Here’s a scenario I’m sure you’ll be familiar with: It’s 3 p.m. and you are HUNGRY. You’re just not sure how you’re going to make it through the rest of the day without a little help from something salty or sweet. Or something salty and something sweet. Before you raid the vending machine, hold up! What your body really needs right now is some protein. Have a little protein and you’ll feel way more satiated than if you had a cookie (or three). How to get that protein? Pick up some of these high-protein snacks the next time you’re at the grocery store and stash them at your desk or in the office fridge.
Why Protein? And How Much Is Good for a Snack?
Protein helps to stabilize our blood sugar levels, it keeps our neurotransmitters working in top-notch shape, and can help keep us energized if it comes from a high-quality source. (I’m not a fan of highly processed protein bars with excessive amounts of protein and ingredients I don’t recognize — especially for a snack — so you won’t see any of those here.) I prefer getting my protein from real food! I also look out for snacks that are portion-friendly, portable, and full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals — not just protein.
Because snacks are just that (snacks!), there’s no need to go overboard. I suggest looking for treats with 5 to 10 grams of protein per serving. (Meals are more like 15 to 20 grams per serving). All of the snacks I’ve included below range from 5 to 10 grams per serving, are plant-based, and are perfect to tide you over until lunch or dinner. They all contain at least 3 grams of fiber each (most have more) and have no refined sugar, GMO ingredients, or artificial anything. And you can find all of these at most mainstream supermarkets.
Some (but not all!) Larabars are great sources of protein. The higher-protein varieties include the Peanut Butter Cookie, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Almond Butter Chocolate Chip flavors — each containing 5 grams per bar, which is pretty great for a fruit and nut bar! Keep a lookout for the new Larabar Protein bars, which have 11 grams of protein — all from plants!
2. Nature’s Path Organic Pumpkin Seed and Flax Granola
This fan-favorite granola by Nature’s Path contains 6 grams of protein per serving — without milk. It has no refined sugar, artificial ingredients, hydrogenated oils, or GMO ingredients. Containing pumpkin seeds, oats, and flax seeds, it’s a good source of not only protein but also magnesium, B vitamins, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients that make it a great snack choice. Sprinkle some on top of your favorite yogurt, eat it alone, or pair it with some fresh fruit for a more filling snack. It’s also tasty sprinkled on top of smoothies and smoothie bowls.
3. Pure Organic Ancient Grain and Nut Vanilla Almond Crispy Bar
I’m a huge fan of this brand because their bars contain simple ingredients, are delicious, are certified organic, and contain no refined sugars of any kind. Their Ancient Grain and Nut Crispy bars are also great sources of protein, containing 5 grams per bar. Made with high-protein plant-based foods — such as quinoa, almonds, and brown rice protein — these bars aren’t only tasty, but are also packed with energizing benefits! I’m partial to this Vanilla Almond flavor, but if you’re a hard-core peanut butter fan, check out the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavor!
4. Sabra Singles and Sabra Stackers
Sabra Singles hummus cups have 4 grams of protein per serving, but if you include some whole-grain crackers with your hummus, you’ll easily hit that 5 to 10 range, depending on the crackers you choose. Or for 10 grams of protein, pick up some of the Sabra Snackers — these cute little cups come with Sabra hummus and whole-grain pretzels for additional fiber and protein.
5. MaraNatha Individual Peanut Butter and Almond Butter Packs
If you’ve never heard of this brand, you should know that MaraNatha is my favorite brand of natural nut butters — they’re so smooth and creamy! I love the simple flavor of their natural almond and peanut butter products, which are both great sources of plant-based protein and have no refined sugar or hydrogenated oils. These individual packets of peanut butter and almond butter make the perfect portion-controlled snack and contain 7 to 8 grams of protein per serving. Pair a packet with fresh fruit, whole-grain crackers, or freshly cut veggies.
6. Blue Diamond Almond Lightly Salted 100-Calorie Packs
Move over, salted peanuts! Almonds are not only a great source of protein, but also high in fiber and other nutrients, making them great for energy and blood-sugar levels. I always have Blue Diamond almonds on hand because they’re fresh, high-quality, and come in all sorts of tasty varieties. Blue Diamond natural almond packets are my favorite variety, but the lightly salted variety shown here is also a great option if you’re craving something salty and want to stay away from chips.
7. Nature’s Path Organic Instant Oatmeal
Despite the bad reputation it gets (some varieties have lots of refined sugar and artificial ingredients), instant oatmeal can be healthy. Like this stuff, for example! These organic instant oatmeal packets by Nature’s Path are not only organic, but also contain no refined sugar, artificial ingredients, synthetic vitamins or minerals, or ingredients you don’t recognize. They’re also low in sodium and only contain a little natural sweetener (less than 50% of most other brands). Did I mention they each have 5 to 6 grams of protein per packet? For extra nutrition, choose the Pumpkin Spice, Blueberry Flax, and the Apple Cinnamon varieties. Craving something sweeter? Try the maple ones!
8. Silk Non-Dairy Soy Yogurt
Everyone knows regular yogurt is a great source of protein, but I’m partial to the non-dairy varieties out there because I eat a plant-based diet. Not all non-dairy yogurt alternatives are a good source of protein, however. That’s why I love Silk’s dairy-free soy milk yogurt! Silk is my favorite brand of non-dairy milk and I buy their soy milk every single week, so I was elated when they came out with a soy milk yogurt a few years ago. I’ve been a huge fan ever since because it’s smooth and creamy, contains natural probiotics, and has no artificial anything!
Silk non-dairy soy yogurt has 6 grams of protein per cup and comes in five different varieties. I love the plain and the vanilla when I want something a little sweeter. The strawberry is also a great option and is lower in sugar than other flavors.
9. Kashi Organic Whole-Wheat Biscuits
Whole-grain cereal isn’t just for breakfast! Shredded wheat-style cereal is my fave cold cereal for snacking because it has a lot going for it in terms of nutrition. Made with whole-grain wheat kernels that are shredded, woven, and baked, this cereal is filling, has no added sodium, is great for digestion, and contains 7 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving! Stay away from the frosted varieties and choose a plain or simple flavored option instead for the healthiest choice. This variety by Kashi is organic, has no refined ingredients, is low in natural sugars, and contains real cinnamon. My favorite way to eat this cereal is with some sliced frozen strawberries, extra cinnamon, and light soy milk.
What are your favorite healthy high-protein snacks to buy at the grocery store?
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