By Beth Lipton
A well-chosen snack is more than just a means to stave off hunger between meals. It’s a break from work or other tasks, a bit of pleasure and fun, and, of course, a source of nourishment. To make sure that you feel satisfied by your mid-afternoon nosh, it’s important to choose something that has plenty of protein. This essential macronutrient helps you feel full longer and gives you sustained energy. Too often, though, high protein snacks are… less than tasty. Or they’re full of preservatives and other unnecessary additives like sugar and salt.
We sorted through a sea of high protein snacks to bring you some surprisingly delicious finds, from chewy, flavorful grass-fed meat sticks to super-creamy cottage cheese.
Meat sticks have come a long way from their origins as preservative-laden gas station fare. Nowadays there are many options for sticks made from grass-fed beef, pastured poultry and even game meats, in an array of flavors. One of my favorites? Paleo Valley Grass-Fed Beef Sticks. Made with grass-fed beef and organic spices, and naturally fermented without sugar or additives, they have a soft, chewy texture and come in flavors like Jalapeno, Garlic Summer Sausage, and Teriyaki. Personally, I love the original — it’s so flavorful, like the beef sticks you might remember from childhood, but better.
Buy It: Paleo Valley 100% Grass-Fed Beef Sticks, $24 for 10 sticks
Not a meat eater? Consider kelp jerky. We know, we know: When you think “tasty snack,” kelp may not be the first thing that pops into your head — until now. What starts as kelp, a brown microalgae, is transformed into a flavorful, chewy snack that’s loaded with protein, magnesium, iron, calcium and vitamin D. This sustainable, vegan snack is loaded with umami. The Sesame & Nori Sea Salt ones taste kind of like the flat seaweed snacks, but they’re way more substantial.
Buy It: Akua Kelp Jerky, $30 for pack of 4
Grab a spoon; this is not your grandma’s cottage cheese. Fermented with live, active cultures and made with organic, pasture-raised milk, this rich, creamy snack comes in plain or lightly sweetened fruit flavors like Blueberry-Acai and Strawberry-Chia. The classic is my favorite, though. I like to add chopped cucumbers, lemon zest, and olive oil to it for a snack (or to go with lamb meatballs). All are free of stabilizers, thickeners and preservatives, and loaded with protein.
Buy It: Good Culture Cottage Cheese, $7 for 16 ounces
Sometimes you want something cheesy, but also crunchy and salty. When that craving hits, grab a bag of these baked crisps. Made from cheese and a few spices, they’re a satisfyingly-crunchy, and high in both protein and calcium. They’re also keto-friendly, and gluten-, lactose- and nut-free. Go for the cheddar flavor — what’s better than that? Plus, they make a great as a salad topper.
Buy It: Whisps Cheese Crisps, $12 for pack of 3
5. Peckish Eggs & Dip, $4
Forget the rubbery packaged hard-cooked eggs you may have suffered through in the past. With these snacks, you get two perfectly cooked non-GMO, free range, certified humane eggs with gloriously soft, golden yolks, and a tasty, crispy dip to make them fun. They’re keto friendly and great for kids, too. They could even be an on-the-go breakfast. All the flavors are sooooo good, but if I had to pick one it’s probably the Salt & Pepitas. The pepitas add delicious crunch and flavor. The Fried Rice one is also fantastic. Really you can’t go wrong.
Buy It: Peckish Eggs & Dip, from $4 at Whole Foods Markets near you