Author: Meghan Punda, NP
Looking for nutritious, satisfying snacks that taste as good as they are good for you? I have one word for you: Protein.
We all have days when we miss a meal. Whether traveling, having a busy day at work, or running errands, we soon find ourselves hungry and reaching for a quick fix. What you choose will either fuel you up or send you spiraling.
For most of us, the easiest food items to grab-and-go come prepackaged. These cute, mini-size snacks might seem easy and convenient, but they are often highly processed and high in sugar, leaving us unsatisfied and craving more.
Choosing high protein snacks is a great way to snack sensibly, as protein is the most satiating of the three macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbohydrates). It also helps keep our immune system robust, balance blood sugar, strengthen bones, build muscle, and assist with weight loss.
10 Protein-Packed Snacks to Fuel Yourself Up!
3 – Greek Yogurt
This rich and creamy snack is a great choice to satisfy your midday cravings, as a 7-ounce (240 grams) serving typically provides 17-20 grams of protein. For an added protein boost, mix in a scoop of collagen or protein powder (for an added 10 grams of protein) and two tablespoons of chia seeds (for an added 4 grams of protein + 8 grams of fiber). Yogurt also provides beneficial bacteria, which will help to keep your gut healthy and balanced.
2 – Cottage Cheese
This protein-filled snack (approximately 14 grams of protein per ½ cup) also contains calcium, phosphorus, B12, riboflavin, and selenium. Consider adding a handful of nuts for a protein boost and berries for extra fiber.
3 – Hard Boiled Eggs
High in vitamin B and trace minerals, eggs are undeniably healthy. They’re an excellent ready-made snack and something you can take on the go. One egg contains approximately 6-8 grams of protein. To up your protein ante, double your serving size to two eggs.
4 – Hummus & Veggies
Made from mashed chickpeas blended with olive oil and tahini, hummus comes in a great variety of flavors to appeal to just about every appetite. Pairing it with veggies like carrots, celery, or cucumbers makes for a quick and easy snack. Each 1/3 cup serving of hummus provides approximately 4 grams of protein. Combining it with veggies offers a nice boost of fiber and provides a well-rounded, filling snack.
5 – Edamame
For a quick and easy snack, these soybeans, still in their pods, can be steamed and ready in mere minutes. In addition to protein and fiber, they are a good source of vitamin K and folate. Add a pinch of sea salt to enhance the flavor.
6 – Nuts
A quick, convenient snack or an added boost to up the protein content of other foods, nuts are a great source of plant-based protein. For example, almonds provide roughly 7 grams of protein per ¼ cup, while pistachios offer 6 grams of protein per ¼ cup.
7 – Beef Sticks
Beef sticks might not immediately come to mind as a nutritious snack, but today’s versions are a great protein-rich nosh you can grab quickly or take with you as you head out the door. Filled with flavorful, high-quality, and sustainably sourced protein, beef sticks are available in multiple flavors to suit every taste bud.
Choose one that’s “grass-fed” and not “grain-fed,” as it will have healthier omega-3s. Two brands to look into are Paleovalley and Chomps. Each serving provides approximately 6-10 grams of protein and zero added sugar.
8 – Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seed pudding is delicious and a breeze to make. Packed with protein (about 7 grams), healthy fats, and fiber, chia seed pudding makes for an easy, ready-made snack. To increase the protein content, add a scoop of collagen powder for an additional 10 grams.
9 – Sliced Apple & Nut Butter
This combo is full of nutrients, protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Apples provide a bonus to your gut health and heart health. One apple with two tablespoons of nut butter offers approximately 8 grams of protein.
10 – Roasted Chickpeas
Garbanzo beans, aka chickpeas, are another healthy snack option. They are a great combo of protein and fiber. They also provide added nutrients with iron, folate, and potassium. Each 1-ounce serving contains 6 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber.
When working with clients, I aim to have them eat three meals daily and eliminate snacking. However, I’m a realist and understand that we all have busy days and may need a snack for one reason or another.
Choosing high-protein snacks will not only keep your blood sugar from crashing, but smart snacking will also provide the fuel you need to keep you going throughout your day. Having healthy snack options handy is essential so you don’t derail your healthy eating habits.
Author Bio: Meghan Punda, NP, is a nurse practitioner and functional nutritionist focusing on women’s health. With a passion for identifying and treating the root cause of health issues, Meghan works one-on-one with her clients to develop personalized dietary and wellness plans to fit each person’s lifestyle so they can lead a healthier, happier, more balanced life. For more health tips, you can visit nourishedandwellco.com.