Eating protein-rich snacks throughout the day is important for providing your body with the building blocks it needs to sustain energy levels and support muscle growth and maintenance. While many people think about getting enough protein at main meals, getting adequate amounts between meals matters too. The right high-protein snacks can tide you over between meals, curb cravings, and keep your muscles feeling good.
Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts and nut butters are nutritious, portable snacks that can easily be stashed in your bag or desk drawer. Almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, and peanuts all provide substantial amounts of protein per serving. For example, a 1-ounce serving of almonds contains 6 grams of protein. Nut butters like peanut butter and almond butter also supply a hefty protein punch. Enjoy a small handful of nuts or spread some nut butter on apple slices or whole grain crackers for a satisfying snack that promotes lean muscle.
Greek yogurt makes for a refreshing, protein-packed snack any time of day. With twice the protein of regular yogurt, just one 6-ounce container provides 15-20 grams of protein. Try plain Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit like berries or crushed pineapple for added nutrition and flavor. You can also add nuts, chia seeds, or a drizzle of honey for extra crunch and sweetness. For an energy-boosting treat, mix in some peanut butter or cocoa powder. The high-quality protein in Greek yogurt will help maintain lean muscle mass and give you lasting energy.
Cottage cheese is a go-to for athletes and bodybuilders for good reason – it packs in the protein. Just half a cup contains approximately 15 grams. Enjoy cottage cheese on its own or accompanied by fruit, nuts, or seeds for a hearty snack anytime. You can also use cottage cheese as a dip for whole grain crackers or vegetables. Thanks to its stellar combination of protein and before-bedtime casein, cottage cheese makes for the perfect end-of-day snack to help muscles recover and rebuild overnight.
When you need a protein fix on the go, jerky makes for a tasty high-protein nosh. Beef, turkey, and salmon jerky all provide protein in addition to vitamins and minerals. For example, a 1-ounce serving of beef jerky has 9 grams of muscle-nourishing protein but slim amounts of fat and carbs. While mass gainer supplements offer both calories and protein in one convenient source, jerky provides satisfying protein benefits in a low-calorie package. The portability of jerky makes it ideal for tucking into your purse, glovebox, work bag, or hiking pack.
Chia pudding has become a popular snack for good reason – it packs helpful nutrients like protein, fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3s. To make it, simply stir chia seeds into milk or yogurt and let it sit overnight. The chia plumps up to create a delicious tapioca-like texture. Add your choice of toppings like fruit, coconut, nuts, or nut butter. A few tablespoons of chia seeds contain 4-6 grams of complete protein. This plant-based snack will provide sustained energy while supporting muscle recovery.
Edamame, or soybeans, make for a satisfying snack that delivers ample plant-based protein. One cup of edamame contains about 17 grams of protein. You can prepare frozen edamame pods in the microwave or purchase ready-to-eat shelled edamame. Pair edamame with a piece of whole grain toast smeared with hummus for extra hunger-fighting benefits. You can also add edamame to grain bowls, salads, or stir fries. This versatile legume will help keep muscles fed between meals and workouts.
Incorporating high-protein snacks into your day is key for maintaining energy, curbing cravings, and supporting lean muscle mass. Nuts, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, jerky, chia pudding, and edamame all supply important protein our bodies need while offering portability and taste. Snack on these nutritious options between meals and post-workout to nourish muscles and feel your best.