When you live a busy lifestyle, snacks can be useful when hunger hits and you don’t have time to prepare a meal. However, many snack foods available today are full of refined carbs and sugar, which can leave you feeling unsatisfied and craving more food. The key is to make sure your snacks are nutritious and contain protein. Protein promotes a sensation of fullness. It signals the release of appetite-suppressing hormones, slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar.
Having a few snacks in between meals can help you to manage your weight by reducing hunger or managing cravings in between meals. It can also be a good time to nourish your body with essential vitamins or minerals.
However, eating too many snacks will still impact on your weight management! So be mindful, choose wisely, and try to keep snacks down to 1 portion (each dot point is 1 portion). And aim to have it 2-3 hours after a main meal.
Here are some high-protein snacks that are healthy and portable, so you can enjoy them even when you’re on the go.
Jerky is meat that has been trimmed of fat, cut into strips and dried. It makes an excellent and convenient snack. It’s very high in protein, containing an impressive 9 grams per serving (30 grams). Look for jerky without added sugar.
Trail mix is a combination of dried fruit and nuts. It is a good source of protein, providing 8 grams in a serving. You can increase the amount of protein in trail mix by using almonds or pistachios, which are slightly higher in protein than other types of nuts such as walnuts or cashews The dried fruit and nuts in trail mix make it very high in calories, so it is important to not eat too much at a time. A handful is a reasonable serving.
Greek Yogurt Parfait
Greek yogurt is an ideal healthy and high-protein snack, with 20 grams of protein per one-cup serving (224 grams). It has been shown to be more filling than yogurts with lower protein contents. In addition to being a great source of protein, Greek yogurt is also high in calcium, which is important for bone health. To make yogurt even more delicious and filling, you can make a parfait by combining one cup of yogurt with mixed berries in layers.
Veggies and Yogurt Dip
Veggies are great for snacking, but they’re not very high in protein on their own. You can increase your protein intake by pairing them with yogurt dip.
Yogurt dip is typically made by combining yogurt with herbs and flavorings, such as dill and lemon juice. For more protein, it’s best to use Greek yogurt, which contains almost twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt. For convenience, make a batch of dip ahead of time and portion it out into snack-size containers so you can grab it when you need it.
Tinned tuna or salmon
Tuna or salmon is loaded with protein and makes a very healthy and convenient snack. One cup contains an impressive 39 grams of protein, making it extra filling. Additionally, tuna is high in various other nutrients, such as the B vitamins and selenium, and contains a considerable amount of omega-3 fatty acids. You can eat it on its own or add some extra flavor with a little bit of salt and pepper. It tastes great when paired with crackers or chopped veggies.
Eggs are undeniably healthy, consisting of almost every nutrient that your body needs. They are particularly high in B vitamins and trace minerals. In addition to being nutritious, they are also versatile. Hard-boiled eggs make a great portable snack. One hard-boiled egg consists of six grams of protein, which will keep you full and satisfied until your next meal.
Peanut Butter Celery Sticks
Celery sticks spread with a tablespoon or two of peanut butter make for a delicious and easy snack. They contain a decent amount of protein from the peanut butter, which provides 4 grams of protein per tablespoon (32 grams) .
Cheese is incredibly healthy and filling, in addition to being a quick and easy snack. It is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus and selenium, and it contains small amounts of many other nutrients. Furthermore, cheese is rich in protein. Just one slice of cheddar cheese provides seven grams, which may help suppress your appetite. A reasonable portion size for cheese is around 28–57 grams. Since it contains a significant amount of calories, it is best to consume it in moderation.
Eating a handful of almonds or another type of nut for a snack is a simple way to fill up on protein. 30g of almonds provides six grams of protein, in addition to high amounts of vitamin E, riboflavin, trace minerals and healthy fats. Snacking on almonds regularly is associated with many other health benefits and may even help you control your weight. Almonds are also high in calories, so it’s important to stick with the recommended serving size. A handful is equivalent to around 22 almonds.
Chickpeas are a legume with an impressive nutrient profile. They’re also an excellent source of protein and fibre. A half-cup serving (82 grams) contains 7.5 grams of protein and 6 grams of fibre, in addition to providing some of almost every vitamin and mineral. They are particularly high in folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. One tasty way to prepare chickpeas for a snack is by roasting them with some salt, pepper and olive oil. Roasted chickpeas are crunchy and portable, so you can take them with you and enjoy them when hunger hits.
Cottage cheese is known for being high in protein. It’s a filling snack that can be eaten on the go. There are 14 grams of protein in a half-cup (113 grams) of cottage cheese.Cottage cheese is also a good source of some other important nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12 and riboflavin. You can enjoy cottage cheese on its own or combine it with fruits and nuts for a delicious snack.
Apple with Peanut Butter
Apples and peanut butter taste great together, and they also make for a nutrient-dense, high-protein snack that provides many health benefits. The fibre and antioxidants in apples may improve gut health and reduce the risk of heart disease, while peanut butter has been shown to increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and reduce LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides.
Pumpkin seeds are perfect for a quick snack. 30g of pumpkin seeds contains five grams of protein, as well as a significant amount of fiber, magnesium, zinc and polyunsaturated fatty acids. They also provide disease-fighting antioxidants, including vitamin E and carotenoids. They can be eaten raw, or you can try roasting them with some spices. An appropriate serving size is about 1/4 cup.