Unhealthy snacking habits have derailed many healthy diets. The compulsive urge to munch on some sweet treats is a hard one to resist, even when your fitness goals depend on it. Whether you’re a chronic boredom eater or just feeling a bit famished, there is no need to deprive yourself of the energy your body wants. Instead, merely replace those less-than-satiating snacks with more nutritious options.
Snacks that are high in protein are particularly good for leaving you feeling fuller for longer. Read on for some creative ways to incorporate more of these muscle-building macronutrients into your diet:
Nut Butter Boats
Not only are they healthy and tasty, but these snacks can also be fun for the whole family. Commonly referred to as “ants on a log,” the snack even appeals to kids, despite the vegetable base. To prepare nut butter boats, slice up a stick of celery with the concave side facing up. Then, fill the empty space with a hefty dollop of any kind of natural nut butter, from almond butter to peanut butter, which both contain over three grams of protein per teaspoon. Top with raisins, walnuts, or even sugar-free dark chocolate chips to add an extra dash of sweetness.Those who aren’t big fans of celery can also use an apple with the center scooped out as an equally nutritious protein receptacle.
Depending on the brand, beef jerky can be a great source of protein, with one cup containing about 30 grams of protein. However, it’s important to avoid brands and flavors of jerky that are high in sodium and sugar, as this could potentially counteract its positive benefits. Fortunately, there are many low-sodium, natural and lightly flavored options available to choose from, such as the Brooklyn Biltong jerky brand that is low in calories and contains no added sugar.. Those seeking to truly max out the health benefits could specifically opt for turkey, bison, or deer jerky, all of which tend to be a bit easier on your system than beef varieties.
Nut-Based Trail Mix
Nutrition experts often warn of the misleading health stereotypes of trail mix, and for good reason. Many pre-made trail mixes are advertised as a legitimate nutritious snacking option when really they are packed with sugary granola pieces, dried fruits, chocolate chips and even candy bits, with little in the way of healthy additions to counteract the sweetness.
This doesn’t have to be the case with all trail mix, however. Instead of buying these mixes that are filled with added sugars,you can make your own combination of goodies and leave out all of the unnecessary junk. To fully maximize potential health benefits, aim to make a mix filled with almonds, pistachios, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and some freeze-dried berries for sweetness. These nuts and seeds are some of the most high-protein on the market. Not to mention, the freeze-dried fruit trumps natural dried fruit in that it is lower in sugar and offers more of the original nutritional benefits.
Deli Meat Roll-Ups
These fun finger foods deliver all of the flavors of traditional deli sandwiches with none of the carbs. To prepare, just lay low-sodium deli meat of your choosing on a flat surface, spread on a healthy condiment such as hummus or mustard, and stack it high with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, olives, onions and any other typical sandwich topping that tickles your taste buds. Roll it up like a soft taco, and you’re ready to eat. For an added boost, feel free to douse it with your favorite spices and toast it for maximum flavor.
Chunky Monkey Milkshake
You don’t have to give up on getting sufficient protein while still indulging your sweet tooth. Instead, you can have your shake and drink it too (so to speak) thanks to the chunky monkey milkshake, a healthy spin on an iconic ice cream flavor. Instead of using ingredients high in sugar, this recipe calls for vanilla almond milk, peanut butter and protein powder for a delicious, banana-and-peanut-butter-flavored snack.This simple combination can be enjoyed as a breakfast shake, a post-workout replenishment, or even a delicious dessert.