When you're watching your waistline, look for snacks high in protein and low in fat. Women who consume high-protein snacks, as compared to high-fat snacks, feel more satisfied, less hungry and eat fewer calories all day long, reported a 2014 study published in the Journal of Nutrition. Limiting your carb intake from these snacks, especially refined carbs, may help reduce bloat and stabilize your energy levels, too.
Grab-and-Go High-Protein Snacks
A package of deli meat is an instant lean, high-protein snack. As long as you choose versions that have no added honey, sugar or fillers, you'll also get no carbs. Avoid highly processed meats, such as bologna, salami and pepperoni, which tend to have extra fat.
Eat turkey breast, lean roast beef or lean ham right out of the package. Alternatively, roll the deli meat in a romaine or butter lettuce leaf with a squeeze of mustard to add trace carbohydrates. A 3-ounce serving of deli turkey offers about 25 grams of protein, while 3 ounces of ham has 18 grams of protein; each contains just 2 to 3 grams of fat and no carbs.
Leftover Roasted Meats
Precooked meats, like chicken breast, flank steak or even pork tenderloin, make for a quick snack. Cook a little extra of these meats when you prep dinner so you have it to munch on between meals the next day. One-half cup of light-meat, roasted chicken offers 20 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat with no carbs. An ounce of flank steak provides 2 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein, and an ounce of pork tenderloin has 2 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein.
Because you're snacking between meals, a small serving will do. Toss the chopped protein with cucumbers, celery and mixed greens topped with a squeeze of lemon juice or red wine vinegar to add just 2 to 3 grams of total carbohydrates. A small salad like this can easily be a snack, not just a meal.
Egg Whites and Whey Protein Snacks
A large egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat and a trace of carbs. If you hard-boil a dozen and remove the yolk, you'll miss all the fat and still get 3 grams of protein per egg. Jazz up the bland flavor by mixing the chopped egg whites with a bit of mustard, a splash of white wine vinegar, chopped celery, minced red onion and chopped dill. Scoop up the egg salad with cucumber coins or endive leaves.
Whey protein powder offers a quality dose of 20 to 25 grams of protein per serving for most brands with just 2 to 3 grams of carbs and no fat. Mix the powder in water for a post-workout snack that curbs your appetite and enhances muscle repair and growth. Read the label on the brand you choose to ensure it's 100-percent whey protein powder without added sugars and fillers that will raise the carb content considerably.
Portable High-Protein, Low-Fat Snacks
A can or pouch of water-packed tuna makes for a portable high-protein, low-carb and low-fat snack. Three ounces contain 20 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fat. Avoid oil-packed tuna because it contains significantly more fat.
Beef jerky is portable and high in protein but often contains more carbs and fat than you might want in a snack. Opt for lean game meat jerky -- such as elk or bison -- for less fat and fewer carbs per serving. For example, a strip of elk jerky has 8 grams of protein with 2 grams of fat and 1 gram of carbs. Compare this to a strip of beef jerky with 7 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 2 grams of carbs. As with any other food, read the nutrition label to make sure the jerky has no sugar added during the curing process. Elk and bison jerky are available from retailers online or at specialty stores.
- Journal of Nutrition: Effects of High-Protein Vs. High-Fat Snacks on Appetite Control, Satiety, and Eating Initiation in Healthy Women
- Healthaliciousness: Turkey, Ham, Tuna
- Healthaliciousness: Chicken, Steak, Pork
- Healthaliciousness: Egg, Egg White, Beef Jerky
- Blue Bonnet Nutrition: 100% Natural Whey Protein
- Authority Nutrition: Whey Protein 101: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
- Pearson Ranch: Nutrition Labels
- Atkins: Phase 1 - Induction