Here is something most of us know already, protein can make you feel fuller for longer. It can also improve immunity, repair muscles, and help regulate hormones. And because protein needs to be replenished in your body regularly (it doesn’t stick around long like carbohydrates or fat), finding a steady supply of tolerable and tasty protein options is necessary to tap into its benefit.
I have many clients who know they should eat more protein throughout the day. However, when push comes to shove, they don’t know how to get more protein into their diet outside the more obvious forms of meat.
For various reasons, loading up on meat sources of protein at each meal can be off-putting even for the most dedicated non-vegetarian. Snacks are a great solution to this problem – small, protein-based meals that help break up your day and allow you to get creative and have some fun with flavours.
But don’t be fooled that being creative has to be complicated. The key to your high-protein snacks is to make them simple and easy to eat. The simpler or easier something is to do, the higher the likelihood you’ll follow through on adding more protein into your diet. Conversely, the more complicated the recipe or unavailable the ingredient, the more likely you will ditch this healthy habit and admit defeat.
Let’s not admit defeat, not today. Instead, I have included five simple re-create high-protein snacks, perfect for those mid-afternoon cravings. (or any time of the day, really)
Greek yoghurt and curd are not only high in protein content but are also highly versatile snacks. You can dress them up or down with as few or as many different flavours as you’d like. Some of my favourite add-ons are.
• Mixed berries
• Banana & nut
• Muesli or a spoon of granola
• A teaspoon of nuts or seeds
• A teaspoon of honey or maple syrup
Boiling eggs is quick and easy, even for the beginner in the kitchen. For a hard-boiled egg, boil water on the stove, ease your egg into the water nice and gently, and set your timer for 13-14 minutes. When done, rinse with cool water, and when cool, peel and store the egg in the fridge. Then, you can grab your boiled egg container and take it to work or consume it as a snack at home. I like mine with salt and pepper, sometimes a little cayenne pepper for extra flavour.
Also read: Why protein is so important for older adults
I love sweet food, so making high-protein balls stored in the fridge is the perfect solution to my sweet tooth around teatime. One of my favourite recipes only requires four ingredients and takes minutes to whip up.
Take equal portions ( around 1/4 cup) of apple sauce, peanut butter, vanilla-flavoured protein powder, and some dried, shredded coconut. Blend and form into small bite-sized balls—dust with some leftover shredded coconut and store in the fridge.
You can switch up the flavours and include different nut butter or protein powder flavours. You can even get adventurous and throw in some dark cocoa powder for a chocolate fix!
Chickpeas are a savoury and delicious, “poppable” little snacks with a lovely crunch and can store well on the go. You can add plenty of flavours to this tasty treat so that this snack never gets boring. One day you can dress them up with simple salt and pepper; another day, you can dress them up with another favourite masala or freshly chopped onions, chilis, and tomatoes.
Chia seed pudding
Chia seed pudding may seem meant for trendy food blogs or Instagram posts. However, I love chia seed pudding because it takes almost no time to make and stores well for a few days in the fridge.
Chia seeds inflate and create a bubble of gel around them when exposed to a liquid, holding almost 10x their weight’s worth! And guess what? They are packed with protein, omega 3, iron, magnesium, and much more.
To make a chia seed pudding, combine two tablespoons into a bowl with ½ cup of your favourite liquid; I like coconut or almond milk for its delicious, sweet flavour. Stir, and allow the pudding to sit for 20 minutes. If you let it sit for longer, the more the texture becomes like tapioca pudding. I often mix my pudding, portion it into little jars, and keep it in the fridge until a snack craving hits or I need something on the go.
Now here comes the fun part. You can make this pudding truly your own by getting creative! Traditional chia seed puddings are topped with fruit like mango, bananas, nuts, or berries and sweetened further with honey or maple syrup. However, the options are endless, so go ahead and customise as much as you want to.
Jen Thomas is a Chennai-based weight-loss coach