There are many reasons why protein snacks are your BFFs, particularly on busy days.
“High protein snacks are a healthy way to keep your metabolism going and to stay strong and healthy,” said Chef Bill Gideon of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, who notes a high protein snack keeps metabolism working constantly as protein takes longer to digest than other foods.
“Protein will help satisfy your appetite, hold you over until dinner, and keep you from eating more unhealthy snacks as the day goes on,” said Executive Chef Matt McMillen of Bill White Farms in Park City, Utah.
Protein is also good for your body as hair and nails are mostly made of protein. The body uses protein to build and repair tissues; to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals; and it is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood, according to McMillen.
If these aren’t enough reasons, protein-rich foods help improve muscle mass, help with weight management by filling you up, stabilize blood sugar levels, help improve your mood, promote healthy brain function and learning, and help maintain strong bones, said Gideon.
Meat is an excellent snack because it has a very high protein content. Meat provides other benefits too.
“Lower fat meats allow you to maximize protein input while minimizing the amount of food you have to eat. Higher fat options provide more satiety, leaving you feeling fuller while consuming less bulk,” said McMillen.
Beef generally has more fat than chicken or fish, according to Gideon.
“The make-up of fat in beef varies with how the cows are fed. Compared to grain fed, grass-fed beef has less overall fat but a higher percentage of omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and can help build muscle and burn fat.”
Gideon notes the leanest cuts of beef are sirloin tip side steak (5.4 grams of fat per 3.5 ounce serving); eye of round roast or steak (7 grams of fat per 3.5 ounce serving); and top round roast and steak (7.6 grams of fat per 3.5 ounce serving). The cuts of meat with the most fat are rib-eye (37.6 grams of fat) and T-bone (25.6 grams of fat) steaks.
So what are your high protein snack options on a busy day?
“Put some jerky in your bag and go. It expands and helps stop cravings during the day in between meals,” said Fox, who notes meat is a great snack because it has satisfying flavors and it’s very flexible to add flavor to.
Lorissa’s Kitchen handcrafts chicken, beef, and pork premium protein snacks with unique recipes like Korean barbeque, ginger teriyaki, sweet chili, and Szechuan peppercorn. Each gluten free snack has 11 grams of protein, no added MSG, no preservatives and is made from meat raised without added growth hormones.
If you’re looking for an energy boost, Chef Andrew Fox of The Kessler Collection’s Kessler Canyon in DeBeque, Colo. recommends choosing a snack high in protein, like jerky.
Each pouch of Lorissa’s Kitchen jerky has two-and-a-half servings (enough for more than one snack!) bursting with flavor with just 80 calories per serving.
Gideon also recommends mixing your snacks up with deli roll-ups.
“Consider it a sandwich without the bread! This savory snack packs in almost double the protein of a hardboiled egg, and sneaks in a few vegetables to boot,” said Gideon.
Chef Gideon likes rolling up two slices deli turkey with one slice of cheese and one slice of tomato for a savory snack with 11.9 grams of protein or a Thanksgiving-version that includes one piece of whole-grain bread, sliced lengthwise and topped with two slices of roasted turkey, one slice of Swiss cheese, one lettuce leaf, one slice of tomato, one teaspoon mustard, and one teaspoon dried cranberries for a snack with 20.4 grams of protein.