You Need to Try These Creative High-Protein Snacks If You’re Constantly Hungry Between Meals (2024)

You Need to Try These Creative High-Protein Snacks If You’re Constantly Hungry Between Meals (1)

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We’ve all been there: The mid-afternoon slump has hit and your stomach is rumbling. Lunch feels like a distant memory; dinner like a far-off dream. You need a snack, and fast—but you end up reaching for a candy bar, chips, or a cookie, which ends up making you even more tired in the long run. What you really need is a high-protein snack to keep you feeling full until your next meal.

When between-meal hunger strikes, the type of snack you choose determines how the rest of your day will go (and whether you’ll make it to the next meal-time without feeling peckish again). Something sugary and full of simple carbs may cause your energy levels to take a nosedive, causing you to overeat. One study showed that there was a significant relationship between simple carbohydrate consumption and fatigue.

A snack with plenty of protein, meanwhile, will keep you feeling satisfied for longer, and in fewer bites. “Ensuring your snacks have protein can help prevent mindless munching during the day that can add empty calories to your diet,” says Elizabeth Shaw, R.D.N., C.P.T., a California-based dietitian and author.

Why are high-protein snacks better than others?

When you dig into a high-protein snack, your body will digest it slowly, helping you feel fuller longer, but for less calories per gram of food compared to other nutrients that come at a higher calorie count, like fats, says Dani Levy-Wolins, R.D., in-house dietitian at meal-delivery service Thistle.

“I like to pair protein-rich ingredients with foods that offer healthy fats and fiber, both of which also help keep you satiated,” says Amy Gorin, R.D.N., a dietitian based in New York City. “If you eat a snack that’s mainly carbs, you’ll likely be hungry again a lot more quickly.” Animal products and plant-based options pack in protein, while fruits and veggies offer plenty of fiber, Levy-Wolins notes. A small amount of fat will likely already be present in whichever food you choose to snack on.

How much protein should a snack have?

Most nutrition experts agree 10 to 15 grams of protein is a good amount for a snack. “I would consider anything more than 15 grams as more of a mini-meal, so 10 grams is the sweet spot,” says Shaw.

You should also watch the number of calories in your snack, since it’s easy to go overboard with packaged options or calorie-rich foods like nuts. Levy-Wolins suggests figuring out how many calories you need in a day, plus how many you get at each meal—for example, if you have a 2,000-calorie plan and eat 500 calories three times a day, you have 500 extra calories to spread throughout the day. Most people, Shaw says, should stick to snacks of 300 calories or less.

With that, this list of high-protein snacks features healthy combos that contain plenty of fiber and healthy fats in the mix. Reach for one when you need something tasty to beat hunger between meals.

1

Blood Orange and Coconut Chia Pudding

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Searching for a vegan recipe that’ll satisfy your cravings? Look no further—this fruit-filled, plant-based pudding has an incredible 9 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber per serving. Bonus: It doubles as a commuter-friendly breakfast too.

Protein: 9 grams per serving

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2

Deviled Eggs With Pickled Shallots

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If you’re feeding a crowd (or just craving a springtime favorite), prep these classic deviled eggs, which pack 4 grams of protein into each bite. Served with home-pickled shallots and dill, they’re a step up from a regular old hard-boiled egg.

Protein: 4 grams per egg

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3

Lemony Whipped Goat Cheese

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Buttery, fresh, and satisfying, this goat cheese spread is exactly what you’ve been looking for. Every bite includes fruits and veggies, too, meaning you don’t have to worry about any empty calories.

Protein: 8 grams per three pieces

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4

Greek Yogurt Dip

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Greek yogurt isn’t just for eating with a spoon. Grab a fiber-rich fruit or veggie, like apples or celery sticks, and get dippin’. Mix some yogurt with honey, or even peanut butter powder for the easiest protein-packed dip around. Fancy something savory (and a little bit fancy)? Try this spiced chickpea Greek yogurt dip.

Protein: 10 grams per 1/3 cup

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5

Spinach and Cheese Pita Pizzas

We’ve all wished we could order a pizza as soon as that first pang of afternoon hunger hits. This recipe delivers on that craving: It’s got plenty of greens and all the cheese you could want, and it takes just 20 minutes to prepare. You’ll even make your own tomato salad, too.

Protein: 12 grams per serving

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6

Spinach and Goat Cheese Egg Muffins

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Eggs boast an impressive 6 grams of protein per large egg, but you may not always have time to whip up an omelet. Instead, cook up egg muffins, which pack the flavor of eggs, peppers, spinach, and goat cheese into one bite-sized snack.

Protein: 8 grams per 2 muffins

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7

Yellow Split Pea Dip

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Feast your eyes on this nutritious dip, which quells cravings with 6 grams of protein and just 133 calories per serving. Dip baby carrots, celery, pita chips, or basically anything else you have on hand—it’ll all taste good.

Protein: 6 grams per serving

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8

Nectarine Bruschetta

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Name a better combo than crusty bread, ricotta, and stone fruit. We’ll wait. Combined with honey, olive oil, and cracked black pepper, that trio is enough to make even the dreariest day feel magical.

Protein: 9 grams per serving

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9

Broccoli Gruyère Tots

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These tater-less tots are loaded with calcium and protein, plus a hefty dose of comfort. This recipe makes four servings of indulgent (but still healthy) bites that provide just the right ratio of veggies to cheese. Plus, they’re less than 200 calories per serving, meaning you can totally go for seconds.

Protein: 12 grams per serving

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10

Shrimp and Grapefruit Hand Rolls

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With 4 grams of protein and just 107 calories per roll, these snacks are perfect for sharing or eating alone as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Plus, they take just 10 minutes to make, meaning you don’t have to spend tons of time preparing your snack.

Protein: 4 grams per roll

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11

Roasted Pepper and Aioli Flatbread

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This flatbread is completely vegan, but it packs in a whopping 9 grams of protein per piece thanks to chickpea flour. It’s delicious topped with peppers, paprika, and plant-based mayo, but you can also make the flatbread on its own for a lighter snack.

Protein: 9 grams per piece

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12

Cottage Cheese Toast

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Toast can be a high-protein snack to enjoy morning, noon, and night, says Shaw. “Using your favorite whole-grain toast as a base, mix a little cinnamon and a dash of honey with full-fat cottage cheese and slather it on toast,” she says.

Protein: 14 grams per slice

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13

Chia Seed Pudding

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Everyone could use a sweet pick-me-up in their day, and this chia pudding does the trick. It’s the ideal combination of tasty treat, protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Plus, it’s beyond simple to meal prep for a grab-and-go snack. In a small container, combine 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1/4 cup chia seeds, 2 tablespoons honey, and 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with any fruits you have, like blueberries, bananas, or dates. Stir it together and refrigerate overnight. If you’re following a plant-based diet, try this vegan-friendly coconut chia pudding!

Protein: 14 grams per serving

14

Protein Bars

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“Homemade protein bars can be a great thing to prep ahead and keep around to satisfy your snack cravings,” Shaw says. “I also love that you can really customize these,” she adds. Many recipes require simple ingredients like oats, dates, nuts, and protein powder. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Shaw’s raw chocolate peanut butter protein bars. (But hey, store-bought bars are great, too).

Protein: 12 grams per bar

15

Edamame

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When hunger strikes, don’t head to the fridge. Instead, look to the freezer for your favorite microwaveable sushi appetizer. These green bean pods serve up plant-based protein and gut-filling fiber for just 95 calories per serving.

Protein: 9 grams per 1/2 cup

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16

Black Bean Wrap

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If you had a sad desk lunch and need a little protein to power you through the afternoon, roll up a black bean and hummus wrap. Cut a whole wheat tortilla in half and fill with a ½ cup of black beans, ¼ cup of hummus, a tablespoon of chopped bell pepper, a teaspoon of diced red onion, and a squeeze of lime juice. Because who doesn’t want to feel like they’re having a Mexican fiesta for a snack?

Protein: 9 grams per wrap

17

Jerky

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Artisanal jerky is going mainstream, and this dried meat delicacy is packed with protein. Brands like Krave and Epic make interesting flavors, such as bacon cranberry and chili lime. If jerky is a rare treat, feel free to opt for any type of meat that satisfies your taste buds. But if it’s already a favorite in your regular snack rotation, try to look for jerky options that are made with salmon, turkey, or chicken for a leaner piece of protein.

Protein: 9 grams per ounce (about the size of half a bag, one bar, or one stick)

18

Black Bean Salsa

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Don’t have tortillas? No problem—throw together a few simple ingredients to make a protein-rich vegan salsa. The combination of black beans, tomato, orange juice, and tomato makes the quickest and most flavorful salsa recipe that you’ll want to put on everything from crackers to crudité.

Protein: 8 grams per 1/3 cup

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19

String Cheese

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Serious question: Do you peel your string cheese or take a bite out of it? Either way you decide to eat it, this portable snack contains just 80 calories per stick. Bonus: each stick consists of a healthy dose of bone-building calcium.

Protein: 7+ grams per stick

20

Protein Smoothie

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High-protein smoothies can be made in so many different ways, but it’s best to opt for ones that have quality protein in the form of Greek yogurt, milk, or nut butter. “This coffee-flavored smoothie is full of protein-offering ingredients, like soy milk and Greek yogurt,” says Gorin. For a fruit-based smoothie, try this immune-boosting tropical sunshine smoothie—and feel free to add protein powder to your blender masterpiece.

Protein: 10+ grams per smoothie

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Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

Registered Dietitian

Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD is a New York City-based dietitian, food and nutrition writer, national speaker and owner of Nutrition a la Natalie, a sports nutrition practice. She developed a love for cooking, nutrition and fitness as an adult, which prompted a career change from advertising to nutrition. She spends most of her spare time running along the NYC waterfront and creating (and photographing) healthy and tasty recipes.

You Need to Try These Creative High-Protein Snacks If You’re Constantly Hungry Between Meals (23)

Madeleine Haase

Madeleine, Prevention’s assistant editor, has a history with health writing from her experience as an editorial assistant at WebMD, and from her personal research at university. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience—and she helps strategize for success across Prevention’s social media platforms.

You Need to Try These Creative High-Protein Snacks If You’re Constantly Hungry Between Meals (2024)

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