SNACKING, for the most part, has been perceived as the bad guy. When we think snacks, instantly our minds conjure images of bags of chips, doughnuts and various processed foods. Indeed, unhealthy snack habits have led to weight gain and obesity for a lot of us.
But let us for once try to change our collective minds and view snacks as a way to stay fit and healthy. After-all, snacking healthy may help us consume less healthy foods during our meals.
For those who lift weights, gaining and preserving lean muscle mass is an objective that we must always work to achieve. And to build muscle, we need adequate amounts of protein. Here are five easy-to-prepare and pick protein-rich snacks that will not only cure hunger pangs, but will also help build muscle.
Just boil them and they’re ready to go. Whether consumed post-workout and/or in between meals, hard-boiled eggs are an excellent protein-rich snack. Two eggs will give you around 10 grams of protein. And since they’re boiled, there is no need to worry about unhealthy preservatives.
Easily available at most grocery and convenience stores, an 8 ounce cup of yogurt will contain approximately 10 grams of protein. Apart from this, yogurt contains probiotics or good bacteria, which are good for digestion and immune system function. If possible, go for the unsweetened variety to cut down on the sugar content.
Roasted or boiled nuts
A handful of nuts, such as peanuts and cashew, are an effective way not only to satiate your hunger, but also to meet your daily protein requirements for the day. Sure, while this is generally a high-calorie food, these aren’t empty calories that serve no nutritional value.
Tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread
Tuna is not only loaded with protein but also contains B vitamins and Omega 3 fatty acids that are known to be good for the heart. Mix some canned tuna with just a little bit of reduced or low-fat mayonnaise, season to taste with a little bit of salt and pepper, spread on a slice or two of whole wheat bread and, voila, a filling, healthy snack.
While not as widely accessible as the other items above (in the Philippines), beef jerky may be available in select groceries and specialty stores. Just 1 ounce of beef jerky will provide you with close to 10 grams of protein. It is also rich in Zinc, which helps immune system function. However, be mindful as well of the sodium and preservatives present in this food. It’s a matter of balancing your protein requirements with other things our bodies may not need as much.
As we can see, snacking is not always the bad guy it has been cut out to be. Snack time can and will be a muscle-building endeavor if only we make the right nutritional choices.