Protein is one of the essential building blocks of life; indeed, you can't live without it. As a critical "macronutrient," protein is found in every cell of your body, and it plays a vital role in the formation of bones, muscles, blood, skin, and cartilage. As you can imagine, it's important to make sure that you're getting enough protein every day, but many times this is easier said than done. Keep in mind that unlike carbohydrates and fats, protein is not stored in the body, so you constantly have to replenish your "protein stock" in order to keep everything on the up-and-up. If you're looking for ways to add more protein to your diet, below are 6 protein-rich snack recipes to help you get through the day.
1. Roasted Chickpeas (9 grams of protein per serving)
Chickpeas are the primary ingredient in hummus, but you can enjoy these highly nutritious beans another way as well: By roasting them. Simply drain and rinse about 3/4 a cup of chickpeas, and then spread them out evenly on a baking sheet. Now drizzle them with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle some salt and cayenne pepper on top, and then bake at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes. Be sure to stir the chickpeas every 10 minutes or so during the baking process to avoid sticking or burning.
2. Nut Butter Boat (8 grams of protein per serving)
Nut butter is widely considered to be a gift from the culinary gods, and for good reason: It has a smooth, luxurious taste, and it's jam-packed with nutritious protein and B-vitamins. Simply load up a handful of celery sticks with the nut butter of your choice (e.g., peanut, cashew, almond, etc.), and then top it off with some raisins or sliced almonds.
3. Tuna Salad with Crackers (25 grams of protein per serving)
One 3-ounce can of solid white albacore tuna in water contains 20 grams of protein, so this snack definitely packs a nutrient-dense punch. To make a simple yet delicious tuna salad, just mix together the following ingredients in a large bowl:
- Two 6-ounce cans of solid white albacore tuna in water (drained)
- 2 tablespoons of minced celery
- 1 tablespoon of minced parsley
- 2 tablespoons of minced red onion
- 1/3 cup of mayo
- 1 tablespoon of whole-grain mustard (spicy brown if you prefer some "kick")
- A dash of freshly ground black pepper
- A splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
Now enjoy with some multigrain or flaxseed crackers for a serious protein boost!
4. Greek Yogurt with Granola Topping (16 grams of protein per serving)
Greek yogurt contains a higher quantity of protein per serving than regular yogurt, and it also offers plenty of calcium and probiotics to help keep your digestive system healthy. Pick a single-serving container of your favorite Greek yogurt flavor, and top it off with about 2 tablespoons of granola for some extra protein and texture.
5. Chocolate Milk (13 grams of protein per serving)
No, you didn't accidentally click over to a different page. Chocolate milk is one of the best (and tastiest!) sources of high-quality protein out there, and it can really replenish your body after an intense workout. Don't forget the fact that chocolate milk is rich in calcium and Vitamin D as well, both of which are critical to maintaining healthy bones and muscles.
6. Grape-and-Cheese-Kabobs (7 grams of protein per serving)
This is a fun and delicious snack that can leave you feeling satiated without weighing you down. Simply dice a half-inch-thick block of cheddar cheese to where you end up with about six small cubes. Now skewer the cheese cubes, alternating with grapes, onto a handful of toothpicks to make your "kabobs." Enjoy this delightful combination of salty and sweet flavors!
As you can see, you don't have to be relegated to chalky-tasting shakes or boring energy bars to meet your protein needs. Keep the above snack recipes in mind to boost your protein intake while keeping your taste buds happy as well!