Here are 20 high-protein, low-carb snacks that are easy, healthy, and travel-friendly! These snacks will give you energy to crush the day.
High-protein, low-carb snacks
It’s important to give your body nutrients, especially when you're traveling, working out, away from your kitchen, and on the move. The best way to keep your body fueled (and avoid the hanger) is to pack snacks!
When packing snacks, consider the nutrients they offer. How much protein does the snack contain? Will it last outside of the fridge?
While I don't discriminate against any snacks, high-protein, low-carb snacks keep you full for longer, among other health benefits such as managing weight, building muscle, and preventing chronic illness.
What are macronutrients?
Macronutrients or "macros" are all of the nutrients our bodies need to function properly. There are three categories of macros: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Each of these macros helps our bodies in specific ways!
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our bodies. Proteins builds and repairs tissue and builds muscle mass. Fats allow for energy storage and hormone development.
A healthy diet includes all of these macros! HOWEVER, different combinations of these macros can achieve varying goals in terms of gaining, maintaining, or losing weight. People often adjust the macros in their diet when they have certain goals (such as building muscle, losing weight, and other sorts of body composition goals).
If you have a certain body composition goal in mind, consult with a nutritionist or registered dietitian to determine what ratios are appropriate for you and your lifestyle. Please understand this is just a macros crash course and there are so many articles online where you can learn more. Make sure to do your research!
Why is protein important?
Protein is a very important component of each diet. It's what builds and repairs tissues and plays into enzyme and hormone development. Protein also reduces appetite, helps our bones, boosts metabolism, and has so many important healthy functions. The building of muscles happens through exercise and strength training, and eating protein will help maintain the muscle mass you're working towards.
The amount of protein you need in your diet is determined on an individual basis. If you want to know how much protein is right for you, consult with a nutritionist, registered dietician, or someone with an appropriate amount of education.
Why is protein harder to consume?
Protein is important! Yet protein seems to be the harder of the macronutrients for people to consume. It's helpful to choose at least one protein to incorporate during a meal, but that might not be enough protein for your diet. And when you're living an active lifestyle, you're likely going to be hungry between meals. That's why it's important to keep yourself fueled and energized through snacks!
High-protein, low-carb snacks
Snacks will keep you fueled and energized until your next meal! I like to eat snacks with protein because they keep me fuller for longer. High-protein, low-carb snacks will also ensure I'm consuming enough protein in my diet. But these snacks aren't always easy to find. If you're in the grocery store or gas station, you'll see that so many easy and cheap snack foods available are high in sugar and carbohydrates, which can leave you hungry and unsatisfied. The key is to choose snacks that are nutritious!
If you need some ideas, here are some high-protein, low-carb snacks that are easy, quick, and healthy.
High-protein, low-carb snack ideas
- Greek Yogurt
- Cottage Cheese
- Cheese Stick
- Protein Bars
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Trail Mix
- Nuts & Seeds
- Tuna Packets
- Nut Butter Packets
- Energy Bites or Protein Balls
- Protein Shake
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Veggies & Hummus
Greek yogurt is more strained than regular yogurt, which makes it thicker and creamier. It also means there's more protein in greek yogurt, which makes it a great high-protein, low-carb snack!
- Travel-Friendly Option: Greek yogurt cups (Two Good, YQ by Yoplait, and Chobani are my favorite brands!)
- Homemade Option: Protein Yogurt Parfait (Greek yogurt topped with fruit and granola—put it in the freezer for a few minutes for an added bonus!)
Cottage cheese is a thick, creamy, curd snack packed with protein and high in several nutrients. Like yogurt, cottage cheese options range in different milk levels and curd sizes.
- Travel-Friendly Option: Cottage Cheese Cups
- Homemade Savory Option: Cottage cheese with Everything but the Bagel Seasoning (try it on a rice cake!)
- Homemade Sweet Option: Cottage cheese with fruit and nut butter
Deli-style turkey meat is a great high-protein, low-fat snack to keep in the fridge. There's no cooking necessary and so many ways to use it!
- Snack Options: Turkey slices wrapped around string cheese, turkey slices with cheat things, turkey with cheese wedge on a rice cake or tortilla
There are several kinds of cheese sticks, but a low-fat string cheese can have about 60 calories and 8g of protein per serving. This snack is super convenient and a travel-friendly option because it is individually wrapped and portioned.
I keep protein bars everywhere—in my backpack, purse, office, car, and kitchen. These bars are one of the easiest and most travel-friendly snacks. Most protein bars are a great source of protein and carbohydrates to help fuel your activity.
There are so many debates about the best protein bars, but it truly just depends on what you like best. Let me be honest: I’m a protein bar snob. I will pay more money for bars that have quality ingredients and taste really good!
- My Favorite Protein Bars: RXBAR, ONE Bars, Luna Protein Bars, Clif Bars, Quest Bars, Kodiak Cakes Crunchy Bars and Built Bars.
A few slices of jerky is a great source of protein. It’s really lightweight, non-perishable, and does well while traveling! It comes in several flavors, meats, and packages.
- Travel-Friendly: Jerky Packages or Jerky Sticks (My favorites are Trader Joe's Turkey Jerky and Chomp’s Jerky Sticks)
- Homemade Option: If you’re feeling ambitious, you can make your own jerky!
Hard-boiled eggs are a great high-protein, nutrient-dense snack! Each egg usually has about 75 calories and 6 grams of protein. You can easily meal-prep several hard-boiled eggs at one time and use them as a snack throughout the week.
- Travel-Friendly Option: Hard-boiled eggs are travel-friendly as is! You can often find these in wrappers of 2 or 3 at gas stations and grocery stores.
- Homemade Option: You can make your own hard-boiled eggs to keep in the fridge all week long. Try a hard-boiled egg with Everything but the Bagel Seasoning or mashed with avocado on a rice cake.
Traditional trail mix is typically a combination of nuts, seeds, and chocolate. However, there are so many kinds of trail mix with different flavors, ingredients, and nutrients, that you will be able to pick one perfect for you. People often question if trail mix is good for you, and while it will vary for each person, trail mix is definitely a great source of protein and healthy fats.
- Snack Option: You can purchase trail mix in bulk, in individual pre-packaged bags, or make your own.
- My favorite recipes for trail mix are my Protein Trail Mix, Copy Cat Trader Joe’s Tempting Trail Mix and S’mores Trail Mix.
Often found in trail mix, nuts can also be eaten on their own. Nuts are higher in fat, and a source of protein and fiber. Each kind of nut provides varying health benefits so you can pick which kind you like the best!
- Travel-Friendly Option: Try a single serving packages of nuts or keep a large bag in your office or car.
- Homemade Option: Buy nuts in bulk at the store and split them into smaller portions for snacks.
I know there are a lot of tuna haters out there, but tuna packets are a great high-protein, low-fat snack to keep in the pantry! Tuna packets are a great source of protein and omega-3 fats. There are so many flavors of tuna packets as well, which can make them an awesome travel-friendly snack idea.
- Travel-Friendly Option: Flavored tuna packets
- Homemade Option: Canned tuna mashed to make a healthy tuna salad and served on a rice cake or with crackers
Nut butter packets
Having nut butter as a snack is so good! It’s delicious, high in healthy fats & protein, and so good any way. Spread some nut butter on a piece of fruit, crackers, pretzels, or enjoy it straight out of the package!
- Travel-Friendly Option: My favorite nut butter packets are the RX Nut Butter packets because the flavors are amazing.
- Homemade Options: Nut butter on fruit, toast, pretzels, cottage cheese, or seriously anything.
Whether you call them energy bites, protein balls, energy balls, or some other name, you’re talking about a delicious, bite-sized snack packed with nutrients. You can customize the ingredients, nutrients, and flavors with all of the amazing recipes out there. Regardless of what kind you make, these are a great option for a meal-prep snack for the week.
- Travel-Friendly Option: You can make your own energy bites to travel with or buy pre-made energy bites at the store to take with you.
- Homemade Option: Here’s a list of some of my all-time favorite recipes for healthy energy bites!
A protein shake is a really effective way to get a high amount of protein in at one time. Unlike most whole food protein sources, the protein in a shake usually comes from protein powder. If you're looking for a sweet, easy, travel-friendly, high-protein, low-fat snack, try a shake!
- Travel-Friendly Options: Fairlife Protein Shake, Premier Protein Shake
- Homemade Options: Any protein powder you like mixed with frozen fruit, milk, ice, nut butter, etc.
Chickpeas are a great nut-free, meat-free, high-protein snack. Crispy chickpeas are crunchy, savory, and make a great addition to things like trail mix or taste great on their own.
- Travel-Friendly Option: Biena Chickpea Snacks
- Homemade Option: If you're feeling adventurous, make your own crispy roasted chickpeas!
Veggies & hummus
Hummus is an awesome source of protein for those looking for a plant-based option. There is usually at least 8 grams per serving, along with other health benefits. Hummus is great with veggies, pretzels, or on sandwiches.
- Travel-Friendly Option: Try a hummus cup and bring a bag of things to dip!
- Homemade option: Buy a large tub of hummus to keep in the fridge or make your own hummus.
More snack guides
Snacks give us the energy to crush the day! Whether we're on the move, at home, or working, snacks can help us avoid hanger, give us energy, and taste delicious. Here are two more snack guides you can use for ideas: Healthy Hiking Snacks and The Ultimate Guide to Easy, Healthy Snacks.