Our Favorite Protein-Packed Solutions For Women Who Can't Stop, Won't Stop
If you're like us, the decade closed out with one thing on your mind: How will I live my best life in this next one? What major milestones do I hope to hit in my personal, professional, financial, and family life? You know what, this is my decade—let's go!
Now that we're into the new year, hands up if—all of a sudden—your 2020 goals feel a lot more ambitious than they did when you wrote them down last month. Truth is, we're right there with you, and we know the feeling.
As women, we're often trying to do it all, all at the same time. And when there aren't enough hours in the day to get after our goals along with everything else on our plates (spoiler: there are never enough hours), the first things we sacrifice are, ironically, the most important things we need to function at optimal capacity: quality sleep, mental self-care, and nutritious meals and snacks.
But there's good news: By powering your body and mind with convenient, nutrient-rich snacks, hitting your goals and doing all the things you want is less a game of compromise and more a strategy of balance. You can stay focused and kill it at work, make gains in your fitness, maintain a healthy home, and still steadily pursue those milestones.
The key? Protein—specifically protein-packed snacks that are as ready to go as you are.
Why protein is the ultimate snack food when you're getting after it.
When your schedule's packed and your mind's operating with multiple open tabs, it's tempting to reach for something high in carbs for a quick hit of energy. Who among us hasn't relied on sugar-filled muffins, granola bars, or a bag of chips to hold us over throughout the day, even if they inevitably leave us crashing an hour later?
"A snack that is all carbohydrate leads to a faster rise in blood sugar because the body wants to use it quickly for energy," explains Maggie Michalczyk, RDN. The result? You're even hungrier and even more tired than you were before. Aka—afternoon slump 1; us 0.
Enter: protein, the ultimate snack macronutrient.
"Choosing a snack high in protein—similar to what today's cleanest brands are doing—is important because it helps to keep you fuller for longer, helps with muscle repair so it's great for active bodies, and is needed to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals," says Michalczyk, underscoring why it's the best nutritional sidekick for tackling our to-do lists and hitting our goals. "It's also the building block of bones, skin, blood, and muscles," she adds.
Picking a portable snack food that fuels our cells and gives our body the power it needs to tackle whatever we've got on the day's agenda mentally and physically seems like a no-brainer. But the main take-away here is that protein snacks like Chomps' meat sticks—which are made transparently without any harmful or hidden ingredients—are now on the map, so reaching for any old protein bar won't quite cut it.
How to pick the right high-protein snack.
Not all high-protein snacks are created equal—especially if you need a snack that you carry around with you. In fact, the majority of them contain artificial and processed ingredients—plus more than their fair share of added sugar. Instead, Michalczyk recommends choosing a snack that is high in healthy protein and naturally low in sugar.
According to Michalczyk, this could be a handful of almonds, a hard-boiled egg, salmon or tuna packets, or everyone's favorite childhood snack: nut butter on celery sticks. "I want a snack that's going to tide me over to my next meal and give me the nutrients my body needs—choosing something with protein as part of a snack is a great place to start," she explains.
Meet the ultimate protein-packed snack solution.
Admittedly, not all of the snacks above can be thrown in your bag as you head out the door; still, snacks that are as healthy as the ones above and as portable as a protein bar do exist.
"One great high-protein snack that I always have stashed in my bag and in my cupboards are meat snacks from Chomps," says Michalczyk. They're the perfect Certified Humane option for high-quality protein snacks when you're in a bind or feel the 'hanger' pains coming on.
Chomps' sustainably sourced, non-GMO meat snacks are high in flavor and range from grass-fed beef jerky to turkey to salt and pepper venison. All are keto- and paleo-friendly, Whole30®-compliant, and packed with 9 to 10 grams of protein and zero grams of sugar. Yes, you read that correctly: zero. "They're also made with grass-fed and finished beef and contain no fillers. That's a snacking win in my book!" says Michalczyk. The brand's entire mission is centered around empowering and fueling women's lives on-the-go—and that's something we can definitely get behind.
So take a look at where you're making compromises. If it's in the snacking department, swap out the stuff that's less supportive for something healthier that tastes even better. You might actually find that it's the missing link to making major strides.
Gretchen Lidicker is an mbg health contributor, content strategist, and the author of CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Hemp-Derived Health and Wellness and Magnesium Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Epsom Salts, Magnesium Oil, and Nature's Relaxation Mineral. She holds a B.S. in biology and earned her master’s degree in physiology with a concentration in complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University.