Are you sure you’re getting enough protein? A protein deficiency is a very real issue and you may not even recognize the signs of your body alerting you to the problem. Common symptoms include food cravings, feeling unusually sore and slow to recover from exercise, or mentally feeling drained/have trouble focusing.
The average person living a sedentary to lightly active lifestyle should be consuming anywhere from 0.5 to 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Those that exercise regularly and lead a very active lifestyle should increase their protein intake to about 0.8 to 1.2 grams.
While going the route of protein shakes is an easy and efficient way of boosting your protein intake, they definitely aren’t the only answer. Here are 7 easy protein-based snacks that are going to keep you satiated between meals.
One of the most obvious meat protein snack sources is beefy jerky. You can find this snack pretty much anywhere, making it a perfect choice for a person with a busy schedule. Keep in mind that quality is important. Popular beef jerky brands commonly found at gas stations and convenience stores can be extraordinarily high in preservatives and sodium.
Stick with organic or more natural brands as much as possible. Even better, try your hand at making your own! It will save money and you get the option of seasoning it however you like. A good quality beef jerky should give you about 9 grams of protein in an ounce.
You can change it up and try salmon, turkey, chicken, or bison jerky instead. If fat is a concern going with a poultry/fowl is a good choice. Finding dried salmon jerky is tricky but well worth the effort if you like fish. You’ll still get plenty of protein and also a healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids.
Celery Peanut Butter Boat
Peanut butter celery boats or “ants on a log” are a classic kid’s snack but are actually a great source of protein. Peanut butter is a great protein source (8 grams in 2 tablespoons!) that can be used in a limitless number of ways. Using celery is ideal since it cuts down on calories. You can put raisins on the peanut butter or instead use almonds, which will increase the protein of this snack even more.
If you’re not a huge fan of nut butter you can instead use the traditional option of peanut butter. Almond butter has about 6.5 grams of protein in 2 tablespoons. If the problem is with celery, you can also use apple slices in place of celery. Either dip the apple slices right into the peanut butter or cut out a portion of the slice to form a small “boat” to fill.
Cottage cheese is filling and offers a more savory flavor. Not to mention the texture is a nice change of pace. Just a serving of ½ cup offers an impressive amount of protein but you can improve this by adding toppings. Pineapple is a popular addition but consider adding some seeds or nuts instead. Add some spices on top, like cinnamon, for extra flavor. Most brands will offer about 12.5 grams of protein per 1/2 cup.
Don’t like cottage cheese? Try a low-fat, low-sugar Greek yogurt instead. Just like cottage cheese, greek yogurt goes equally well with sweet or savory ingredients.
Homemade Protein Trail Mix
Store-bought trail mixes are delicious but often are high in sugars thanks to milk chocolate candies and dried fruit. The best option for when protein is a priority is to make your own mix. This high protein mix is perfect for the active individual. All you need is to visit the bulk section of your supermarket and buy some different nuts and seeds as well as a dried fruit.
This recipe also includes some chocolate for a sweet kick. You can expect about 15.5 grams of protein in just one serving.
If you don’t have time to throw together a trail mix of your own, take the time to carefully look through the nutritional facts of prepackaged mixes to ensure you are getting low sugar and high protein
Deli Meat Wraps
Here is one option that seems more like a light meal than a snack but only takes minutes to put together. All this consists of is your favorite deli meat, one or two slices of your favorite cheese with tomato and/or lettuce. Just as an example you could layer two slices of turkey, a slice of American cheese, and two slices of tomato. Roll it up and you have a quick snack.
You could also use lettuce as a the “wrapper”. Another idea is to use a string cheese stick instead of sliced cheese. If you’re really a meat lover you could even do a BLT wrap by adding some slices of bacon inside ham.
These deli meat wraps are easy to make and also travel well, if you stick a toothpick in each one of keep it from unraveling.
Egg Salad Crackers
With just a single boiled egg providing 6 grams of protein, it goes without saying that eggs are a super easy snack. You can boil them ahead of time and keep them in your fridge for a quick snack whenever you feel like it.
However, plain eggs are exactly very enticing so instead, you could make egg salad crackers for a snack. Mash up one or two eggs with a fork, add a small amount of low-fat mayo or Greek yogurt, and season with salt, pepper, a little garlic, and paprika. Choose a low sodium cracker, preferably a high-protein option like flax.
If you don’t like eggs you could also do this same snack idea with tuna.
No-Bake Oatmeal Bites
This snack doesn’t require as much as you would think. Not to mention you can make a large batch to freeze, taking them out as you need them. These are a way better alternative to most protein bars sold in stores and you have the option of deciding what you want in them. All you need is oats, peanut or nut butter, dark mini chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and some honey.
Combine 2 tablespoons of the peanut/nut butter with 3 ½ tablespoons of oats and a small amount of honey to sweet. Add in a couple of pinches of the chips and cranberries, mixing everything well. Then use a spoon to roll the mix into small balls, which you’ll then chill in the fridge to set.
You can easily make a bigger batch, or go on your own recipe. There really isn’t any way you can mess these up so feel free to try out different ideas or ingredients.
The Final Thought
It’s safe to say that most adults could benefit from adding more protein to their diet. If you recently started a healthier lifestyle, be sure you are consuming enough protein in your new meal plans. It’s easy to forget that as you change your activity level you will also need to increase your protein intake. If you’ve been having a difficult time recovering after a workout, it may be more than just soreness but a deficiency.
Try out some of these snacks and look into a good quality protein powder for after-workout shakes.
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Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.