There are so many unhealthy snacks out there, and too many people subsist on cakes, cookies, and potato chips.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of healthier alternatives too.
For those who need a few ideas, this article will present 19 delicious snacks that are higher protein and lower carb.
The vast majority of these are portable too, so you can eat them in or outside of the home.
No sugars, oils, or unhealthy additives – just good food.
All nutrition data is per 100 g and sourced from the USDA Food Composite Database.
1. Beef Jerky
- Protein: 33.2 g
- Carbohydrate: 0 – 11 g
Beef jerky is one of the most obvious choices since it’s so protein-dense.
However, look out for the ingredients list; some beef jerky products contain added sugar and flour, which will ramp up the carbohydrate intake.
Good beef jerky doesn’t need all these additives, and will only contain dried beef, salt, and a few seasonings such as garlic.
If you’re having trouble finding one, there is a great option here.
Jerky is a great snack because you can take it anywhere, and you never have to worry about it since it has been dried.
If you have a home dehydrator, it’s easily possible to make your own and flavor it however you want.
2. Cottage Cheese
- Protein: 11.1 g
- Carbohydrate: 3.4 g
Cottage cheese has a strange recent history. While some people love it, others have never even heard of it, and this dairy product seems to go through ever-changing popularity cycles.
Impressively, though, cottage cheese has one of the best protein-densities out of all foods. Although the amount of protein doesn’t look so high per 100 grams, it is completely different per calorie.
For example, 100 grams of cottage cheese is only 98 calories, and not many foods provide more than 10 grams of protein per 100 calories (1).
If you want to focus on protein concentration, then a low-fat cottage cheese is 72 calories for the same weight. This amount means it offers more protein per calorie than any red meat (2)!
Cottage cheese tastes great too; it’s a little like ricotta, but even softer and creamier, and it has a slightly sour and salty taste.
3. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there, and they’re packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Added to that, they contain nearly zero carbohydrates, making them a suitable choice for a high protein, low carb plan.
Personally, I prefer my eggs hot, but hard-boiled eggs are very convenient and their protective shell lets you take them anywhere.
Eating at home?
In that case; boiled, fried, poached, and scrambled eggs are great too, but my personal favorite is a cheese omelet.
4. Bunless Burger
- Protein: 25.7 g
- Carbohydrate: 0 g
Whether you’re at home or out and about, a bunless burger is a quick and easy snack.
If you order from a fast food chain, some places may give you just the beef patty, while others will provide a salad bowl or a lettuce-wrap burger.
Either way, it’s much healthier than the standard burger, fries and cola meals that most will be eating.
Since this is just 100% beef with no sugars or oils, it’s a healthy carb-free snack that provides a decent amount of protein.
And they taste pretty good too!
5. Leftover Meat
- Protein: 27.4 g
- Carbohydrate: 0 g
(The nutrition details above are for roast turkey).
Using some leftover meat from the prior day is probably the most convenient way to get a protein-rich snack.
Didn’t finish Sunday’s roast turkey? Then just take a bit to work!
All meat is incredibly nutritious, and it contains a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals.
Of course, meat is one of the very best sources of protein too.
- Protein: 23.7 g
- Carbohydrate: 0 g
A tin of tuna is convenient, portable, relatively cheap, and provides large amounts of protein per 100 g.
Tuna is also very low in calories compared to other protein foods, so it’s an easy way to increase protein intake.
For a tasty quick snack, try mixing it with a tablespoon of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, freshly chopped bell peppers, and some salt and pepper.
In addition to being high in protein, tuna also offers a substantial source of selenium; 100 grams provides 94% of the RDA (3).
Selenium is an essential mineral which is vital for our body’s antioxidant and immunity systems.
- Protein: 24.6 g
- Carbohydrate: 0 g
Sticking with the fish theme, sardines are another great portable snack.
While you can buy them fresh, canned sardines are just as nutritious. They are also very high in protein, supplying 24 g per 100 g (4).
Notably, when we eat sardines, we eat the whole fish, including the organs and bones. As a result, sardines are one of the most nutrient-dense foods we can eat, providing a significant source of calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.
It is worth remembering that sardines also contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
8. Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Pieces
- Protein: 26 g
- Carbohydrate: 0 g
For a high fat, high protein snack that tastes amazing, it doesn’t get much better than chicken wrapped in crispy bacon.
It is straightforward to make, and all you need is bacon and a few chicken breasts;
- First, cut the chicken into long strips.
- Next, wrap a slice of bacon around each piece.
- Cook in the oven until the bacon becomes crispy and the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
These bacon-wrapped chicken pieces are very adaptable too. They can be eaten at home as part of a meal, as a snack, or you can even put them in lunch for school/work.
9. Deviled Eggs
- Protein: 10 g
- Carbohydrate: 1 g
Deviled eggs are another snack that are a treat to eat.
In order to make them, you will need the following ingredients;
- 3 Eggs
- 2 Slices of chopped bacon
- 2 tbsp Mayo
- Salt and black pepper (to taste)
- 1/2 tsp Mustard
- 1/2 tsp White vinegar
Just follow the steps below;
- Firstly, boil three eggs for a few minutes while making sure each egg is fully submerged in the water.
- After boiling, slice the eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks.
- Next, mash the yolks together with the mayo, vinegar, bacon pieces, salt and pepper.
- Scoop the mixture back into the egg whites.
10. Cured Meat
- Protein: 21.7 g
- Carbohydrate: 1.2 g
Cured meats are great for a quick bite to eat.
There are all sorts of different options too, ranging from jamón and prosciutto to salami.
They are high in protein, contain virtually no carbs, and they don’t need any time to prepare.
Just open the packet and eat!
If you have a bit more time, it’s nice to combine them with some cheese and a few side options for a complete meal.
Since they are made from pork or beef, cured meats supply a wide range of nutrients too.
Deli meats such as sliced turkey and ham are another option that provides similar benefits.
11. Chicken Drumsticks
- Protein: 19.3 g
- Carbohydrate: 0 g
It doesn’t get much more convenient than chicken drumsticks.
All you have to do is stick them in the oven, add some seasoning, turn it on, and thirty minutes later you’ll have the best-tasting type of chicken.
Chicken drumsticks are a carb-free, high-protein snack, and they taste delicious too. Compared to other cuts of chicken, drumsticks are juicier and much more flavorful due to their higher fat content.
For a great-tasting snack (or meal), try seasoning them in one of the following ways;
- A spicy salsa marinade
- Salt and curry powder
- Salt and pepper
- Salt, Italian herbs, and garlic powder
- Protein: 24.9 g
- Carbohydrate: 1.3 g
A piece of cheese; so simple and easy, but it’s one of the best low carb snacks and it provides a significant amount of protein.
There are so many different cheese options too, from British Cheddar to French Camembert and Italian Parmesan.
They are all unmistakably cheese, but the contrast in taste can vary a lot, so there will always be something new to try.
Cheese is relatively nutritious too, and it is an excellent source of calcium and several other essential minerals.
Grab a piece from the fridge or take it to work for a nutritious snack wherever you are.
13. Protein Shake
- Protein: 75 – 90 g
- Carbohydrate: 0 – 5 g
It is far better to get protein from real food rather than a powdered shake.
However, some people find protein shakes to be a cheap and convenient choice when they are trying to increase protein intake.
One thing to be wary of is that many products contain all kinds of different additives. These may include vegetable oil, syrups, artificial flavorings and colorings, preservatives and thickeners.
For health purposes, an unflavored pure whey protein is probably the best bet.
However, there are all different kinds of protein powder, and it can be confusing knowing which ones are of high quality. To make this easier, see this review of the best protein powder options.
Understandably, protein powders contain a significant amount of protein per 100 grams since they are concentrated sources.
14. Greek Yogurt
- Protein: 7.3 g
- Carbohydrate: 3.3 g
Greek yogurt is a kind of fermented dairy that is very similar to regular yogurt.
A notable difference is the thicker consistency, and this is because producers strain Greek yogurt to remove the whey and lactose.
If you like your yogurt thick and creamy, you’ll appreciate the difference that Greek yogurt offers.
Despite the straining of the whey, Greek yogurt is still a quick and convenient protein source.
However, the protein and low-carb nature of this yogurt isn’t the only benefit.
Like other fermented dairy products, Greek yogurt is full of various minerals and beneficial probiotic bacteria.
15. Cream Cheese Protein Pancakes
- Protein: 11.3 g
- Carbohydrate: 1.8 g
If you’re looking for a high protein and low carb snack, then regular pancakes are the last thing you should consider.
However, there is an easy way to make some protein-dense pancakes at home that are virtually free of carbohydrate.
For this, all you need is;
- 2 Eggs
- 2 oz (56 g) Cream cheese
- Butter/cooking oil
- Sweetener (optional)
- First of all, grease a pan with butter (or your choice of oil) to get it ready for cooking.
- Next, put the eggs and cream cheese into a blender or food processor, and blend until you have a smooth consistency. You may also add a sweetener such as erythritol if you wish.
- Put the pan on heat, pour about a quarter of the pancake mixture in, and cook for a minute or two.
- Flip the pancake over to ensure both sides cook fully.
These pancakes taste quite nice, and unlike regular pancakes, they are actually quite healthy.
Nuts are some of the healthiest foods in the world, and they provide an array of essential vitamins and minerals.
Rich in healthy fats, low in carbs, and a reasonably big provider of protein.
The table below shows the amount of protein in the most popular varieties of nuts;
|Name of Nut||Protein per ounce (28g)|
17. Prosciutto and Cheese
- Protein: 25.8 g
- Carbohydrate: 0.7 g
This combination works wonderfully on a wine platter, and it’s also one of the best high protein, low carb snacks around.
It always tastes delicious and only takes a few minutes to put together.
You can eat the prosciutto and cheese separately, or you can wrap the cured meat around the cheese.
Either way tastes great, so it doesn’t matter how you eat it.
Use equal amounts of both ingredients.
18. Salami Provolone “Sandwiches”
- Protein: 23.5 g
- Carbohydrate: 1.9 g
Similar to the last one, here’s another cured meat and cheese combination.
First of all, cut some cheese into round slices to match the shape of the salami.
Next, place one piece of salami in the middle of two slices of the cheese to make a “sandwich.”
This combo works well as a quick bite to eat, and it’s one of the best protein snacks to match with wine.
The nutrition details are based on 100 grams total; 50 grams of salami and 50 grams of provolone.
- Protein: 14.1 g
- Carbohydrate: 3.5 g
Originating from Europe, quark is another type of fresh cheese that you may not know.
It has been around for a long time, yet has been growing in popularity over the past few years.
Quark has a kind of bland taste – it is neither strong nor sour, and it is very mild and creamy.
Regarding its composition, it’s somewhere in between yogurt and cottage cheese, despite not tasting like either of the two.
It’s very popular in bodybuilding circles due to its extremely high protein concentration, despite being very low in fat and carbs.
If you want to snack, then these options are much healthier than what you’ll find in a convenience store.
Since typical snacks are not supportive of good health, why not give some of these a try?
For low carb, higher protein meal ideas, see this guide.