Snacking goes a long way to support healthy, sustainable eating habits and is a beneficial nutritional element in the journey towards weight loss/weight management as well as lean muscle mass gains. However, investing some thought and preparation into what you snack on is vital, as there is a massive difference between munching on a healthy high-protein snack like a boiled egg and that chocolate bar tempting you at the grocery store checkout counter just as hunger peeks its head around the corner.
Why snacking is good?
Snacking is healthy for a host of reasons that we will expand on in just a second. Depending on your wellness goals, our team of nutritional experts at 8fit advocate eating three meals and a snack per day, to keep your metabolism at its best. Of course, sometimes life doesn’t afford us the time to stick to this routine, so snacking on wholesome high-protein snacks is a sensible way to manage hunger and energy levels till next meal. Here’s how:
Snacking is a smart way of steadily sneaking in a few extra nutrients into your day, especially if have a busy day ahead or have an especially taxing workout ahead. Nutrient-dense high-protein snacks like veggies, dairy products, as well as nuts and seeds will see you through the day and help keep your energy levels up, so you can take on the day with gusto.
Stabilize blood-sugar levels
If you happen to have an especially strenuous day or week ahead, it can be challenging to fit in regular meals, which can lead to forgetting to eat or grabbing the wrong type or snack (high-sugar). Irregular or sugar-rich eating can wreak havoc on your blood-sugar levels, leading to a roller-coaster of energy peaks and slumps, leaving your pancreas (the organ responsible for insulin production) working overtime. Short term, you will be exhausted at the end of the day and craving more sugar, long-term you may increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. So munching on high-protein snacks, will both satisfy hunger pangs for longer and stabilize your blood-sugar levels till your next proper meal.
Curb cravings and overeating
When cravings hit, it can feel like our brain and body has been hijacked by a sugar-demon demanding a big bag of chips or a calorific, gooey brownie. As mentioned above, this fleeting moment of satisfaction will open the gates to a vicious circle of ravenous cravings. Having high-protein snacks to the ready, will not only nip those cravings in the bud just as fast but will also reduce follow-up snack attacks. Protein-rich snacks will also keep you fueled till your next meal so that you aren’t starving by the time you hit lunch or dinner, and eat healthy portions mindfully.
Grab-and-go: High-protein snacks
So you want your protein fast and at the ready? Then this list will help inspire you to choose the right high-protein snack when time is of the essence, and you want to stay satiated till the next meal without grabbing that sugar-packed bite to eat when hunger strikes.
- Greek yogurt: Quick, easy and packed with protein. Eat it on its own or pair it with some celery or carrot sticks if you need to add a little crunch to this creamy treat. As always, remember to select unsweetened variants — low- or high-fat is dependent on your health and fitness goals.
- Cottage cheese: Just like yogurt, this is a versatile protein booster for when strapped for time — choose low-sodium brands for heart health. Dress-up your cottage cheese and eat it with a slice of melon or a few berries.
- Nuts: Go nuts for nuts — well actually this high-protein and high-fat snack, though brimming with nutrients and minerals, is best eaten in moderation. However, a handful as you race out the door is a brilliant choice.
- Nut butter: Our very own Coach Lisa’s very favorite fast high-protein snack is a slice of whole grain toast slathered in either peanut or almond butter.
- Seeds: Pumpkin, flax, chia and sunflower seeds will all provide you with that on-the-go high-protein snack energy boost. Enjoy them on their own or sprinkle them onto yogurt, oatmeal or blend them into a smoothie — the choice is yours.
- Eggs: Though most egg preparations will provide you with a healthy dose of protein, in this case, we recommend hard-boiled kind, as they are low-fat, portable protein packs.
- Cheese sticks and cheese cubes: Add a little childhood charm to your snacking, and throw a pack of mozzarella or cheddar string cheese into your bag as you leave the house. Be mindful to choose low-fat products and read the label to ensure they don’t contain any additives and preservatives; aim for organic whenever possible.
- Roasted chickpeas: You can either buy them ready roasted from a grocery store or easily prep a jar of them in advance — so you can ensure you are eating the healthiest version of these fiber-rich, protein-dense nibbles. The bonus is you can roast these chickpeas with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil in the oven and add any additional healthful seasonings that may tickle your fancy e.g. cumin, chili powder or rosemary.
- Hummus: Staying on the chickpea (aka garbanzo beans) inspired trajectory, what list of health high-protein snacks would be complete without this middle-eastern staple — hummus. This blend of pureed chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil is not only rich in protein and insoluble fiber, but it makes for a great snack pack when combined with vegetable slices like carrots, peppers, celery or even cherry tomatoes.
When you upgrade to 8fit Pro, why not try out our mouthwatering ‘Salt & vinegar roasted chickpeas.’
For those of you looking to shed fat and get leaner, high-protein, low-carb bites will help you get there, keeping the metabolism in fat-burning mode and your muscles fed with healthy protein. Here are two high-protein snacks you can add to your meal-plan as an 8fit Pro subscriber:
Smoked salmon roll-ups
Deviled eggs with hummus
These high-protein snacks can help you feel fuller for longer, while the low-fat content will assist any fat-loss efforts you may be following. However, we want you not only to meet your goals but enjoy yourself while you’re at it, that’s why we’ve included a hearty white bean rosemary dip you can spread on some whole grain crackers or toast, as well as a tantalizing peach parfait for those with a sweet-tooth.
White bean rosemary dip
Where are the high-protein, low-calorie snacks?
You may have been wondering where in this comprehensive overview of high-protein snacks is the high-protein, low-calorie snack combination? Calorie restriction is a touchy topic, as calorie consumption and expenditure is highly individual. Factors such as current body mass, metabolic rate, activity level and body goals need to be taken into consideration to find the correct calorie balance that promotes health instead of deteriorates it.
Whatever your dietary restrictions or preferences may be — whether you have a food allergy or favor plant-based eating — we at 8fit have you covered. The 8fit Pro recipe book has over 700 recipes you can adapt to your needs, as well as a ton of tasty treats too — high-protein snacks included.