3 EASY Ways to Increase Protein: Protein Snacks on the Go
As busy adults, life can get a little crazy, especially for those of you that are constantly on the road and don’t have the luxury of having your work lunch waiting for you in a refrigerator. This is for my good friends that are in sales, law enforcement, truckers, and anyone where your job makes it difficult since you’re always out and about, and still want to be healthy..
You probably already know that protein is an important piece of living a healthy lifestyle, but how can you get adequate protein consumption when you’re on the road for most of the day? Protein bars are an option, but they can also get pretty expensive, so here are a couple suggestions that may help.
When I was a kid, they would always show commercials from the egg industry with the jingle “the incredible, edible egg”. Eggs have long been a source of controversy in the nutrition community for two reasons: supporters of egg consumption cite the nutrient density and high-quality protein offered by eggs, but the opposition is focused more on the high amount of cholesterol in eggs. Back in the 1960s, nutrition experts set the recommendation to keep daily cholesterol intake below 300 mg/d to keep blood cholesterol level from rising into dangerous levels. This started to get challenged in the 1990s, and today, researchers believe there may not be a correlation between dietary cholesterol and cholesterol levels in the blood. However, you must remember the magic words —“more research is still needed”.
Hard-boiled eggs are an amazing source of protein. In fact, egg whites are considered to contain a “perfect protein”, that is, the amount of amino acids in egg protein nearly mirrors that of human protein, which is what makes egg whites so easy for the human body to use for muscle protein synthesis and help with muscle growth and maintenance. Additionally, eggs are highly effective in controlling ghrelin levels, which means better satiety and less likelihood of overeating, so you can control caloric intake.
Greek yogurt is one of my favorite high-protein snacks that can be taken with you. Generally, yogurt is safe to eat when taken out of the refrigerator after up to 2 hours, so to be on the safe side, investing in a well-insulated bag is a good idea, especially since some of these bags can keep items cool for up to 8 hours, so you don’t have to worry about food poisoning.
Greek yogurt is a low-calorie, high-protein snack that’s also a great source of calcium and probiotics. In fact, just a 6-ounce cup of Greek yogurt, you can get 17 grams of protein, and since it only contains about 1 gram of fat, this can be a great snack when you’re managing your weight and want to control your caloric intake. As for the probiotics, this can help improve your gut health and digestion, meaning that you won’t have to deal with that disgusting feeling that comes with an upset stomach.
For those of you that are vegans and vegetarians, did you know that chickpeas are an amazing snack and rich source of protein that you can take anywhere with you? The protein quality score using the Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) for chickpeas is 0.78 from a scale of 0 to 1, which makes them a high quality source of protein. In comparison, chickpeas’s PDCAAS score is only 0.04 less than canned tuna!
Not only can you get 7 grams of protein for a half cup serving of chickpeas, but what makes it truly beneficial is that you can also get 5 grams of fiber. Fiber is like the street-cleaner of the digestive system, which means that it clears out much of the gunk that could pose problems in the future. In fact, a high fiber diet can help to regulate cholesterol levels in the blood, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and emerging evidence suggests that fiber may help to reduce the risk of colon cancer — this still needs more research to confirm.
Living life on the go can make it difficult for you to eat healthy and meet the protein intake demands your body needs to build and maintain your muscle mass. With proper planning, you can fuel up your body with easy-to-take, high-protein snacks, like hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, and chickpeas. Fuel up your body and keep your health on track with these snacks, and refuse to allow your busy life on the move from keeping you to eat more healthy.