Protein may be the magic bullet for a better body. A recent study found that dieters who increased their intake of high-protein foods to 30 percent of their diet ate fewer calories and lost about 11 pounds over 12 weeks. What’s more, high-protein foods help your muscles rebuild and recover after a workout, so you’ll grow more fat-burning muscle tissue and look more toned.
Problem is, none of us is about to pocket a grilled chicken breast, and the best sources of protein—fish, meat, dairy, beans—aren’t quick and convenient to eat. When you’re on the go or too busy to cook, reach for one of these portable proteins instead.
1 ounce = 9.4 grams protein
Try beef or turkey—both make a flavorful snack. For an added effect, pair it with a handful of grapes or other fruit, as carbohydrates can help prevent muscle breakdown.
Roasted Soy Nuts
¼ cup = 17 grams protein
Made from whole soy beans, these are a nice break from the usual peanuts and cashews. If you’re craving something with a bit more of a crunch, try noshing on roasted soy’s close relative, roasted edamame (¼ cup = 14 grams).
4 ½-tablespoon scoop = 16 grams protein
Keep a canister of Whey to Go protein powder at your desk for a quick protein fix. It comes in four flavors (vanilla, chocolate, honey nut, and mixed berry), mixes well with water, and has only 100 calories per serving.
1 bar = 10 to 12 grams protein
Pack a few Luna protein bars (190 calories, 12 grams protein) or Honey Stinger protein bars (190 calories, 10 grams protein) in your bag. Look for energy bars that have fewer than 200 calories, but watch out that you don’t eat too many of them, since they can be loaded with added sugars.
1 egg = 6 grams protein
Cook a dozen, store them in the fridge, and grab one when you need a snack or want to add protein to a meal. Another option: Buy Eggland’s Best hard-cooked peeled eggs. Because Eggland’s hens are fed organic grain, their eggs have 10 times more vitamin E and three times more omega-3 fatty acids than other brands.
1 stick = 8 grams protein
Pair some low-fat string cheese (80 calories each) with an apple and a few crackers for a filling snack that will easily hold you over until your next meal.
Peanut or Almond Butter
2 Tbsp. = 6 to 7 grams protein
Nab a couple of single-serving packets and squeeze over half an English muffin. Try Justin’s individual organic peanut butter packs (190 calories, 7 grams) or Barney Butter’s portable almond spread (180 calories, 6 grams).
6 oz. = 15 grams protein
Dig into a container of Greek yogurt for an indulgent, yet healthy alternative to cottage cheese. “Greek yogurt has practically the same amount of protein as cottage cheese, but has fewer calories and lower sodium levels,” says Jim White, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach, VA.
2 oz. = 11 to 14 grams protein
Starkist Creation Packets store tuna in a pouch, not a can, so you can just rip one open and eat on the go. Top it on a couple of crackers for an afternoon snack—or eat straight from the bag. Choose from five different flavors, including Zesty Lemon Pepper and Hickory Smoked.
1 oz (a cupped handful) = 6 grams protein
These little pellets of protein and healthy fats make a filling, slimming snack. For built-in portion control, grab one of Blue Diamond’s 100-calorie almond packets (3 to 4 grams per bag).