I’ll let you in on a little behind-the-scenes sneak of my weekday afternoons. It’s a couple hours after lunch, and, like clockwork, my stomach starts grumbling come 3 p.m. It’s by no means the fault of my midday meal—you can bet I’ve made sure to fill my plate with satiating and supportive ingredients. I’ll chalk it up to the fact that with a feel-good workout under my belt plus a day’s worth of fulfilling tasks, my energy is zapped and it feels like I haven’t eaten in days. Dramatic as that may be, there’s a bit of truth to it. If you’re like me, you’re familiar with the mid-afternoon hangries. But instead of reaching for (yet another) cup of coffee or tea for a boost of energy or a cookie just because the craving is there, I have another solution. Well, 10 solutions to be exact—this list of low-carb, high-protein snack recipes.
Listening to your body is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Tired? Give yourself a break. Stressed? Try saying “no” to what doesn’t serve or support you. Hungry? Eat something energizing, wholesome, and of course, delicious. I made sure that each of the following recipes checked off all three boxes. Because even on the busiest work days, we all deserve something to look forward to.
Feature image by Kristen Kilpatrick.
Copycat Homemade Perfect Bars from Erin Lives Whole
Why We Love It: When Perfect Bars took the snack world by storm a few years ago, you can bet I was on board. While some (most?) protein bars at the time were full of sugar and impossible-to-pronounce ingredients, Perfect Bars decided to disrupt the snack game, packing 20+ superfoods into every single bar. And while I love their convenience, oftentimes, I’ll take the homemade route versus picking something off the supermarket shelves. These are easy to make and even easier to devour. You’ll have no problem making it through the rest of your work day with one of these on hand.
Hero Ingredient: Honey not only holds everything together, but it makes these Perfect Bars perfectly sweet.
Get the recipe for Copycat Homemade Perfect Bars.
Cottage Cheese Breakfast Bowls from A Couple Cooks
Why We Love It: Count me among the minority, but I sure love a big bowl of cottage cheese for breakfast. As old-fashioned as this once-popular breakfast staple may be, I’d argue that it’s worthy of a comeback—and this recipe agrees. While it’s slated for breakfast, you have the freedom to fit the portion size to your afternoon appetite. Simply spoon some cottage cheese in a bowl and customize with your favorite toppings. I’m an apple, nut, and cinnamon gal, if you were curious.
Hero Ingredient: You read it here first: Full of protein and able to lean savory or sweet, cottage cheese is on its way to being on trend once again. Trust me.
Get the recipe for Cottage Cheese Breakfast Bowls.
Cacao Smoothie from Real Food Whole LIfe
Why We Love It: Though they’ve fallen out of favor on our Instagram feeds, I’m a forever smoothie stan. And while I’d encourage mindful eating above all else, smoothies are an easy solve for simultaneous sipping while you work away. Add to that the fact that you can blend up a bounty of good-for-you ingredients and well, everyone should believe in their magic. This chocolatey delicious drink, included.
Hero Ingredient: Riced cauliflower is the low-carb sneaky superfood that makes this smoothie extra creamy. Plus, you’ll benefit from the added bonus of plenty of vitamins and phytochemicals. Just sayin’.
Get the recipe for Cacao Smoothie.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies from Well Plated By Erin
Why We Love It: Sure, I threw cookies a little shade in the intro of this article, but believe me, when it comes to cookies’ crave-worthiness and nutritional benefits, not all are created equal. Case in point, these PB and protein-packed delights. They’re budget-friendly and soft and chewy (hot take: all of the best cookies should be). Oh, and they only take one bowl to whip up. You’re welcome.
Hero Ingredient: The soft, chewy cookie I elaborated on above? You can thank the half-cup of creamy peanut butter for that.
Get the recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies.
Baked Egg Muffins from Eating Bird Food
Why We Love It: When recipes for egg muffins started making their way around the internet, those focused on getting their fill of protein first thing rejoiced. Well, I’m here to say that you have my full permission to enjoy these in the afternoon as well. Actually, scratch that—you don’t need anyone to tell you that you can munch on these whenever you want. They’re simple to prep and easy to pop in a glass container to take with you to work.
Hero Ingredient: I’m of the opinion that feta cheese is always the right cheese to choose. It’s salty, it’s tangy, and it holds its own in these eggy bites.
Get the recipe for Baked Egg Muffins.
Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie from Gwyneth Paltrow
Why We Love It: Whatever your stance on goop may be, it can’t be denied that Gwyneth’s got an enviable glow. Her secret to vibrant, healthy skin? This smoothie. Blueberries are the key to a clear complexion and the secret to making this smoothie a pretty purple delight.
Hero Ingredient: Protein-packed almond butter fills your cup with healthy fats.
Get the recipe for Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie.
5-Ingredient Protein Balls from Minimalist Baker
Why We Love It: As someone who always seems to be in motion, my favorite snacks are those that I can take with me on the go and pop in my mouth as I please. So it seemed like my snacking dreams had become a reality when I discovered these (5-ingredient!) protein balls. The good news? They’re almost as simple to make as they are to eat. It’s your food processor that does all the work.
Hero Ingredient: Sticky and sweet, dates are my forever fave.
Get the recipe for 5-Ingredient Protein Balls.
Vanilla Chia Pudding With Chestnut Honey & Berries
Why We Love It: Contrary to popular belief, low-carb high-protein snack recipes don’t always have to be savory. And while I’ve always reserved chia pudding for breakfast, it’s time I let it shine during other meals of the day. What can definitely be enjoyed as a snack can totally double as dessert. It’s light and literally zero-effort. A magic pair.
Hero Ingredient: Three tablespoons of honey or maple syrup keep things just sweet enough.
Get the recipe for Vanilla Chia Pudding With Chestnut Honey & Berries.
The Only Guacamole Recipe You Need
Why We Love It: Plenty of recipes claim to be the be-all and end-all of guacamole. But trust me, this perfectly creamy, perfectly spicy take is it. This recipe keeps things simple with a minimal mix of ingredients. Avocado (of course), plus a red onion and chile for heat. Add to that a few other choice components, and you have the easiest crowd-pleasing appetizer that’s perfect for any party. You’re also fully welcome to keep it all to yourself. I’ll definitely be doing the same.
Hero Ingredient: The lime juice cuts through and balances the richness of the avocados beautifully.
Get the recipe for Guacamole.
Avocado Toast from The Big Man’s World
Why We Love It: What at first might seem like an oversight on this writer’s part is actually the most genius trick in the game. A slice of avocado toast is a snack that’s sure to brighten anyone’s afternoon—and this take is totally grain-free thanks to the swap-in of almond flour bread for the base. This recipe defines deliciousness.
Hero Ingredient: Again, hands up for the almond flour bread. While it’s great for toast, the low-carb options it provides truly are endless.
Get the recipe for Avocado Toast.
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One half of an avocado with Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel seasoning is my go to these days!