5 Snacking Strategies to Help You Squeeze in More Protein

5 Snacking Strategies to Help You Squeeze in More Protein
Presented by Spartan Training®

This story is sponsored by Gone Rogue.

Need a Sneaky Source of Protein? Try Gone Rogue Chips

It’s late afternoon and your healthy lunch—a mixed greens salad accented with lean protein and lots of colorful veggies, topped with a little balsamic vinegar and oil—is a distant, but pleasant memory. Your stomach though, has already forgotten how filling and delicious that salad was and now demands a snack—something salty, sugary, and satisfying. Sound familiar?

Most of us are dedicated to eating healthy most of the day, but struggle when breaking up our usual thrice daily meals. But if you’re training hard and want to keep the gains coming, snacking smart with protein is how you can solve part of the nutrition equation. “Protein is important for everyone,” says Dana Angelo White, M.S., R.D., a registered dietitian and certified athletic trainer in Fairfield, Conn., “but athletes often need more to meet the demands of strenuous exercise.” To fuel your metabolic function, build muscle, and protect against injury, there’s no substitute.

To get the most from your snack time, we pulled together five smart strategies that will help you pack in protein while keeping your body primed and ready to tackle any challenge, whether prepping for an OCR or just performing well in life. 

Get Prepped

Make Sunday a meal prep day, and whip up healthy snack foods like energy bites (mixtures of good stuff like oats, peanut butter, ground flaxseed, chocolate chips, honey, and chia seeds) and hard-boiled eggs so you have high-protein snacks at the ready all week. Include healthy carbs in your snacks to satisfy immediate hunger, along with good sources of protein and fat to keep you feeling fuller longer. You can also go for simple combos like apples and peanut butter, hummus and carrots, or cheese sticks with whole-grain crackers. Just stock up!

Stash Snacks

You won’t always have access to your own homemade, protein-packed snacks, so keep non-perishable snacks in your bag, car, and desk, says White. Sure, there’s jerky and nuts, but that’s not all. Check out some new entries, like Gone Rogue High Protein Chips, made from lean white and dark chicken and spiced up to create flavors like Teriyaki Chicken and Buffalo Style Chicken. All variations of Gone Rogue Chips boast at least 17 grams of protein per serving and are great for stashing and snacking whenever a pang hits.

Portion Protein

For best results, protein should be eaten in modest amounts throughout the day, not just one or two mega doses, says White, so make sure you have at least some protein at every meal and snack. Going for a high-quality protein that has a full roster of essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) which includes lean meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy and plant-based options like tofu and quinoa. 

Smoothies Not Shakes

While protein powders are a quick way to get in a dose of the muscle-building molecule, they often have way too much protein and no carbs, which is not useful for muscle protein synthesis, says White. Instead of simply mixing up a powder-and-liquid shake, go for a satisfying smoothie with Greek yogurt, frozen banana, milk (or almond milk), and honey that includes a dose of protein powder. 

Timing Matters

Plot your bites throughout the day, as snacking between meals will keep energy levels high. Also, be sure to schedule them around workouts—to fuel before a workout and to recover after exercise. A combo of healthy carbs, fat and protein are ideal for fueling, so look for aim for about 60% carbs, 20% protein, and 20% fat for a pre-workout snack, White says. For a mid-day snack, around 33% for each macro is your magic number.

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