Having plenty of protein-packed snacks is a great way to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. But instead of stocking up on expensive energy bars or other store-bought snacks, consider these quick and tasty homemade treats to deliver those boosts of energy.
1. Trail Mix
This is the classic snack that’s super easy, nutritious, and can be made pretty much any way you want for a perfect energy bump on the go. Trail mix is simply a combination of nuts and dried fruits, sometimes with seeds, grains, or even chocolate tossed in. And while trail mix can be calorie-rich depending on the ingredients used, you’ll only need a handful to refuel.
Common trail mix ingredients include peanuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, sunflower seeds or kernels, flax seed, raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, and chocolate chips or candy-coated chocolate. If you want extra protein in your trail mix, choose almonds and pistachios over walnuts or cashews.
2. Deli Roll-Ups
Fast, delicious, and very healthy, deli roll-ups are basically sandwiches without the bread. This snack is perfect for anyone on a Paleo diet or is just watching their carbs. It’s quick to prepare and simple to carry in a plastic container or wrapped in foil.
Basically, a deli roll-up consists of a few slices of deli meat rolled around sandwich-style trimmings like vegetables or spreads. Choose low-salt sliced lunch meat to increase overall healthiness without sacrificing flavor.
You can make deli roll-ups with any ingredients you enjoy. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
3. Nut Butter Logs
• Turkey slices with hummus and avocado chunks
• Chicken slices with pepperoni and cheese
• Ham slices with cream cheese and crushed pineapple spread
• Turkey slices with American or Swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomato
If you ever had ‘ants on a log’ as a kid, you’re already familiar with this quick and easy snack that combines crunchy with smooth (and a little sticky). It’s good for you, while also being tasty and sweet enough to satisfy your snack cravings.
To make these crispy sweet snacks, cut celery sticks into snack-sized pieces and spread with any type of nut butter — whether you want to stick with traditional peanut butter or try some almond, cashew, or walnut spread. Top with a line of raisins or whole almonds, and you’re good to go.
If you’re not that fond of celery, consider using fresh apples instead. Just scoop out the center and fill with any nut butter – raisins or almonds optional!
4. Protein-Packed Parfait
Who doesn’t love a nice parfait? This simple cheap treat is fast to make, while also filling and delicious. And of course, it’s packed with protein and tons of good-for-you nutrients, including probiotics.
To make the perfect parfait, fill a small container with alternating layers of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt and the fruit of your choice. Strawberries and blueberries are the typical fruit of choice for parfaits, but you can also use fresh or frozen peach slices, apple chunks, raspberries or blackberries, bananas, kiwi, or any fruit you prefer. Finish off your parfait with some toasted oats and a light honey drizzle.
5. PB & J Yogurt Cups
Speaking of yogurt, if you’re not feeling the fruit you can create a classic childhood treat with a twist: peanut butter and jelly over yogurt instead of bread. Simply place a scoop of low-fat or fat-free plain Greek yogurt in a container, and then top with peanut butter, grape jelly, seedless grapes (cut in half), and either whole or crushed peanuts.
To change up this treat, you can use different nut butter like cashew or almond, strawberry preserves instead of grape jelly, and sliced strawberries or other fruits and alternative nuts as a topper.
6. Chocolate Banana Shake
For a fast, cheap and simple snack that’s also refreshing, break out the blender and make yourself a nice, healthy shake. It’s tasty and full of energy boosting nutrients to keep you going – the perfect midday pickup!
In a blender, combine one medium peeled banana with one cup of low-fat chocolate milk, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and three to five ice cubes. This drink yields 15 grams of protein-rich goodness in one delicious glass.
7. Tuna and Crackers
Another classic snack with nearly endless variety, canned tuna provides you not only with protein, but also good doses of vitamin D and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Drained tuna right from the can, scooped onto whole wheat crackers, makes a fast, healthy and satisfying snack when you need a boost.
If you’re looking for something a bit more flavorful, try this easy recipe: stack multi-grain crackers with cream cheese, tuna fish, and sliced scallion, then garnish with a twist of lemon and a sprinkle of fresh-ground black pepper.
8. Peanut Butter Energy Bites
Sometimes when you want a snack, you actually want it to taste like a snack. These super simple, no-bake peanut butter energy bites from Tasty Kitchen fit the bill perfectly, with just five ingredients and a ten-minute prep time. To make them, simply combine 2/3 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup uncooked oats, 1/2 cup ground flaxseed, and 2 tablespoons honey in a medium bowl, then refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes and roll into about 12 small balls.
Not a fan of peanuts? Try this no-bake nut butter alternative: mix together 1 1/2 tablespoons nut butter of your choice, 3 tablespoons uncooked oats, 1/2 tablespoon semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, and 1/2 teaspoon honey, then separate and roll into balls.
9. Cheesy Popcorn or Kale Chips
Craving something crunchy with lots of flavors? Fresh air-popped popcorn sprinkled with naturally parmesan-esque flavored nutritional yeast makes a healthy, delicious and protein-heavy snack. You can find nutritional yeast at most large and retail grocery stores or at your favorite health food store, sometimes in the bulk bins.
If you’re bothered by kernels or just don’t like popcorn, you can satisfy your salt cravings with homemade cheesy kale chips. Simply coat two cups of kale leaves with a tablespoon of olive oil and two tablespoons of nutritional yeast, then bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.
10. Quickie Cheese Plate
Cheese plates are a staple of large parties and events everywhere, but you don’t have to wait until the next wedding or company Christmas party to enjoy this quick, simple and healthy snack. Make a just-for-one version of a cheese plate by tossing a cheese stick, a handful of almonds or pistachios, and a few whole-grain crackers into a container, and have a mini-party anywhere.
Other possibilities for dressing up your cheese plate include pepperoni slices, pita crisps, black olives, or even dried fruits and candied nuts.
11. Cheesy Bean Quesadilla
Both cheese and beans are protein-packed and nutrient-rich, so combining them into a delicious snack is a great way to stave off hunger and boost energy.
To make these tasty treats, place a small tortilla (white or whole wheat) in a dry, non-stick pan and top with a slice of cheddar cheese, about half a cup of black beans, and a dollop of salsa. Warm at low heat until the tortilla browns slightly and the cheese is melted, then fold over and wrap your warm snack in foil.