By : Apeksha Thakkar Clinical Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Nutrigenomic Counselor

High Protein Snacks for the Elderly

Protein is beneficial for seniors’ health in numerous ways and high protein snacks are one way through which their needs are met.



Aging well means committing to a positive lifestyle. Eating well to being physically active, your choices can influence your health as you grow older. Hence it is vital to make smart food choices which include paying attention to not just meals, but also to snacks.


Why Do Seniors Need More Protein?

Several studies have identified that increased protein intake in elderly adults may improve muscle function, prevent sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass), help manage weight, and cardiovascular function, and prevent the onset of chronic diseases, thus increasing the quality of life in healthy elderly adults. Getting adequate and high-quality protein from the diet is one way to combat muscle wasting.


Snacks, a necessary part of healthy eating.

Many senior adults eat inadequate meals, making snacks a significant part of the diet. Consuming small yet frequent snacks high in proteins maintains satiety levels, boosts up energy and plays an important role in supplementing the diet of those who have a reduced appetite. 


High Protein Snacks for the Elderly

Choose healthy and homemade high protein snacks as they are free from additives and excess salt and sugar. Here are some healthy snack ideas for the elderly:

Besan khandvi is a popular Gujarati snack made from natural ingredients like besan and yogurt. It is high in protein and other nutrients such as fiber, manganese, zinc, iron, and calcium.  


Yogurt Sandwiches are light on the stomach yet filling and are low in fat and high in protein. They are made from thick curds, whole wheat bread slices, fresh vegetables like grated carrots, cabbage, bell peppers etc.


Idlis are usually made from fermented rice and urad dal batter, but now healthier variations are available like semolina, oatmeal, nachni, etc. Easily digestible, keeps you full, and maintains the blood sugar level. The perfect combination of carbs and proteins.


Scrambled tofu or paneer instead of eggs, a plant-based protein that provides high protein. One cup of tofu contains 20 grams of protein.


Trail Mix - which you can make with a variety of nuts, dried fruits, including cranberries, raisins, dates, and bananas, add a hint of sweetness. Packed with proteins, they also boost energy and are convenient to eat anytime anywhere.



Popcorn – A high fibre snack that contains 11g of protein (per 100 gm), and no fats. So, be sure to make it a part of their snacks.


Yogurt with fruits, nuts, and seeds makes an ideal snack for the elderly because it is a good source of calcium, protein, and potassium. The natural probiotics in yogurt can keep your loved one’s digestive tract healthy and prevent infections.


Chia seeds pudding. Combine these nutritional powerhouse seeds with a cup of almond milk and top it with some nuts and berries and it's all ready to eat. Add just 2 tbsp. to get 5 grams of protein and 10 grams of fibre among other nutrients. You can also add chia seeds to smoothies, breads, cookies etc.


Protein bars, especially softer varieties are a convenient snack. You can make a healthier version at home using dates, oats, and plenty of nuts and seeds and store them.



Smoothies or milkshakes are a great way to help your loved ones consume fruits and vegetables without chewing. Blend in fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and a scoop of protein powder to make it healthier and tastier. 


The Takeaway 

Inadequate protein intake in elderly adults can lead to functional decline, loss of muscle, weakened bones and a reduced quality of life. It couldn’t hurt to include healthy snacks, high in protein to encourage their appetite. Adequate protein might help protect older adults from recurring falls, fragility and other effects of aging.

Be creative with their snacks, create different and healthy combinations keeping in mind their dietary needs and preferences.


Recipe to make up protein requirement 

Chia Seed Pudding (serves 4)




For chia pudding 

2/3 cup Chia Seeds 
2 cup almond milk or soy milk or dairy, unsweetened
2 tbsp sultana raisins
2 tbsp walnuts, crushed
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon powder ( dalchini)
2 tsp honey (optional)


For garnishing
1 cup fresh fruits, like strawberries or blueberries that are seasonal
1 tbsp. raisins
1 tbsp. chopped almonds



1. Combine all the ingredients for pudding in a mixing bowl.
2. Transfer chia mixture to the refrigerator, cover and allow it to sit for 30 minutes to overnight. The chia mixture should thicken into a pudding.
3. Assemble 4 dessert glasses. Add 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh fruits to each glass.
4. Evenly distribute the chia pudding into each cup.
5. Top each glass with more fresh fruits, raisins and chopped almonds. 
5. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.


Nutritional Information (per serving)












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