From bars to beans, yoghurts to drinks, these grab-and-go snacks are a delicious way to pack in the protein
Gone are the days when protein snacks were the preserve of top athletes – high-protein food is officially mainstream and ripe for the picking. But when the supermarket aisles present you with more choice than a Netflix subscription, how do you know which to go for? Thankfully, our tried and tested roundup of protein snacks will narrow it down for you to the very best in nutrition, taste, value for money and more.
So, whether you’re a genuine gym enthusiast or simply looking to pack more protein into your daily diet, our collection of the best protein snacks will power you through your day and satisfy your taste buds. But first, check out our guide to choosing the right protein snack for you.
Best protein snacks: At a glance
|Best-tasting protein snack
|Good4U Cocoa Orange Protein Balls | £4.50
|Check price at Ocado
|Best plant-based protein snack
|The Honest Bean Co Roasted Fava Beans | £12
|Check price at Honest Bean Co
|Best with added vitamins
|The Protein Ball Co Protein Balls | £19
|Check price at Amazon
How to choose the best protein snack for you
Which snacks are highest in protein?
Our line-up isn’t all whey protein bars – though you’ll find plenty of them on the market at the moment, some of which promise anywhere up to 25g of protein per serving. Instead, we’ve tried to include a range of naturally high-protein foods in a ready-to-eat form, including beans, pulses – such as chickpeas and lentils – a variety of nuts, yoghurt and more.
When you’re at home and able to make yourself something, it’s important to combine these easy-reach options with less processed, naturally high-protein foods such as hard-boiled eggs, edamame beans, peanut butter with apple slices, cooked chicken or turkey slices, and even hard cheeses.
The best protein snacks will always combine protein and fibre to help slow the rate of digestion. This means that a snack containing protein and fibre will provide energy more slowly, preventing peaks and troughs in our blood glucose.
What ingredients should I avoid?
Sugar may seem like an obvious answer to this question but a lot of snacks that are marketed as “healthy” aren’t always as nutritious as they appear and may contain hidden sugars. Sugar is a quick-release source of energy and consuming high-sugar products will lead to spikes in your blood sugar levels and subsequent crashes in both mood and energy. Even the products that are low in calories aren’t necessarily free from the white stuff.
Sugars are, of course, carbs. And loading up on carbs isn’t necessarily an issue if you’re eating your protein snack ahead of a gym session, or if you just need an instant energy boost, but if your goal is muscle recovery or weight loss then those grab-and-go snacks that are high in carbs won’t help you.
Lastly, if you look closely, you’ll spot that many “no added sugar” products contain artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol and sorbitol. While these aren’t “bad” for you, as such, they can irritate a sensitive gut and cause an upset stomach in some, so it’s always worth checking the list of ingredients fully.
READ NEXT: The best whey protein to buy
How we test protein snacks
We taste-tested and examined the ingredients of all the snacks on this list to ensure they’re not only delicious, but are nutritionally balanced. For them to make our list, the snacks had to be made with recognisable ingredients, had to be high in protein (but free from that overpowering “protein” taste that many bars and yoghurts have) and had to be suitable for eating both on the go or at your desk.
We’ve also noted the macros for each snack, and whether it’s vegan-friendly, so you can see at a glance if it’s the right kind of snack for you.
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The best protein snacks to buy in 2024
1. Good4U Cocoa Orange Protein Balls: Best-tasting protein snack
Price when reviewed: £4.50 (3 x 40g) | Check price at Ocado
High in fibre, protein and magnesium, these natural protein balls from Good4U are perfect when you’re craving something sweet. Not only do they taste delicious, but they’re also dusted with cocoa powder – so it’s like getting your chocolate fix without the added sugar.
You can pick these up in three different flavours, including Salted Caramel and Raspberry Brownie, but the Cocoa Orange were the biggest hit with our testers. The dried fruit and nut base (which includes dates, dried apricots, milled pumpkin seed and flaxseed, as well as soya protein crispies) provides you with natural, slow-release energy. They’re also gluten-free and each 30g pack is just 124 calories.
Key specs – Protein per serving: 7g; Carbs: 18g; Fat: 1.7g; Vegan-friendly: Yes
2. Vievé Protein Water: Best protein water
Price when reviewed: £2.30 (500ml) | Check price at Ocado
While you’ll get a fuller nutrition profile if you eat something high in protein, this zero-sugar water from Vievé is a great way to top up your protein and hydrate at the same time. Each 500ml bottle is naturally flavoured and infused with a whopping 20g of collagen protein. It’s also dairy free, which is refreshing news for anyone who’s lactose intolerant since most protein drinks tend to be milk-based.
Vievé comes in a choice of six fruity flavours, including strawberry and rhubarb, watermelon, and pineapple and coconut, but the standout flavours for our tester were both the citrus and apple and the orange and mango. They worked wonders to rehydrate, post-workout (not to mention recover from a previous night’s G&T).
Key specs – Protein per serving: 20g; Carbs: 0g; Fat: 0g; Vegan-friendly: No (but vegan options available)
3. The Honest Bean Co Roasted Fava Beans: Best plant-based protein snack
Price when reviewed: £12 (12 x 40g) | Check price at The Honest Bean Co
A straightforward and naturally protein-rich snack, it’s the winning combination of fibre, iron, protein and a moderate dose of carbs that make The Honest Bean Co’s fava beans a great post-workout fuel or an on-the-go protein top-up.
Available in a wide range of great-tasting flavours – from Lightly Salted to Black Garlic & Herb, Chilli & Lemon to Barbecue – these really hit the spot if you’re looking for something to satisfy that savoury, salty snack craving. However, that said, they’re not exactly high in salt either, in case you’re worried about your sodium intake. Our tester’s personal favourites are the Seaweed & Miso and the classic Salt & Vinegar, but all of them are delicious. We also love that all the beans are grown right here on British soil.
Key specs – Protein per serving: 10g; Carbs: 15g; Fat: 5g; Vegan-friendly: Yes
4. Rude Health High-Protein Lentil Triangles: Best protein crisps
Price when reviewed: £1.65 (70g) | Check price at Ocado
As delicious plain as they are when loaded with hummus or guacamole, these lentil crisps from Rude Health are far higher in protein and fibre than standard crisps and, in most cases, combine fewer ingredients too. They’re made with lentils, chickpea flour, pea protein, oil and sea salt – that’s it – and make a great, sustaining low-sugar snack, especially when paired with your favourite healthy dip. The texture is crisp and satisfying – perfect for when you’re craving something savoury – and they can also be used to add some crunch to a salad or soup. Each bag contains two servings.
In line with Rude Health’s ethos, they’re vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and have no artificial or refined ingredients. We also love that the brand is a certified B-Corp, so you can be sure that everything – from the recyclability of the packaging to the sustainability of the ingredients – has been taken into consideration.
Key specs – Protein per serving: 9.1g; Carbs: 16g; Fat: 3.5g; Vegan-friendly: Yes
5. Barebells Protein Bars: Best-tasting protein bar
Price when reviewed: £23.99 (12 x 55g) | Check price at Barebells
Everything about Barebells protein bars is spot on: the taste, the satisfyingly chewy texture, and the high-protein, low-sugar content. There’s even a healthy amount of fibre in there too, with many bars delivering more than 4g of fibre per 55g serving. All this should give you the slow-release energy you’ll need to keep going until your next proper meal.
Most of the Barebells range uses milk protein, which contains all nine of the essential amino acids that humans require. Nuts and soy are used as the main sources of protein, with their Original bars cramming in 20g of protein per serving, and the Soft bars a very respectable 16g. However, they also offer vegan options, which taste just as good and still offer 15g per bar of plant-based protein, using a blend of soy, pea and rice.
All of Barebells’ bars are topped with crunch and wrapped in decadent, but not-too-sweet, chocolate for a perfect balance of textures in every bite. Swap your usual chocolate bar for one of these with your cuppa and you’ll smash the 3pm slump as well as your evening workout.
Key specs – Protein per serving: 15-20g; Carbs: 16g; Fat: 8g; Vegan-friendly: Some vegan options available
6. Lindahls Kvarg Protein Yoghurt: Best protein yoghurt
Price when reviewed: £1.25 (150g) | Check price at Amazon
While nothing will beat traditional Greek yoghurt when it comes to keeping you feeling full and satisfied, sometimes it’s nice to throw in a flavoured alternative as a treat. Rich, thick and creamy – and with a texture very much like Greek yoghurt – Lindahls does a great job of creating flavoursome desserts that still pack a protein punch with minimal sugar.
Their yoghurts are made with quark, a dairy product that sits somewhere between a cream cheese and a yoghurt. Not only is it high in protein, but it also contains gut-friendly live cultures, and these yoghurts in particular have a great consistency and taste delicious. They’re also low in fat.
For those with sensitive stomachs, it’s worth noting that these yoghurts do contain sweeteners in place of sugar.
Key specs – Protein per serving: 15g; Carbs: 5.3g; Fat: 0.3g; Vegan-friendly: No
7. The Protein Ball Co Protein Balls: Best protein snack with added vitamins
Price when reviewed: £19 (10 x 45g) | Check price at Amazon
Like the Good4U protein balls, these are great if you’re looking for a sweet treat or post-lunch graze that’s not just full of sugar. They come in a wider range of unusual flavours too – think Goji Berry & Coconut, Cherry Bakewell, Lemon & Pistachio and Coffee Oat Muffin. Plus, as well as being packed with protein, they also contain added vitamins, including B12, vitamin C and vitamin D3.
Most of the flavours use whey protein as their main source of protein, though some of the flavours also use egg white, and these come in at around 10g of protein per serving, which is sizeable considering the handbag-friendly size of the packet. However, there is also a selection of vegan flavours available, which typically contain around 6-7g of pea and rice protein per serving instead.
We loved the natural sweetness as much as we loved the slightly chewy texture of these balls and, in fact, there wasn’t a flavour we didn’t completely devour.
Key specs – Protein per serving: Up to 10g; Carbs: Around 18g; Fat: Around 8g; Vegan-friendly: Some vegan options available
8. Battle Bites Dynabar Chocolate Caramel: Best treat protein snack
Price when reviewed: £23 (12 x 60g) | Check price at Amazon
If you’re on a mission to make healthier snack choices but still can’t resist the odd treat (and who can?) then these melt-in-the-mouth bars from Battle Bites might be just the thing. With a white chocolate and caramel filling, topped with soya crispies and coated with a low-sugar caramel layer, the Dynabar makes for a rich and satisfying treat that nails both taste and texture.
Yet, despite how luscious they taste, each “bite” (with two “bites” to the bar) is just 122 calories and each bar has less than 3g of sugar in total, so they make the perfect alternative to a sugar-laden chocolate bar when you hit the mid-afternoon slump. You’ll also find they come in a wide range of other wild and delicious-sounding flavours, including Sticky Toffee Pudding, Birthday Cake, Jaffa Bake and Toffee Apple Popping Candy.
Key specs – Protein per serving: 18g; Carbs: 21g; Fat: 8.3g; Vegan-friendly: No
9. Crazy Nutrition Tri-Protein Powder: Best protein shake for training
Price when reviewed: £55 (900g) | Check price at Crazy Nutrition
If you’re looking for workout fuel, Crazy Nutrition has long been a trusted brand in sports and fitness, making this protein powder a staple for any athlete. It’s made up of four types of natural, non-GMO protein, including whey protein isolate (a natural milk protein packed with amino acids, which are needed for muscle recovery and repair) and casein. All of which break down in three “phases” for slow-release energy and strength – hence the name.
The mix is smooth, flavourful and combines well with water or milk for an instant, post-workout shake. It’s versatile enough to use in baking to boost your protein intake, too (protein banana bread, anyone?). It comes in a choice of flavours, including banana, strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. We taste-tested the latter: a creamy cocoa hit that satisfied our tester’s sweet tooth with no unwanted aftertaste.
Key specs – Protein per serving: 24g; Carbs: 1.97g; Fat: 0.65g; Vegan-friendly: No