Many people turn to protein snacks to avoid hunger between meals. However, some snacks are more nutritious and less likely than others to damage a person's health if eaten regularly.
If chosen carefully, snacks can have good nutrients without containing substances that can cause a person harm. Also, it is important to choose a variety of protein sources, including many plant-based proteins.
Snacks with high protein are typically seen as a good choice because protein keeps people satiated, meaning they feel fuller for longer. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), protein is also an important macronutrient that maintains a variety of bodily functions.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), most people in the U.S. eat enough protein, but many do not eat protein from a variety of sources. Protein snacks can be a good way of varying the types of this essential nutrient that a person has in their diet.
As well as containing a high amount of protein, which will help a person feel fuller for longer, the following snacks typically contain a variety of good nutrients. They are also relatively low in salt, sugar, saturated fats, and trans fats.
Nuts can be an excellent source of protein. For example, a quarter of a cup of almonds has 7.56 grams (g) of protein, around 10 percent of a person's recommended daily allowance (RDA).
Nuts are a good snack for vegetarians, vegans, and people on gluten-free diets.
Pulses are high in protein and can be a convenient snack when dried or roasted. For example, a quarter of a cup of chickpeas has 3.63 g of protein, around 5 percent of a person's RDA.
Chickpeas are also a good source of fiber, iron, vitamin B, and magnesium. They are a suitable snack for vegetarians, vegans, and people on gluten-free diets.
Fish have a high amount of protein. For example, 50 g of canned tuna contains 13.27 g of protein, around 20 percent of a person's RDA.
Oily fish, including tuna, are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
People should consume tuna in moderation, however, as it contains a higher amount of mercury than other fish. This is an issue for pregnant females or children, particularly.
A boiled egg is a convenient snack and contains a good amount of protein. This is 6.29 g or approximately 10 percent of a person's RDA.
As well as being high in protein, the yolk of free-range eggs from hens reared outdoors is also a good source of vitamin D.
Pumpkin seeds contain a variety of other oils, minerals, and vitamins that contribute to a person's overall health.
They are a good snack for vegetarians, vegans, and people on gluten-free diets.
Peanut butter is high in protein and can be a convenient snack.
Peanut butter contains 3.84 g of protein per tablespoon. Some peanut butters have added sugar and salt, but it is readily available without these additions, or with minimal amounts.
If a person does not enjoy the flavor of peanuts, other nut spreads are also available and have similar benefits. These include almond and cashew butters, or mixed-nut butters.
Nut butters are a good snack for vegetarians, vegans, and people on gluten-free diets.
Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein. A 200-g serving has 18 g of protein, which is around 27 percent of a person's RDA.
Greek yogurt is a quick, easy, and tasty snack and can go with fruit, or with nuts and seeds for even more of a protein boost.
If a person is vegetarian or vegan, or if they are following a gluten-free diet, getting enough protein can be a challenge.
This is because meats and other animal products are relatively high in protein, and gluten is a protein itself that often contributes a significant amount to a person's daily intake.
However, there are many sources of protein that are plant based and do not contain any gluten.
Nuts, seeds, and pulses are all relatively high in protein, and they can be easily added to a variety of meals or eaten as snacks.
Snacks high in protein help a person stay feeling fuller for longer. On top of this, many protein snacks are an excellent source of other nutrients.
As with all food groups, what is important is getting a variety of types of protein, prioritizing protein sources that are nutrient rich, such as many plant-based proteins.