After a long workday, that 3 p.m. slump rolls around and you start searching for a bite to tide you over. The classic vending machine options are packed with excess sugar, crazy high sodium counts and refined carbs that won’t fill you up and only provide temporary energy, only to leave you back in a slump soon thereafter.
But the perfect snack includes a balance of protein andfiber to help keep you full and prevent that dreaded blood sugar “spike” (and subsequent crash) that we get from less nutrient-dense options. Protein is made up of amino acids, or building blocks that exist in your food and body. You need these amino acids to build new tissue, support a healthy immune system, sustain energy and so much more. The classic well-known protein sources are poultry, meat, dairy products, beans and eggs. But convenient high-protein snacks can provide a smart and filling choice when you’re on-the-go.
Curious about how much protein you should eat? Well, depending on your level of physical activity, most healthy adults should aim for about 0.8 – 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That means that a sedentary adult who weighs 160lbs should be consuming on the lower end of that range, about 58 grams of protein per day (to convert your body weight from pounds to kilograms, just divide by 2.2). Reaching this number may be easier than you think; a 3 ounce chicken breast alone has about 26 grams of protein, meeting nearly half your day’s worth. Quality matters too; leaner choices and simple preparation methods are key.
When it comes to nutrient-dense snacks, you’ll want to aim for about 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving or more. But confusing claims, sneaky added sugar sources and lengthy ingredient lists can make it virtually impossible to figure out what snacks are nutritious and worth adding to your snacking regimen. That’s why food and nutrition experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab review hundreds of snacks year round, rigorously analyzing nutrition facts labels, ingredient lists and flavor profiles to bring you and your family the best of the best.
We’ve narrowed down the best healthy high-protein snacks and divided them into three categories: good sources of protein (5-9 g), excellent sources of protein (10-19 g) and very high sources of protein (20 g +).
Check out our top picks that deliver on nutrition and taste.