When you’re always on the go, it’s important to snack smart in between meals. It’s easy to get your hands on sugar-filled treats or processed foods that provide little nutrition. Here are some high-protein snacks that are easy to take with you and will help nourish your body to keep you going.
Cheap and easy to prep, eggs are packed with essential vitamins and minerals as well as around 6g of protein but only come in at 78 calories each. They’re also extremely portable and one or two should hold you over.
A half-cup of cottage cheese contains 14g of protein. Feel free to toss in some fruit or nuts for even more flavor and nutrition. Cottage cheese is also high in casein, which is a slower-burning protein than whey. It’s a good late-night snack that will keep feeding your muscles after you’re asleep.
An ounce of almonds (20-24 whole nuts) will net you 6g of protein along with Vitamin E and healthy fats. Be sure to avoid the flavored varieties as sugar is pretty high up in their ingredients list. Roasted and salted is about as complicated as you want to get with these.
Peanut butter has long been a go-to for portable protein and for good reason. Just 2 Tbsp of natural peanut butter serves up 8g of protein. When choosing a jar, stick with the “natural” varieties and make sure there aren’t any added sugars or fats. You can even find powdered peanut butter that has less fat but the same protein amount.
Tuna is another cheap protein-packed snack. You can eat it by itself or on top of whole wheat crackers. Go for the cans packed in water to avoid extra calories from the oil-packed varieties. You can also get tuna in pouches that are even easier to take with you. The pouches will get you 17g of protein for just 70 calories!
Chickpeas are cheap (less than a dollar for a can) and full of fiber and protein. Roasting them turns them into a crunchy snack that is very portable and satisfying. One cup will provide you with 14.5g of protein and 12.5 grams of fiber.
Chickpeas Nutrition, Benefits & Recipes
30 High-Protein Snacks That Are Healthy and Portable
The 40 Best High Protein Foods
Natural Peanut Butter vs. Regular Peanut Butter
Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash
Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash
A healthy, balanced diet can help keep sickness at bay. Here are some additional foods that can increase your immune system’s efficiency even more.
Full of zinc, fiber, and protein, chickpeas/garbanzo beans are a powerful tool in your germ-fighting arsenal. Zinc is critical to the production of white blood cells that help recognize and destroy invading bacteria.
Another zinc powerhouse is beef. Even a mild deficiency in zinc can increase your risk for infection and just 3 ounces of beef can provide you with 30% of your daily value of zinc.
Garlic contains the active ingredient allicin, which helps to fight infection and bacteria. It also contains sulfur that aids in your body’s absorption of all that aforementioned zinc.
Cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, trout, or tuna contain Omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation in the body and increase the flow of oxygen in your airways.
Mushrooms are one of the few food sources of vitamin-D, which is crucial to the immune system. Toss mushrooms into salads or soups or you can add them to your eggs in the morning.
Probiotics (Yogurt, Kombucha)
Keep your GI tract balanced and full of good bacteria to keep out the bad bacteria. Include foods such as yogurt (look for ones labeled “Live and Active Cultures”), kefir, and kombucha to get the benefits of probiotics. You can also supplement probiotics in pill form.
Green and black teas are packed with an antioxidant known as flavonoids. The advantage green tea has over black tea is that it’s processed less and more of its antioxidants make it into the final packaged product.
Citrus & Bell Peppers
Your body can’t store vitamin-C so it’s important you get some into your diet daily as it helps support a healthy immune system. Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines are good sources of this vitamin. If citrus isn’t your thing, the red bell pepper contains three times the amount of vitamin C! Dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach are also good sources.
9 Immunity-Boosting Foods You Should Be Eating More Of This Winter
12 Power Foods That Boost Immunity
6 Immunity-Boosting Foods to Keep on Hand All Winter Long
15 Foods That Boost the Immune System
Sugar occurs naturally in things like fruit or milk and are fine in moderation. The bigger danger is added sugars that are put into an alarming amount of food and drink choices. Diets high in sugar can lead to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. It’s important to limit your sugar intake as much as possible so here are some tips to help you spot added sugar and avoid it!
Watch the Sauces
In Heinz ketchup, the third and fourth ingredients are corn syrup. In Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, high fructose corn syrup is the first ingredient! Be aware of what’s in a condiment before putting it all over your food, and double check the serving size - it's probably a lot less than what you think.
Know Their Names
When looking at ingredients, watch for things that end in “-ose” as those may be added sugars. Dextrose, maltose, lactose, glucose, and sucrose are all different forms of added sugars that are bad news.
Check Your “health” Foods
Some snacks you may think are healthy could contain high amounts of added sugar. Clif Bars have around 20-25 grams of sugar each. Some flavored, roasted nuts may contain up to 12 grams of sugar as well.
Fruit juices are usually full of sugar and end up being about as nutritionally beneficial as any other sugary beverage. Grape juice has the highest at 58 grams of sugar for a 12 ounce serving. By comparison 12 ounces of Coca-Cola contains 38 grams of sugar. Orange juice comes in at 33 grams but contains 20 more calories than Coca-Cola and you can get vitamin C elsewhere. Don’t waste calories on drinks that aren’t doing you any favors.
Don’t think that all yogurts are the same and all are good for you. Many popular brands have 20-30 grams of added sugar! Try and pick a brand with no added sugar.
Juices With the Highest Sugar Content
How to spot — and avoid — added sugar
Hidden Sugar Foods to Avoid & Healthier Alternatives
We all struggle to make it through our workouts some days. It can be helpful to find new tricks to keep yourself motivated through that second, third, or even eighth mile on the treadmill/road, or to power through another rep with the barbell.
Even the biggest creatures of habit can benefit from switching things up every now and then. We’ve put together a few ideas to help keep things fresh during your workouts.
1) Mix Things Up
If you workout at home write down different workout moves on a sheet of paper, tear each one off, fold them up, and throw them into a bowl, draw one at random until you’ve emptied the bowl. You could also do this with a note on your phone, make a list, close your eyes and point to your screen. Wherever your finger lands is your next set.
2) Find a Workout Buddy
If you really struggle to make it to the gym on Thursdays, find a friend who’s available that night, set a time and a place and a workout regimen that you are both comfortable with and go… no matter what. This keeps you both accountable, plus gives you an excuse to hang out.
3) Think Outside the Box
You don’t have to climb on the elliptical, or jump in the squat rack to be “exercising” - grab a hula-hoop and go nuts. Have small kids? Lay on the floor and play “airplane”, use your legs and arms to lift them up repeatedly. This gives you quality time with the kiddos, plus your arms will get a workout (and probably your abs too from laughing so much)! That’s a win-win in our book!
4) Sign Up for A Class
Keep seeing those flyers for a Zumba or Spin Class and get curious? Go sign up. It will keep things fresh, and push your comfort zone. Who knows, it might just become your new favorite way to exercise. Don’t worry - no one is looking at you, they are all way too concerned about who’s looking at them to notice you, we promise!
5) Make a New Playlist
If you know every time you hop on the treadmill you run out of steam around that two mile mark, make a “treadmill playlist” that has two songs that are either faster paced or that make you think of happy memories near the time it takes you to hit your two mile marker - this will help you take your mind off watching the mile readout increase and before you know it you’ll be on to that third mile just like that.
Have Ways You Already Keep Your Exercises Exciting?
Leave a comment below for our other readers to see!
Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap the last few years so it’s important to look at why they’re part of a healthy diet. Carbs are great sources of energy-providing glucose. The best carbs are those that contain lots of fiber - fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Carbs you want to avoid are those that are refined or have had grains removed and sugar added. Think white bread, cookie, cakes.
Here are some reasons you don’t want to ditch carbs completely:
Your brain runs on glucose - glucose comes from carbs. Remove carbs completely and you may have trouble remembering and learning since your brain won’t have enough glucose to function properly.
• Reduce Bloating
Good carbs contain fiber which helps keep you regular and eliminating waste efficiently.
• Mood Boosters
Most carbs contain tryptophan which creates serotonin in your brain and makes you feel full and content. Without it, you can feel hungry even after eating a 20oz steak and may have trouble shaking bad moods.
• Athletic Performance
Carbs are stored in your body as glycogen, which is a crucial factor in the duration and intensity of your physical activity. Without carbs, you don’t have much to run on and you’ll tire quickly.
• Muscle Mass
Without carbs, there is no glycogen to feed your muscles, so your body begins to use amino acid stores. This results in a decrease of muscle mass which then leads to metabolism issues.
• Weight Loss is Deceiving
The weight loss seen by eliminating carbs is due to the body not holding water that it normally would with carbs. Your scale may say you’re doing a good job, but you’re just getting dehydrated and losing muscle. Even then, the weight loss will taper off after 6 months.
Why Carbohydrates Are Important for Your Diet
Why Are Carbs Important?
Why Carbs Are the Most Important of Macros
Effects of normal meals rich in carbohydrates or proteins on plasma tryptophan and tyrosine ratios
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash
Adding more fiber to your diet can help reduce inflammation, increase good gut bacteria, and even reduce the risk of developing arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.
It’s recommended for men to consume about 38 grams of fiber per day and for women to consume about 25 grams per day.
Below are 10 ways to add more fiber to your diet:
Select Whole Grains
Such as oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa.
Choose High Fiber Fruits
Berries, apples or pears are great options.
Add Insoluble Fiber Sources
Chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.
Use Avocado as a Butter Substitute or Salad Topper
Half an avocado contains about 5 grams of fiber.
Add Legumes to Your Dishes
Lentils, black beans, and split peas are great sources of fiber and protein.
Leave the Peels on Fruits and Vegetables
The skins of apples, potatoes, and cucumbers can also be sources of insoluble fiber.
Three cups of air-popped popcorn has four grams of fiber per ounce.
Bake with High-Fiber Flours
Use whole-wheat pastry flour, coconut flour, or almond flour.
Check Nutrition Labels
Anything over 2.5 grams of fiber per serving is considered a good source of fiber, 5 grams is even better.
Take a Fiber Supplement
Whole plant foods are best, but if you are still struggling to increase your fiber intake psyllium can be a good option.
Assorted Fruits: Photo by Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash
Popcorn: CC0 Public Domain
It seem like kids are constantly eating, so it's important you feel good about what you're giving as snacks.
Here are some ideas for quick, healthy snacks to keep your kids going:
1. Ants On a Log
The classic go-to snack of peanut butter on celery with raisins on top. Be sure to use natural peanut butter to avoid added sugar and feel free to switch up the filling with cream cheese or add other fruit you have on hand instead of raisins.
2. Meat and Cheese Roll-Ups
Take whatever sliced cheese you have on hand, add lunch meat, and roll it up. Use a pretzel stick in place of a toothpick to keep it all together - it’s safer and more fun.
3. Hummus and Veggies
Keep hummus on hand for a protein-filled snack. Use carrots, green peppers, or almost any other vegetable as the dippers.
4. Roasted Chickpeas
Once drained and dried really well, canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans) can be dry roasted at 450° for 30-40 minutes for a crunchy, fiber and protein-filled snack. After they’ve cooled but are still warm, toss with your favorite seasonings and you’re done!
5. DIY Trail Mix
Throw together a mix of healthy items such as raisins, dried cranberries, different nuts, and sunflower seeds for a healthy trail mix.
6. Peanut Butter and Apples
Simply slice an apple and spread with natural peanut butter or put the PB in a bowl and use it as a dip for the slices.
7. Grilled Cheese
Use whole grain bread and add in sliced apples to keep this quick snack healthy and delicious.
8. Cottage cheese and Fruit
Mix in fruit of any kind with cottage cheese to provide protein and fiber.
9. Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Thinly sliced sweet potatoes go into the oven at 375° for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Just lightly coat in olive oil and your favorite seasoning before baking.
10. Simple Fruit Salad
Take a mixture of fruit you have on hand (grapes, strawberries, kiwi, and oranges work well) and mix with a container of strawberry Greek yogurt for a sweet healthy treat.
50+ Healthy Kids Snack Ideas: https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/50-healthy-kids-snack-ideas/
Easy Homemade Sweet Potato Chips: http://paleogrubs.com/baked-sweet-potato-chips
Roasted Chickpeas: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/81548/roasted-chickpeas
A night out reconnecting with friends or family doesn’t have to wreck your healthy habits.
Use these tips to feel good about your choices.
Restaurant: Photo by Kevin Curtis on Unsplash
Salad: Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash