Fancy a little snack will keep you going? Instead of reaching for a sugary nibble, try a little protein to keep you going longer, slow your digestion and steady your blood sugar.
We’ve noticed the popularity of protein, lately – as a topic of conversation, and in the variety of new or enhanced products on the market that make it easy to get your daily requirement, even when you’re on the go
“People are realizing how important protein is,” explains our Director of Buying Roland Siegmund. “Particularly for muscle development, and balancing your blood sugar – important at any age, and especially important for an aging population who lose muscle mass as they become less active.”
Protein – made of large, complex molecules made of amino acids, some made by our bodies and some which must be obtained through our diet – does so much: for the growth, repair and maintenance of cells, to strengthen bones, support the immune system, and in myriad biological and biochemical functions.
As for every essential nutrient, quality is important so whole food sources are always best. Plant-based protein is best of all – like beans and nuts – because you also benefit from the additional fibre, beneficial phytochemicals, without the calories and saturated fat.
For those too busy to prep food from scratch, there are many on-the-go options, such as ready-to-go protein drinks of whey or vegan sources, as well as protein snacks and cookies.
When you do have a few minutes to spare, here are some easy and portable to get your protein on the go…
In a bottle
A prepared protein shake or smoothie, or homemade with fruit, yogurt or kefir, fortified with a couple of spoonfuls of nut butter or hemp.
In your pocket
Nuts, trail mix, beef jerky, or spiced chickpeas or pumpkin seeds (see recipe below).
In an insulated bag
Whole grain crackers with cheese, a hard-boiled, free-range egg or nut butter sprinkled with raisins
Lightly steamed edamame
Yogurt or kefir and fruit sprinkled with hemp seeds.
In a jar
Dollop any of these combos into the bottom of a small jar…
- Hummus with a dash of cayenne
- Tuna or wild salmon with mayo, chives, lemon juice salt and pepper and fresh herbs
- Mashed black beans with yogurt, green onion, squeeze of lime, sprinkle of cheese
Spike with carrot, red pepper, celery or jicama sticks. Close the lid and you’re ready to go.
A final note: Like everything, balance is important, and eating too much – or too little – protein can cause problems. Most adults – depending on gender, age, lifestyle and weight – need about 50 grams or protein a day. It’s always good to check with a registered nutritionist to find out what’s right for you.
Surprising sources of protein
- Avocados – 4g per cup
- Broccoli – 4g per cup
- Brown rice (cooked) – 5g per 1 cup
- Bulgur (cooked) – 6g per 1 cup
- Chia seeds – 3g per 2 Tbsp.
- Dried spirulina seaweed – 8.5g per cup
- Oatmeal – 6g per 1 cup cooked
- Peas – 4.5g per ½ cup serving
- Potatoes (medium, baked with skin) – 4.5 grams
- Pumpkin seeds – 9g per ounce
- Spinach (cooked) – 5g per cup