When you get hungry between meals, it can be tempting to reach for a muffin from the coffee shop. (I know I have a real weakness for Starbucks' lemon poppy seed muffins.) But the body digests carbohydrates faster than protein, which means picking a snack that's high in protein can actually help keep you full longer than a sugar-bomb that leaves you looking for more snacks an hour later.
If you're trying to fit more protein in your diet, or just looking for convenient, between-meal snacks that will keep you feeling full and focused longer, here are some of the best snacks you can grab.
1. Siggi's No-Added-Sugar Yogurt, $2 for 125 grams
Siggi's Icelandic-style yogurt is famous for having less sugar than other yogurt brands, and this no-added-sugar variety has even less than standard Siggi's. It's mixed with fruit, so it tastes sweet and creamy and not as tart as just eating plain yogurt, but aside from the fruit there are no other sweeteners or sugar added to it. Honestly, you won't even miss the sugar — the fruit is sweet enough! One serving of Siggi's No-Added-Sugar yogurt has 120 calories, 10 grams of protein, and just five grams of sugar.
2. Biena Chickpea Snacks, $4 for five ounces
These crunchy, roasted chickpea snacks have six grams of protein per quarter cup, and chickpeas are rich in fiber and have 70 percent less fat than peanuts. They come in a variety of flavors like barbecue, honey roast, and sea salt, but the most exciting thing about them is that they're even available in Girl Scouts Thin Mints flavor. "Those have four grams of protein per serving along with four grams of fiber," says registered dietician Lauren Manaker of Nutrition Now Counseling. "For when you need protein but really want cookies."
3. Raw Rev Glo Bars, $18 for 12 bars
These gluten-free, vegan protein bars come in flavors like Creamy Peanut Butter & Sea Salt, which has 15 grams of protein and fewer than 200 calories. "These bars are also loaded with both fiber and protein — the combination of the two provide a steady blood glucose level with sustained energy for hours," says Austin-based nutritionist Brooke Ziegler. "I recommend these bars to all my clients!"
4. Julian Bakery ProGranola, $12 for 19.5 ounces
"While many granolas on the market can be loaded with calories, fat, and sugar, ProGranola has really impressive nutrition facts," says Zeigler. "For 1/2 cup, it has only 97 calories, 4.5 grams fat, and zero sugar! It is also loaded with a whopping 12 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber in a serving. I love pairing this granola with high-protein yogurt and mixed berries for a filling breakfast!"
5. KIND Protein bars, $18 for 12 bars
KIND bars taste like candy bars, and their new line of souped-up protein bars each have 12 grams of protein and eight grams of sugar. They don't have that grainy "protein bar" taste to them, either. Really, they mostly taste like nuts and chocolate. Frances Largeman-Roth, registered dietician nutritionist and author of Eating in Color, loves them: "They pack in 12 grams of plant-based protein, mostly from nuts (which is rare for protein bars). They also have 5 grams of fiber per bar, making them a satisfying snack to fuel you throughout the day."
6. Enlightened Broad Bean Crisps, $17 for six, three-ounce packs
"My favorite store-bought snack is Enlightened Roasted Broad Bean Crisps," says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. "They contain about seven grams of protein and five grams of fiber per one-ounce serving, all for 100 calories. The ingredients are simple and they are also gluten-free and vegan. An excellent non-perishable snack for summer outings, your gym bag, or your desk drawer."
7. Epic Provisions All-Natural Meat Bar, $25 for 12 bars
Epic meat bars are one of the top-selling snacks on Amazon, and they're beloved among the Whole30 crowd and people who follow protein-heavy diets. The chicken Sriracha option has 15 grams of protein, zero sugar, and only one gram of carbs total.
8. Lorissa's Kitchen Grass-Fed Beef Sticks, $24 for 12 sticks
I can't see a beef stick without hearing Macho Man Randy Savage shout, "Snap into a Slim Jim!" but these new beef sticks from Lorissa's Kitchen are made with 100-percent grass-fed beef with no artificial preservatives, added sugar, or added nitrites. Each stick has six grams of protein and one gram of sugar.
Christina Meyer-Jax, RDN, says these are a family favorite. "We love that there are six grams of protein, and only one to two grams of sugar in each stick, so they meet all of my nutrition requirements. They're easy to toss in a lunch box or gym bag for those moments when we just need a snack while on the go."
What's your favorite snack when you're trying to eat more protein?