9 Best High-Protein Snacks for Rapid Weight Loss
Some people assume that in order to lose weight they have to just eat less, but this isn't true. Losing weight in a healthy, sustainable way is about getting enough nutrients and choosing healthy foods that you actually enjoy eating that you can add to your daily diet.
If you've set a weight loss goal for yourself, finding healthy foods to eat throughout the day is important. This is especially true for snacks in between meals. If you can find healthy, high-protein snacks that you enjoy, you'll be less tempted to chow down on junk food or snacks that are going to leave you feeling hungrier and unsatisfied.
Continue reading to learn about some high-protein snack options that can help you meet your weight loss goals. And for more healthy eating ideas, check out 6 Best Eating Habits for Rapid Weight Loss.
A quick and easy snack that you can take anywhere with you are pistachios.
"Pistachios are a natural source of protein along with fiber and healthy fats that can help promote satiety. Plus, eating pistachios that are still in their shell may help with weight loss even more, as the leftover shells can act as a 'cue.' The act of opening each pistachio shell to get out the nut slows down the eating process, which can lead to greater satisfaction and allow people to pay attention to hunger cues. Data shows that eating pistachios in the shell can help people manage the serving size eaten," says Eat This, Not That! medical expert board member Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility.
Hard boiled eggs
Eggs have many health benefits, and eating hard-boiled ones makes for a quick and convenient snack.
"Hard-boiled eggs are packed with high-quality protein in a convenient package. Plus, these snacks are loaded with weight management-supporting nutrients and some fat to help the cause even more," says Manaker.
Protein bars can be a healthy snack option if you find the ones that are not only high in protein but low in added sugars.
"Eating a protein bar is one of the best high-protein snacks for weight loss that you can find. The good ones will typically have 15-20g of protein per serving, along with other vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and B Vitamins. You'll want to stay away from protein bars that have added sugars or artificial flavors. Nonetheless, protein bars are great for keeping you full, building muscle, reducing fat, and ultimately helping you in your weight loss journey," says Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD, author at Go Wellness.
Cottage cheese is a great snack not only for its protein content but because of its versatility as well. You can eat it on its own or pair it with your favorite fruit.
"Cottage cheese is sometimes used as a side dish, but many people that are on a high-protein diet will eat cottage cheese as a snack, and it's very high in protein. For example, one cup of cottage cheese is roughly 25 grams of protein. It's also an excellent source of calcium. With that much protein and other great sources of minerals, cottage cheese is one of the best high-protein snacks for those trying to lose weight," says D'Angelo.
Beef jerky is the perfect on-the-go snack option, and it's packed with plenty of protein.
"Consuming a moderate amount of beef jerky is a great option when you need a convenient source of protein. Typically, you can get up to 9 grams of protein per 1 ounce with only 80 calories. It's also high in many vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, vitamin B12, folate, and phosphorus. One of the best things about beef jerky is that you can take it on the go, which makes it a great option when trying to hit your protein goals," says D'Angelo.
Almond butter & apple
Sometimes the perfect snack is a combination of your favorite fruit and a healthy nut butter.
"Almond butter, in particular, packs a significant amount of nutrients like monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, fiber, and protein. While the fat content may scare the novice healthy snacker away, the quality of fat and nutrients make it a much better option than chips or pastries," says registered dietitian Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements.
Greek yogurt & berries
If you're looking for a snack on the sweeter side that is still low in added sugar, you may want to try a Greek yogurt and mixed berry combo.
"Greek yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and protein. Eating yogurt on a regular basis can improve your health in many ways, especially as it relates to weight loss. It is important to pay special attention to the quality of the yogurt you consume in terms of added sugar and fat. You may feel more satisfied because the protein in yogurt will fill you up without extra calories and fat that can weigh you down. Turning to yogurt for a quick snack or meal replacement rather than junk food will curb your appetite without feeling sluggish from extra calories," says Best.
Turkey is another easy, healthy option when you're in need of a quick snack to take on the go.
"Wrap the turkey in lettuce and add a teaspoon of your favorite dressing, hummus, or mustard for a low-carb snack. Turkey is a good source of protein and very filling and easy to grab," says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and member of our medical expert advisory board.
Hummus and veggies
It's important to get plenty of servings of veggies throughout your day, but sometimes this can feel really boring. Spice it up with some hummus and get a boost of protein in the meantime.
"Hummus is made from chickpeas and contains plant protein. It is filling and makes for a tasty dip," says Young.
A previous version of this article was originally published on June 8, 2022.