When that midday hunger pang strikes, what happens next is all-too-familiar: You reach for that cheesy bag of chips or unwrap that chocolate bar you've had hidden in your desk.
While these foods curb hunger for the moment (and taste good), they also leave you feeling more sleepy (and hungrier) in the long run. So, what's a hangry person to do?
Enter: protein. Not to throw shade to the other macronutrients (carbohydrates and fats), but protein does a better job keeping you full for longer. To help you get some high-protein snack ideas, we've enlisted help from the nutrition experts.
Vital Note: This article has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Your licensed healthcare professional can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you as well in deciding whether a dietary supplement will be a helpful addition to your regimen.
What are some snacks that are high in protein?
Your protein fix is only a few snacks away. Esther Avant, a sports nutritionist and weight loss coach, recommends Greek yogurt (plain is best). It's packed with protein (about 20g for one cup) and you can customize it to your liking. For instance, Avant says her clients like to add berries, cereal and granola for a crunch that's sweet and will tide you over throughout the day. Another high-protein snack she recommends is jerky. You can make it yourself at home or buy some at the grocery store. (Just be sure to check the labels for the sodium content.)
Annamaria Louloudis, MS, RDN, and Founder of Louloudi Nutrition, recommends protein snacks that pair well together, such as cottage cheese with pumpkin seeds and turkey slices rolled up with cheese. Other delicious options to squash those cravings are hummus with high fiber crackers (1/3 cup of hummus is about 4g of protein) and veggies and tuna salad on whole grain crackers.
If you've got extra time on your hands, you can make these other high-protein snacks recommended by Louloudis: smoothies with yogurt or protein powder, omelette muffins and chia seed pudding.
Another great way to pack in the protein is with Vital Performance™ Protein Bars. They come in three delicious flavors and are loaded with 20g of complete protein including 10g of collagen. It's a convenient grab-and-go snack for anytime!
What are 5 foods that are high in protein?
It's very important to know what are five foods that are high in protein. This way, you can base your snacks for the week around these five foods.
1. Lean Meats
Courtney Vickery, MS, RD, LD, says that 4 oz. of chicken breast contains 35g of protein while 2.6 oz. of tuna packed in water contains 17 grams. Avant adds that deli meat, such as chicken, turkey and ham, also count. You won’t find this same kind of impressive numbers in fattier meats, such as pork or full fat ground beef.
2. Greek Yogurt
Your daily bowl of yogurt has some serious protein — 20g, to be exact, according to Vickery. Avant adds more protein in hers by mixing in protein powder (Try Vital Performance™ Protein Powder). Other times, she’ll sweeten it up using sugar-free pudding mix.
You'll want to get crackin' on eating eggs since Vickery says that one large egg contains 6g of protein. Take advantage of their versatility by cooking with them in meals, making sandwiches or just eating them alone, such as a hard-boiled egg.
This food is so much more than just an appetizer at a Chinese food restaurant. You can prepare them steamed or roasted, says Louloudis. It's also a great source of protein, coming in at 8.5g for half a cup, according to Vickery.
No sad desk lunches here – you can have a fiesta with your meals whenever you add in some delicious legumes, such as black beans. This plant-based protein, which contains 15g of protein per one cup (for black beans), is a great substitute for animal products, according to Vickery. Other legumes to try include roasted chickpeas and lupini beans, adds Louloudis.
What everyday foods are high in protein?
If you were to look inside your fridge and pantry right now, you'd want to see these everyday foods that are high in protein.
animal products (including seafood):
- pork loin
- chicken breast
- lean ground beef
- ground turkey
- deli meat (chicken, turkey, ham)
- white fish (tuna, haddock, halibut, etc.)
- cottage cheese
- soy milk
legumes, nuts and seeds:
- spouted chickpeas
- black beans
- pumpkin seeds
- peanut butter
What are pure protein snacks?
The nutritionists are divided on the definition of pure protein snacks. For some, they're exactly as they sound: snacks that are almost all protein. Egg whites, for example, fall into this category, as Avant says that they are almost 100 percent protein.
Lean meats are another almost all-protein snack. Louloudis says to look for poultry without skin and non-fatty fish. The answers to "what are protein snacks?" can differ, though.
For example, Laura Zea, MS, believes that pure protein snacks are "foods that are composed of multiple nutrients and combine protein with carbohydrates and fat." Regularly consuming these foods is the best way to nourish your body in a balanced way, according to Zea.
"Meats are high in protein, but they also contain fat. Beans are high in protein, but they also contain carbohydrates," Zea explains.
Vickery agrees, adding "I would consider a pure protein snack one that has all of the essential amino acids for protein and the largest percentage of calories comes from protein (versus carbohydrates and fats)."
What fruit has the most protein?
Fruits are known for some sweet benefits – they're a great source of nutrients of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. But what they're not known for is being a complete source of protein.
What happens if you eat too much protein?
Too much of anything can be bad news bears (protein farts, anyone?). According to Zea, the issues lie when our bodies digest proteins and turn them into amino acids. "These molecules are important for countless metabolic needs, but if you have an excess of nitrogen due to these molecules, your kidneys can have a difficult time processing the excess."
So, what is the recommended intake? Around 0.8-1.3g of protein per kilogram of body weight, Zea tells Lively. "It is important to pay attention to how you feel when increasing your protein intake because too much protein can negatively impact your digestion and get stored as fat."