People are always hurrying from one place to another. I often find myself wanting to get a quick bite to eat from a drive-thru or vending machine while I’m on the road and hungry.
However, most processed snacks are unhealthy since they contain lots of salt, sugar, and fat. When you eat them, your blood sugar can drop. You’ll feel tired and hungrier than you did before.
Picking a high-protein snack will help you avoid the dreaded sugar crash. Rather than snacking on a bag of chips, you should switch to something more nutritious.
Around a third of our daily caloric intake comes from snacks. Consuming protein-rich snacks can help you feel full for longer. Plus, these snacks often omit unhealthy sugars, carbs, and fats.
In this article, I’ll share the benefits of high protein snacks and recommend a few that you may take with you without sacrificing taste or convenience.
Benefits of High Protein Snacks
High protein snacks are the perfect solution when you need an extra burst of protein intake in your diet. According to Today’s Dietician, here are some of their benefits:
Fullness and Weight Maintenance
The rising popularity of high-protein diets like paleo may be due to protein’s ability to keep you feeling fuller for longer than other macronutrients.
According to a study published in the September 2020 issue of the Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome, eating more protein than is advised by the U.S. dietary standards can aid in weight loss, particularly in reducing fat while keeping lean muscle. This suggests that high-protein diets may also reduce the risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes, all of which are associated with obesity.
Control Blood Sugar Levels
Having a high-protein snack between meals can also aid in keeping blood glucose levels steady. In one study, 20 healthy men were given various snacks in the middle of the morning. Blood sugar levels were lowest in the group whose snacks had more protein than carbohydrates, such as skim milk and plain yogurt.
Researchers concluded that enhanced insulin action, instead of higher insulin concentrations, was responsible for the beneficial effects on blood sugar.
Some research suggests that eating a diet high in protein can also help prevent hypertension. According to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, participants who ate the most protein had a 40% decreased chance of getting hypertension compared to those who ate the least.
After four years of observation, those persons with the highest protein intake (from animal and plant sources) had the lowest systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This study suggests that high-protein snacks may help reduce blood pressure because they increase overall protein consumption.
Improve Athletic Performance
Athletes can find various high-protein snacks and protein powders to fuel their training. High-quality proteins, such as whey protein isolate and casein from milk, egg white powder, and soy protein isolate, are recommended by the International Society of Sports Nutrition for their ability to supply critical amino acids that can be used to stimulate muscle tissue synthesis.
In any case, consuming high-protein snacks like low-fat dairy products or protein bars is a great way to increase protein intake.
How Much Protein Should Be in a Snack?
Most nutritionists recommend a snack with 10–15 grams of protein. However, it’s easy to overeat packaged snacks or calorie-rich food like almonds, so be mindful of the calorie count.
Calculate your daily calorie requirement and the number of calories each meal provides. So, if you’re on a 2,000-calorie diet and split your meals into three with 500 calories each, you’ll have 500 additional calories to use as you like. Most people can get by just well on 300-calorie snacks.
Healthy High Protein Snack Ideas
On this list of high-protein snacks, you’ll find nutritious combinations that include not just protein but also fiber and healthy fats. Also, they contain little to no trans fats, saturated fats, added sugars, or sodium. Grab one whenever you’re feeling hungry between meals.
In some cases, nuts make for a great protein snack. Just a quarter cup of almonds provides 7.56 grams of protein or about 10% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). In addition to their positive effects on the cardiovascular system, almonds are a good source of vitamin E, which protects cells from damage and fortifies the immune system. Vegans, vegetarians, and those avoiding gluten will appreciate a handful of nuts as a satisfying midday munchie.
Even though nuts are rich in healthy fats, the Cleveland Clinic warns that they should be eaten in moderation due to their high-calorie content. Keep to a maximum of 1 ounce or a handful. According to a study published in Nutrients, peanuts boast the highest protein content at about 7 grams per ounce.
Due to their cholesterol content, eggs have had a bad reputation for a long time. Nonetheless, there has been a shift in that view. Mayo Clinic reveals that eating eggs in and of itself does not raise the risk of cardiovascular disease but that consuming eggs alongside other products with high-saturated fat such as sausage, ham, and bacon does.
For a quick and easy snack, try eating some hard-boiled eggs. Store a bowlful in the fridge for a simple, portable, nutritious treat. According to the USDA, a large, whole egg contains 72 calories, 6 grams of protein, 1.6 grams of saturated fat, and 207 milligrams of cholesterol.
The high protein content of tuna makes it an excellent choice for a quick and easy snack. With an astonishing 39 grams of protein in just one cup, this treat is sure to satisfy your hunger for hours.
Aside from its abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, tuna is also a good source of several other minerals, including selenium and B vitamins.
In a review published in 2017 in the Journal of Dairy Science, the authors noted that because Greek yogurt is strained to eliminate whey, it is richer and creamier than plain yogurt, making it a delicious snack option. And it has more protein than typical yogurt: The USDA reports that an 8-ounce serving of plain low-fat yogurt contains 13 g of protein, while the same amount of plain Greek yogurt contains more than 20 g.
Greek yogurt has been shown to reduce hunger pangs between meals. Put in some fruit or berries to make it more flavorful.
Cheese is not only an easy-to-prepare snack but also a nutritious and satisfying one. Calcium, selenium, and phosphorus, along with a plethora of other nutrients, can be found in good quantities in this treat. Cheese also has a lot of protein in it. In fact, cheddar cheese contains 7 grams of protein per slice, which may be enough to curb your hunger. One to two ounces of cheese is a good serving size.
Eating cheese as a snack has been shown to reduce calorie consumption by 9% in one study with overweight males. Another research reveals that when compared to youngsters who snacked on potato chips, those who consumed a blend of cheese and veggies required considerably fewer calories to achieve fullness. However, cheese should be consumed sparingly because of its high-calorie content.
Protein powder can be useful when you’re in a rush and don’t have time to cook. Protein powders, such as pea and whey protein powder, can be readily mixed into various foods and beverages, including shakes, smoothies, energy bars, yogurt, and more, to increase protein and enhance fullness.
While it is best to receive your protein from whole foods, drinking protein shakes can be a quick and easy way to incorporate more nutrients into your diet.
Protein powders come in a wide variety of flavors and formulations, so finding one that suits your needs shouldn’t be difficult. If you’re searching for a quick and easy way to increase your protein consumption, both whey protein and pea protein are fantastic options.
Peanut butter is a good source of protein and may be eaten on the go. There are 3.84 g of protein per serving of peanut butter. Although some brands of peanut butter include sugar and salt in their ingredients, you can easily find options that do not contain any or only trace levels of these components.
Unfortunately, some people just don’t like the taste of peanuts. However, there is plenty of alternative nut butter out there that provide the same health advantages, such as those made from cashew, almond, or mixed nuts. Nut butter provides a satisfying snack for those who avoid animal products or gluten.
Edamame beans are undeveloped soybeans that have not yet been removed from their pods. They are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals and can be prepared in a jiffy. One serving of edamame has some of every nutrient your body needs, Including more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance of folate, 52% for vitamin K, and 17 grams of protein.
Traditional preparation for edamame involves steaming. You can get microwaveable precooked and frozen options at a lot of grocery stores. Taking the edamame with you wherever you go is as simple as placing it in a takeout container once it has been heated. You can improve the taste by seasoning it with the spices and herbs you like.
Health-conscious consumers have included low-fat cottage cheese in their weekly shopping lists for many years. According to the USDA, it contains less than a hundred calories for every half cup while providing 14 grams of protein per serving. It’s great as a filling snack on its own or with some diced fruit or vegetables for dipping.
It’s an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, selenium, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12, and many more. On top of that, studies show that cottage cheese can compete with eggs in terms of satiety, making it a great option for a complete lunch or snack. It’s great for a high-protein breakfast on the fly when combined with pieces of sliced fruit.
Although it is commonly considered a grain, quinoa is technically a pseudocereal because it is a seed. The health community has given quinoa a lot of attention. It has more protein, fiber, folate, iron, and zinc than most cereals.
Due to its high protein content, quinoa is typically classified as a “complete protein,” meaning it provides nine essential amino acids that the human body needs but cannot produce on its own. However, it is lacking in several essential amino acids, such as lysine. This is why many professionals claim quinoa should be classified as an “almost complete” protein.
If you’re trying to make sure you’re getting enough of the nine essential amino acids while sticking to a vegan or vegetarian diet, you might find this snack interesting. Quinoa is a healthy alternative to rice and a great addition to porridge, soups, and grain bowls.
Making overnight oats is a breeze, and they’re portable, healthy, and delicious. Oats are an excellent source of protein and a wide range of essential nutrients. Furthermore, a single serving of 1 cup (234 grams) offers 16% of the daily fiber requirement.
Studies have shown that eating oats can help you feel full for longer. This is probably because of the high levels of both fiber and protein that they contain. One study found that oats, compared to ready-to-eat cereal of the same caloric value, led to significantly increased fullness and decreased hunger.
Lentil salad makes a tasty midday snack. It’s a terrific way to get protein without eating meat, and it’s packed with nutrients. In fact, a single cup is loaded with nutrients like iron, folate, and manganese, and it has 18 grams of protein to boot. Furthermore, lentils offer more than half of your daily fiber needs. Lentils contain fiber that may benefit digestive health since it provides food for the beneficial bacteria already present in the colon.
Consuming lentils regularly has been linked to a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and several types of cancer due to their high fiber and protein content and low carbohydrate content.
Pumpkin seeds are a great go-to snack because they’re packed with protein and other minerals. There are 5 grams of protein in just one ounce of pumpkin seeds and a good quantity of fiber, zinc, magnesium, and healthy polyunsaturated fats. Antioxidants like vitamin E and carotenoids, which help the body fight disease, are also present.
The healthful fats in pumpkin seeds may be good for your heart, and there is some evidence that consuming them may help to prevent some cancers. On top of that, the protein and fiber in them make them a fantastic snack for staving off hunger until mealtime. They’re delicious, either raw or roasted, with a few seasonings. The recommended serving size is roughly a quarter of a cup (16 grams).
To make granola, you just combine nuts, dried fruit, seeds, rolled oats, and honey or any other sweetener on a cookie sheet and bake it. The protein in it makes it a satisfying midday munchie. The protein content in granola is typically around 4grams per ounce. Homemade granola has fewer calories and less sugar than store-bought granola.
Granola is healthy if you don’t eat too much of it, but it has a lot of calories. The calorie content of just one cup is about 600, making it easy to overindulge. Keep your serving size to around a quarter cup if you’re trying to watch your weight.
There are few better high-protein portable snacks than canned salmon. There are 8 grams of protein and substantial quantities of several other nutrients in just 1 ounce. These include selenium, vitamin B12, and niacin,
Fish like salmon are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce the danger of cardiovascular disease, dementia, and depression. Canned salmon can be eaten as-is or seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper for added flavor. If you have some crackers or chopped vegetables on hand, that will go perfectly with it.
BoboLinks Beef Snack Sticks
BoboLinks are delicious high-protein snack sticks prepared from 100% grass-fed & finished beef sourced from American ranches that have been recognized as bird-friendly by the Audubon Society. The regenerative ranching practices used to create this product also contribute to the meat’s healthier attributes in addition to providing 6 grams of protein per 1 ounce stick they are also a quality source of essential amino acids, vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E, and minerals, including iron, zinc, and selenium.
In a process similar to that used to create sourdough bread, sauerkraut, or yogurt, healthy bacteria ferment the meat to produce fully natural preservatives that maintain its juiciness and freshness until it’s ready to be eaten. The fermentation adds a little acidity, and the basic spice blend boosts the flavor just enough. The sticks can be stored for up to six months without refrigeration, thanks to their separate packaging.
In recent years, chia pudding has risen in popularity, and rightfully so. It’s not only nutritious but also tastes great. One ounce of chia seeds contains 4 grams of protein in addition to other minerals like manganese, phosphorus, and calcium. In addition, the high quantities of omega-3 fatty acids they contain make them particularly renowned for their beneficial effects on health.
Eating chia seeds as a snack may reduce triglyceride levels and, in turn, the risk of cardiovascular disease. Chia pudding is prepared by soaking chia seeds in dairy for a few hours, at which point the mixture thickens to pudding consistency. Then, season it with your favorite flavors, such as chocolate and vanilla.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are an excellent source of protein and other nutrients. Also, they have a lot of fiber.
Half a cup provides you with 6 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein, plus a small amount of every essential nutrient. They are an excellent source of many minerals, but especially iron, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and copper. Chickpeas have been linked to a lower risk of numerous diseases and cancers thanks to their high nutritional and fiber content.
If you’re looking for a healthy and satisfying snack, try roasting chickpeas with some simple spices and olive oil. Crunchy and convenient, roasted chickpeas can be eaten whenever hunger strikes.
Apple With Peanut Butter
Combining apples with peanut butter is not only delicious but also a highly nutritious and beneficial choice due to its high protein content. Apple’s fiber and antioxidants may boost digestive health and lower cardiovascular disease risk, while peanut butter’s effects on triglycerides, HDL (good) cholesterol, and LDL (bad) cholesterol have been well-documented.
Although peanut butter has some potential health benefits, it is still very heavy in calories and should be eaten in moderation. There are 4 grams of protein and other nutrients like vitamin C and potassium in a midsize apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter.
Hummus and Veggies
Hummus is a dip or spread made from mashed, cooked chickpeas combined with olive oil or tahini. With 4 grams of protein in only a third of a cup, this satiating snack is also packed with vitamins, minerals, and other healthy goodies.
Nutrient-rich vegetables are a great complement to hummus. You can take this snack with you wherever you go by arranging some celery or carrot sticks upright in your chosen container and covering the bottom with hummus.
A tasty and healthy high-protein snack, turkey roll-ups are made by rolling chunks of turkey breast around cheese and vegetables. Improved blood sugar levels play a critical role in hunger regulation, and studies have shown that high-protein, low-carb snacks like turkey roll-ups can help.
Make some roll-ups by smearing a spoonful of cream cheese on turkey breast slices and arranging them on a dish. Then, wrap the turkey around a pickle or cucumber strip and a tomato slice. The turkey and cheese in each wrap contribute roughly 5 grams of protein, while the cucumber and tomato introduce some additional minerals and fiber.
The term “trail mix” refers to a snack made of many ingredients, including dried fruit, nuts, cereal, and sometimes chocolate. In a 2-ounce portion, it provides 8 grams of protein, making it a fantastic choice for those looking to increase their intake of protein. Nuts like almonds and pistachios have a little more protein than other nuts like walnuts and cashews and can be used to boost the protein content of trail mix.
Due to the high-calorie content of dried fruit and nuts, trail mix should be consumed in moderation. You can reasonably use a handful as a serving size.
Chicken and Avocado Salad
Another healthy and delicious option is to pack some chicken and avocado salad as a snack. The chicken’s protein and the avocado’s healthy fats work together to keep you feeling full and content for hours.
Avocados also provide a lot of other good stuff for you, such as potassium, vitamin E, vitamin K, and folate. Prepare this quick and healthy salad by mixing the cooked chicken breast, avocado, and the rest of the salad ingredients, along with some herbs and chopped vegetables.
In addition to being a delectable treat, egg muffins are a nutritious and filling snack. The muffins are prepared by beating eggs, adding chopped vegetables and seasonings, and then filling a muffin tray.
They’re quite practical because you may have them hot or cold. You can make them healthier by including vegetables and up the protein value by including an extra cheese on top.
Having high-protein snacks on hand is essential for staving off hunger pangs between meals. They help people feel fuller for a longer time. Not only are protein snacks delicious, but many of them are also great for you because they’re loaded with other nutrients. Maintaining a healthy weight, normalizing blood sugar, lowering blood pressure, and improving athletic performance are just a few of the health benefits that come from eating more protein.
Like all food types, the key is diversity; when it comes to protein, that means selecting nutrient-rich options like various plant-based and high-quality animal-based proteins. Instead of choosing many snacks that aren’t great for you, you can satisfy your hunger with various nutritious, on-the-go options I’ve shared in this article.
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