The holiday season is full of tempting, easy-to-grab Christmas cookies and treats.
Between all the shopping, decorating, cooking, and parties, it’s not uncommon to be simultaneously very busy and extra hungry. What often ends up happening is the perfect storm of finding yourself ravenous with only junk food options available. It’s a recipe for holiday weight gain.
Sticking to a healthy eating plan can feel especially difficult this time of year.
But it is possible. You don’t need to feel deprived and guilty during the holidays. Instead, with a bit of planning, you can be ready at any moment with delicious, high protein low-calorie snacks that will keep you satisfied and on track.
High protein low-calorie snacks to the rescue
Easily available, high protein low-calorie snacks are your best choice to prevent over-eating and weight gain this holiday season. Instead of grazing on whatever food is available, the right snack can make sticking with a healthy eating plan doable.
- High-protein intake stimulates the release of hormones that make you feel full longer.
- The more protein you eat, the less likely you are to succumb to food cravings later in the day.
- Protein boosts your metabolism and helps you burn fat.
- Higher protein diets are linked to better weight loss results.
High protein low-calorie snacks are ideal to tide you over between meals or to knock out a pesky food craving. Each item on our list is easy to grab and go and provides a clean balance of protein to fill you up without unnecessary calories.
Keep these foods well-stocked in your pantry and fridge so you will have something on hand at all times. On days when you are busy shopping or your schedule is disrupted by holiday plans or guests, grab something from your rescue stash to keep your appetite under control.
If you are someone who loves to snack on salty treats, edamame is the perfect fit. These whole, immature soybeans are mild-flavored with a tender, satisfying crunch.
One-half cup of this legume provides about 90 calories and an impressive 9 grams of protein. In addition, edamame is packed full of fiber, vitamin k, and isoflavones, all of which have health-boosting benefits.
Edamame can be boiled, steamed, or roasted. With a sprinkle of salt or other flavors, it makes a delicious, high-protein, low-calorie snack.
No list of high protein low-calories snacks would be complete without the good old hard-boiled egg.
Eggs are simple to grab and eat just as they are, or you can elevate them by whipping up your favorite deviled egg version.
Each egg contains about 6 grams of protein and 75 calories, so go ahead and have two. A pinch of salt or drizzle of hot sauce can spice up the flavor.
Bonus hint: the brighter colored the yolk, the healthier fat and vitamin content. Often free-range or high in omega-3 eggs have the brightest yolks.
Jerky has an excellent protein to calorie ratio, with an average of 9 grams of protein and 90 calories for a 1 oz serving.
The exact numbers will depend on the type of jerky you choose—beef, turkey, salmon, or even buffalo. A few things to keep in mind:
- Check the sugar content. Some brands add sugar to their flavoring.
- Portion out snack sizes, so you don’t eat straight out of the bag. 1-2 ounces is good for most people.
- Look for brands that use all-natural ingredients and minimal preservatives, such as Nick’s Sticks.
Peanut, almond, or cashew butter are filling and versatile snack foods. Two tablespoons provide 5-7 grams of protein as well as healthy fat, fiber, and minerals.
Here are some tasty ways to use nut butter:
- On celery, no raisin ants needed.
- With apples for dipping.
- Blended in a low-calorie smoothie.
- Mixed with yogurt.
- On top of ultra-dark, sugar-free or low-sugar chocolate (we love the Super Blackout bar from Alter Eco).
Smoothie with hemp seeds
One useful trick with high protein low-calorie snacks is to make a double portion of a smoothie in the morning to have on hand for those eating on the run moments later in the day.
The ingredient options are endless:
- Coconut milk
- Low-fat yogurt
- Leafy greens
Whatever flavor you choose, add some hemp seeds. One tablespoon of hemp seeds has only 45 calories and 3 grams of protein. You’ll give your snack a protein boost and add a wealth of vitamins and minerals.
ShiftSetGo Fluffy Nutter Crispy Bar
Our popular Fluffy Nutter Crispy bars contain 16 grams of high-quality protein from foods sources such as egg whites, peanuts, and milk. All of that yummy goodness for only 160 calories.
These bars are an especially good choice on days when you are really craving a sweet treat. Instead of reaching for a high-calorie fat bomb, you can have the best of both worlds, with a hint of sweetness loaded with healthy protein.
Almonds and blueberries
Make your own quick snack of salted almonds and dried blueberries. This power couple provides 4 grams of protein, 150 calories, and a burst of flavor in each ounce of the mix.
The addition of the blueberries makes this snack feel indulgent while still earning a spot in our high protein low-calorie snacks list.
If blueberries aren’t your thing, you can substitute another dried berry, but tread lightly. Dried fruit is best consumed in small amounts with a healthy protein source like almonds to manage the natural sugars.
Snack well to stay on track
For many people, the temptation to snack on whatever is readily available can derail healthy food choices. This is especially true when our calendars get packed.
To stay on track this holiday season, be prepared with nutritious, easy-to-grab snacks that will leave you satisfied and less susceptible to the lure of junk food. High protein low-calorie snacks should be your go-to.
While you may choose some treats this time of year, it should be on your terms, not because you didn’t have a better option available. The food you keep around will be the food you eat. Make the decision now to keep healthy, high protein low-calorie snacks available so you can make the right choices even on the go.