15 of the best high-protein snacks, tried & tested
Looking to up your protein intake? Perhaps you want to find high-protein snacks beyond the usual bars and shakes? We did the work and found the best salty, sweet and vegan snacks to buy
It used to be that the only people looking to get more protein in their diet were bodybuilders and athletes, but now people of all ages and fitness levels are taking supplements or eating foods to increase their protein levels.
Sales of protein bars and powders continue to boom, but these products aren't for everyone. Whether you prefer to get your protein from savoury snacks, natural foods or even cereal, we tested them all so you could buy the best.
We looked at protein snacks that were genuinely delicious and easy to eat on the go, from a lunchbox or at a desk. We made sure all the foods were high in protein but didn't have the overpowering 'protein' taste that so many bars and powders have.
Best high-protein snacks at a glance
- Best rice cakes: Kallo Protein Packed Lentil Cakes (£2)
- Best keto snack: Acti-Snack Buffalo Barbecue Keto Crunch (£1.30)
- Best protein yogurt: Arla Natural Skyr (£1.45)
- Best protein cereal: Brave Cinnamon Super Hoops (£6.40)
- Best for runners: Protein Works Cherry & Almond Superfood Bites (£5.99)
- Best protein spread: Protein Works Choc Hazelnut Protein Spread (£8.99)
- Best high-protein crisps: Rude Health Lentil Triangles (£1.65)
- Best spicy snack: Cheeky P's Chilli & Lime Crunchy Chickpeas (£11.99 for 12)
- Best protein granola: Acti-Snack High-Protein Peanut Butter Granola (£3.80)
- Best jerky: Kings Black Bean Sauce Flavour Veggie Jerky (£1.50)
- Best protein ball: The Protein Ball Co. Blueberry Oat Muffin (£1.50)
- Best gluten-free protein snack: Squirrel Sisters Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper Roasted Cashews (£1.20)
- Best protein cookie: Myprotein Vegan Gooey Filled Cookie (£2.49)
- Best protein cake: Fitbakes Hazelnut Choc Cakes (£3.19)
- Best protein chocolate: Push Original Dairy-free Chocolate Buttons (£4.99)
The best high-protein snacks 2023
Best rice cakes
Kallo Protein Packed Lentil Cakes
Not technically a rice cake, these are made with lentil flour, pea protein and buckwheat to keep them gluten-free. If you've got an intolerance, these could be a good snacking alternative to try. They have a nice crunch without being dry, and they're delicious topped with hummus. In fact, we'd go as far to say these are the best rice-cake-style product we've tried.
At only 30 calories per cake, they're considerably lower-calorie than other high-protein snacks, such as, for example, any made with nuts.
- Grams of protein per serving: 1.6g per lentil cake
- Calories per serving: 30kcal per lentil cake
Available from Sainsbury's (£2)
Best keto snack
Acti-Snack Buffalo Barbecue Keto Crunch
Keto dieters rejoice, you'll never be forced to eat an unsatisfying snack again. These barbecue nuts are smoky, spicy, sweet and salty – they were everything we wanted and more.
Cashews and almonds are coated in chipotle powder and liquid smoke, then toasted until perfectly crunchy, and a scattering of tamari-covered pumpkin seeds are mixed through for extra savoury flavour. The small, individual-sized portions are easy to eat on the go and ideal for packing for in your gym or work bag.
- Grams of protein per 40g serving: 10g
- Calories per 40g serving: 219kcal
Available from Ocado (£1.30)
Best protein yogurt
Arla Natural Skyr
Creamy, smooth and thick enough to leave your spoon standing up in, this Scandi-style yogurt is similar to the popular Greek favourite. There are flavoured versions available in shops too, but be aware these do contain added sugars. Our advice is stick with the natural Skyr and enjoy it topped with chopped apple, walnuts or honey if you like a bit of sweetness.
More like this
- Grams of protein per 1/3 pot (150g portion): 15.9g
- Calories per 1/3 pot (150g portion): 95kcal
Available from Tesco (£1.45)
Best protein cereal
Brave Cinnamon Super Hoops
On first bite, you might think this sweet and crunchy cereal is something from your childhood but read the box and you'll discover it's much more sophisticated. Made with a blend of macros (that's protein, carbs and fat) these cinnamon hoops are high in protein and fibre, yet low in carbs, which means you'll get all the tasty satisfaction but none of the energy crashes. Tuck into a bowlful served with dairy or oat milk for a mid-morning or late-afternoon snack.
One thing to note is these hoops are made without artificial additives, which means they don't stay crunchy for as long as as regular cereal. After two weeks, we found they needed a few minutes soaking in milk before eating.
- Grams of protein per 35g serving: 12g
- Calories per 35g serving: 135kcal
Available from Planet Organic (£6.40)
Best for runners
Protein Works Cherry and Almond Superfood Bites
If you like flapjacks, then you'll love these sweet and chewy vegan bites. Filled with fruity, nutty goodness, all of the ingredients listed are recognisable (there's no long list of additives here) and they count as natural sources of protein and fibre. The combination of cherry and almond evokes bakewell tart, but healthier. We liked being able to see nuts and seeds in every piece, giving a homemade feel.
Perfect to pop in your bag for snacking on the go – you could even take them to the gym for a sweet protein hit post-workout. But watch out, they're dangerously moreish.
- Grams of protein per 10g: 1.4g
- Calories per 10g: 39kcal
Available from Protein Works (£5.99)
Best protein spread
Protein Works Choc Hazelnut Protein Spread
If you're not one for shakes or bars but you still like a sweet protein snack, this chocolate spread is for you. Low-sugar, veggie-friendly and palm-oil-free, it's packed with whey protein to support your fitness goals. On tasting, we were blown away by how similar this tasted to a popular chocolate hazelnut spread. White chocolate is also available, and it's just as delicious. If you're happy to spend a bit more, we suggest buying both so you can switch it up depending on your mood.
Stir through oats, spread on rice cakes or, if you're anything like us, eat straight from the tub with a spoon.
- Grams of protein per 15g serving: 3g
- Calories per 15g serving: 83kcal
Available from Protein Works (£8.99)
Rude Health Lentil Triangles
On their own, these crunchy triangles are a little plain with a noticeable pea protein flavour. However, our team thought they were very good when used as a vehicle for hummus – each crisp is the perfect shape and thickness for scooping dip. Naturally gluten-free, these healthy bites are made using lentils and chickpea flour to give you a protein boost.
- Grams of protein per 35g serving: 9.1g
- Calories per 35g serving: 139kcal
Available from Ocado (£1.65)
Best spicy snack
Cheeky P's Chilli & Lime Crunchy Chickpeas
These spicy toasted chickpeas left our tasters very happy. The crunch levels were seriously impressive and the heat of habanero chilli is punchy but delicious, with plenty of zesty lime to cut through the heat. They would be great eaten with a cold drink, or at your desk. However, the red coating does get all over your hands, so for this reason we wouldn't advise eating them on the move.
- Grams of protein per 40g serving: 8.8g
- Calories per 40g serving: 160kcal
Available from Cheeky P's (£11.99 for 12)
Best protein granola
Acti-Snack High Protein Peanut Butter Granola
Peanut butter lovers, there's a new granola in town and it comes from fitness brand Acti-Snack. The blend of oats, seeds, buckwheat flakes and dark chocolate curls is filled with lumps of smooth peanut butter. When milk is added, these lumps give the whole bowl a peanutty flavour. Whether you eat it dry, straight from the bag, or with milk, this granola is impressively crunchy and sweet but not overly so. It would be perfect fuel before or after a morning workout or eaten in the afternoon, before a heavy training session. For an extra protein boost, serve with skyr yogurt.
- Grams of protein per 40g serving: 9.2g
- Calories per 40g serving: 187kcal
Available from Ocado (£3.80)
Kings Black Bean Sauce Flavour Veggie Jerky
It was such a close tie between Kings meat and veggie jerky we found it hard to choose (really, it was that hard to tell the difference) but in the end it was the sweet, smoky and peppery black bean sauce flavour that led the veggie to win. This plant-based version has the perfect chew, great meaty texture and everything we're looking for in a bag of jerky. Plus, it packs plenty of protein and it's low in saturated fat – what's not to love!?
- Grams of protein per 65g bag: 14.6g
- Calories per 65g bag: 208kcal
Available from Ocado (£1.50)
Best protein ball
The Protein Ball Co. Blueberry Oat Muffin
After tasting so many chocolatey snacks, we were very happy to discover these fruity protein balls. Inspired by American blueberry muffins, these taste almost exactly like the real thing, complete with cinnamon spice and an oaty crumble topping.
We liked that these come as 6 mini protein balls – rather than one large one – meaning you can eat half before your workout and the rest after. Or scoff them all in one, if you'd like. And you can do so happily, knowing these are made without palm oil or added sugars.
- Grams of protein per 45g serving: 6.5g
- Calories per425g serving: 178kcal
Available from Morrisons (£1.50)
Best gluten-free protein snack
Squirrel Sisters Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper Roasted Cashews
As big fans of salt and pepper crisps, we were intrigued to see this flavour used for nuts and the Squirrel Sisters don't disappoint. The cashews are roasted to just the right level of crunchiness, and the salt and pepper balance each other to give a savoury taste with a bit of something different. Yes, the portion is quite small but it stops you eating an unhealthy amount which, when they taste this good, we could easily do.
- Grams of protein per 25g serving: 129g
- Calories per 25g serving: 4.3kcal
Available from Squirrel Sisters (£1.20)
Best protein cookie
Myprotein Vegan Gooey Filled Cookie
More of a brownie than a cookie, this sizeable treat is dense and rich. Although it's not as flavoursome as some other sweet protein snacks we tried – we couldn't taste caramel at all – it's still a great choice if you're looking for something you can easily slip into your gym bag, you're looking for something vegan or you're already a fan of the brand. Alongside a cuppa, this certainly gave us enough energy to get through the afternoon and still smash an evening workout.
- Grams of protein per 75g serving (1 cookie): 20g
- Calories per 75g serving (1 cookie): 271kcal
Available from Myprotein (£2.49)
Best protein cake
Fitbakes Hazelnut Choc Cakes
Soft wholemeal vanilla sponge is topped with a layer of low-sugar chocolate spread to make these tasty treats. For a healthier and high-protein alternative to your regular afternoon snack, enjoy one with a cuppa. Just be careful not to keep them too long as, like regular cakes, they have a limited shelf life of 1-3 weeks.
- Grams of protein per cake bite: 2g
- Calories per cake bite: 40kcal
Available from Fitbakes (£3.19)
Best protein chocolate
Push Original Dairy-free Chocolate Buttons
If you prefer a small protein snack, these vegan chocolate buttons are a good option for keeping in your gym or work bag so you can nibble away when needed. Impressively, they're made with pea protein isolate and brown rice protein but this doesn't affect the flavour. We thought they tasted similar to other dairy-free chocolate we've tried. And we were very pleased to discover these buttons are made with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
- Grams of protein per 100g : 21.9g
- Calories per 100g: 552kcal
Available from Push Chocolate (£4.99)
What we looked for...
Added protein: Whether that comes from the addition of ingredients such as whey protein powder, or from the use of foods that are naturally high in protein, like chickpeas, we only tried products which could be considered high in protein compared to other similar snacks.
Taste: We looked for high-protein snacks that tasted genuinely delicious. It was important that any flavours mentioned on the pack were clear in the tasting. Products that tasted obviously of whey or pea protein powders were marked down.
Snack-ability: We made sure all products could be eaten as a snack. Whether this was on the go, like a packet of nuts, at a desk, like a bowl of cereal, or out of a lunchbox, like protein spread on a rice cake.
Healthy recipes to try
This review was last updated in September 2022. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have a favourite high-protein snack that hasn't been mentioned? Please let us know in the comments below...