The human body contains thousands of different proteins. Each one of these proteins is made up of unique combinations of amino acids. Proteins are the building blocks of most of the structures in our bodies, including muscles, skin, bones and even blood. They also function as enzymes, which help to instruct and perform countless physical and chemical processes. Proteins also help to regulate fluid balance, form part of the endocrine system and help transport nutrients. With that kind of resume, you have probably gathered that protein is pretty important, so important that you should be eating it at every meal, including your snacks! Here are 8 of our favourite high-protein snacks to help you up your intake.
As we mentioned above, proteins are made up of amino acids. Some are referred to as ‘non-essential amino acids’ This means that our bodies can self-generate them. Other amino acids, labelled as ‘essential’ cannot be generated by the body, and so we must obtain them through our diets. Translation: You need to get enough protein in your diet!
The recommended daily intake for protein per day for the average adult male is 0.84 g / kg of body weight. For the average adult female, it is 0.75 g / per kg of body weight. In many instances though,1.6-2.2g per kg of body weight is more commonly required, particularly if an individual is very physically active or is trying to change their body composition.
Snacks can be an incredibly useful tool. By consuming a regular morning and/or afternoon snack, you can significantly improve your protein intake across the day. Research has also demonstrated that spreading your protein intake across all of your meals and snacks is more effective for building and maintaining lean muscle mass, in comparison to consuming all your protein at one meal. This is not only useful for someone with athletic or body composition goals. Muscle maintenance is very important for all individuals, especially as we age to optimise quality of life.
9 healthy high-protein snacks
Nutritionally, snacking on protein-rich foods also helps us to feel nice and full throughout the day. This, in turn, decreases the likelihood of overeating at meals. Protein also stabilises blood sugar levels, which may help towards better-sustained energy throughout the day.
Ideally, we should aim to eat 10-20 g of protein at snack times. Here is my list of some great healthy high-protein snacks to try, plus ideas on how to enjoy them.
- A single-serve tub of natural or Greek-style yoghurt (Yo Pro’s 160 g tub gives you 15.8 g of protein, and Chobani’s FIT range serves 15 g of protein) sprinkled with mixed nuts for added protein and a fibre boost.
- Two boiled eggs (12 g protein), halved and sprinkled with dill or paprika. Yum!
- Cottage cheese (150 g = 18.8 g protein) spread on brown rice crackers and topped with sliced tomato and basil for something fresh and easy.
- Tinned tuna (95 g = 23.6 g protein) in spring water of extra-virgin olive oil.
- Smoked salmon (100 g contains approximately 24 g protein) on multigrain cracker or a slice of rye toast with some of your favourite toppings.
- Four-bean mix (1 cup = 12.2 g protein) with chopped avocado, red onion, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, some lemon juice and herbs.
- A serving of plant-based protein powder (30 g protein) added to water or the milk of your choice. You can even add it to a fruit smoothie if you have time.
- Homemade mini frittatas are quick to make. Whisk eggs with some of your favourite veggies, chopped up. Pour the mixture into a muffin pan and bake until they are cooked through. Simply pop them in the fridge and grab-and-go throughout the week at home and at work.
- And here’s an extra one for you! A list of high protein snacks wouldn’t be complete without these! FODBODs protein bars – if you are looking for a packaged option, and if you follow me on insta you know how much I love these bars. They are gluten free, vegan, low FODMAP, as well as having an ace ingredients list… plus they are tasty AF. Each bar has between 8-16g of protein, pending on your flavour of choice.
If you’re still unsure about how much protein your body may need and what different sources of protein you should be including, consider making an appointment someone from the Verde Nutrition team and we can work together.