27 Healthy Protein Snacks That Actually Taste Good

Bye, 3-o'clock slump

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

healthy protein snacks: collage of high-protein snacks
Dasha Burobina for PureWow

There are a few camps snacks can fall into. Some are plain delicious (looking at you, candy jar) while some are much more utilitarian, like that handful of raw almonds we shovel into our mouths to narrowly avoid an afternoon energy crash. The ideal snack situation? A balance of satiating fiber and protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates for energy. Better yet, make it a hefty dose of protein: This nutrient is essential to keep you full between meals, which is what snacks are all about. Behold, 27 heathy protein snacks that will keep your hunger at bay…until dinnertime, anyway. We're talking oatmeal, roasted chickpeas, tinned fish and everything in between.

(Note: All nutritional info was sourced from Edamam.)

23 Low-Carb Snack Ideas You Can Make at Home

How Much Protein Should Adults Eat in a Day?

According to Harvard Medical School, the average adult needs about 53 grams of protein a day. But to be more exact, each person should consume 7 grams for every 20 pounds they weigh. The USDA's dietary guidelines also recommend eating a variety of lean proteins, such as poultry and meat, seafood, legumes, nuts and seeds to reach your daily amount. Doing this will not only keep you full and energized between meals, but it will also produce enzymes that power many chemical reactions throughout your body, as well as the hemoglobin in your blood that carries oxygen, says the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health.

1. Hummus

  • Protein: 2g/two-tablespoon serving

Hummus is packed with protein—approximately three grams for every two tablespoons—so get dipping. And it’s not just any protein. Chickpeas are high in lysine and tahini is a rich source of the amino acid methionine. Individually, these foods are incomplete proteins, but when you combine them to make hummus, they create a complete protein, which will keep you full for longer. Our go-to store-bought brand is Sabra, but hummus is also easy enough to make at home with a food processor or blender. (Hot tip: Start with spicy avocado hummus and go from there.)

2. Cheese and Crackers

  • Protein: Varies

Great news: That afternoon cheese board is actually a great snacking option if you’re looking for protein. A one-ounce piece of cheddar cheese provides 6 grams and 20 percent of your recommended daily intake of calcium. To keep your cheese board as nutritious as possible, opt for whole-grain crackers and try (try!) not to devour the entire thing yourself. Might we suggest adding roasted grapes?

3. Eggs

  • Protein: 6g/one large egg

Wait, you’re not stashing hard-boiled eggs in your bag to eat during the morning commute? Just us? You might want to hop on the bandwagon, because eggs are a fantastic way to get a ton of protein in a portable, bite-size package. One large egg contains 6 grams of protein and about 70 calories, which means you can eat a few without overdoing it. We like an eight-minute egg that’s still jammy but not messy, topped with a sprinkling of everything bagel seasoning.

4. Popcorn

  • Protein: 2g/three-cup serving

Movie theater popcorn has gotten a bad rap, but only because it’s doused in oil, salt and artificial ingredients. But popcorn on its own is actually a healthy snacking choice: Air-popped, a three-cup serving has 120 calories and 2 grams of protein. Jazz it up with a seasoning of your choice, like cayenne, garlic powder, hot sauce or hot honey (trust us, try it). If you wanted to drizzle on a little butter, we wouldn’t tell.

5. Energy Bites

  • Protein: Varies

Call ’em energy bites or protein balls—either way they’re as delicious as they are good for you. Usually made with a mix of nuts, seeds, nut butter, oats and protein powder, these no-bake treats are easy to prepare and great to keep in your fridge for hangry emergencies. Want to try your hand at making them at home? This recipe for no-bake chocolate pistachio protein balls from Cotter Crunch is a delicious place to start.

6. Homemade Granola

  • Protein: Varies

Oats are a surprisingly good source of protein, at 13 grams per half-cup serving. But we wouldn’t recommend eating dry oats out of the canister, so turn them into granola. This cocoa peanut butter granola recipe has the added benefit of peanut butter, so it offers 9 grams of protein per serving. We know what we’ll be snacking on tomorrow.

7. Greek Yogurt

  • Protein: 21g/one-cup serving of 2 percent Greek yogurt

Fun fact: Greek yogurt actually has more protein and less sugar per serving that regular yogurt, even though it’s made from the same ingredients. That’s because the liquid is strained out, leaving behind a protein-rich (and impossibly creamy) treat. That equates to a more filling snack than regular yogurt alone, according to one University of Missouri study.

A one-cup serving of 2 percent Greek yogurt has about 250 calories and 21 grams of protein per serving, not to mention 19 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium. You’ll find a container of Fage 2-percent Plain Greek yogurt in our fridge at all times. Top it with fresh berries, nuts or seeds to up the ante (or serve it with apple slices and honey for dipping).

8. Edamame

  • Protein: 13g/one (cooked) cup

Edamame are basically whole, immature soybeans, and soy equals major protein. A one-cup serving of cooked edamame provides 13 grams of protein, so it’s a simple, filling energy boost. Buy it in freeze-dried form for a convenient, on-the-go option or stock your freezer with a few bags of frozen edamame for steaming, sautéing and roasting. Pass the soy sauce, please.

9. Roasted Chickpeas

  • Protein: 21g/100 grams

Sure, you could eat plain chickpeas straight out of a can…or you could roast them with olive oil, salt and pepper for a jazzed up, protein-rich snack that’s crispy and crunchy in all the right ways. Chickpeas have 21 grams of protein per 100 grams, and you probably already have a can in your pantry. To roast them, rinse, drain and dry a can of chickpeas, then toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and any seasonings you like and roast in a 375°F oven until golden and crisp. Voilà, snack time is now.

10. Peanut Butter

  • Protein: 7g/two-tablespoon serving

Nope, peanut butter is definitely not just for sandwiches. A spoonful of peanut butter is one of our go-tos when we need something to eat, fast. “The fat and fiber in peanuts help provide satiety, or feelings of fullness,” says Dr. Felicia Stoler, DCN, a registered dietician, nutritionist and exercise physiologist. Whether you choose a natural version, a crunchy option or, our personal favorite, Creamy Jif, peanut butter packs a hefty 7 grams of protein for every two-tablespoon serving. Pair it with whole-wheat crackers, apple slices or a banana for a carbohydrate boost, or add a spoonful to a smoothie for a creamy treat. Keep a jar in your work desk or pantry (or both) so you always have a snack on hand.

11. Cottage Cheese

  • Protein: 12g/half-cup serving

Nope, it’s not just a diet food. Cottage cheese has so much protein, guys! It’s also delicious with a bit of freshly ground black pepper, or fresh fruit. Depending on the brand, a half-cup serving of cottage cheese has about 12 grams of protein and just 110 calories. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

12. Canned Tuna

  • Protein: 16g/three-ounce serving

Don’t reserve that canned tuna for lunchtime melts. It’s also a quick, substantial nosh, coming in at 16 grams of protein per three-ounce serving. And you don’t have to eat it straight of the can. Dress it up with a little mustard or mayonnaise, add some fresh black pepper and use it as a topper for crackers or toast.

13. Tinned fish

  • Protein: Varies

If you don’t have a tin of sardines tucked away in your pantry, it’s time to stock up. Sardines, anchovies and other tinned fish and seafood are an excellent source of protein, with about 20 grams per three-ounce serving, give or take. Furthermore, they have tons of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins D and B12, iron and iodine, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Not sold yet? They’re tasty on crackers and bread, drizzled with olive oil or doused in hot sauce. Buy a tin of Matiz sardines and thank us later.

14. Almonds

  • Protein: 6g/one-ounce serving

Nuts in general are an excellent source of protein, but almonds are especially so, clocking in at 6 grams per one ounce serving. And when you consider the fiber content (4 grams per serving) and the healthy fats, you’ve got a recipe for a filling, heart-healthy protein snack, says the Mayo Clinic. Luckily, there’s a huge variety in the grocery store aisle, from raw to wasabi flavored, but we usually stick with classic lightly salted. (What can we say? We’re purists.) The only caveat? Almonds (and all nuts, for that matter) are pretty calorie-dense, so watch your portions. BTW, “a handful” amounts to about 20 almonds.

15. String Cheese

  • Protein: 6g/stick

This childhood favorite happens to be a smart snack, if you’re in need of protein on-the-go. One cheese stick provides 6 grams of protein and only 1 gram of carbs, making it a good option for keto dieters. Any brand or flavor will do, but we’re partial to the O.G., mozzarella.

16. Peanut Butter Crackers

  • Protein: 4g/serving

There’s no shame in stashing a few packages of peanut butter crackers in your desk for peckish afternoons, especially considering they can contain around 4 grams of protein per serving. Even better, make your own with whole-grain crackers and your trusty jar of peanut butter. You’ve got one of those, right?

17. Trail Mix

  • Protein: Varies

Think of trail mix as having all the benefits of nuts plus some fun extras, like dried fruit, coconut flakes and, if you're lucky, chocolate. You can make your own at home or choose one at the grocery store, but try to seek out a trail mix that has around 8 grams of protein per serving for the most filling snack. (We’d be lying if we said Target Monster Trail Mix wasn’t our favorite, but it also contains 17 grams of sugar per serving—oops.) The ideal trail mix is heavy on the nuts and light on the peanut butter chips.

18. Fruit and Nut Bars

  • Protein: Varies

If granola and trail mix had a delicious baby, this would be it. Fruit and nut bars are a convenient snack, and most have about 6 grams of protein per bar. We like KIND bars because they have minimal sugar (just 5 grams per bar) and come in a wide variety of flavors, like dark chocolate sea salt and blueberry vanilla.

19. Turkey Rollups

  • Protein: 6g/one-ounce serving of deli turkey

If you have lunchmeat in your fridge, put it to good use and make a few quick turkey rollups. This more of an art than a science, and you can fill them with whatever you like (cheese, veggies, more cheese). One ounce of turkey has 6 grams of protein. Go to town.

20. Oatmeal

  • Protein: 6g/one (cooked) cup

Does it come as a surprise that oatmeal has a fair amount of protein? Even though it’s a grain, one cup of cooked oatmeal contains 6 grams of protein (and only 150 calories), making it a healthy snack that will stick to your ribs. Top it with nuts, seeds or peanut butter for an extra protein boost. Our recipe for overnight oats with peanut butter and banana makes a convenient breakfast and an even better snack.

21. Chicken Salad

  • Protein: 13g/one half-cup serving (varies)

We give you full permission to turn a lunchtime staple into a snack. Why? Because it’s a protein goldmine. One serving of our recipe for Greek yogurt chicken salad has seven grams of protein and 113 calories. It’s light yet filling, which is exactly what we need from an afternoon pick-me-up.

22. Cheese Snacks

  • Protein: 10g/serving

What the heck is a cheese snack, you ask? Good question. There’s an entire category of munchables on the market that’s made of dehydrated cheese, so it’s crispy like a cracker and cheesy like, well, cheese. One such example? Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps, which provide 9 grams of protein per serving and are made of just one ingredient: cheddar cheese.

23. Jerky

  • Protein: 9g/one-ounce serving (varies)

Backpackers and hikers are onto something: Jerky is a healthy, protein-rich snack, largely because it’s made of meat (or fish or mushrooms, if you’re into that kind of thing). A one-ounce serving of beef jerky packs a whopping 9 grams of protein. If you choose store-bought beef or turkey jerky, try to find the least processed option. Or opt to make your own, if you have a dehydrator on hand.

24. Nut Butter

  • Protein: 6g/32-gram serving (varies)

If you want the protein content of peanut butter but are allergic to peanuts (or just don’t like the taste), plenty of other nut butters offer similar nutritional content and versatility without the peanuts. Even better, many nut butters are minimally processed without mystery ingredients. Justin’s Almond Butter, for example, is made with nothing but dry roasted almonds and oil, and has 6 grams of protein per 32-gram serving. Almond butter and jelly sandwich, anyone?

25. Protein Bars

  • Protein: Varies

With a name like “protein bar,” it’s safe to say that these bars have…plenty of protein. But not all protein bars are worth relying on, as some contain lots of sugar. The healthiest, most filling options have at least 8 grams of protein, no more than 14 grams of sugar and at least 3 grams of fiber. A few bars that fit the bill include RXBAR, Simply Protein and Think! High-Protein Bars.

26. Pumpkin Seeds

  • Protein: 9g/one-ounce serving

With 9 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber per serving, roasted pepitas are sure to hold you over between meals. According to the American Sleep Association, they're a good source of the sleep-inducing mineral magnesium and amino acid tryptophan to boot, so you may want to have them as a "dessert" of sorts. They're also packed with zinc, impossibly crunchy and easy to roast at home.

27. Chia Pudding

  • Protein: 5g/serving (varies)

Not only is chia pudding beloved for being a make-ahead, nutritious snack, but it's also packed with heart-healthy fats. Chia seeds contain calcium, phosphorus, manganese and omega-3s, says Healthline. It can be made vegan if you don't consume milk, but know that using dairy will boost the protein content even more. (Psst: Try our three-ingredient recipe that's dairy-free and topped with honey and fruit.)


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...