Protein snacks to give your workout an extra boost — or just keep you going
We’ve talked about the power of protein and how it can help fuel your weight training workout. Protein also helps decreases hunger, builds and maintains muscles, fortifies your bones, improves brain function, and aids your immune system.
But how much protein do you need a day? The amount depends on your lifestyle and your fitness goals. Current dietary guidelines suggest that adult men and women should consume between 10 and 35 percent of their total calories from protein.
To fuel our workouts or just to combat against the 3 PM slump when we need an extra boost, we need protein to keep us thriving and on track. While grabbing a protein bar may feel like a good option, many of these products are just glorified candy bars and have misleading information on their wrappers. High in sugar or artificial sweeteners, high in calories, and even high in saturated fat, these on-the-go options are highly processed.
Instead of falling prey to one of these shiny bars, I recommend looking at whole food sources of protein that are portable and free from extra, unnecessary ingredients. Here are some easy high protein options:
- Mixed nuts. Can you imagine a list of high protein snacks without seeing mixed nuts on it? If you’re assembling this classic snack, focus on almonds and pistachios as they have a higher protein content than other options.
- Chia pudding. Chia seeds can be mixed with a beverage (usually almond milk) and refrigerated. The results are a filling, protein-rich pudding that fills you up and can provide you with up to 40% of your recommended daily fiber intake.
- Tuna. A small can of tuna fish contains 39 grams of protein. It also contains B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Make sure the tuna is packed in water and not oil.
- Energy bites. There are so many recipes available online for these high protein, whole food treats. They are the perfect combination of protein, good carbs, healthy fats, and high in fiber.
- Jerky. If you avoid sodium- and sugar-filled varieties, the low-sodium or natural options are a great source of protein. There’s even vegan jerky that you can make.
From single servings of cottage cheese to greek yogurt, there are many alternatives to overly processed protein bars. Like most things, a little meal planning goes a long way — especially when it comes to healthy snacking.