Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are cool and all, but everybody loves a good snack. And if you’d like that bite to really sustain you between meals, high-protein snacks are a great choice.
Along with the million-and-one body functions that this vital nutrient supports, protein keeps you from getting hungry again right away because it takes longer for your body to digest, Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D.N., certified exercise physiologist and author of Body Kindness, , tells SELF. The amino acids in protein take a while to break down and utilize, which ends up keeping you satisfied for longer, Scritchfield explains. Protein can also help prevent energy dips by providing a more stable stream of energy than, say, sugar. Scritchfield recommends eating protein throughout the day (not just in your main meals) so it can work to keep your energy levels consistent and those hunger pangs at bay.
We rounded up a bunch of yummy protein-rich snack foods and recipes, so you know what to reach for next time you need a little something between meals—think nuts, seeds, legumes, dairy, eggs, and meat. One more thing: It’s always a great idea to pair your high-protein snacks with a good source of fat and/or carbs too—the most satisfying snacks usually have at least two different food groups, SELF columnist Jessica Jones, M.S., R.D., certified diabetes educator and Food Heaven cofounder, has told us.