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Low-Calorie, High-Protein Snacks for Nutritional Balance

Dec 23, 2023 By Madison Evans

When hunger hits without time for a meal, quick snacks might rescue the day. Common snacks include refined carbohydrates and sugars, which may cause dissatisfaction and hunger. The secret to effective snacking lies in choosing nutritious options rich in protein. Protein is essential for promoting a sense of fullness. It triggers hormones that suppress appetite, slow digestion, and help maintain steady blood sugar levels.

Many foods are high in protein. Protein-rich foods include meats, eggs, fish, and dairy products. Nuts, legumes, and beans also contain protein, although in smaller proportions. Vegans and vegetarians must consume plant-based proteins daily to satisfy protein needs. Diversifying protein sources helps achieve dietary goals and general health. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends diversifying protein sources with seafood and plant-based proteins to promote health in many Americans.

Greek Yogurt Parfait

Greek yogurt is a nutritious snack, boasting 20 grams of protein in just a 200-gram serving. Its higher protein content compared to regular yogurt makes it more satisfying. Rich in calcium, it's great for bone health. Amp up its appeal by layering a cup of Greek yogurt with granola and mixed berries to create a delicious parfait. Adding half a cup of granola brings an extra 4 grams of protein. It adds more calories, so consider this an occasional treat rather than a daily snack, depending on your calorie intake goals.

Veggie Snacks with a Protein Twist

Vegetables are a healthy snack choice but fall short in protein. To boost the protein content, pair them with a homemade yogurt dip. You can make this dip by blending Greek yogurt with herbs and flavors like dill and lemon juice. Greek yogurt is a superior choice for more protein, containing about 10 grams per 100 grams. Prepare a batch of this yogurt dip in advance and portion it into snack-size servings for a convenient, protein-rich dip.

Homemade Jerky

Jerky is lean meat cut into strips and dried and a protein-packed and convenient snack. Beef jerky has nine grams of protein/oz. Although beef, chicken, turkey, and fish jerky are popular, store-bought types sometimes include sweeteners and artificial substances. Consider making your jerky at home with meat and simple seasonings for a healthier choice.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Eggs are rich in B vitamins and trace elements. An adaptable and portable snack, eggs that have been hard-boiled are great. One hard-boiled egg has 6 grams of protein, keeping you satisfied and preventing overeating. Their nutrient density and fullness factor make them a smart snack option.


Cheese provides health advantages and is handy. It's rich in phosphorus, calcium, selenium, and other minerals. Cheese is very high in protein. One slice of cheddar has 7 grams of protein, satisfying hunger. Studies suggest it cuts calories. According to one research, cheese low calorie snacks at night reduced calorie intake by 9% in overweight individuals. According to another research, cheese, and veggies filled kids up with fewer calories than potato chips. Due to its calories, cheese should be eaten in moderation, around 1 to 2 ounces (28 to 57 grams).

Roasted Chickpeas

Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans as many call them in the States, also have a lot going on. They're packed with fiber and provide an acceptable alternative for vegetarians seeking plant-based protein options. Therefore, they are perfect snacks for vegetarians and vegans. In a typical size serving of one half-cup cooked (82 g), chickpeas provide about 7 grams of protein and 6 grams. the nutrients found in chickpeas have been shown to reduce risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. One of the prime ways to serve chickpeas is by roasting them with olive oil and simple seasonings. The result is crunchy snacks that can be eaten on the way.

Apple and Peanut Butter

One of the best high-protein and low calorie snacks at night you'll ever get. Apples are full of fiber and antioxidants, which improve gut health and may help prevent heart disease. But peanut butter is good for your heart. It raises HDL (good) cholesterol and lowers LDL (bad) and triglycerides. Peanut butter, although nutritious, is high in calories. A snack comprising a medium-sized apple with two tablespoons (30 grams) of peanut butter delivers about 9 grams of protein and other nutrients like vitamin C and potassium.

Protein Bars

Protein low calorie snacks bars provide a quick way to add protein. Nevertheless, most commercial protein bars also add sugars, sweeteners, and other unessential ingredients. A healthier option would be to create protein bars from a mix of seeds, dried fruit, and protein powder. This homemade version can provide approximately 9 grams of protein per bar. You can adjust the recipe to your liking, such as omitting a chocolate topping for a less calorie-dense snack. If you prefer buying protein bars, opt for those with minimal additives and healthier ingredient profiles.

Chia Pudding

Trendy chia pudding with plenty of protein, but also yummy and nutritious. It is one of the best low calorie snacks. A mere ounce of chia seeds provides a big four grams of protein. It also contains calcium, phosphorus, and manganese. Of all grains, chia seeds have the highest content of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating chia seeds, for instance, lowers triglycerides and might prevent heart disease. You can use regular cow's milk or substitute protein-fortified soy to make a chia pudding. Soak the chia seeds in whatever kind of milk you want until they swell and everything comes together as a pudding. Enhance the flavor with vanilla, cocoa, or other additives. Try a caramel topping or simply garnish the pudding with fresh fruit for an indulgent twist.

The Bottom Line

Having high-protein snacks handy is crucial, especially when hunger strikes between meals. They are essential for keeping you full and satisfied. While it's easy to fall back on less healthy options, numerous healthy and portable choices are available that are perfect for busy lifestyles. These snacks provide the necessary nutrition and cater to those times when you're short on time but still want something wholesome to eat.

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