There are a few universal truths in this life.
Ok, so there may be a few more, but that’s a pretty good starting list. I wish I had some sage advice for dealing with taxes and in-laws, but they’re like thrusters - they're miserable no matter how you approach it. But hey, you live in Florida (no state income tax!) and you can always be “working” on your phone when stranded one-on-one with your in-laws.
Now, the third rule, we can work with. What you eat can be as terrible as Slim Fast and cottage cheese or as magnificent as a medium rare skirt steak with fingerling potatoes and grilled veggies - mmmmh I think I just drooled a bit.
Since we have to eat and for many of us we eat at least three times a day, learning how to cook is a smart investment to make. For someone who cares about their healthy, a good rule of thumb is to make 85% of your meals. If you assume 21 meals per week, that’s 18 home cooked meals and 3 meals eaten out.
As you get into the habit of creating meals, you’ll quickly realize that snacks are important to hold you over between meals. Snacks are also great for productivity. The post lunch slumber many of us feel is the result of our blood sugar oscillating from high to low after digesting our lunch. A great way to combat this is to eat a snack.
Ok, so if you’re going to eat a snack, why should it be protein rich?
Protein is an excellent snack option because…
Protein is Satiating
- Of all the macronutrients it has the greatest efficacy in turning off our brain’s hunger signals.
You’re Already Not Eating Enough
- As a starting point, you should be eating 1g per lb of lean body mass. That means if you’re a 180lb male with a 15% body fat, you need to eat 153g of protein per day.
It Burns More Calories
- Protein has a high thermogenic effect. Proteins are complex structures and your body has to work to digest it. Digestion has a high caloric price tag.
So, what are some protein rich snacks that are easy to make and easy to keep handy. In no particular order, here’s ten great options.
Easy to carry and they never go bad. You can stash a bag or two in your desk so they’re always on hand. Nuts are calorically dense and delicious which makes it easy to overeat. Make sure you get the no salt or lightly salted variety (salt allows us to eat more) and you portion out how many you’re going to eat. Don’t just eat from the can.
Pretty much any animal can be turned into jerky. So, if you don’t like beef, it’s easy to get turkey, chicken, elk, deer, bison jerky as well. Jerky is cured with sugar. Try to get a brand that has 7g or less of sugar per serving. A great brand to support is Epic. They source animals that have been reared responsibility. Make sure to sign up for Thrive Market to get the best deals and have the jerky shipped right to your house!
Assuming you don’t have a dairy allergy, cheese is a great option. Most cheeses have about 6-7g of protein per ounce, so just pick a variety you enjoy. I like to pair a slice of cheese with a bread and butter pickle. Cheese is also calorically dense, so make sure you portion out before eating a whole block.
Make a parfait. Add some berries and a little granola (no more than a ½ cup) and you’re golden. A good brand to support is Stonyfield. They raise their cows responsibility. Also, look to get the plain, 0% fat variety. This way you can eat more without going over your calorie limit.
Add rolled oats, milk (almond milk works great here), 1 tablespoon nut butter (I like peanut butter) and some dark chocolate chips. Mixed together into a liquidy paste and leave in the refrigerator overnight. It’s like dessert, you’re welcome.
Same idea as the overnight oats, except you use chia seeds instead of oats. You can get creative here so look up some ideas online. I like to keep it simple. Chia seeds, almond milk, peanut butter and cacao.
Okay, not what you’re thinking, but just as tasty. Add oats, 1 scoop protein powder, and 1-2 tablespoons of nut butter in a food processor. Add just enough milk to make it blend into a thick ball. This is heavenly. Be careful eating it in a room of people, they will all want a bite.
Eggs are delicious. I’ve yet to find a preparation that I don’t love. Boil a dozen and keep them in your refrigerator. Make sure you’re buying pasture raised eggs. A bird living in an over-crowded dark dungeon eating an unnatural diet does not produce a healthy egg. Good brands to support are Vital Farms, Nellie’s or any brand that says “pastured raised” on the carton. Yes, they are more expensive. Drink one less beer a week and support responsible animal husbandry.
Are you serious? Yes. They can more than tuna fish these days. Mackerel, Salmon, Trout, Cod and more can all be purchased cheaply in canned varieties. Fish are also high in essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and DHEA), which I also know you're not getting enough of. I like to mix with a little mustard and dill pickles. Eat plain or on a slice of wheat bread. Good brands to support are Wild Planet and Ocean Naturals.
And there you have it. Ten great on the go protein rich snack ideas. Remember, jerky is easily portable and takes a long time to chew. If you get stuck one-on-one with your in-laws, grab a handful and start chewing immediately.