Active Cookbook: 9 Portable Protein Snacks for Endurance Athletes
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Traditional hummus is made with chickpeas, olive oil, tahini (ground sesame paste), garlic and spices. Packed with fiber, protein, vitamins and heart-healthy fat, hummus can be enjoyed on the go in small packs bought at the grocery store, or you can make your own and tote them in Tupperware. Dip all-natural pita chips or raw veggies in hummus to boost your carb, fiber and antioxidant intake.
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Tote around a small jar or stock up on single-serve packets of peanut, almond, soy or sunflower seed butter to spread on bread, veggie sticks or fruit slices for a quick protein-powered snack. A two-tablespoon serving size of nut butter provides magnesium, potassium, phosphorous as well as other vitamins and minerals.
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Now packed in convenient pouches, tuna fish can be tossed in your bag before you dash out the door. The packs come in various flavors, such as lemon-pepper and hickory-smoked, so you can enjoy a wholesome protein source straight out of the bag while also reaping the benefits of this anti-inflammatory omega-3 source.
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Stash a small resealable bag filled with heart-healthy, satisfying, protein-packed nuts in your gym bag or desk drawer at work. Best picks include raw or lightly salted almonds (23 nuts per 1 oz. serving), walnuts (7 whole nuts per 1 oz. serving), peanuts (18 nuts per 1 oz. serving) and pistachios (47 shelled per 1 oz. serving).
Edamame or Soy Nuts
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You can find bags of single-serve edamame in grocery stores now, or simply fill a cup of shelled or unshelled pods in a resealable bag. Zap the bags in the microwave for a minute or so, and you'll have a protein-rich, low-calories snack at the ready. Roasted soy nuts also offer a crunchy, low-maintenance snack when hunger strikes. Just make sure to buy a brand with a clean ingredient list.
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"It is a complete protein, portable and can be made ahead. Choose omega-3 enriched eggs and you get a little boost of anti-inflammatory fats along with your clean protein." —Hana Feeney, RD
Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
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"My favorite protein snack is nonfat plain Greek yogurt because in just a single serving you can get about 20g of protein. The single-serve packs are great for an easy, on-the-go snack. If you are looking for a heartier snack, you can add fresh berries and even some high-fiber cereal to the yogurt." —Michelle Ulrich, RD
Eat Whole Foods
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"Athletes should look for whole, real protein foods: Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs or egg whites, almonds, edamame, hemp seeds or hearts, beef or elk jerky, and others like these. With real foods, you get healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants and nutrients that work to detoxify cells and more. Most processed protein powders, bars and drinks don't come close for overall health benefits and satisfaction." —Kelli Jennings, RD
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"For high-protein snacks I like to reach for dairy. I choose things like low-fat milk, low-fat chocolate milk and Greek yogurt. Dairy products like these are packed with high-quality protein, excellent sources of bone-building calcium, and also contain some carbohydrates to fuel your muscles. Finally, dairy products mix well with other foods like fresh fruit and grains to complete a well-rounded meal or snack." —Emily Brown, RD