Protein is an essential part of our diet and even more so when we want to gain significant muscle mass. Sticking to a protein-rich diet can be tricky, and it's easy to veer off the path, especially if you are prone to snacking (who isn't?).
Snacking is our body's way of telling us we need refuelling, but sometimes we snack simply out of habit. So how do we keep on track without ditching the treats?
We've compiled a list of healthy foods and nutritious high-protein snacks that will satisfy your hunger and enable you to stick to a healthy diet and help maintain muscle mass.
Great ideas for protein-rich snacks
It can be difficult to find high-protein snacks that don’t add too many calories to your diet plan. But here are some of our ideas…
Cereal is the go-to snack of many a top athlete, and granola is the perfect customizable and versatile on-the-go snack. Packed with nuts, seeds and dried fruit, you can top it off by mixing a scoop of protein powder with yoghurt or milk and mixing it in. With 8g of protein per cup, you can decide how hungry you are and how much protein boost you need.
Peanut butter on wholemeal bread.
Sometimes, the most straightforward options are the best. A peanut butter sandwich, on whole wheat bread, with regular peanut butter contains 14 g of protein and 34 g of carbohydrates. It's great if you're in a hurry and it takes seconds to put together (a bit longer if you want to toast it).
This is a much healthier option for those who reach for a bag of chips between meals, especially if you want extra protein.
You'll get a massive 21g of protein per ¼ cup. Packed with nutrients, roasted chickpeas are great to take with you on the go and snack on when you're feeling low on energy and staving off hunger.
You can also sprinkle on a topping for extra taste, such as salt, pepper, or cinnamon. If you've never tried these, they're well worth a shot, and they could turn out to be your new gym companion.
Protein-packed smoothie booster
A smoothie or protein shake is a perfect pick-me-up when you feel a drop in momentum or hunger pangs. Whip up a protein smoothie to take with you and down at a moment's notice. Take a cup of almond milk, half a banana, a tablespoon of cocoa powder, peanut butter, and a scoop of protein powder. Blend for a few minutes, pour into a glass or shaker and top off with chia seeds for around 25g of a protein boost.
Pittas are a convenient way to pack protein food into a snack. Making scrambled eggs or an omelette and sliding it into a pitta is the perfect remedy for a hungry stomach and lack of protein.
To deliver that extra punch, add any of the following ingredients- Spinach, cheese, chicken and smoked salmon. You can add some protein powder to the mix so long as the powder's flavour isn't too potent—a highly filling snack for those who get super-hungry between meals.
Homemade protein bars
Yes, these are a "thing"; better still, they're simple to prepare. Just take 2 cups of whole rolled oats, ½ cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of protein powder, ½ cup of almond milk and ½ cup of honey. You can also add in some dark chocolate chips, nuts or dried fruit. Add the milk, peanut butter, and honey to a pot and cook over low heat. Stir until the mixture is warm and well blended. Add the cup of protein powder, oats, and extras of your choice. Stir well for five minutes until the mixture is smooth but not too hard.
Compress the mixture into a pan once it's cool, but into squares. Stick them in an airtight container. They'll stay fresh for several days (longer if they're in the fridge). These will pack you in around 14g of protein per serving.
Simply the best when it comes to a quick-fix protein booster. With 17 grams of protein per cup, Greek yoghurt is the ideal base for a healthy high-protein snack. Better still, you can add flavorings of your choice, such as peanut butter, nuts, honey or fruit. For that extra punch, add a scoop of protein to the mix. Quick to make and consume so that it won't waste your time.
Cottage Cheese Toast
We should always appreciate the power of cottage cheese to give you a high dose of protein when needed. Combine it with wholegrain toast, and you have a quick-and-easy high-protein snack. Mix it up with some nuts, chia seeds and cinnamon, and you have a perfect protein pick-me-up with approximately 14g of protein per slice.
Have a protein shake…
And of course, there is always the option to mix up a quick protein shake, which is both delicious and will help keep you full and build those muscles,
Check out Crazynutrition's Tri-Protein formula to increase gains, promote muscle growth, boost energy, and satisfy hunger with 21 grams of 3 protein sources.