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If you read my last blog, How to Get Protein in Your Diet (Breakfast Edition), you’ll already know a bit about protein, so feel free to skip down below to the snack ideas. If you haven’t seen it or would like a recap on protein and its benefits, just carry on reading.
Chances are by now you’ll have heard that protein is a very important part of nutrition.
Some of the many benefits of protein are:
• It has a high satiety effect, so you feel fuller for longer
• It helps to repair muscle after exercise
• It is a vital building block for your bones, muscle, cartilage, skin and blood
• It’s essential to the repair and regeneration of all the cells in the body
• It has a high thermogenic effect, meaning that around 25% of the calories in protein are burned off just in its digestion (the numbers are much less for carbohydrates and fat)
Numerous studies have shown the benefits of consuming protein for health, weight loss and muscle-building goals.
And it’s not just for the guys –
A simple way to ensure you’re getting enough is aim for a serving in each meal throughout the day.
A visual serving of protein would be 1 palm size portion of meat or fish for women, and a 1.5-2 palm-sized portion for men.
If you’re looking from a numbers perspective, you’re aiming for around 20g if you’re a woman, and 30-40g if you’re a man.
Many people like to have a snack in between meals, and it’s great if you can base this around protein too – it will keep you fuller for longer and help boost your overall intake.
Most of the ideas below are for snacks roughly around 200 calories – some a bit more, some a bit less. For women or those looking to lose weight, this is generally a good amount of calories to aim for in between meals. For those looking to gain muscle, you may want to increase the portion sizes here to suit your need for higher calorie and protein levels.
I’ve broken the ideas below into different categories to cover various situations:
• Portable Snacks – that you can take with you when out and about and don’t perish or damage easily
• Home Snacks – that you can make at home
• Shop Snacks – that can be found in supermarkets or some shops
EASY PORTABLE SNACKS
• Protein bar – loads of options with these. If you like a particular brand, it’s often cheaper to order a box online. The Performance Project coaches are highly experienced in protein bar consumption and we tend to go for Quest bars (Amazon), My Bar Zero bars (from myprotein.com) or Carb Killa protein bars (Amazon). All three of these have different flavours that taste great (in our opinion) and come in at around 200 calories and 20-25g protein. If you’d prefer to buy in the shops, Maxi Promax bars can be found in Sainsburys in a couple of nice flavours, and Holland and Barrett stores have a variety of brands.
Be aware of the marketing on the packet – some bars are higher in calories and not may not be as great as they sound. Check the nutrition label and look for something around 200 calories and 20g of protein.
• Trek Bar – usually easy to pick up at the supermarket, Holland and Barrett, or some local shops. Compared to protein bars, Trek bars have less protein (around 9-10 grams), more carbs and fat and slightly more calories. But the ingredients are natural and high quality, they taste nice and should keep you pleasantly full until your next meal.
• Protein Shake – you can either make this up in advance or grab yourself a protein shaker with a nifty extra bit at the bottom to hold the powder. Half-fill the shaker with milk or water, add your scoop of protein when you’re
ready and shake well.
• 2 Boiled Eggs and a Handful of Berries – protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals all in one for around 200 calories
• Hi-Lo Protein Toast – 1 piece with 1 poached egg, or two pieces with jam. 1 piece of Hi Lo bread is 84 calories and 8 grams of protein, so you’ll get a good amount of protein with either option here.
• Greek Yogurt with Berries – Individual pots of Total 0% yogurt or Arla protein yogurt are a decent size and pretty filling for the amount of calories. Total 0% individual yogurts are 97 calories and work well with berries to add flavour. Arla yogurts are 140 calories and come in strawberry or blueberry flavour, so should be fine on their own.
• Protein Brownie – Performance Project coach Sam created the excellent example in the above photo. This a real treat for only around 160 calories, and really easy to make. All you will need is 1 scoop of protein powder, around 60ml or 1/4 cup of almond milk, a square of dark chocolate broken up into pieces and 1/2 a tsp of baking powder. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 30-40 seconds or until it starts to rise then leave it to set for a couple of minutes. You could serve with a couple of spoonfuls of low fat yogurt or Yoo Moo vanilla frozen yogurt to really top it off.
• Warburtons Sandwich Thins – each of these are just 100 calories, so you can make yourself a nice little sandwich with a good protein filling for around 200 calories. Ham, chicken, tuna and smoked salmon all work well, perhaps with a few spinach leaves for added nutrition. To keep calories low opt for low fat philadephia / wholegrain mustard / low fat mayo as your spread if you need one.
• Chicken or Lentil Soup – Soups are a great filling option and you can either make your own or buy a decent fairly fresh one in the supermarket. Having a soup with a good amount of chicken or lentils (especially puy lentils) will keep the protein high.
• Protein Ice Cream – Holland and Barrett stores stock Whey Hey protein ice cream in small tubs, and they can also be ordered online. They come in a few different flavours –the chocolate one has 154 calories and 21g protein per 100g. Great treat option for the summer, or if you fancy some ice cream after dinner…
• Packet of Cooked Chicken / Meat – it may seem a little strange to some people but there’s nothing wrong with buying a pack of chicken, ham, turkey or beef and eating it all as a snack (depending on how much is in the packet). Choose a good quality meat if you can and have a look at how many calories and how much protein is in the pack. Much better option than the chocolate bar/pastry/flapjack/crisps that everyone else is having.
• Snack Pot of Greek Yogurt – as mentioned above, Total 0% and Arla protein yogurts both come in individual tubs found in most supermarkets. You will probably also need a spoon though if you’re out and about
• Beef Jerky – supermarkets stock this; great high protein snack option.
• Protein Milk –not as great an option as the some above as it’s less natural and, being a drink, probably won’t keep you as satisfied as actually eating something, but could be useful to grab when you need something on the go. Many Holland and Barrett stores stock small protein milk drinks such as Maxinutrition protein milk. A 250ml bottle has 130 calories and 20g protein. It does also have 11.7g sugar, but some drinks are a lot worse. It’s worth checking the calories, protein and sugar levels in drinks like this as they can vary.
• John West Light Lunch – the tuna options contain less than 250 calories and make an easy portable snack option, or a light lunch.
Hopefully this post has given you some ideas and inspiration on how to get more protein into your snacks.
Is there anything you like that hasn’t been mentioned here?
Let us know in the comments below!
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