11 convenient high protein snacks

proteinsnacksWe’re a nation of snackers.  We snack because we’re hungry, we’re bored, the clock says it’s snack time or a work break, or dozens or other reasons.  We snack on everything from fresh fruit to bags of chips, candy bars, energy bars, supersized coffee drinks, cookies, pastries and raw vegetables.  KFC is promoting Go Cups, a supposedly snack-sized portion of fried chicken and potatoes that fits in your car cup holder.  At 540 calories, it’s more like a meal, especially if you’re dieting.  Maybe it is a meal.  According to consumer surveys, some people just snack all day, rather than bothering to prepare and eat meals.  Unlike formal meals, snacks can be eaten just about anywhere: in the car, at your desk, while walking, at a sports event, at a bar or while watching TV or playing computer games.

Weight loss diets are infamous for recommending constant snacking, to stave off hunger and help make the diet more successful.  The best snacks to accomplish that effect are high protein.  It also helps if the snack is low sugar, and doesn’t have a highly seasoned flavor that amps up your taste buds, making you overeat.  Luckily, most foods that are naturally high protein are also naturally low sugar.  They also typically have some fat content, but that’s not such a bad thing.  Fat can also help you feel more satisfied, and kill your hunger.

Here are 11 convenient, high protein snack foods:

  1. hard boiled egg: just peel and add a shake of pepper and salt.  About 70-80 calories and 7 grams of protein.
  2. smoked salmon: 100 grams (or about 3-1/2 oz) has about 85 calories and 18 grams of protein.
  3. nuts: 1/4 cup of plain roasted nuts is roughly 200 calories (depending on the nut) and 7-8 grams of protein
  4. canned tuna: a 3 oz can of white tuna packed in water has about 110 calories and 20 grams of protein
  5. cooked white meat turkey: 3 oz has about 130 calories and 24 grams of protein.
  6. cottage cheese: 1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese has about 100 calories and 13 grams of protein
  7. nut butter: 2 TB of peanut butter has just under 200 calories and 8 grams of protein. Added bonus: you can spread it on celery sticks for extra fiber and crunch.
  8. plain Greek style yoghurt: no, not the sweetened varieties.  If you appreciate the tangy taste of plain yogurt, one 6 oz container of plain non-fat is 100 calories and 18 grams of protein
  9. edamame: 100 grams of plain cooked edamame, perhaps with some soy sauce, has about 125 calories and 12 grams of protein.  Added benefit: it’s a plant, and also has fiber
  10. cheese: 2 oz of most cheeses is about 200 calories, with 14 grams of protein.  Cheese tends to be higher in fat, so watch your portions.  Use a food scale to see what 2 oz looks like.
  11. jerky: whether beef, turkey or even elk, jerky is a handy high protein snack.  The main problem is the higher salt content.  Also avoid products that are loaded with flavorings that will lead you to overeat.

What, no protein-boosted smoothies or protein bars?  Not on this list.  Those always come along with loads of added sugar, meaning more calories.  Protein powders added to those foods don’t taste great, so added sweeteners are a must.

For hunger-fighting, have a high protein snack mid-afternoon, about 3 hours after lunch.  Most of these suggestions can easily be taken to work.  Some of them would fit fine in a cup in you car’s cup holder, with a lot less calories than KFC’s “snack” Go Cups.

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