When trying to lose weight, cutting out snacks is a simple way to reduce calories. Although mindlessly grazing in between meals can disrupt health goals, enjoying a high protein snack can actually aid in weight loss. Read on to get the scoop on protein and ideas for high protein snack recipes.
The Basics of Protein
Individuals typically automate achieving a lean body when following a high protein diet. Although protein does in fact build muscle, its reputation goes beyond slamming down a protein shake after a weight lifting session. Proteins are large, complex molecules comprised of smaller molecules, known as amino acids. Amino acids form and link together to produce proteins and the numerous configurations allow each protein to function in its own unique way. For example, proteins can function as an antibody, a structural component, a transporter, or an enzyme.
Nutritionally, protein is one of the three macromolecules, in addition to fat and carbohydrate. Although gender, age, and muscle mass dictate protein needs, the average adult needs approximately 50 to 60 grams per day.
Furthermore, eating ample amounts of protein goes beyond a large steak or chicken breast at dinnertime. Consuming a healthy protein snack in between meals can keep hunger at bay. When the body starts to feel deprived of nutrients, you are more apt to binge at the next meal or reach for any food available despite its nutritional value or lack of.
Research has actually shown those who consume a high protein snack have accelerated and sustained weight loss, improved blood glucose levels, and a decreased risk of developing hypertension. Have these high protein snacks available to increase satiety and keep health goals in check.
Healthy Protein Snack Recipes and Ideas
A prepackaged chicken salad can be packed with fat and sugar. Luckily, homemade chicken salad is simple and packed with protein. Mix shredded chicken, slivered almonds, chopped grapes, and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt together and let chill. Dip carrots or whole grain crackers into the salad or simply enjoy with a fork!
Bell Peppers and Hummus
Hummus is a dip-like food prepared from chickpeas, olive oil, and various seasonings and spices. The chickpeas provide not only protein, but those "healthy" fats. A serving, or two tablespoons, provides approximately 4 grams of protein. Hummus is an excellent protein alternative for individuals who are vegetarian, vegan, or simply want to reduce meat consumption. Children may be more timid in trying an unfamiliar food but reintroducing it may increase acceptance.
Cottage Cheese and Pineapple
A half cup of low-fat cottage cheese features about 14 grams of protein at the cost of only 70 to 80 calories! Not only is cottage cheese high in protein, the dairy product is rich in bone supporting calcium, a mineral also critical for growing children. Pair cottage cheese with pineapple or peaches for a slightly sweet treat.
Greek Yogurt and Blueberries
Greek yogurt is a significant protein source. When choosing a Greek yogurt, though, stay wary on the sugar content and choose yogurts with limited to no sugar added. To avoid unwanted sugars, plain Greek yogurt is an excellent choice. Blueberries or other fruits offer the yogurt a natural sweetness as well as antioxidants and fiber.
Peanut Butter and Apples
Dipping apple slices into two tablespoons of peanut butter provides approximately 6 grams of protein. When choosing a nut butter, try to avoid added sugars and oils. Take advantage of the ingredient label and pick nut butters with only the nuts and maybe a little added salt. For kids, create "ants on a log" by filling celery stalks with peanut butter and adding raisins.
Yes, a simple glass of milk is a great protein source with 8 grams of protein per cup! To avoid any unwanted fat, choose a low-fat milk. Unfortunately, non-dairy milks such as almond are limited in protein. If lactose (the natural sugar found in milk) is tolerated, choose cow’s milk for optimal protein intake.
All protein bars are not treated equally. Some resemble a candy bar and are filled with sugar and questionable ingredients. However, some protein bars are healthful and a convenient snack to have available, especially if unable to keep the snack chilled. Try to find a bar that has less than 5 grams of sugar, contains at least 5 grams of protein, and with minimal ingredients.
Eggs provide approximately 6 grams of protein per one egg. Although they do contain cholesterol, don’t shy away from it! An egg is also rich in fat soluble vitamins the body needs to carry out critical functions. Make a batch of hard-boiled eggs and keep in the fridge for convenience.
In addition to portioned meals, bistroMD also offers high protein snacks. From mini blueberry cheesecakes to dried Italian chicken strips, the options will keep you more than satisfied. Be sure to check out the nutritious and flavorful snack options today!