Why is it so essential to eat protein?
Let me count the ways!
Firstly, protein is needed to build and repair tissue, as well as manufacture chemicals such as hormones and enzymes. It is integral to the formation of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, hair, and blood.
Your body needs nine essential amino acids, in addition to nonessential and conditional amino acids, to form protein. The essential amino acids must come from food, because our bodies cannot produce them. Each protein-rich food contains different amino acids that will complement each other so that your body can:
- Break down food
- Repair body tissue
- Carry out metabolic processes
- Produce energy
- Stabilize blood sugar
Unfortunately, eating protein while on the go is not always easy, since many protein-rich foods require refrigeration.
But have no fear! Here are ten portable protein snacks that you can take on-the-go.
Great Protein Packed Snacks
1. Nut or seed butter
Single-serving nut butters are great for portability. Two of my go-to ones are Justin’s Nut Butter Squeeze Packs and Artisana Nut Butter Squeeze Packs.
Pack some rice crackers, celery, or an apple, and you’ve got one protein-packed snack.
Don’t forget a spoon or knife for spreading—unless you like to dunk! Almond butter packs 6.7 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons.
2. Chia pudding
Chia pudding is a lesser-known but delicious protein snack.
Place two tablespoons of chia seeds, a pinch of sea salt, a pinch of vanilla powder, and 1-2 packets of stevia in a Mason jar. Bring along with a single-serving tetra pak carton of unsweetened almond or coconut milk such as Almond Breeze or So Delicious varieties.
At snack time, add the almond milk to the jar, cover, shake, and let sit for at least 30 minutes. The longer it sits, the thicker the pudding will be. Experiment with the time to reach your preferred consistency.
Chia seeds are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and 4 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons.
Open a single-serving pouch of wild tuna (my favorite brand is Wild Planet) and spoon onto gluten-free rice crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers is wholesome and delicious), a wrap (Food For Life offers gluten-free brown rice tortillas), or celery sticks.
Bring along a packet of black pepper for an extra kick!
Crammed with omega-3 fatty acids and 20 grams of protein, this combo will keep you full for hours.
4. Chlorella tablets
Unconventional? Maybe. Protein-packed? Totally!
Chlorella is a green algae rich in chlorophyll and protein. Studies have found chlorella to be composed of up to 88% protein!
10 grams of chlorella packs in 5.8 grams of protein. While it might not look like much, chewing on chlorella tablets will hold you over to your next meal. You can find chlorella in the vitamin section of your local health food store such as Whole Foods, at The Vitamin Shoppe, or online at www.vitacost.com.
For a protein snack, who doesn’t like jerky?
You choose: turkey, beef, or salmon (Nick’s Sticks, Vital Choice, and Krave are my favorites). Get the delicious taste of grass-fed or wild jerky while racking up your protein intake 10 grams. Delicious and satisfying, jerky allows you to eat animal protein wherever you are.
6. Popped amaranth
Amaranth is an ancient Peruvian grain bursting with protein. Made up of 13-14% protein, one cup contains 26 grams.
Pop some amaranth by heating an ungreased skillet over medium-high heat. Place one tablespoon of amaranth on the heated skillet, shaking to prevent burning until it pops. Repeat process until desired quantity is made. Popping is quick!
7. Almond flour muffins
Almonds are protein powerhouses—one cup of almond flour contains 24 grams of protein. Keep these gluten-free muffins in your freezer so that you always have portable protein ready.
8. KIND bar
Nuts, seeds, and fruits combine to form over 22 flavors that cram in about 7 grams of protein per bar. Check out these other healthy bars for easy on-the-go protein snacks.
9. Protein powder and water
Find a single-serving pouch of protein powder you like (Vega is one of my favorites!) and pour it into a water bottle when hunger strikes. Protein powders range from 15-24 grams per serving.
10. LÄRABAR ALT
This isn’t your typical nutrition bar. LÄRABAR ALT amplifies the protein content by adding pea protein to their delicious fruit and nut bars. It’s a wholesome snack brimming with 10 grams of protein and no added sugars.
Protein is full of nutrients that fuel your body. And consuming protein on-the-go is not complicated. With a little forethought, your pockets wills be full of healthy protein snacks that will leave you satiated when out and about. Next time you’re out in the heat, give powerful fridge-free protein a try!
Christine Cherpak is a health coach and yoga teacher who nourishes the human spirit and celebrates the rhythms of life. Freeing herself of food allergy restraints and claiming her true self, Christine empowers others to achieve a balanced state while learning to live, play, and love food again.
Photo by The Happy Veganarian!