Pack a protein-enriched snack to power through the day without hitting that afternoon slump.
Even with a healthy, filling breakfast and lunch, it can be tough to get through the day without snacking. For a healthy way to push through, you need a snack that’s low-calorie but still leaves you satisfied.
The secret ingredient here? Protein.
Small meals enriched with protein are more filling than their carb-heavy counterparts and will keep cravings at bay. In a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, researchers found that people who ate high-protein snacks (around 24 grams) felt full for longer periods of time. You don’t necessarily have to include that much, as those snacks are typically much higher in calories, but it’s a good benchmark to have.
While you can’t necessarily cook up a steak and toss it in your bag, you can pack one of these easy, portable snacks to munch throughout that 2:00 p.m. lull or just before the gym.
Cottage cheese and fruit: Packed with protein and calcium, cottage cheese is always a reliable snacking option. Mix with cinnamon, fresh fruit and/or nuts for an additional protein punch.
Dry-roasted edamame: Munching on half a cup of this crunchy snack will give you about 28 grams of protein.
Eggs: Eggs used to get a bad reputation because of their cholesterol content, but now they’re often touted as an easy and satisfying protein-enriched snack. Hard-boiled is the best way to package eggs for work, so try preparing a few on Sunday so you can grab and go throughout the week.
Greek yogurt: The superstar of the healthy-snack world, Greek yogurt is delicious enjoyed plain or sprinkled with healthy toppings. Flavored varieties tend to come packed with sugar, so opt for the plain kind and mix it up with fruit, granola, nuts or cinnamon.
Deli roll-ups: Wrap two pieces of deli turkey and two slices of reduced-fat Swiss cheese. Need some extra crunch? Slide in a couple of lettuce leaves or tomato slices, which will also add to your veggie intake for the day.
Protein bars: Easily the most portable snack, protein bars can be great sources of energy. The trick is choosing the right ones. Go for bars that have about 200 calories, 10-15 grams of protein and less than 15 grams of sugar. Larabar, KIND and Luna bars are all reliable options.
Jerky: Beef and turkey jerky are growing popular as go-to sources of protein. Brands like Krave and Perky Jerky are putting a healthy twist on jerky and creating it in fun flavors. When choosing a jerky, be sure to keep an eye on sodium content because it’s typically high in salt.
Nut butter: Peanut, almond and cashew butters are all quality sources of satisfying fat and protein. Instead of spreading on crackers, spread a couple of tablespoons in celery stalks.