6 high-protein snacks to help you power through the day

Forget those vending machine treats. These high-protein snacks are packed with healthy nutrients to help keep your hunger at bay.

If you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight, or perhaps boost your energy levels, eating more protein is regularly touted as the way to go.

But protein doesn’t need to be confined to just your main meals – there are also plenty of ways to sneak in a few extra grams of this important macronutrient at snack times.

Why is protein so important?

Dietitian and behaviour scientist Dr Kirsty Seward says protein is an essential component of a healthy diet.

“It’s a primary nutrient for muscle growth and repair; your body needs protein to grow, develop and increase strength,” Dr Seward says.

“And because protein helps you feel full after meals, it prevents mindless snacking.”

She says this is particularly helpful for people who want to either maintain a healthy weight or drop a few kilos.

We digest protein slowly, which gives us that full feeling for longer, nutritionist Bec Miller adds.

“That keeps your blood sugars stable, leading to steady energy and less cravings throughout the day,” Bec says.

How much protein do you need per day?

Bec says the average adult needs from 1g to 1.5g of protein for every kilogram of their body weight.

That means a woman who weighs 60kg, for example, should be eating between 60g and 90g of protein each day.

For those who eat animal products such as chicken, eggs or beef, it’s pretty easy to meet your daily protein needs without too much effort, Bec says.

However, she adds, vegetarians or vegans will have to pay a little more attention, and get their protein through foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds and/or vegetables.

Dr Seward says if you’re someone who exercises regularly, it’s worth thinking about the timing of your protein intake.

It’s usually recommended to have a protein source within 30 minutes after exercise, especially if you’re trying to build lean muscle mass,” she says.

High-protein snack ideas

Rather than reach for a packet of chips or a chocolate biscuit when you get the munchies, why not up your protein intake instead?

Here are Dr Seward’s and Bec’s suggestions for healthy, high-protein snacks:

Cottage cheese and cucumber

Slice two small cucumbers in half lengthways and top with half a cup of low-fat cottage cheese and one tablespoon of sultanas.

Total protein: 14g

Tuna-filled capsicum

Slice a small capsicum in half, fill the halves using one small can (95g) of tuna, and season with salt and pepper.

Total protein: 12g

Greek yoghurt with berries and almonds

Combine half a cup of Greek yoghurt with half to one cup of any type of berries, and 10 almonds.

Total protein: 10g

Tip: To double the protein, add a regular scoop of vanilla protein powder.

Boiled eggs

“Eggs are one of the most filling foods you can eat, and (make) a really good high-protein snack,” Bec says.
Total protein, two eggs: 12-14g

Hummus with veggie sticks

Cut approximately two cups of veggie sticks – try a combination of carrot, celery and your choice of capsicum – then dip in around four tablespoons of hummus.

Total protein: 7g

Chia pudding

Soak three tablespoons of chia seeds overnight in any type of milk or water.

“Top with berries and a spoonful of coconut yoghurt or Greek yoghurt,” Bec suggests, noting that Greek yoghurt is higher in protein.

Total protein: 6-10g

Written by Larissa Ham.