11 High-Protein Snack Ideas, Straight From Dietitians

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We don’t always treat snacks with the respect they deserve. They’re often thought of as purely functional, a stop-gap between the real eating events of the day: meals. But what you eat during your snacks can make a huge different in your energy levels and overall wellbeing. For instance, high-fiber snacks fill you up and make you regular and can even balance blood sugar. And high-protein snacks are just as important. “High-protein snacks are great because they give your body sustained energy and help you feel and stay full between meals,” Kaitlyn Willwerth, MS, RD, explains. “High-protein snacks are especially beneficial after exercise to help your body repair and regenerate after a workout.”

Sometimes it seems like all we hear about is how great protein is. It can be a little much, but the truth is that protein is pretty darn important. Like, “every system in the human body depends on it to function” important, says sports dietitian Hillary Ake, MS, RD, LD, CSSD. Our muscle, tendons, ligaments, skin, and hair all rely on protein, Ake tells POPSUGAR. Plus, we need a good amount of it. Anywhere from 10 to 35 percent of your daily intake of food should come from protein. If you eat 2,000 calories per day, 200–700 of those calories should be coming from protein, which translates into about 50–175 grams, according to the Mayo Clinic. (You can use this calculator from the USDA to get a more personalized look at your nutritional needs.)

That said, it’s important to be strategic about your protein intake. You can’t eat one protein-heavy meal and consider your daily quota hit. It’s best to have protein at all meals – including snacks, Willwerth says. Good examples of protein-rich foods include meats, fish, nuts, and legumes, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. And while you might not think of “fish” as a great snack, there are plenty of tasty high-protein snacks to choose from (including vegan and vegetarian options), from pistachios to cheese sticks. To level up your snack game, here are 11 of the best high-protein snack ideas to keep you energized and full – all recommended by registered dietitians.

– Additional reporting by Mirel Zaman

Related: Protein Before a Workout or After? Here’s What a Dietitian Says


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