High-Protein Snacks to Help You Hit Your Macros

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A large protein intake is an important part of any healthy and balanced nutrition plan. Protein is an essential nutrient for building muscle, satiating hunger and maintaining energy during extended periods of exercise. One of the best, most natural sources of protein is meat. But, if you're following a vegetarian or vegan diet, there are also high-protein pasta options and snack options like peanut butter alternatives.

It can be time-consuming to read dozens of nutrition labels in order to find the best high-protein snacks which is why we've done the research for you. In our list, you'll find high-protein foods that won't go bad if you're on-the-go as well as high-protein options that accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions.

Why Trust Us?

The health and safety of ACTIVE's readers is of the utmost importance to us. To ensure your well-being when consuming high-protein snacks, the ACTIVE.com editorial team prioritizes products that are independently tested by a third party. We've also consulted with a team of nutritionists and dieticians to ensure the products we feature are of the highest standard. This helps us create the most accurate, authentic review content for our readers.

High-Protein Snacks - Our Top Picks

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What to Look for When Shopping for High-Protein Snacks

High protein is really a relative term, and the number on the nutrition label could be misleading if you don't consider these other factors.

Other Macros

Protein is one of the three key macronutrients most athletes keep track of. The other two are fat and carbohydrates. Some snacks have high-protein content but may also have an even higher amount of fat or carbs that then offsets the benefits of the protein.

Sugar Content

If a snack has a high-sugar content, it may offset any benefits you might gain from the higher protein intake. Sugar is either used for quick energy or stored as fat. It also spikes your insulin levels which can cause an energy crash or increased hunger quickly.

Serving Sizes

Some packaging advertises a certain amount of protein, but the nutrition label has a number that doesn't match. If this is the case, it's likely that the package contains multiple servings. While that's not necessarily a problem, be aware of how multiple servings per container affect other amounts of nutrients (like fats and sugars) as well.

Tillamook Zero Sugar Beef Jerky

Tillamook Zero Sugar Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a go-to snack if you're looking to increase your protein intake. And, Tillamook Zero Sugar Beef Jerky has 0 grams of sugar and 14 grams of protein per serving. Plus, there are 6 servings per container in a normal-sized bag, which can give you about 1 week's worth of snacks (if you eat one a day).

This snack also has no carbs and limited fat content, making it a macro-friendly food for those who track macros.

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Ready-to-Eat Sockeye Salmon

Ready-to-Eat Sockeye Salmon

Ready-to-Eat Sockeye Salmon has 21 grams of protein per serving, which is appealing when you're looking for a lot of protein in a small amount of food. However, salmon also delivers on other nutrients found in fish like Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.

Ready-to-Eat Sockeye Salmon is skinless, boneless, and flaked for easy consumption. The package is sealed so it requires no refrigeration until it's opened.

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Old Wisconsin Turkey Sausage Snacks

Old Wisconsin Turkey Sausage Snacks

Old Wisconsin Turkey Sausage Snacks are meat sticks with 6 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar for each stick. They're made from 100% turkey meat with no msg. Plus, these sticks come in a resealable package, making them a great grab-and-go snack.

And, while the sticks don't contain any preservatives, you may need to refrigerate them even though you reseal the package.

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Vital Farms Hard Boiled Eggs

Vital Farms Hard Boiled Eggs

Vital Farms hard boiled eggs come from free-range chickens, and the eggs are shelled before going into the package. Each package contains six eggs, and there are 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat, and 0 grams of carbs to go along with 0 grams of sugar in each egg.

These hard boiled eggs are a high-protein, stand-alone snack, but they also make a great addition to any meal where you want to boost your protein intake without sabotaging other parts of your diet.

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Good Culture Cottage Cheese

Good Culture Cottage Cheese

Good Culture cottage cheese is USDA-certified organic, gluten-free, and kosher-certified. This cottage cheese has 19 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, and 3 grams of carbohydrates per container. There are 3 grams of sugar, but none of those are added as they come naturally from the milk base.

Good culture cottage cheese also has live and active cultures that may help improve your gut bacteria.

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Starkist Chunk Light Tuna in Water

Starkist Chunk Light Tuna Packs

Tuna is an underappreciated source of protein because it can sometimes have an intense fishy taste. But, Starkist Chunk Light Tuna is kept in water which preserves the natural flavor rather than the fishy flavor that turns some people away.

Starkist Chunk Light Tuna has 17 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of fat, and 0 grams of carbs. It’s also a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin d, and vitamins b12 and b6.

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The Only Bean Edamame Beans

The Only Bean Edamame Beans

Edamame is one of the best plant-based sources of protein that you can find. The Only Bean edamame beans have 14 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and 7 grams of carbs per serving, which makes it a nice macro-dense snack.

There are 2 grams of sugar per serving in these edamame beans, but that comes naturally from the plant (no added sugar). Edamame is also a good source of fiber in addition to other nutrient benefits.

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Kodiak Cake Protein Balls

Kodiak Cake Protein Balls

Kodiak specializes in whole grain products to replace bread products that are typically higher in simple carbs and sugar, such as pancakes or protein bars. The Kodiak Cake Protein Balls recipe requires you to mix in supplemental ingredients on your own, so your choices (like almond milk or whole milk) could change the baseline nutrition facts.

With that in mind, the dry ingredients have 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat, and 17 grams of carbohydrates with 3 grams of sugar.

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365 Whole Foods Market String Cheese

365 Whole Foods Market String Cheese

String cheese is a classic snack that many people keep in their refrigerator—and for good reason. String mozzarella cheese has 7 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, 0 carbs, and 0 sugars. It's also a good source of calcium as each serving has 200mg, or 15% of your daily value.

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RX Protein Bar

RX Bars

As a brand, RX prides itself on containing only natural ingredients for nutritional value and for taste. And, these RX protein bars have 12 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, and 23 grams of carbohydrates for an all-around satisfying snack.

There are 13 grams of sugar in RX protein bars, but the sugar comes from the ingredients and the sweetener, which is dates. In addition, RX protein bars have 480 mg of potassium, or about 10% of your daily value.

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Vermont Smoke and Cure Mini Jerky

Vermont Smoke and Cure Mini Jerky

Vermont Smoke and Cure Mini Jerky are turkey sticks that are gluten-free and have zero preservatives or MSG. These turkey sticks have 5 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, and 1 gram of carbs, plus they’re a good source of vitamins A and C.

We especially like how each serving—two sticks—is individually wrapped. So, you won't have to worry about refrigerating or resealing the package properly to keep them fresh.

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Ostrim Beef and Elk Snack Stick

Ostrim Beef and Elk Snack Stick

Ostrim snack sticks are a combination of lean beef and elk meat that provides 14 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, and 2 grams of carbohydrates per stick. There are 10 servings per container, giving you a high-protein snack for up to 10 days if you can limit your consumption to just 1 stick a day.

The sticks come in two flavors, teriyaki and habanero, so the other ingredients are a combination of spices and natural flavors.

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Ocean Prince Sardines

Ocean Prince Sardines

Ocean Prince Sardines are a pack of 12 cans. Each serving (one can) has 10 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, and 0 grams of carbs. Depending on which flavor you choose, those macros may increase.

Sardines are also a good source of vitamin D, calcium, and Omega-3 fatty acids. But, we think you'll have the best experience with sardines that are wild caught like Ocean Prince.

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365 Whole Foods Market Greek Yogurt

365 Whole Foods Market Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is another item you may already have in your fridge. For every 3/4 cup of Whole Foods Market Greek yogurt, you get 16 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, and 7 grams of carbs. Yogurt does have 7 grams of natural sugars, but nothing is added.

Greek yogurt is also a good source of calcium, containing about 15 percent of your daily value. And, like all yogurts, the cultures are good for your gut.

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Creminelli Salami Mini Snacks

Creminelli Mini Salami Snacks

Creminelli Salami snacks are a pork stick made with 100 percent humanely-raised pork and aged for taste. There are 8 grams of protein, 4.5 grams of fat, and 1 gram of carbs per serving. Each package has a little over 2 servings so you're looking at around 19 grams of protein per pack if you eat it in one sitting.

These snacks are also high in vitamin C as one serving contains about 30 percent of your daily value.

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Other High-Protein Snacks

FAQs About High-Protein Snacks


What snacks are high in protein?

There are a lot of snacks that are high in protein, but there are some common food types that have higher protein than others. Natural sources that are high in protein are meats, nuts, seeds, dairy products, and fish. But, there are also protein bars and other items in that category that have other sources of protein in the ingredients.

What 5 foods have the most protein?

The top 5 foods that have the highest natural protein are lean red meats, fish, poultry, seeds and nuts, and legumes. Protein can be extracted and put into powders or protein bars in higher quantities, but generally, those five foods will have the highest amount of protein per serving.

What snacks are high in protein but low in calories?

High protein and low calories are relative to what you’re looking for in your diet. If you're looking for the best protein-to-calorie ratios, target snacks that have ten or fewer calories for every gram of protein per serving. Anything close to that ratio is a good high-protein, low-calorie snack.

Best Healthy Snacks | Best Keto Snacks | Best Gluten-Free Snacks | Best Healthy Snacks to Buy | Best Running Snacks | Best Low-Calorie Snacks | Best High-Protein Snacks | Best Low-Carb Snacks | Best Vegan Snacks | Best Calorie Counter Apps

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