7 High-Protein Snacks to Lower High Cholesterol, Recommended by a Dietitian

Add these high-protein foods to your snack rotation to help support your heart health.



Reviewed by Dietitian Maria Laura Haddad-Garcia

Blood vessels, the bustling network of pathways coursing through your body, play a vital role in maintaining your health and well-being. These tireless tunnels transport oxygen-rich blood, essential nutrients, immune cells and hormones to every organ and tissue while removing unwanted waste to help you function at your best. However, these precious passageways can end up in a sticky situation if cholesterol levels get too high.

More specifically, high levels of a type of cholesterol called LDL (low-density lipoprotein) can stick to the walls of your arteries, leading to plaque formation. As plaque builds up, artery walls become narrow, and blood flow is restricted, increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke. In the U.S. alone, there are 25 million adults who live with high cholesterol. Fortunately, your body has another form of cholesterol called HDL (high-density lipoprotein) that can mop up excess cholesterol in our arteries. However, if levels of HDL fall too low, they can’t carry out this critical function.

The good news is that your food choices, including snacks, can help balance out your cholesterol levels. According to research, the best cholesterol-lowering foods are those low in saturated and trans fats and high in soluble fiber and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Here are seven high-protein snacks with cholesterol-friendly foods to help lower your levels.

Related: The #1 Spice to Help Lower High Cholesterol, Recommended by Dietitians

1. Oat Energy Balls

Known as a top choice for lowering cholesterol, oat energy balls are versatile and convenient bite-sized snacks packed with heart-healthy ingredients. This nutritious snack, made from a mixture of oats, dates, nuts and seeds, offers a balanced blend of protein, soluble fiber and healthy fat to support the health of your arteries. Oats, in particular, contain a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which has been shown to have cholesterol-lower effects. This is because beta-glucan forms a gel-like substance in the intestines that binds to cholesterol, preventing its reabsorption into the bloodstream. To reap this incredible benefit, consider making a batch of these High-Protein Lemon-Blueberry Energy Balls, containing 7 grams of protein per serving.

2. White Bean & Avocado Toast

Looking for a savory, protein-rich snack that boasts cholesterol-lower benefits? Look no further than our White Bean & Avocado Toast. This flavorful combination of mashed avocado and creamy white beans elevates a classic avocado toast into a more nutrient-dense snack that can improve your cholesterol levels. More specifically, avocadoes provide monounsaturated fats, fiber and plant sterols—key nutrients that decrease LDL cholesterol. With the addition of heart-protective beans, this savory snack delivers an impressive 11 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein in each slice.

3. Salmon Salad

A twist on traditional tuna salad: salmon salad is loaded with protein and artery-friendly nutrients that may help manage high cholesterol. A 3-ounce can of pink salmon contains a whopping 21 grams of protein. Additionally, salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support your heart and blood vessels. For this reason, the American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish at least twice a week. And what better way to enjoy a serving of fatty fish than in the snackable form of salmon salad? If you need inspiration, check out our olive, lemon and caper-infused Salmon Salad that tastes delicious with crackers or sliced vegetables.

4. Apples & Peanut Butter

When it comes to improving your cholesterol, you can’t go wrong with a classic like apples and peanut butter. Apples contain polyphenols and a soluble fiber called pectin, which may help reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels. When paired with peanut butter, this simple yet satisfying snack adds protein and monounsaturated fat for more cholesterol-lowering benefits. If you want to take this classic combo to the next level, try our cardamom-spiced Apple & Peanut Butter Toast, which contains 5 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein.

5. Almonds

Searching for a cardioprotective snack with a little more crunch? Almonds are the perfect protein-rich solution! Just one (¼-cup) serving of dry roasted almonds has 7 grams of protein. These tiny but mighty, oval-shaped nuts also contain fiber and healthy fats, which may help reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (a component of LDL particles). To make almonds a regular part of your snack rotation, try our appetizing Everything-Seasoned Almonds, dusted with the popular Everything Bagel seasoning.

6. Edamame

With its vibrant green color and tender texture, edamame is a plant-based protein that’s great for your arteries. One cup of these young soybeans contains a remarkable 18 grams of protein. Research has found that soy protein can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol in adults by 3 to 4%. Whether you buy them in their pods or completely hulled, edamame is a convenient and nutritious snack that can benefit your heart health. To add flavor, try our easy-to-prepare Edamame with Aleppo Pepper, which has surprisingly fruity yet tangy undertones.

7. Seed Crackers & Hummus

Step aside, ordinary crackers—seed crackers offer a protein and fiber boost that pairs perfectly with creamy hummus. Flaxseeds are one noteworthy seed renowned for its cholesterol-improving effects. Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber and lignans, helping lower total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.Instead of rushing to the grocery store to buy seed crackers, try our highly-rated Homemade Multi-Seed Crackers. And enjoy them with a serving of our light and airy Whipped Hummus for an additional protein boost.

The Bottom Line

Lowering your cholesterol levels and safeguarding the health of your arteries requires a heart-healthy diet. This includes foods high in soluble fiber and healthy fats while minimizing the consumption of saturated and trans fats. These seven high-protein snacks are not only delicious but meet these criteria. Incorporating them into your dietary regimen can improve your cholesterol levels and help you reach your protein needs all at once.

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