33 Tasty, High-Protein Snacks

Healthy Snacks That Boost Your Protein Intake


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

When you're hungry choosing high-protein snacks is a great idea. Protein helps you to feel full and satisfied after eating. This benefit can be helpful for anyone who is trying to manage hunger, but it can be beneficial if you're trying to reach or maintain a healthy weight.

Research has suggested that people who consume more protein throughout the day have more significant weight loss success than people who consume less. As well, protein is vital for building and maintaining muscle mass, which is important for daily functioning and healthy aging.

Use this to find healthy high, protein snacks to support your eating plan. If you're on the go and you need to find a quick bite, these options are usually easy to find and easy to prepare.

If weight loss is your goal, you might search out high-protein, low-calorie snacks. But it's important to consider healthy snack ideas that provide other nutritious ingredients such as fiber, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. Nutrient density is the key to healthy eating.

Hard-Boiled Egg

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Make a batch of hard-boiled eggs and keep them in the refrigerator for a quick, gluten-free, grab-and-go snack. Each large egg provides 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and less than a gram of carbohydrate. Egg whites offer 4–5 grams of protein and almost no fat.

The yolk provides about 2.7 grams of protein and different types of fat, including healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Not a fan of the yolk? Scoop it out and add a dollop of hummus, increasing your fiber intake.

Beef Jerky

Beef jerky
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Beef jerky is a high-protein snack easily found in most convenience stores. One 20-gram piece of beef jerky provides 82 calories, 7g of protein, 5g of fat, and 2g of carbohydrates. Most varieties of jerky are dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free.

You can also look for jerky made from turkey, chicken, venison, or even salmon for a potentially higher protein and nutrient-rich snack. However, some products are high in sodium, so make your selection carefully if you are watching your salt intake.

Lean Turkey and Pretzel Twists

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Grab a few slices of beef or turkey to curb your cravings between meals. Each thin slice of deli turkey breast provides 2.4 grams of protein, 17 calories, and less than one gram of carbohydrate. Layer several slices together and pair them with a few pretzel twists to get some carbs with your protein.

You can also make roll-ups with the turkey, slicing some thin veggies (carrots, cucumber, jicama, and rolling the meat for an easy-to-eat option. This snack can be low-calorie, nut-free, dairy-free, or egg-free, depending on how you prepare it.  

Cottage Cheese With Blueberries and Muesli

Cottage cheese
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You'll have plenty of options to choose from when you buy cottage cheese. A 3.5 ounce serving of 2% low-fat cottage cheese provides 11 grams of protein, 84 calories, 2.3 grams of fat, and 4.3 grams of carbohydrate. Curd size does not change the nutritional benefits of this food, so choose the curd that you enjoy most.

If you prefer, top ½ cup of cottage cheese with ½ cup of blueberries and 2 tablespoons of muesli to get 14 grams of protein. Note that this snack is not dairy-free, and most muesli contains gluten grains and nuts (although you can find gluten-free and nut-free brands).

Peanuts and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Roasted peanuts and shells

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A handful of savory peanuts can be a satisfying protein-rich snack. One ounce (approximately 28 peanuts) provides 7.3 grams of protein, 161 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 4.6 grams of carbs.

Mixing ¼ cup of peanuts with 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips, you'll consume 9 grams of protein. Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chips are gluten-free and also are free of other major allergens, including dairy. However, remember that peanut allergy is one of the most common allergies in the U.S.

Chia Pudding

Keto Chia Seed Pudding

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Chia seeds are full of fiber, protein, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. One ounce of chia seeds provides 4.7 grams of protein, 138 calories, 8.7 grams of fat, and 12 grams of carbohydrate.

Chia seeds swell when soaked in liquid, making a ‘pudding’ that you can adjust according to your taste preferences. Consider making Peanut Butter Cup Chia Pudding for a delicious high-protein morning snack that is egg-free. It may also be nut-free and gluten-free, but check package labels to be sure.


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Need a high-protein alternative to potato chips? Edamame are soybeans, and they are the perfect salty, savory snack for you. One cup (155 grams) of edamame provides 18.4 grams of protein, 188 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 13.8 grams of carbohydrate.

Store each serving of edamame in an individual, microwave-safe container so you can pull it out of the refrigerator and pop it into the microwave when you're hungry. Steam them, roast them, peel them, eat and enjoy this gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, and dairy-free snack.

DIY Chocolate Milk

chocolate milk in a glass with metal straw
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Have a chocolate craving? A glass of chocolate milk is an excellent protein-rich snack that is usually gluten-free, nut-free, and egg-free (although it is always wise to check labels).

One cup of fat-free chocolate dairy milk contains about 168 calories, 34 grams of carbohydrates, and 8 grams protein. Chocolate milk is a relatively low-calorie, egg-free snack. Check the package labels to ensure that the brand you buy is gluten-free if you need to avoid gluten.

Chocolate milk is one of the most popular (and healthy) post-workout snacks because it provides a smart balance of protein and carbohydrates. And if you are avoiding dairy, consider using a milk alternative such as soy, almond, or cashew.

Chilled Shrimp

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Cooked, chilled shrimp is a great high-protein snack to grab when you need something light but meaty. A single 3-ounce (85 gram) serving of shrimp provides about 20.4 grams of protein, 84 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, and 0.2 grams of protein.

The number of shrimp in a single serving will vary depending on the size and the type of shrimp you buy. Shrimp is also a great source of energizing vitamin B12, and brain-boosting choline along with zinc, iron, and selenium.

Boil and eat shrimp are often available in the seafood section of your local market. Dip them in a fresh cocktail sauce for a spicy flair. Note that many store-bought cocktail sauces can be high in sugar, But this recipe for cocktail sauce is sugar-free.

Remember that shrimp are highly perishable. Cooked shrimp will stay fresh for up to three days in your refrigerator. Buy shrimp frozen, then create single-serving containers of 3 or 4 medium shrimp. Add a lemon wedge to each and store in the fridge to thaw. Eat within a day or two.

Grab-and-Go Grain Salad

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

Nutritional facts for grain salads will vary based on the ingredients. But a single serving of this Vegetarian Southwest Quinoa Salad provides 12 grams of protein, 275 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 45 grams of carbohydrate. If you eat a gluten-free diet, make sure you choose gluten-free grains such as amaranth, quinoa, or sorghum.

Strawberry Protein Smoothie

fruit smoothie with strawberries
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A smoothie is an easy choice when you're in a hurry. Some pre-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 result is that you get added sugar without fiber and less protein.

When buying pre-packaged smoothies, check the ingredients list for added sweeteners such as honey, fruit juice, brown sugar, or cane sugar. You can also check to see what protein-rich ingredients are in the drink.

A high-quality ingredient like Greek Yogurt is a good sign. Lastly, look at the Nutrition Facts label and see how many grams of protein the smoothie provides per serving. Taking a minute to check this information can help you make a smart choice.

Your best bet may be to make a berry smoothie at home. This High-Protein Shake With Berries provides 14 grams of protein, 201 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 18 grams of carbs. Make it with dairy-free ingredients if you have a dairy allergy or follow a vegan diet.

We've tried, tested, and reviewed the best protein shakes. If you're in the market for protein shakes, explore which option may be best for you.

Peanut Butter and Celery

Peanut Butter on Sticks of Celery
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Peanut butter is a favorite protein source for many people who enjoy the creamy (or crunchy!) texture and taste. A two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter provides 8 grams of protein, 190 calories, 7 grams of carbs, and 16 grams of fat. Peanut butter also provides 2 grams of fiber.

Spread peanut butter on 2-3 stalks of celery for a crunchy treat. The snack is egg-free, dairy-free, and might be gluten-free, but you should check the label to be sure. Or check this list of 11 brands of gluten-free peanut butter.

String Cheese and Melon Cubes

String Cheese On Chopping Board
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Cheese and fruit together provide healthy fat and protein, alongside a naturally-sweet source of fiber, and vitamins. A one-ounce "stick" (28 grams) of mozzarella provides 6.7 grams of protein, 5.8 grams of fat, 1.3 grams of carbs, and 85 calories. Pair it with a cup of cantaloupe to increase your protein intake by 1.5 grams. The cantaloupe also provides 1.6 grams of fiber along with vitamin C and vitamin A.

While this snack is egg-free and (most likely) nut-free it is not dairy-free. The vast majority of cheese is gluten-free but it is always smart to check labels if you follow a gluten-free diet. If you follow a vegan diet, opt for a dairy-free cheese.

Tuna Salad

Tuna Salad Wrap Sandwich
Juanmonino / Getty Images

Fresh, canned, or water-packed tuna is a great source of protein and there are so many ways to prepare and eat it. A whole can (165g) of tuna provides 42 grams of protein, 191 calories, 1.4 grams of fat, and 0 grams of carbohydrate.

But you don't have to eat the whole can at once if you are just looking for a snack. Use a tuna salad recipe with ingredients like Greek yogurt and celery and enjoy it alone, on crackers, or in a wrap.

Tuna doesn't store well in your refrigerator. So many people keep single-serving pouches of tuna on hand. You can eat it right out of the pouch or throw the tuna onto a bed of greens with a squeeze of lemon for an instant protein-rich salad. Depending on the ingredients, your tuna salad is likely to be dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, and nut-free.

Mixed Nuts

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Plain or roasted nuts are delicious, crunchy, and easy to eat, making them a perfect high-protein snack. Have a generous handful (about ¼ cup) to get 6 grams of protein. 

Almonds may be one of the most popular nuts, but you also can choose pecansmacadamia nuts, or even Brazil nuts. All have plenty of protein. They're also dairy-free and gluten-free if you choose gluten-free nuts.

A single serving is usually between 10 and 15 nuts, which is about a small handful. Also, look for nuts with less seasoning. Many seasoned nuts are very high in salt and sugar.

Cashews and Dried Cherries

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Cashews provide 5.2 grams of protein per one-ounce serving. They also provide 12 grams of healthy fat, 157 calories, 8.6 grams of carbohydrate, and almost one gram of fiber. You'll also get some vitamin K and vitamin B6 from cashews.

Mix 1 ounce of cashews (about 18) and 2 tablespoons of dried cherries for a delicious, easy-to-carry snack that is egg-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Hummus with Carrot Sticks

Person eating carrots and hummus

Getty Images 

Hummus (made from garbanzo beans) is a savory and delicious way to add protein to your meal or snacks. Smear some on a sandwich, enjoy it with crackers or pita triangles, or grab your favorite veggie sticks and dip away.

Two tablespoons of hummus provide 2.5 grams of protein, 82 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 5 grams of carbs. It also offers more than 2 grams of fiber. Just 2 tablespoons of hummus and ½ cup of carrots give you 5 grams of protein.

The carrots help boost the fiber content, provide vitamin A, and add a little bit of protein. This snack is dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and gluten-free if you choose gluten-free-labeled hummus.

Skyr (Icelandic yogurt) with Granola

a bowl of yogurt with banana granola
Vicky Wasik

Icelandic yogurt is similar to Greek yogurt but packs even more protein per ounce. Protein is based on a 5-ounce container. Stir in 2 tablespoons of your favorite crunchy granola to get 14-16 grams of protein. Skyr can be used to make smoothies or even protein-rich cheesecake.

Note that this snack is not dairy-free or gluten-free (unless you choose gluten-free granola), and it may not be nut-free, depending on the granola you use (many granola brands include nuts). But it is egg-free.

Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Cumin-roasted chick peas

Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, are a legume full of protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. A one-cup serving provides 10.7 grams of protein, 210 calories, 3.8 grams of fat, and 35 grams of carbs. You'll also get 9.6 grams of fiber. Chickpeas are nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and egg-free.

Use this recipe for Cumin-Lime Roasted Chickpeas for a delicious and easy-to-prepare snack. Make them in advance and store them for later. A one-quarter cup serving provides 7 grams of protein.

Sushi or Sashimi

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

Almonds, Walnuts, and Other Nuts

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, grab just a small handful to keep your protein snack lower in fat and calories. Also, look for nuts with less seasoning. Many seasoned nuts are very high in salt and sugar.

Nut Butters

Peanut butter
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Peanut butter, almond butter, or other types of nut butter can be part of a healthy- high-protein snack. But its benefits will depend on the nut butter you choose, how much you consume, and 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
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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 those you roast yourself using a healthy oil, but you can also buy them in many convenience markets.

A Word From Verywell

Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps build and repair tissues including muscle. It also helps keep you feeling full and satisfied with your meals, aiding in supporting healthy body weight. Choose protein sources that provide nutrients and pair them with fiber, carbs, and healthy fats for a good balance of everything you need for an enjoyable, satisfying snack.

18 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Leidy HJ. Increased dietary protein as a dietary strategy to prevent and/or treat obesityMo Med. 2014;111(1):54-58. PMC6179508

  2. 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

  3. Egg, yolk, raw, fresh. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  4. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Snacks, beef jerky, chopped and formed

  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Turkey breast, sliced, prepackaged.

  6. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cheese, cottage, low-fat, 2% milk fat.

  7. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Peanuts, all types, raw.

  8. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Seeds, chia seeds, dried.

  9. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Edamame, frozen, prepared.

  10. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Milk, chocolate, fat free, with added vitamin A and vitamin D.

  11. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Shrimp, steamed or boiled.

  12. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Peanut butter.

  13. USDA FoodData Central. Cheese, Mozzarella, part skim

  14. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Fish, tuna, light, canned in water, without salt, drained solids.

  15. Healthy snacking. American Heart Association

  16. U.S Department of Agriculture. Nuts, cashew nuts, raw.

  17. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hummus, commercial.

  18. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Chickpeas, canned, drained, rinsed.

Additional Reading

By Malia Frey, M.A., ACE-CHC, CPT
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.