Want to achieve or maintain peak health and performance? The not-so-secret ingredient is protein. Protein encourages a healthy immune system, helps your muscles recover from workouts, regulates acids within your body, and even strengthens your hair and nails.
It’s one of the three main macronutrients that your body needs every day (carbohydrates and fats are the other two). The Recommended Daily Allowance of protein is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. If you’re 150 pounds, for instance, its recommended you eat about 54 grams of protein per day.
As a wife, chauffer of kids, working mom, and social schedule manager myself, I know it can be difficult to find snacks that are high in protein and are convenient to grab and go.
Here are 10 protein-packed, fat-burning, on-the-go snacks:
- Soybeans – Soybeans top the charts with 68 grams of protein per cup! They’re also known for decreasing appetite and caloric intake. You can find fun recipes like this to make your soybeans sweet or savory.
- Cottage Cheese – One cup of cottage cheese has 25 grams of protein and is rich in casein protein, a slow-burning protein that helps muscles recover and rebuild. I love mixing cottage cheese with a tablespoon or two of peanut butter for a protein-packed snack. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
- Salmon – Rich in Omega 3s, salmon helps your body burn fat and actually blocks fat storage. Depending on the type of salmon you’re eating, you can get as many as 20 grams of protein from one half of a salmon fillet. Make a little more for dinner so you have extra to snack on the next day. Put it on a cracker or eat it alone.
- Eggs – Known as the perfect protein, eggs are not just for breakfast. Hard-boiled eggs are easy to make ahead and grab as a snack. The yolk in protein, where the cholesterol is found, has actually been shown to decrease your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Greek Yogurt – With 20 grams of protein per cup, Greek yogurt is a great source of protein and has fewer carbs than regular yogurt. It’s a win-win! Have fun with your toppings. I like adding blueberries, cinnamon, peaches, vanilla extract or natural honey to my Greek yogurt to keep from getting bored with this protein powerhouse.
- Almonds – Almonds are easy and crunchy to snack on like candy, plus they’re packed with 20 grams of protein per cup. I also love almond butter, which offers the health benefits of almonds, and is delicious with apples or toast.
- Natural Peanut Butter – Natural peanut butter has 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons and is a great source of monosaturated fat that aids in fat loss. Pair it with celery sticks, carrots, apples, a banana or a whole wheat English muffin.
- Walnuts – Rich in Omega 3s, these nuts bring added health benefits like lowering blood pressure and fighting plaque in the arteries, among other things. One cup of walnuts provides a whopping 12 grams of protein.
- Oatmeal – This simple snack has 6 grams of protein per cooked cup and is a very slow-digesting carb that keeps blood sugar and insulin levels low, so fat-burning can stay high. In the grocery store, be sure to look for bulk oats that are whole and pure, rather than instant oatmeal packets that are highly processed with many unwanted added ingredients like sugar and preservatives.
- Avocado – The monosaturated fats in avocados are easily burned for fuel during exercise and actually encourage fat burning. Plus, one avocado contains about 4 grams of protein. Spread avocado on toast or a cracker or whip up some guacamole as a dip with your favorite vegetable.
Getting your recommended grams of protein every day doesn’t have to be hard, inconvenient, or expensive. With a little bit of planning, you can ensure you have healthy snacks in the house, rather than junk food snacks for when your hunger hits.
Which of these snacks is your favorite? Start today by incorporating one new protein-filled snacks into your daily food routine.
Kim Johnson is a Certified Personal Trainer at the St. Cloud Area YMCA. She works with clients to find the right combination of nutrition and exercise to attain their wellness goals. Kim has a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology / Health & Wellness. Learn more about Kim and our other Certified Personal Trainers at the Y.
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