- Bettina Applewhite
Healthy Snacking: Protein Focused
Protein is needed for tissue repair and building muscle, bone and skin. Snacking on good sources of protein is a great way to make sure you're getting enough protein throughout the day.
Protein helps you to feel full longer and gives you satiety when snacking. This is great for reducing calories to promote weight loss. It's also a great way to give you an extra boost of energy to get you through the afternoon slump. Don't reach for a sugary snack; instead try a high protein snack.
Good sources of protein are meat, poultry, dairy and fish. But beans, nuts and seeds, and eggs are excellent sources of protein too. One egg will give you 7 grams of protein. Hard boiled eggs are an easy and tasty snack. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to make hard and soft-boiled eggs. If you're working from home because of the coronavirus quarantine, you don't have to worry about the egg odor. The only person you will offend is yourself. LOL And you won't mind.
Beans are a good source of protein, B vitamins, phosphorus, and fiber. Having a bowl of beans as a snack might sound odd. Instead you can try hummus which is made of chickpeas or a white bean dip as a snack. There are roasted beans on the market as snacks or you can roast your own chickpeas with a little avocado oil, cumin, and paprika and pop them like popcorn.
At one point in history, eggs were getting a bad reputation on the street for being high in cholesterol. Science has proven that the benefits of getting protein from eggs exceed the risk. Now people are encouraged to eat eggs for their protein and as much as 1 - 2 eggs a day is acceptable. You can have egg salad, deviled eggs (click here for a crab deviled egg recipe), or mini egg omelets made in muffin tins.
Nuts and seeds are also a good source of protein and a great snack. Nuts like peanuts, walnuts, and pecans are easy to find. Seeds like sunflower seeds and chia seeds and hemp seeds are also popular. I often made chia pudding as a snack. It's so easy and adaptable to whatever flavors you want. Click here for some easy recipe ideas. Chia seeds also provide you with fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids that are protective for your heart. You can add nuts and seeds to granola for a nice crunchy snack. Nut butters like peanut butter and almond butter and cashew butter are creamy options for getting in your protein. A tablespoon or two of peanut butter on a celery stalk and topped with raisins are cleverly referred to as ants on a log. It's not only clever, it's tasty. You can have almond butter and crackers or hazelnut butter and apples or simply a scoop of peanut butter out of the jar.
Dairy is an excellent source of protein as well. A glass of low-fat milk provides 8 grams of protein. Greek yogurt can provide double those amounts. Some Greek yogurts can provide up to 23 grams of protein per serving! Wow! There are so many different kinds of yogurts that come in different flavors, textures, and with different added benefits like less added sugar. Yogurt has probiotics that are also good for gut health. Cheese, cottage cheese, and puddings are great snacks that provide protein.
Meat is what people usually think of when they think of protein. Steak and chicken are good sources of protein but as you see above, there are plenty of other options to choose from as well. If you're got some carnivorous cravings, you can have deli meat on toast or snack on tuna with whole wheat crackers or veggies. Beef or turkey jerky have become more popular. So much so that there is even salmon jerky available in some grocery stores. Other kinds of meat snacks include salami, shrimp cocktail, chicken salad, and meat sticks. When creativity fails you, you can still have a small piece of chicken breast or steak as a snack.
Protein bars, shakes, and other supplements are becoming more plentiful in today's market. There are so many flavors and combinations of how much fat and carbohydrates are mixed in. There are high protein pancakes, cookies, bars, powders and shakes. There are protein products that are vegan, vegetarian, milk based from whey protein, and from animal products. There are unflavored powders that can be mixed with anything you want to add more protein without changing the tastes. But there are plenty of flavors to choose from: even birthday cake!
With all the options there are for protein snacks, there's very little excuse for not getting enough protein in your diet. Try them all. Switch it up. Don't get bored or stick with your favorite. The benefits and necessity for protein in your daily life, try a high protein snack.