lean muscle and boost your metabolism, more protein is not always better. Eat the right number of calories each day and the right amount of protein to lose weight and keep the pounds off for good.

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Article Sources

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Josse AR, Atkinson SA, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Increased consumption of dairy foods and protein during diet- and exercise-induced weight loss promotes fat mass loss and lean mass gain in overweight and obese premenopausal women. J Nutr. 2011;141(9):1626-34. doi:10.3945/jn.111.141028

  2. Healthy snacking. American Heart Association

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