This is certainly not the first time you’ve stumbled upon an article regarding protein.
“Eat a ton of chicken, get 2g of protein per kilogram of body weight and always eat breakfast.”
That’s it, right?
Wrong. These recommendations work well for robots, but for humans, the equation gets much more complicated. As we return to school, work and…the gym, daily schedules will get busier. And as schedules get busier, meeting your daily protein target will be more difficult.
This spells bad news for casual gym goers and intense trainees alike because protein is hugely important. The benefits of protein know no bounds.
- Protein assists in maintaining hormonal balance.
- It quenches hunger better than both fats and carbohydrates.
- And last but not least, it repairs and builds muscle tissue.
Protein is clearly very important. That said, many of us need more protein than we currently consume to achieve our athletic goals or simply maintain general well being. But it’s tricky, and hitting your daily protein target is easier said than done. Why? Well, it all boils down the human element.
Think about your five or six favorite sources of protein. Chances are, these five or six sources are not eaten at room temperature. But even if they are, they likely needed to be cooked prior to consumption. And cooked means work.
Chicken, fish, eggs, beef, etc…
Don’t get me wrong, meal prepping is awesome and a great way to stick with your diet, but prepping 3-5 meals each day is tough. So, many of us turn to poor, quick snacks we can grab from the pantry such as crisps, pretzels and granola bars. I know what you may be thinking, what about nuts like almonds and peanuts? Yes, these foods are nutritious and should be included in your diet, but trying to get any significant amount of protein from legumes and nuts is simply not enjoyable.
So, do adequate protein snacks even exist? Yes, and they satisfy each of the following three criteria:
Grab and Go
Working long days at the office does not bode well for adequate protein intake. Combine those hours with the couple you spend at the gym either before or after work, and you’ve got a serious time crunch on your hands.
The simple convenience of having a bolus of protein whenever needed is an unparalleled benefit. Also, not having to cook your food makes certain snacks even more enticing. A quality example is CNP’s Protein Smoothie, which meets these criteria very well. It, along with certain protein bars, is the perfect grab and go snack.
Protein: Carbohydrate Ratio
All too often, I see food products loosely advertised as having high protein content when in reality, the protein to carbohydrate ratio is very low. Foods considered “high protein” are based on recommended daily intake for sedentary individuals. Those of us training intensely need much, much more.
Harken back to the almond discussion we had earlier. Yes, there’s a fair amount of protein in nuts, but it would take an excessive number of handfuls to be meaningful. Here’s where the Protein Smoothie comes in handy. Packing 15g of protein and only 2g of carbohydrates, it provides a generous amount of muscle repair potential and pairs well with a handful of almonds or peanuts for a well-rounded snack.
We must actually want to eat the snack for it to be quality! A poor tasting protein is one that never gets eaten, and even if it does, puts you in a bad mood for the rest of your work day or workout. Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but life’s too short for bad snacks.
Another obstacle folks run into is either being allergic to or disliking the taste of peanuts, which nullifies many protein snack options. Here’s where I might suggest CNP’s Protein Flapjacks which are available in four tasty flavors including Cherry Almond, Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Orange and Chocolate.
To check out each of the tasty snacks CNP offers (including that Protein Smoothie I’ve been bragging about), click here.
The Bottom Line on Protein Snacks
Our lives are only going to get busier as life returns to normality. As such, it’s human nature to make excuses in lieu of dietary adherence and adequate protein consumption. However, this does not need to be the case.
This is a work smarter, not harder scenario, folks. Set yourself up for success by stocking up on protein snacks that are convenient, tasty and specifically formulated for the busy exercise enthusiast.
Written by, Dr. Brian Grant, PT, DPT, CSCS