12 High-Protein Low-Carb Snacks to Help Build Lean Muscle
In choosing a high-protein, low-carb diet, there's so much emphasis on your three square meals that it can be easy to overlook appropriate snack choices — despite the fact that snacking accounts for one-third of our daily energy intake.
Snacking doesn't have to put a damper on your fitness goals, as long as you do it mindfully. A 2015 study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shows that nutrient-dense snacking is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI) and higher diet quality than sugary sweets and beverages.
If you need some healthy snack inspiration, check out these high-protein, low-carb snacks you can make and enjoy morning, noon, or night.
12 High-Protein, Low-Carb Snacks to Make at Home
These high-protein, low-carb snacks are simple to prepare, packed with essential vitamins and minerals, and help keep you full between meals. Best of all, they'll add plenty of variety to your snacking routine.
1. Veggie Egg White Bites
Image: Pinch Me Good
Eggs are an excellent source of protein. A half-cup (100 g) of egg whites contains nearly 11 grams of protein, roughly 3 grams of net carbohydrates, and only 55 calories.
These veggie egg white bites are made with spinach, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese, which makes them rich in iron, calcium, and (of course) protein. Eat a couple of these mid-morning to keep yourself satisfied and energized until lunch.
2. No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls
Image: Low Carb Maven
Peanut butter gets a bad rap for its high-fat content, but a closer look at its nutritional info shows it's mostly monounsaturated fat, particularly a healthy fat known as oleic acid that can lower low-density lipoprotein (LPL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol. Peanut butter is also great for keeping you full due to its protein and fat content.
These no-bake peanut butter balls provide you with a midday energy boost without the eventual crash. They only require three ingredients: all-natural peanut butter, powdered sweetener, and protein powder. Each peanut butter ball has 8 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, and only 1 net carb. Try not to eat them all at once!
3. Edamame Hummus
Hummus is a healthy snack, but chickpeas are a bit too high in net carbs for most low-carb dieters. Edamame, on the other hand, is a lower-carb alternative that's also higher in plant-based protein than chickpeas. Plus, it's a good source of iron, magnesium, and vitamin K.
This edamame hummus is ready to eat in five minutes. Add a cup of shelled edamame to a food processor or blender along with olive oil, tahini, and a selection of herbs. Eat it with your favorite veggies as a dipper or use it as a spread on a keto-friendly wrap.
4. Pumpkin Muffins
Image: Kinda Healthy Recipes
Pumpkin is beneficial for your digestion and gut health due to its high fiber content. On its own, pumpkin is quite low in protein. However, you can combine pumpkin with your favorite protein powder to create a nutritious snack that will keep you satiated and regular.
These pumpkin muffins contain 11 grams of protein and only 5 grams of carbs. They're made with almond flour, which makes them keto-friendly and gluten-free. Enjoy these muffins as a quick breakfast or a post-dinner treat.
5. Vegan Trail Mix
Image: Plant-Based Cooking
Trail mix is an easy way to add much-needed nutrients into your diet. Nuts and seeds are dense sources of plant protein, fiber, and unsaturated, healthy fats while dried fruit is chock-full of antioxidants like vitamin C and selenium.
This vegan trail mix includes edamame, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, almonds, freeze-dried berries, and dark chocolate. At 10 grams of protein per serving (and just 8 grams of net carbs), this sweet-and-savory high-protein snack will fill you up in no time.
6. Strawberry Protein Pudding
Image: Mom Secrets
Gelatin is loaded with protein and may offer other health benefits, such as reducing blood sugar and joint problems. In addition to being protein-rich, gelatin has little to no carbohydrates, depending on how it's sweetened.
Make this low-carb strawberry protein pudding with sugar-free strawberry gelatin, water, Greek yogurt, and whey protein powder. It's low-calorie (65 total) and a great way to curb your hunger pangs while satisfying your sweet tooth.
7. Turkey and Veggie Roll-Ups
Image: Keto Diet App
Following a low-carb diet can be difficult if you like to snack on sandwiches. Even whole-wheat bread is laden with carbohydrates and provides very little protein.
Fortunately, no bread is needed to prepare these turkey and veggie roll-ups with peppers, cucumbers, and microgreens. Low-carb and keto-friendly, these roll-ups also feature a homemade French onion spread. One serving (four roll-ups) will fill you up with 33.5 grams of protein, 23 grams of fat, and just 6 grams of net carbs.
8. Low-Carb Protein Bars
Image: What Great Grandma Ate
Protein bars are convenient and marketed as a healthy way to replace meals. However, many commercially-made protein bars are loaded with added sugars and artificial flavors that will cancel out the good stuff you're consuming.
With these low-carb protein bars you can make at home, you'll know exactly what you're putting into your body. Here, it's a variety of seeds and nuts, collagen, egg whites, and sugar substitute. One bar contains 5 grams of net carbs and 9 grams of protein.
9. Keto Tortilla Chips
Image: The Keto Queens
Tortilla chips are high in carbs, low in protein, and full of starch. Whether you follow the keto diet or another low-carb diet, chances are you've resigned yourself to giving up those cheesy plates of nachos.
These low-carb tortilla chips are not only protein-rich (9.2 grams per serving), they're also gluten-free. They're made with shredded mozzarella, almond flour, flaxseed meal, sea salt, and pepper. Pair these chips with your favorite guac or salsa, or use them as a base for keto-approved nachos.
10. Single-Serve High-Protein Brownie
Image: Skinny Fitalicious
Chocolate brownies are delicious but decadent. They're loaded with carbohydrates, added sugars, and saturated fats. If you're prone to eating multiple brownies in one sitting, it may be because they contain virtually no protein to help curb your hunger.
With this single-serve high-protein brownie, one is all you'll need. It's made with egg whites, chocolate protein powder, applesauce, unsweetened cocoa powder, and peanut butter. After five minutes in the microwave, you'll have a tasty treat with 11 grams of protein and 4 grams of net carbs.
11. Homemade Turkey Jerky
Image: Keto Diet App
Beef jerky is a high-protein snack, but it's not always healthy. Substituting red meat for leaner white meat like turkey will help you trim the fat content while still providing at least 20 grams of protein per serving.
This homemade turkey jerky takes some time to prepare, but it's quite simple. Carve a turkey breast into strips and season it with coriander, sea salt, pepper, and apple cider vinegar. After almost eight hours in the oven, you'll have a snack that's a substantial source of protein (31 grams) but low in fat (2 grams) and net carbs (1 gram).
12. Keto Snack Box
Image: Food Lovin’ Family
Snack packs are an easy way to bring low-carb, high-protein goodies with you on-the-go for a snack or a small meal. Even better, you can customize your snack packs with your favorite diet-approved foods.
This keto snack box adds sliced turkey breast, hard-boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, diced cucumbers, and mild shredded cheddar. However, you can adjust the ingredients based on your preferences and dietary needs. In any case, you'll have a snack box that's packed with at least 20 grams of protein and fewer than 5 grams of net carbs.
It's Easy to Snack Smart
As this list shows, high-protein, low-carb-approved snacks go well beyond hard-boiled eggs and protein smoothies. If there's a food you crave but can no longer have because of your diet, chances are you'll be able to find a protein-packed, low-carb alternative that will give you plenty of satisfaction and energy.
Before making any changes to your diet, make sure to consult your primary care doctor or nutritionist to ensure you're receiving the proper balance of key vitamins and nutrients.In-between counting macros and meal-prepping, don't forget to stay hydrated — especially on training days. The ultra-portable Transparent Labs 2L Hydration Bottle will help keep your H2O intake steady whether you're at home or on-the-go.