7 High-Protein Power Snacks

These protein-packed nibbles will help you eat less, too.

October 27, 2014
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While we wish that nibbling on crackers or chocolate in the afternoon was the secret to weight loss success, a new study once again reinforces the importance of a protein-packed afternoon bite. Researchers from the University of Missouri had healthy young women eat a 160-calorie snack of high-protein Greek yogurt, high-fat crackers, or high-fat chocolate three hours after having lunch. The yogurt eaters weren’t hungry for dinner until a half-hour later than the cracker and chocolate set -- and they wound up eating 100 fewer calories at meal time, too. 

"I love this study, since it supports what I tell my clients: Greek yogurt is an ideal mid-afternoon snack," says New York City-based registered dietitian Laura Cipullo. "Snacks with both protein and moderate amounts of carbohydrates will make you eat less at dinner time."

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More: 10 Tasty Protein Shake Recipes

Looking to feel fuller longer and make the most of your midday munch? Check out these seven satisfying snacks for your next midafternoon slump:  

1. Turkey jerky 
Director at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine Leslie Bonci, RD, suggests 2 ounces of turkey jerky, which will land you in the ideal calorie zone. 

2. Edamame with pickled ginger
"Edamame is one of the best sources of protein in the bean family," says Cipullo. Her suggestion? Keep the serving size at a modest one cup. Other bonuses to eating edamame? It's been shown to reduce appetite and aid in digestion.

3. Extra-firm tofu marinated in teriyaki or balsamic vinegar with tomatoes.
"A savory protein snack to get away from sweet fatigue," says Bonci. A half-cup of tofu should be a satisfying amount.

4. Cottage Cheese with wheat germ and diced pineapple
Like yogurt, cottage cheese contains carbs that work well in tandem with the protein, says Cipullo. Stick to a half-cup if you add the extras, a cup if you eat it plain.

5. Nut butter spread on celery sticks
Peanut, almond, cashew -- or whatever your favorite may be -- all are satisfying, says Bonci. Our tip? Keep it to 200 calorie servings at one time, which will leave you full without overdoing it. 

6. Babybel Cheese and clementines
Two of each will do the trick, says Cipullo. (Check out these 14 Healthier Cheeses You'll Love.)

7. Tricolor bean salad
Make it with black beans, chick peas, kidney beans, whatever been your heart desires, says Cipullo. The bonus of beans is not only are they versatile and come in loads of varieties, but they're also packed with both protein, minerals, slow-burning carbs, and fiber to aid in digestion.