When we think of snack foods it is not difficult to think of those products in vending machines or prepackaged snacks in the grocery store like chips, nuts, cookies, individual desserts like low fat (and high sugar) ice cream treats. A snack is essential a small meal although it is often viewed as a single product like chips, power bars or candy and can be any small portion of food or drink. It can also be or a light meal, especially one eaten between regular meals. The majority of snack foods seldom require refrigerated and are often highly processed. When we consume highly processed foodstuffs we lose foods that are nutritionally dense and end up with foodstuffs that are calorically dense as a result of the refining away of fiber and nutrients and the addition of sugars, salt and fat.
High protein healthy or healthier snacks is often a popular topic among dieters and sports enthusiast, mainly because they are not readily available in a variety of products, unless incorporated with added sugar, fat and salt. Protein as a nutrient in a snack food is also less profitable than sugar, fat, salt and carbohydrates. You just need to know what to look for base on criteria of what constitutes a high protein snack.
Excluding medical conditions or advise from a care giver to the contrary, in terms of one criteria for a snack, if we consider that one snack is approximately 10-13% of our daily caloric intake of calories (which also includes carbohydrates, proteins and fats), the average snack would contain between 200 - 260 calories for someone consuming a 2,000 calorie diet (150-200 calories for a 1,500 - 1,600 calorie diet). Snacks are not free foods if you are tracking your caloric intake, they need to be considered in the total daily intake.
In terms of a high protein snack, an additional criteria could be the need to consider the source of the protein; high biological animal protein or low biological vegetable protein. The higher the biological value, the higher the price and often an increase need to maintain a quality controls like a sealed container or refrigeration.
Another criteria is what % of calories from protein and if other macro nutrients are desired like fat for satiety or carbohydrates to be used as an energy source. This allows the protein to be use to build muscle or for other essential body functions thus sparing the protein from being used as a source of energy. If you are using the protein snack as a pre or post workout muscle repair, the addition of carbohydrates would be essential.
If you want to eat a healthy or healthier snack start with a definition of what you consider healthy or healthier. Is it organic, GMO free, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in fiber, additive free, free of artificial coloring, or free of natural flavorings? Reading the ingredient labels can help. However just because an item is not on a label, does not mean is not in the product The reputed neurotoxin Monosodium Glutamate can be included in foods labeled as containing natural flavorings and does not even have to be included on the label of processed food (neither do crushed up bugs that enter the processing in error or deliberately as a natural flavoring or coloring). Maybe this is why we are seeing less Monosodium Glutamate on labels. Most manufactures that have removed Monosodium Glutamate will clearly state "contains no Monosodium Glutamate". .... Even something as innocuous as celery juice added to a "natural" hot dog or bacon to maintain the red color is labeled as Natural or Healthier with no added nitrates (as as far back as the seventies studies have linked nitrites to a number of different kinds of cancer), however this link has been debated). The celery juice can result in a higher dose of nitrates because celery contains high levels of naturally occurring nitrates. For some this is another example of mischievous marketing and labeling to give the consumer a false sense of healthy food, for others because it is natural, they have less concern. When manufactures add man made nitrates to a product it must be included in the ingredients listing as nitrates. However adding the celery juice for the sole purpose of the benefits of the nitrates allows the manufacture to say celery juice, concentrated celery juice or celery juice powder. According to one source "celery is one of many leafy green vegetables with naturally occurring nitrates ... about 1,103 parts per million in the fresh plant". Want more info on natural flavorings - follow this link at http://www.naturalnews.com
Once you have your definition compare it with the labels of foods you purchase. Establish your own list of non-negotiable criteria (criteria that you will never compromise like no coloring, no GMO, no corn oil, etc.).
If you want to compare your definition of a healthy snacks with that of others follow this link; http://greatist.com/health/high-protein-snacks-portable. If you want to compare your definition of a healthy high protein snacks with that of others Click Here. Comparison hint: use an on line program like www.MyFitnessPal.com or www.ChooseMyPlate.gov to calculate the CHO, Protein, Fat and calories and in some cases, sugar, sodium, saturated fat and more.
Here are 8 high protein snack ideas. A high protein snack does not mean 100% protein. Do they meet your criteria for a healthy high protein snack?
- 5.3 ounces of Fat Free Greek yogurt - plain 15 grams protein 90 calories; ( approx 67% protein) vanilla 13 grams and 120 calories (approx 43% protein). Add 2 TBS. sweet nutty raw hemp hearts (raw shelled hemp seeds) to your plain Greek Yogurt and you add about 7 more grams of protein and 110 calories. If you have a dairy allergy (allergy to lactose), then use lactose free yogurt like Green Valley.
- 1/2 cup Fat Free Cottage Cheese - 15 grams of protein and 80 calories. (approx 75% protein) Add a cup of blueberries for an additional 40 calories. (approx 50% protein) The Lactaid or Lucerne companies makes a lactose free cottage cheese.
- 3 egg white veggie omelet sandwich on whole wheat toast - 170 calories, 13 g protein. (approx 53% protein)
- 6 ounces of homemade chicken salad made with fat free salad dressing (made from leftover chicken breasts) - approx 210 calories, 38 g protein (approx 72% protein)
- 2 ounces Almond cheese by Lisanatti Foods (97% fat free, no saturated fat, cholesterol, lactose, GMO's or preservatives) - 14 grams of protein and 100 calories (approx 56% protein). Add 12 grapes and 4 water crackers ( also referred to as Water Crisps) for an additional 1 gram protein and 100 calories (approx. 30% protein for the entire snack)
- 1 ounce of "Natural" Beef, turkey, buffalo meat or salmon jerky. The Buffalo Meat with Cranberries TANKA bar contains 70 calories and 7 grams of protein (approx. 40% protein). They do contain salt, sugar and celery juice (high in naturally forming nitrates) for those individuals restricting these ingredients in their diets. No refrigeration needed.
- 3 egg whites contain approx 11 grams of protein and 44 calories (approx 100% protein). Plenty of room for some whole wheat crackers and a dab on mustard to spice them up.
- 1/2 cup Egg-less Tofu egg salad with whole wheat crackers - recipe available at http://vegetarian.about.com/od/soupssalads/r/tofueggsalad.htm
Six additional high protein ideas:
- Smoothies are great high protein snacks when made with fat free milk or by adding Greek yogurt, PB2 powdered peanut butter (2 TBSP contains 45 calories and 5 grams of protein - 44% protein), hemp hearts, whey powder, hemp seed powder, pea powder, or mixed vegetable protein powder. Hint don't overdo the fruit in smoothies; light flavored vegetables like baby spinach or cooked carrots (if they are good in carrot cake they are good in a smoothie) Fruits are high in fructose sugar and calories.
- Peanut butter and banana smoothie - 8 ounces of fat free milk, plus 5-6 ounces of fat free Greek yogurt, or 12 ounces of almond milk or your favorite liquid and a scoop (as directed on package) of any protein powder, 1 frozen banana, and 2 TBSP of peanut butter (or peanut powder - much lower in calories and only 1.5 grams of fat. Throw in some flax meal or hemp seeds for a super protein drink.
- Homemade muesli - 3/4 cup of old fashion rolled oats, 5-6 ounces of Greek yogurt, 1 TBSP hemp hearts or flax meal (optional), 1 TBSP chopped almonds (optional), 1 small apple chopped fine or 1/3 cups of fresh berries, 1 tsp raisins (optional)1/4 tsp cinnamon. Sweeten with liquid stevia. Mix together and place n the frig overnight for a quick pudding like on the go snack (eat cold). This can be made in bulk and stored in the frig for approx. 3 days if kept in a cold refrigerated.
- 1/2 cup of dry roasted edamame contains 14 grams of protein and 1 cup of cooked 17 grams.
- 1/2 cup of soy nuts contain 16 grams of protein. Great combination with fresh fruit!
- 12 ounce non fat, decafe latte sweetened with liquid stevia has approx 10 - 11 grams of protein.
Request for quick protein snacks here is a link below. However, some of these may also be high in calories, carbohydrates and fat, or have additives and preservatives like the Deli meat roll-ups.
If you are looking for a quick protein snacks Click Here. However, some of these may also be high in calories, carbohydrates, fat and salt, or have additives and preservatives like the Deli meat roll-ups.
Healthy high protein snacks require planning and being creative, if you want to avoid excessive processing and preservatives, and forgo the vending machine options.
This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical/nutritional/fitness advice. Information presented is subject to change as additional discoveries are made or additional research is published. Links to various sites are provided for your convenience only and we are not responsible or liable for the content, accuracy of information provided or privacy practices of linked sites or for products or services described on these sites.
Resources: http://www.naturalnews.com/, http://vegetarian.about.com/od/soupssalads/r/tofueggsalad.htm, http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/23/health/clean-eating/, http://www.ChooseMyPlate.gov/, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/animal+protein, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density, http://www.diet.com/g/highprotein-diet, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutrient_density, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Vegetable+proteins http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_value http://www.MyFitnessPal.com/, http://www.lisanattifoods.com/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_organism, http://vegetarian.about.com/od/beverage1/a/what-are-hemp-seeds.htm, http://greenvalleylactosefree.com/, http://www.tankabar.com/, http://www.target.com/, http://www.privateselection.com/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevia, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/edamame, http://www.ehow.com/facts_5568849_soy-nuts-nutrition.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muesli, http://www.lucernefoods.ca/dairy.html, http://www.lactaid.com/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurotoxin, http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/lifestyles/health/31-healthy-and-portable-high-protein-snacks/nP3Tb/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosodium_glutamate,