No matter what your fitness or physique goals may be, protein likely plays a major role in helping you get there. And that’s because the nutrient aids muscle growth, wards off hunger, and has a high thermic effect—all things that can help you get stronger and achieve a lean shredded look. But let’s be honest: sometimes the constant rotation of protein shakes, nuts, chicken, and fish can leave your taste buds board and begging for a bag of chips. Thankfully, enough food developers have experienced this same flavor fatigue and have developed new and creative products that can help you hit your daily protein goals. From egg white-enriched bagels to chickpea-based mac and cheese (yes, seriously), we’ve scoured the supermarket for the most innovative and tasty protein-packed products to hit shelves this year all so you can hunt them down at a store near you.
Enriched with a blend of brown rice and pea protein, this souped-up almond milk packs nine more grams of protein than the conventional container. Sip Orgain’s unsweetened varieties solo for an on-the-go snack or use them to amp up the protein content of your smoothies, oatmeal, or cereal.
With twice the protein and four times the fiber of the leading blue box brand, Banza’s spankin’ new chickpea-based mac and cheese might just be the only comfort food on the market that can help your muscles grow. It is a touch high in sodium (620 - 720 mg/2.5 oz.), so if you’re worried about high blood pressure or bloat, stick with the brand’s plain noodles, which are made with a blend of chickpeas, tapioca, and pea protein—and pack 14 grams of protein per serving. They taste great mixed with pesto, sautéed tomatoes and chicken for an even bigger protein payoff.
Nutrition info: 250-300 calories, 7-12 g fat, 36 g carbs
Although two grams of protein isn’t exactly brag-worthy, this sweet, creamy treat does carry more of the muscle-fueling nutrient than an actual cookie—and fewer calories and sugar, too. Anytime you can knock out a craving for something that will blow your diet while taking in some added nutrients is a winner. Pair this dip with some fresh strawberries or apple slices to knock those late-night sugar craving out of the park.
If you’ve been looking for easy ways to eat more veggies and amp up your protein intake consider these crunchy, chip-like snacks your two-in-one saviors. The round beet chips taste and feel more like a traditional chip that the dried broccoli bites—which taste better than they sound—but both serve up an impressive amount of protein and fiber and come in flavors like cinnamon and coconut sugar and garden ranch (which taste like a Cool Ranch Doritos).
Nutrition info: 100-150 calories, 0-8 g fat, 13-22 g carbs
With things like energy balls and mini protein bars on the up and up, it should come as no surprise that jerky companies are following suit. All three flavors of Caveman’s bite-sized chicken jerky are certified Paleo and free of the creepy ingredients found in your typical bag of meat. Throw a package or two in a desk drawer or your glove compartment so you’re always prepared with a hunger-crushing snack no matter where your day may take you.
Nutrition info: 70 calories, 1.5-2 g fat, 2-5 g carbs
The best three words to describe this better-for-you ice cream? So. Freakin’. Good. Not only will a serving of this icy faux cream make your mouth water, it may just make your muscles grow—without giving you a gut. It’s all thanks to the blend of milk, cream, eggs, erythritol, prebiotic fiber and milk protein concentrate, which make up the base off all of Halo Top’s flavors. And since they use high-quality flavoring agents such as organic vanilla extract, organic vanilla beans and organic lemon oil, the end result is a product nearly indistinguishable from your favorite scoop—with about a quarter of the calories and sugar.
Nutrition info: 60-70 calories, 2-2.5 g fat, 14-15 g carbs
Protein per serving: 3 g per slice, 9 g per bagel, 6 g per roll
Whether you want to add more protein to your a.m. breakfast sandwich or are simply trying to dial back on carbs, Barely Bread’s innovative products have got you covered. The primary ingredients in their certified gluten-free and certified Paleo products: egg whites, unsweetened applesauce, almond flour, and cassava (AKA yucca) flour. Admittedly it seems like a combination that would yield a product that’s hardly enjoyable, but somehow it works. The texture is just slightly different from traditional grain products, but in a light, fluffy and delicious kind of way. Look for them in the freezer section of your grocery store.
Nutrition info: 80-250 calories, 4-14 g fat, 6-23 g carbs
Sick of choking down the same old protein bar day after day? These brand new bars (which come in four delicious flavors) are the first on the market to derive their protein content solely from sprouted watermelon seeds. Plus, they’re made with just eight pronounceable (read: wholesome) ingredients, which is more than many other protein bars can claim. Another reason to try this bar: the seeds’ sprouting process increases their levels of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) by an impressive 50 percent. Why should you care? Upping your intake can reduce post-workout muscle soreness and fatigue.
Nutrition info: 230-240 calories, 14-15 g fat, 24 g carbs
The folks at Birds Eye have recently launched a new line of zap and eat “Protein Blends,” filled with veggies, vegan protein (like edamame, lentils and black beans) and different style sauces ranging from Italian to Thai. All eight varieties are also stellar sources of heart-healthy, satiating fiber, too. Enjoy them hot as a quick side dish, mix them with a broth to make a homemade soup, or let them cool and add them to a bed of greens for a quick salad.
Nutrition info: 230-320 calories, 3.5-5 g fat, 32-53 g carbs
Makers of this out of this world snack use a patented technology that allows them to strip the moisture from cheese without stripping away its nutrition, protein content, or flavor. The resulting single-ingredient snack is one that tastes just like your favorite cheeses (they currently sell packages of cheddar, Gouda, and pepper jack) but requires zero refrigeration. There’s no tastier way to pop protein on the go. Find it at Starbucks locations nationwide.