The snacks that you eat in between meals can have a huge impact on your health, weight loss, and overall mood. If you are eating high fat and calorie or high starchy refined carbohydrates for your diet snacks, you may not be losing the weight you would like to and may also suffer from binge eating and/or “crashing” mid-afternoon.
Snacks that are high in protein and fiber and low in fat can be great choices to keep you going throughout the day as well as meeting many of your nutritional requirements. Even if you are not needing or wanting to lose weight, if you are lacking energy throughout the day, then eating lean protein foods may help alleviate your lethargy.
I am going to give you some great ideas for high protein snacks. Before I do this, however, I want you to take note that not all of these foods are high protein low carb snacks. If you have read any of my other posts you will realize that I am for healthy carbohydrates, not low carb. If you choose a low carb diet plan then you are inevitably going to miss out essential fiber, amino acids, and other nutrients you just cannot get from a high protein-high fat diet. (And also increasing risks for certain cancers, obesity, and other ailments.)
With that being said, high protein snacks and meals that incorporate lean protein and meats can really aid in weight loss, sugar regulation, strengthening lean mass, and also give you essential nutrients your body needs. You will feel more satisfied after your snacks or meals and will not have the high cravings for unhealthy and refined carbs.
- Beef or Turkey Jerky
- Raw, unsalted nuts: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts. You only need a small handful for your daily allowance on these, but they are high in fiber, protein, and “good” fats
- Hard boiled eggs. (A great idea is to peel, cut in half, remove yolk and replace with hummus)
- Whey protein shake (add fruit and milled flax seeds!)
- Low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese (again, add fruit and flax seeds!)
- Add lentils to a salad
- Roasted chickpeas
- Soy nuts
Here are some more detailed ideas for protein snacks that may be of interest:
1. Quinoa is a grain that can be used to make great high protein snacks. Unlike most grains, it is high in protein. In fact, a single cup has about 18 grams of protein. Adding quinoa to granola bar or cookie recipes or using quinoa-based flour to make muffins are all ways of increasing protein in snacks. Simply add the grain to recipes in the same manner you would add oats, or purchase quinoa flour at a natural food store. This is a great idea for vegetarians trying to meet their protein needs.
2. Great protein snacks for weight loss can be created using kale. Kale chips can be made by spreading kale on a cookie sheet, lightly sprinkling with oil and baking at 425 degrees until crisp. Lightly salting the kale once it is removed from the oven puts the perfect touch on a great crunchy snack. You can also buy pre-made kale chips at many natural food stores.
3. Bean dips are an easy way to turn chips and dip into high protein snacks. For a simple bean dip, wash and soak your favorite dried beans. Cook them overnight in a crock pot, then store in the refrigerator. When you are ready for a snack, take a small portion of beans and heat them in a pan with a little olive oil. Add some shredded cheese and seasoning to taste. Stir while heating to mash the beans up a bit, and you have a quick dip. If this is too time consuming, you can buy beans in the can. I just recommend rinsing them first before frying and mashing them to reduce the sodium content some.
4. Another way to enjoy beans is to spread them over flat bread or a rolled tortilla. Cook your favorite beans to a mushy consistency. Remove excess water and season to taste. You can also add cheese. Then, spread on a tortilla and roll it up like a small burrito. It makes an easy snack you can eat on the go.
5. Many dairy products are high in protein. Hard cheeses have the highest protein content. Add grated hard cheese to dips and pasta salads for a quick protein increase. Adding hard cheeses to bean dips give you a double dose of protein in one snack.
6. Tuna makes great low fat high protein snacks. Spread tuna on a toasted bagel, use it as a dip for crackers, or have half of a tuna sandwich. For quick appetizer style snacks, top small slices of bread with tuna, diced tomatoes and cheese and bake until cheese is melted.
7. Drink down high protein snacks with banana nut shakes. Start with soy milk and add peanut butter, banana and a few egg whites. Blend until liquefied.
8. Instant oatmeal is a surprising source for protein snacks for weight loss. Serve warm oatmeal with a bit of maple syrup or berries on top. Adding oatmeal to cookie or cereal bar recipes is another way to boost the protein content of any snack.
9. Adding shredded chicken to nachos is a great way to add protein to a guilty snack. You can even reduce the fat content of the snack by making your own dip out of quality natural cheese and using vegetable based chips instead of regular tortilla chips.
10. Add BBQ sauce to shredded chicken and roll it up in a tortilla for quick high protein snacks that are great for parties.
High protein low fat snacks mixed in with a balanced diet are a really good way develop healthy eating habits. One step forward, however slowly, is still one step forward towards permanent weight loss versus trying to do something hardcore now and then gaining it all back at a later date. Eating higher protein also can help regulate your energy levels throughout the day.