Athletes know protein is important for the growth and repair of muscle tissue. Some believe large portions of meat or supplements are necessary, but as little as 15 to 20 grams of protein each meal will stimulate maximal muscle growth in many young athletes.
Time may not always allow for sit-down meals, so for these scenarios, be creative and find high-protein snacks.
Below are 12 protein-rich snacks you can eat on the go, as needed.
One cup of milk provides 8 grams of protein. Choose cow’s milk—it is higher in protein than other types and is a complete protein, which is best for muscle growth. Flavored milk is also an excellent recovery option.
2. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is an excellent and easy source of protein. As little as 3/4 cup can provide between 12 to 18 grams of protein, depending on which brand you prefer. Add fruit, nuts or honey for more flavor.
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3. Cottage Cheese
Choose the low-sodium variety for 12 to 14 grams of protein per 1/2 cup consumed. Pair it with cantaloupe or pineapple for a sweet high-protein snack.
4. Kefir Milk
This fermented milk is typically found in the yogurt aisle. It has a similar taste and feel as yogurt but it’s a liquid. A cup of kefir usually provides 11 grams of protein. It’s also an excellent source of probiotics.
5. String Cheese
This snack from your childhood is actually packed with protein. Two rods of string cheeses provide approximately 15 grams of protein.
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Nuts provide healthy fats as well as protein. An ounce of nuts provides between 4 and 8 grams of protein. Stick with almonds, pistachios or peanuts when you need a higher protein option.
7. Nut Butter
Peanut butter or almond butter provides 7 to 8 grams of protein per two tablespoons. Add to fruit, bread or crackers for a tasty high protein treat.
This simple, high-quality form of protein comes in beef, turkey or vegan options. Jerky ranges from 10 to 13 grams of protein per ounce. Look at the label and select leaner options. Remember that jerky is a high-sodium snack and is best consumed in moderation.
Pumpkin, flax, chia and sunflower seeds all provide 5 grams of protein per ounce. Eat them by themselves or with yogurt, smoothies or cereals. Be aware that most seeds are higher in fat and calories than most other snacks. Some also include beneficial levels of fiber and omega 3 fatty acids.
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This soybean variety can provide 15 to 20 grams of protein per serving, plus plenty of fiber.
Hardboiled eggs are very portable. Add them to a salad or snack. Each egg contains about 7 grams of protein.
Add it to yogurt or as part of a high protein trail mix.