6 Healthy, Portable and Protein-Rich Snacks

Fitness Tips

6 Healthy, Portable and Protein-Rich Snacks

Following a healthy and active lifestyle involves making dozens of small, smart choices every day. It might mean sticking to a specific meal plan, waking up 30 minutes early to fit in exercise or taking an alternate route home from work to bypass the line of tempting fast food restaurants. When you do get hungry, eating protein is a smart move. It's more filling than any other type of nutrient, and it's necessary for building and maintaining the lean muscle mass you get at the gym. However, salmon fillets and grilled chicken breasts aren't exactly portable. Fortunately, there are a host of other protein-rich snack options that you can take with you, making it easy to stay healthy when life gets hectic.

Greek Yogurt

Got a fridge at work? Stash a few single-serving cups of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt in it. A 6-ounce container offers an impressive 18 grams of protein in just 100 calories. Flavored Greek yogurts are higher in both sugar and calories, so stick with the plain, but toss in some fresh berries, nut butter, or honey if you need extra sweetness.

Hummus

Hummus is made from nutrient-packed chickpeas and tahini, both of which offer some filling fiber in addition to protein. Fiber is scarce in most protein-rich foods, and most Americans eat less than half of their daily fiber recommendation. An added benefit to hummus is its versatility -- it makes an excellent companion to chips, crackers, or cut-up veggies.

Nuts and Nut Butters

Nuts are great to throw into trail mixes, bags of dry cereal, salads, or bowls of instant oatmeal. Most varieties stay shelf-stable for at least several months, so you can stash some in the car, in your gym bag and in your desk drawer. Portion your nuts into 1-ounce servings, which offer 4 to 7 grams of protein each, depending on the nut type.

Jerky

Are you a meatatarian? Take some jerky along with you. Portable jerky offers close to 10 grams of protein per ounce, and since it's an animal-based protein, it provides all essential amino acids as well. Beef jerky is the most common variety, but you can also snack on smoked and dried turkey, fish, buffalo, venison, elk, and other meats.

Hard-boiled Eggs

As nutritious whole foods go, it's hard to beat eggs. They're a single-ingredient, high-protein snack, with about 6 grams of the nutrient per large egg. Like meat products, hard-boiled eggs contain all nine essential amino acids, and you can even tote them around for a few hours without refrigeration before chowing down.

Protein Powder

While supplements like protein powder can't measure up to the nutritional quality of whole foods, they do have some advantages. Chief among them is a huge convenience factor. To make a shake anytime, all you need is a glass of water and a spoon. Powders can also make decent meal replacements or large snacks since they typically top 20 grams of protein per serving. Snacks are an important part of any meal plan, especially if you're active. Your blood sugar levels are more likely to stay stable if you eat at regular intervals throughout the day, and you'll keep the energy you need to power through your workouts as well. All nutrients have their place in a healthy diet, but when the snack attack next hits, don't forget about the protein.

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