High Protein Snack Ideas

In this post you will learn or get reminded what constitutes a high protein snack.

There are so many products making claims of being high in protein but carry so much sugar that it makes them no better than a ordinary candy bar!

That is what is observed in the grocery stores; while on the health food aisle, reading the labels to find suitable snacks that will not hurt your diet.

Store Aisle
Grocery Aisle

What you will see is that about 80% or more of the products that advertise to get high protein healthy alternatives, contain the same amounts of sugar or carbs as a typical candy bar.

It becomes very frustrating and would get understandable to walk away! But, we cannot do that without paying a Hugh price on our health.

Some studies show a correlation between eating a higher percentage of protein in food (meals) will produce a more satiated feeling.

Someone can anticipate this satiated feeling from replacing high sugar/carbs with high protein content snacks.

What Are the Good Protein Bars?

That is a very subjective question; because it depends on what you are looking for in the protein bar.

People who are weight lifting and want to the increase their protein consumption, they are looking to supplement their protein levels and give the body what it needs to rebuild tissue.

Some are looking for better alternative snacks to candy bars or other sugary treats.

People with diabetes can use protein bars to help control their diets, in the beginning, this was crucial for me because switching to a diabetic diet is not an easy thing to do!

balanced diet
Balanced Diet

Everyone should strive to reduce the amounts of processed food from their diets, that brings the question of how good protein bars are for your health?

Choosing the best nutrition is the first item on the list. Reading the labels and determining if the ingredients look like they are mostly natural or at least as close to natural as possible.

Everyone’s dietary needs are different; for most people, selecting a product that has the lest amount of sugar or carbs, is going to get a priority.

There is a formula; it is an easy way to compare the products when in the store. Add the grams of protein and fiber together then subtract grams of carbs. The results will let you a general net carbs number that is easy to compare.

Most of the products come up to a +15 grams of carbs or better which is unacceptable for a diabetic diet and will not be suitable for ordinary people’s diets either.

When the number is close to zero or even a negative number that product is worth looking at closer.

High Protein Diet Food List:

On the top of the high protein content food list is lean meats:

  • Tuna (packed in water)
  • Skinless Chicken and Turkey (not fried)
  • Beef jerky (preferred homemade)
  • 90% lean ground Beef
  • Pork Loin
Protein sources
High Protein Content

Vegetarians can find good sources of protein in plant-based nuts, nut butters and seeds. And, in dairy products such as eggs, and other low-fat dairy products.

If it needs to get cooked, it does not help the convenience factor for quick snacks, but when there is the time it could get considered.

Low fat cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein for those who like it. Personally, cannot get by the taste of it! But it contains 28 grams of protein per cup.

There are differing opinions on whether any of this is a healthy choice just like everything else out there.

The main thing is to take it all in stride and figure out what works best for you.

Does Protein Help to Gain Weight?

There are several ways this question applies to different dietary scenarios. In this section, we will cover some examples.

My 10-year-old daughter is a little underweight and needs to gain some weight to put her back in the correct ranges for the Doctors charts.

She is observing the dietary changes that I have done in the past six months and likes to mimic what I am doing. The protein bars are something that she loves and is always eating one every day!

Diet choices

Is this good for a ten-year-old? Is it better than candy? I sure would think that it is. I do not believe that it is going to help her gain any weight; but… it is good that she is thinking about the impacts that diet affects our health.

Back to the topic on hand; there is a correlation between the amount of protein in someone’s diet and how that affects the body.

The body requires higher levels of protein in the bloodstream to build muscle tissue, and a pound of muscle will take up 15 to 20% less space than that of fat, making clothing fit better!

Building muscle can only happen if the person is working out so if a person has higher protein levels and they are not working out what is going to happen?

Does Excess Protein Turn to FAT?

The right protein in a person’s diet is not turned directly into fat as good carbs do. But the calories still count in the equation of calories in versus calories burned.ned.

If we eat too many protein calories and the body does not need them to rebuild the muscle tissue.


The source is still there for energy, so the carbs that are present can easily get stored to fat cells, and the body can use the protein for energy.

The extra calories may explain why someone may stall in their weight loss while on a high protein low carb diet. Carbs have a way of sneaking into our foods unnoticed!

There are so many factors that go into whether you are going to lose weight, but common sense tells us that if we consistently eat less calories than get burn for energy, we will lose weight.

The older you get, the harder it is to lose the weight, it can happen, but do not expect it to get as fast as a young person.


Looking for the perfect balance of protein, fiber, and carbs in our diets is something that we are not going to find comfortable.

Wish that it was easy! But the general conditions and the fact that the average weights of people have increased so much in the last 40 years, proves to us that it is not easy!

We have to take the task it seriously and own the responsibility for our health issues. Dietary choices are something that is not fun to do but necessary to begin to address the problems.

Please share your comments and suggestions on this topic in the section below. Your point may help someone understand it a little better.

Thanks for stopping by and reading this post!

18 comments on “High Protein Snack Ideas

  • Fiona says:

    My husband is looking to increase his protein and build some muscle mass. It’s good to know that I should be looking out for sugar content on the readily available protein bars. I’m thinking that making my own might be a good start – in this way I’d be in control of the amount of sugar in snack. 

    • Chad Trader says:

      Thanks for your comment Fiona, there are so many foods that can hide the sugar content in them and protein bars can be masked under the “healthy” banner, in our minds. Making your own is much better and you will know exactly what ingredients are in them, great idea!   

  • David says:

    Hi Chad. I just wanted to say thanks for all this great information. It really helps me to know that my family and I are on the right track. We have been working hard on changing our life style and being more thoughtful about what we buy and really watching our portions.

    • Chad Trader says:

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read this post and glad that you found the information useful.

  • Nuttanee says:

    You are just like me, I cannot stand cottage cheese. I really tried to eat it since it is always mentioned in all the diet articles but I just cannot stand the taste. 

    What I usually do is to buy mixed nuts and made my own mixed protein instead of having a protein bar. In my opinion, not only the protein bars have a lot of sugar, they also have some additives that I can’t pronounce. 

    That is my rule, if I can’t pronounce the word, I don’t eat it. So, I will get a ziplock bag, mix it with some pistachios, cashews, and almond. 

    Most of the time with my mixed nuts I try not to put carbs, but let’s be real I love carbs lol. I either put some pretzels in it or some dark chocolate covered espresso beans that I love. 

    That’s it so simple and very filling, also cheaper than buying those bars as well. 🙂

    • Chad Trader says:

      Thanks for your comment,  how something taste is a good point that you bring up. Most people have to be able to tolerate the taste of something before it will benefit them.

      Good idea to pack some mixed nuts and take that with you so that so you have a good snack ready when you need it. That helps to fight off the temptation to get something unhealthy.

  • Seun Afotanju says:

    Thanks for a brilliant article as this, i use to think that protein bars actually makes one fat until today where i also learnt the formula for making selections in a store  “Add the grams of protein and fiber together then subtract grams of carbs” this is very helpful and educating  thanks for the brilliant formula.

    • Chad Trader says:

      Thanks for your comment Seun, glad that you got some useful information form the article.

  • Dalton says:

    Being a naturally thin guy and lifting constantly, I am always in need of a ton of protein. I count my macros pretty regularly, everything else is pretty easy to hit. The classic 1G of protein per 1lb of body weight is such a hard target to hit. 

    Thanks for the suggestions on different snacks that are high in protein. I knew Tuna was up there but I’ve always struggled to eat fish. Jerky is a great suggestion, just so expensive compared to some of the protein bars that I’ve found.

    It seems you aren’t a big proponent of the protein bars, but more the natural foods. Do you have any opinion on the Rx Bars sold at some of the higher end organic foods stores like Lassen’s and Whole Foods?

    Those are usually my go to, but maybe I’m eating the wrong thing. Yikes!

    Thanks for the info,


    • Chad Trader says:

      Thanks for your comments Dalton, the RX Bars  are really good when it comes to people who are not diabetic. They have just four ingredients in all the ones that I have seen, and there is no artificial sweeteners. 

      They do contain the natural sugars from the ingredients so diabetics must be aware of how it affects their blood sugar. In my case having one does not spike my blood sugar if I am active, but not good if working at the desk.

      Sounds like they should be a good fit for your needs. 

  • Veronica says:

    Hello Chad,

    You are right when you ask in your post: what are the good protein bars and, you also point out that not all protein bars are really healthy because some of them have as much sugar and carbs as candy bars. Therefore, we have to be careful and read the food labels before we buy them, specially for people who as diabetic or prediabetic.

    Do you have any healthy protein bar brand that you would recommend as a healthy choice specially for diabetics?


    • Chad Trader says:

      Thank you for your comments Veronica, it is so important to read the nutritional labels and see what it is that you are about to eat. Many times people fail to really take the time to think about it, that can lead to allowing the advertisement media making the dietary choices for you. 

      The best cheap Protein Bars for balance between carbs, protein, & fiber is the Pure Protein Bars. They typically balance out to zero or a negative number on the net carbs. The Robert Irvine’s Fit Crunch they taste awesome and are made with whey protein.

      Both of these have a net carbs that are worth checking out for diabetics. As always need to check blood sugar levels when trying something new, especially something that taste good.

  • Sondra M says:

    Chad, thank you for sharing the high protein snack ideas.  Lately, tuna on crackers has become my favorite lunch food.  So, I was glad to see it on the list of high protein foods.  

     I enjoy eating a high protein snack after I  run or work out.  I always heard that the protein is good for your muscles after a workout.     The Clif Builders protein bar, shown in the little ad picture, is one of my favorites.   Granted, I have never tried the other two.  


    • Chad Trader says:

      Thanks for your comments Sondra, sometimes we forget the simple things like tuna. It is on the top of the list because of all the benefits that comes from adding it to your diet. Combining it with whole grains can also provide you with a energy boost for several hours.

  • Tony says:

    Hi Chad,

    Thanks for that insightful article on high protein snack ideas. The wife bought some Kirkland protein bar home from shopping last month to have on hand as a good source of protein and also a afternoon snack if she gets hungry.  I love it that its low in sugar even though it doesn’t taste like it is.  This is also a great source of fiber and the chocolate in it is delicious.  They are very tiny so you can carry them with you everywhere you go. Your post was detailed and helpful to know what a protein snack should contain.



    • Chad Trader says:

      Thank you Tony for your comments and I am not familiar with the Kirkland brand will have to check it out. Using protein bars to assist in changing my eating habits has been a good thing; but it is better to eat unprocessed food as much as possible, now trying to focus on keeping more fresh fruits and veggies on hand, so that you can eat it raw.

  • Sujandar Mahesan says:

    I workout out almost 5-6 days a week and you know how important protein is for the people who workout. I usually just take packed bars for protein but this article had so many natural choice which I’ll be trying out from now on. 

    I also learned a lot about gaining weight and fat. This article was easy to understand and read.

    Thank you so much for sharing this article.

    • Chad Trader says:

      Thank you for your comments; hope you are achieving your health goals and continue in learning about nutrition. There are many ways to supplement our diets to make sure we are getting what we need. The best ingredients are the natural ones.   

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