Have you ever come home from work and polished off a bag of potato chips while cooking a healthy dinner? Felt the midday slump? Had trouble losing weight or gaining muscle? The problem may lie in your snacks — or lack thereof. Snacking on high-protein foods in particular “can help you feel more satisfied” in between meals than fat or carbohydrates, says McKenzie Hall, RD, co-founder of NourishRDs.com. “Many protein sources also contain other good-for-you nutrients, such as healthy fats in nut butters, fiber in hummus or calcium in dairy,” Hall says. Protein is an all-around nutrient star: muscle builder, metabolism booster and appetite stabilizer. To make it as easy as possible to fit high-protein snacks into your day, here are portable options with at least eight grams of protein and fewer than four ingredients.
1 Fruit, Seeds and Cheese
While a small serving of cheese may look unassuming, it packs six grams of protein and 15 percent of your daily value of disease-fighting vitamin C. This snack also takes a while to eat and feels satisfying, but doesn’t have many calories. It’s the opposite of a high-calorie iced coffee, which goes down fast and leaves you hungry. This snack combo provides 182 calories and nine grams of protein.
- 1 stick String Cheese, Part-Skim Mozzarella
- 2 tsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 serving apple
1. Enjoy a snack of part-skim mozzarella string cheese plus one apple and a 1/2-ounce of pumpkin seeds. This weight of pumpkin seeds = 42 seeds.
TIP: You can try other type of cheese and seeds/nuts including: pears, peaches, sesame seeds, etc.
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2 No-Bake Protein Bars
Carbohydrates and protein are the perfect post-workout mix. Many people hate the taste of protein shakes, so Arman Liew, the healthy-living blogger behind TheBigMansWorld.com, developed a no-bake bar that sneaks protein powder into the batter. “The key is using a good protein powder you enjoy on its own,” says Liew. “I find that a plant-based or casein protein powder works best, and you can never go wrong with adding some nuts or peanut butter for a dose of healthy fats!” he adds. This tasty snack bar contains 106 calories and 13 grams of protein.
- 1 cup Quick Oats
- 3 level scoop Whey Protein Powder, Vanilla Flavor
- 1/2 cup Soy Milk
1. Use parchment paper to line a baking dish.
2. Add the oats to a blender and blend until it forms a flour.
3. Next, in a large mixing bowl, combine together the oats with the protein powder and begin to add the milk slowly. You are looking for a very thick batter consistency. You may need to add a bit more milk to make sure it’s not too thick.
4. Transfer the batter to the lined baking dish. Press it down firmly into the dish.
5. Keep it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes – it should harden.
6. Cut into 6 bars.
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3 Almond Butter-Stuffed Dates
One of nature’s sweetest fruits pairs deliciously with creamy, high-protein nut butter, says Alissa Rumsey, RD, CSCS. This higher-calorie snack is perfect for active people or pregnant women who need to add about 300 extra calories a day. And, since dates are full of fiber, “just a couple will keep you full for hours,” adds Rumsey. This nutty date snack has 333 calories and eight grams of protein.
Almond Butter + Dates = a divine, healthy snack. Recipe courtesy of Alissa Rumsey, RD, CSCS, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics — AlissaRumsey.com
- 2 Whole Fresh Dates
- 2 tbsp Natural Almond Butter
- 2 tsp Organic Cacao Nibs
1. Pit the Medjool dates.
2. Stuff the Medjool dates with two tablespoons of peanut butter and two teaspoons of raw cacao nibs or miniature chocolate chips.
TIP: You can use another nut butter of your choice.
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4 Tony’s Dates and Peanuts
This is 1 of my favorite snacks… Minimal preparation time and and nutritious. Place 2 -3 dates on a side plate and a handful of king-size unsalted, roasted peanuts and… enjoy! The combined dates and peanuts is incredibly tasty.
5 Beef Jerky and a Pear
“Beef jerky* is making a comeback,” says Alissa Rumsey, RD, CSCS, “and this time without all the sodium, nitrates and other additives.” You can get eight grams of protein for just 80 calories, and it’s easy to toss in your bag, whether you’re heading to the gym or the airport. Rumsey suggests pairing it with “a piece of fresh fruit for lasting energy.” Healthier jerky brands include Krave, Country Archer, Chef’s Cut Real Jerky and Simply Snacking. This snack combo has 160 calories and nine grams of protein.