When you consume a high-protein snack, this is digested slowly by the body. This makes you feel full for a long time yet with fewer calories per gram of food compared to other types of nutrients that have high calories like fats. It is beneficial to pair up proteins with fats and fiber too which can also make you feel full. When you consume a snack that is mainly composed of carbohydrates, you’re likely to go hungry fast. For high protein snacks you have plant-based and animal-based options while for fiber you can count on fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, each snack you have may already include a little amount of fats.
What Amount of Protein Should a Snack Have?
Most experts in nutrition recommend 10 to 15 grams of protein for a snack. Anything that goes beyond 15 grams is more like a mini meal. About 10 grams of food is the sweetest spot. You must be watchful of how much calories your snack food has since you can easily go beyond what’s necessary when you choose packaged options or high-calorie snack foods like nuts. The health experts suggest that for a snack to be healthy it must only have 300 calories or less.
Why Is Protein an Important Nutrient for a Snack?
People who are on a diet always focus on their protein intake. The main benefit of including protein in your meal or snack is that it can make you feel satiated. The truth is that as almost always get the recommended amount of protein without even trying. An average woman needs 73 grams of protein per day, while a man requires 105 grams daily. Moreover, it’s crucial to choose your protein sources accordingly. You can have either plant-based proteins or the animal-based ones.
Apart from making you feel full longer, we must not forget that protein also has many other functions in the body. Being a macronutrient, it means that you cannot maintain health without it. Your body needs protein for muscle mass. It also helps keep your blood sugars stable. Moreover, it is also essential for growth, repair, and maintenance of your body cells. Protein also helps to build muscle, skin, and cartilage in your body.
What Should You Look For When Buying High-Protein Snacks?
High-protein can mean different from one person to another. The nutrition label may mislead you when you don’t consider other nutritional factors. The following are some guidelines on what to consider in your high protein snacks.
Other Macro Nutrients
Protein is only one of the three macronutrients that most athletes have to be mindful of. They must also take into account fat and carbohydrates. Some snack options may have a high protein content but they may also have a much higher carbohydrate and fat content which can offset the health benefits of proteins.
The Accurate Serving Size
Some products come with nutritional labels that advertise a particular amount of protein, but the number indicated there does not match the actual count. If this is the case, it’s likely that the package contains more servings. This may not cause a problem if not for the increase in the amount of the other macronutrients present in the package.
The Appropriate Sugar Content
When you have a high-sugar-content snack food, this may offset the health benefits of your high protein diet. Remember that sugar is used for quick energy or stored as fat. This may cause your blood sugar level to rise, which may lead to energy crash or more hunger pangs.
Examples of High Protein Snacks
Here are some examples of snack options that are high in protein. These are not ranked in any particular order.
Beef jerky is an easy protein snack to have for those people who are always on the go. It can be smoky, flavored with soy sauce, or peppery. You only need about 20 grams of it to have 10 grams of protein. The best thing about this is that it has less than one gram of carbs. The only downside to this highly convenient snack option is the price tag.
Processed foods are frowned upon by health experts, but protein powders are cheap and a great source of proteins. About 20 grams of 2 tablespoons of protein powder blended with water may result in 13 grams of protein. You may opt for whey protein which comes with 3.5 grams of net carbs. Or you may go for pea protein powder, which is more affordable and with less net carbs.
You may want a Swiss, Havarti, or a Cheddar. It may be mild, smoky, or sharp. Whatever this may be, cheese can always provide you with lots of protein. You may enjoy up to 50 grams of full-bodied cheddar which is equivalent to 11 grams of protein and a gram of net carbs.
The general rule is that more proteins are found in hard cheese. If you love the soft kind libe brie or feta, you will have to eat more.
You may snack on a half cup of Greek yogurt. This will give you 11 grams of protein. It’s easy to find, and it’s not costly. Greek yogurt is strained which makes it more concentrated. This means that Greek yogurt can provide you with more protein than the regular yogurt. It’s creamy, tangy, and ready for eating.
Cocktail Peanuts and Peanut Butter
Cocktail peanuts are a cheap source of protein. You will have 12 grams of protein in only 45 grams of peanuts and even a little less of this from 3 tablespoons of peanut butter. The downside to this delicious snack is that it also comes with many calories.
Almond Butter and Roasted Almonds
Salted almonds can be a bit addicting. About ⅓ cup of almond nuts can give you 10 grams of protein. When you prefer to have almond butter, you can have 3 tablespoons of it. Whatever you choose, you will have 4 grams of net carbs together with the protein.
You may also create your own high protein snack. Just don’t forget to count the calories or else you will defeat your purpose of staying healthy.