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31 Healthy and Portable High-Protein Snacks
Whether it’s fueling up before hitting the gym or taking a mid-day snack break to avoid the 2 o’clock lull, high-protein snacks are the tastiest way to keep on going. Protein snacks are the perfect way to fill up just enough, and give us longer-lasting energy than the usual, carb-heavy options. Here are 31 of our favorite protein-packed snacks — one for every day of the month! We promise you won’t get sick of any of these choices.
2. Beef or Turkey Jerky: Be careful to avoid sodium- and sugar-filled brands, but low-sodium, natural, or lightly-flavored options are a great source of protein. And this chewy snack is super-portable and keeps fresh for months when packed properly. A one-ounce serving (the size of most single-serve packs) contains about 9 grams of protein!
3. Mixed Nuts or Trail Mix: This is a favorite in the Greatist office. Mixed nuts are an easy way to get a delicious dose of protein in a convenient, shelf-stable package. Try a mixed bunch for variety and a combo with dried fruit for some added sweetness. The best bang for your protein buck? Almonds and Pistachios are high up there in protein while comparably lower in saturated fat than their nutty peers.
4. Pumpkin Seeds: Those orange gourds aren’t just for Halloween. The pumpkin insides, scooped out to make room for spooky faces, can actually make a healthy little snack once they’re washed, dried, and nicely roasted! Just ½ cup of pumpkin seeds has about 14 grams of protein — the perfect pre-workout snack!
(Also Check Out: 50 Awesome Pre and Post-Workout Snacks)
5. Hard-Boiled Egg: Inexpensive and loaded with nutrients, eggs are one of the best ways to get a healthy dose of protein. Try hard boiling and pre-peeling a dozen at the start of the week and throw one in a small Tupperware container each day for an easy on-the-go snack. (Feeling extra famished? Slice the egg and place it on a piece of whole-wheat bread.)
6. Deli Rollup: Top 2 slices of low-sodium deli meat (turkey, chicken, or roast beef work great!) with 1 slice of lowfat cheese and a shake of pepper. Add a slice of tomato or some lettuce for extra veggie points!
7. Nut Butter Boat: Any vehicle for nut butter (almond, peanut, or cashew, perhaps?) is perfection in our book. Try loading a few celery sticks with 1 tablespoon of any nut butter topped with a few whole almonds or raisins (oh yeah, we went there). If you’re not a fan of celery, try scooping out the middle of an apple and fill it with a nut buttery surprise!
8. Mini Bean-and-Cheese Quesadilla: It might take an extra minute to prep, but combining these two high-protein treats is worth it! Fold ½ cup black beans, 1 tablespoon salsa, and 1 slice cheddar cheese in a small soft tortilla. Cook in a dry nonstick pan until cheese is melted and tortilla is lightly browned. Wrap in foil and stick in a plastic baggie for easy transport.
9. Shake It Up: The combinations are endless with protein shakes. And one scoop can go a long way! Our favorites? The "Protein Creamsicle" — 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, 1 cup orange juice, and 1 cup ice blended until smooth — (thanks @JCDFitness!), and the "Star-buffs Shake" — 1 cup iced coffee (with ice) and 1 scoop chocolate whey protein, blended — a caffeine-filled creation from Greatist's fitness editor, Jordan Shakeshaft.
10. KIND Bar: We're not huge supporters of prepackaged bars, smoothies, and the like, but we make an exception for KIND bars. Their classic varieties are a great source of protein from the all-nut base (coming in at around 5 grams per bar), but for an even higher dose of the good stuff, try Kind Plus varieties with added protein. (An office favorite is Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein — one bar has 7 grams!)
11. Easy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie: Flash back to elementary school snack time with this sweet (but still healthy!) treat. In a microwave-safe bowl (or mug), mix ¼ cup oats, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour (of your choice), 1 egg white, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon raisins. Flatten mixture into bottom of bowl and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Cool, pop it out of the bowl, and enjoy!
12. Tofu Sticks: This soybean-based protein bomb isn’t just for stir-fry and Asian takeout menus! When sliced into sticks and baked, firm (and smoked!) tofu can make a great snack food, especially if it’s served with a side of homemade tomato or teriyaki dipping sauce — just don’t overdo it!
13. Chunky Monkey Shake: It’s time to get funky, monkey! Blend 1 medium banana, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, and 1 cup of low-fat chocolate milk with 1 cup of ice for a protein-packed pick-me-up.
14. Edamame Poppers: The only thing more fun than how much protein you can get from a serving of edamame is getting to eat these little beans out of their bright green pods! One cup of the pods offers about 17 grams of protein. Buy them fresh and steam for about 6 minutes, or use the pre-cooked frozen variety and briefly microwave to defrost (about 2 minutes) before chowing down.
15. Hummus Dippers: How’s this for an unconventional use of a travel coffee mug: Put 2 tablespoons of a favorite hummus in the bottom of the container. Stick a handful of vegetable sticks (carrots, celery, and snow peas are a great mix!) vertically in the hummus, screw on the top, and throw in a purse or gym bag for an easy, on-the-go, super-healthy snack.
16. Soy Milk Smoothie: Time to take a break from the moo-juice! While cow’s milk does have it’s nutritional benefits (calcium and vitamin A, to name a few), soy milk wins in a few categories (vitamin D and iron), and they’re nearly comparable in terms of protein. Try blending 1 cup of your favorite flavor of soy milk (vanilla and chocolate are Greatist favorites) with 1 cup of frozen blueberries or raspberries (for added fiber and antioxidants).
17. Portable Cheese Platter: Everyone wants to feel classy every once in a while, right? Make yourself a mini cheese plate with a reduced-fat cheese stick (or 2 slices of cheese), two whole-grain crackers, and a few roasted almonds.
18. Banana Nutter: Few pairings are more comforting than a classic peanut butter and banana combo. Top a rice cake (brown rice for extra fiber points!) with 2 tablespoons of your favorite nut butter and half a banana, sliced. Sprinkle with cinnamon for some extra healthy benefits!
19. Silver Dollar Protein Pancakes: Props to Greatist contributor Laura Skladzinski for this killer recipe. Mix 4 egg whites, ½ cup of rolled oats, ½ cup of low-fat cottage cheese, ⅛ teaspoon of baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Cook on a preheated griddle (medium low heat) until mixtures bubbles, flip and cook for another 60 seconds. Top with fresh berries or sliced banana.
20. Chocolate Milk: No, we're not going back to preschool. Low-fat chocolate milk is actually a great source of high-quality protein (especially post-workout)! Try keeping a single-serving, shelf-stable box in your gym bag (or purse) for snack attack emergencies — just try to find one that’s also low in sugar! (I’m a huge fan of Horizon Dairy's single-serve, low-fat chocolate milk boxes.)
21. “Get Greek” Berry Parfait: Just imagine sitting on a Greek isle with this snack in hand. Top ½ cup plain Greek yogurt with ½ cup fresh berries and 1 tablespoon sliced roasted almonds.
22. Grape-and-Cheese Sticks: This is my childhood favorite! Dice a half-inch thick slice of cheddar cheese into squares (you should end up with about 6 small pieces, equaling about 1 ounce) and rinse 6 grapes. On 6 toothpicks, stack the grape and cheese, and enjoy! Just 1 ounce of reduced-fat sharp cheddar offers 8 grams of protein, and the contrast with sweet grapes is super sophisticated (and delicious).
23. Almond Butter Toast Sticks: Here’s another one to fit in that travel mug or mason jar. Toast (or bake) 2 slices of whole-grain bread, and cut into ½-inch strips. Place 2 tablespoons of almond butter (or another nut butter) in the bottom of a container with a top, stick the toast sticks in vertically, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Screw on the top and head out the door!
24. A Little Lentil: We know what you’re thinking: “Lentils? As a snack?!” Yes! Don’t worry, we’re not talking about a bowl of the bland ol’ green things. Lentils are great protein-packed legumes that are easy to turn into super, shelf-stable salads. One cup has a whopping 22 grams of protein in just 300 calories! Not sure where to start? Try this lentil tabbouleh or this simple veggie and lentil mix.
25. Perfect Little Parfait: Top ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt with a handful of fruit (fresh or frozen) and a drizzle of honey. Add 2 tablespoons of toasted oats for a protein-packed crunch!
26. Mini Black-Bean Mash Taco: When it’s time to get spicy, try this easy snack fix. Heat ½ cup of black beans in the microwave with 1 tablespoon of salsa. Mash with a fork and fold it inside a small (4 to 6-inch) soft tortilla. Store in a small Tupperware container for easy transport.
27. Gobble, Gobble: Re-visit Thanksgiving with this festive favorite. Slice one piece of whole-grain bread in half, lengthwise, and top with 2 slices of roasted turkey, 1 slice of Swiss cheese, 1 lettuce leaf, 1 slice of tomato, 1 teaspoon of mustard, and 1 teaspoon of dried cranberries. This comforting combination packs about 14 grams of protein!
28. Protein Bar: This one might sound obvious, but hear us out: It’s all about finding the right bar. That means one that’s not weighed down with not-so-good extras like sugar, fat, and calories (some options can even be as bad as candy bars!). Do some research to figure which type is right for you: There are high-protein andlow-carb bars; meal replacement and energy bars; or female-friendly options!
29. Overnight Choco-Oats: This is the ultimate personally pre-packaged snack. In a container with a secure lid, mix ½ cup oats, 1 cup non-dairy milk, 3 tablespoons chocolate protein powder, and a handful of walnuts until well combined. Let sit in fridge overnight (or up to a few days). Need some extra sweetness? Add ½ a banana, mashed!
31. Blueberry Flax Microwave Muffins: Making muffins from scratch each morning is easier than you might think. Mix ¼ cup quick-cooking oats, 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 2 tablespoons ground flax, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 2 egg whites, and a sprinkle of sugar (or other natural sweetener) in a microwave-safe Tupperware container. Cook on high for 50 to 60 seconds. Let it cool, throw a top on it, and enjoy whenever the hunger pangs hit.
Do you fill up on protein or carbs? And what are your favorite protein-packed snacks? Let us know in the comments below!
Comments Leave a comment
Hmm- Did you leave out egg whites on the Oatmeal Cookie recipe?
In the blueberry flax muffins..I dont see amounts for berries or flax?
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Amazing recipes i will try they looks good for my health.
Wouldyou pls send me the recipe of almond butter!!
Hard boiled eggs d´not make to raise the cholesterol?
This list is absolutely awesome. For some reason, I could never find a list of snacks that fit my diet, and Larabars and smoothees do get boring. I still have to pick and choose (dairy allergic and no grains/sugar). But, I am very happy to have some more options.
I was surprised to not see Larabars on the list since Kind bars showed up. There are several homemade recipes that mimic Larabars on the internet.
Here is another one that PhatBurns head chef Tim Horan got from Greg Avedon's cook book called peanut butter muscle bombs. It takes some preparation but you can make a bunch at a time and enjoy them for a while. They are awesome and a favorite of many of our customers at PhatBurn.com
Give it a try...Mario Trotta
2 cups all-natural unsalted crunchy peanut butter, drained of separated oil2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder1/4 cup molasses1 tablespoon molasses2 tablespoons whole flaxseeds
1.In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients. This takes some muscle.
2.Form the mixture into walnut-size balls. Place in a container lined with waxed paper or parchment, separating each layer with another sheet of waxed paper or parchment.
3.Chill in the freezer or fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. (I like them best frozen, but it's your call.)
Great post! We travel with our kids quite a bit and most of the snacks that are easy and convenient aren't always the healthiest so this gives us some great ideas. Thanks!
Great list. This will help me mix things up a bit!
What a fantastic protein list especially for vegetarians with fuzzy kids. I see many snacks on here that would be ideal. We have been experimenting with Tofu smoothies and protein bars for road trips so your list will come in vary handy for our fuzzy eaters.
A wonderful new protein bar that I have discovered is a Marigold bar. Absolutely all natural ingredients. For more info - go to facebook and type in Marigold Bars.
This is a great list. I love hummus and created my own recipe. What I do is mash up chick peas and add peanut butter, honey and raisins. It's great on its own or on toast. It travels well also.
I recently analyzed protein supplements (50 brands). While I was at it, I compared the cost per 1 gram of protein from a typically priced protein supplement with both beef and chick peas. All of this is on my blog. It's crazy, but protein supplements, as expensive as they are, cost far less per 1 gram of protein than both beef and chick peas.
I'm not saying to get all of your protein from supplements; however, if you're building muscle and need protein and are cost-conscious, when you compare protein sources, it's best to calculate the cost per 1 gram of protein. Naturally varied protein sources are best, but it never hurts to actually analyze the cost on an apples-to-apples basis, which is cost per gram of protein.
@JonDyer Thanks for the chick peas / peanut butter idea
@JonDyer Would you be willing to share your protein supplement comparisons? If not, would you be willing to share the top 5 or so? What variables did you compare? I would really love to skip having to do this myself! I'm not lazy--really, I'm not-- I'm just tired of analyzing everything in everything I eat. If someone else has already done this, as you have, I would be so grateful to know your results!
Is there something missing in the overnight choco-oats recipe? Mine is just soupy...
Love these ideas, especially the boiled eggs one - simple but very handy. THANKS.
One of my all time favorite protein snacks is what I like to call peanut butter yum yums, they taste like peanut butter cookie dough but are healthy! Mix together approximately equal parts protein powder and peanut butter until it is no longer crumbly but adheres together into a ball. I'll include the actuall recipe I use below but keep in mind that the ratios may change depending on the type of protein and nut butter used:
3/4 scoop myofusion protein powder (vanilla is my favorite)
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
- mash together with a fork adding more peanut butter, if need, to make the mix adhere.
Resist the urge to 1) bake it into cookies as it simply doesn't work
2) add a mashed banana - since most protein powders are designed to dissolve readily in water based liquids (water, milk, juice etc.) adding a banana (which contains a lot of water) results in a gooey (but also quite tasty) mash; the oil in the peanut butter doesn't dissolve the protein powder resulting in a firm, pack able little ball! Enjoy!!
@Blyssp This sounds awesome! Will have to try it out soon. Thanks for the recipe!
@Blyssp Love anything with peanut butter. Thanks for sharing.
Definitely going to try the Chunky Monkey
So much of this is just ill-informed and wrong.