Health Matters | Portable Protein

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Portable Protein

Five Ways to Eat Protein On-the-Go
The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year and it is hard to eat healthy between marathon shopping trips and family get-togethers. High-protein snacks are the perfect way to fill up in between meals, providing longer-lasting energy than the usual, carb-heavy options. Eating a quick, protein-rich snack before heading to a holiday party is also a great way to prevent arriving hungry. An empty stomach and a full holiday table are a recipe for overeating!

To help maintain your healthy diet through the holidays, try these five portable protein options:

Beef or turkey jerky
Jerky is a great source of protein and comes in a wide variety of shapes and flavors. But not all beef jerky is created equally.Be sure to opt for the 96% fat-free, low-sodium, and nitrate-free jerky when possible. Also, avoid “novelty” or potentially sugar-filled flavors such as teriyaki.

If you plan to make jerky your go-to snack, you may want to invest in a food dehydrator. With a minor upfront investment, you can cheaply make your own jerky and flavor as you please. Another plus to homemade jerky is it will not have the preservatives or nitrates other packaged products may contain.

Mixed nuts
According to the Mayo Clinic, nuts are one of the most heart-healthy snacks available. Nuts have a lot of nutrition packed into an inexpensive, easy to store package with a relatively long shelf life. While the exact nutrients vary, in general, nuts are a good source of unsaturated fats, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, plant sterols, and L-arginine.

The one drawback to nuts? They contain a lot of fat. While most of the fat in nuts is healthy, it still contains a lot of calories. Ideally, use nuts as a healthy substitute for other fats, not as an addition to your diet. Instead of eating processed fats or fats from animal sources, grab a handful of nuts. If you want the most bang for your protein buck, try almonds and pistachios.

Hard-boiled eggs
Eggs are one of the cheapest ways to get a healthy dose of protein. While eating a sunny-side-up egg on-the-go is not the best option, hard boiled eggs are a convenient way to prepare your eggs in advance and eat them when you need the protein boost. Try hard boiling and pre-peeling a dozen at the start of the week and throw one in a small plastic container each day for an easy snack.

At only 70 calories, the average large egg contains 6g of protein and is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, and B vitamins. Because eggs contain cholesterol in their yolks, the CDC suggests eating egg yolks in moderation. For those with high cholesterol, the CDC recommends limiting egg yolk consumption.

Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt has twice as much protein as regular yogurt. Plus, Greek yogurt contains probiotics, which are healthy bacteria that help keep your digestive tract healthy. If you want to make the most out of your yummy yogurt, opt for plain varieties and add your own fresh fruit. Diced peaches, pineapples, or whole blueberries make delicious additions to your yogurt. For a crunchy addition, add some whole-grain granola.

Hummus dippers
Hummus is a delicious Mediterranean dip made from chick peas, oil, and spices. It offers a good dose of protein, dietary fiber, and the heart-healthy Omega-6 fatty acid. You can bring hummus with you by putting 2 Tablespoons of your favorite hummus in the bottom of a mason jar or travel coffee mug. Grab a handful of vegetable sticks (you can’t go wrong with a mix of celery, carrots, and snow peas) and place them vertically in the hummus and screw on the top. Viola – you have a delicious, healthy on-the-go snack!

While hummus is a great snack, be aware it is high in calories – the average commercial container contains up to 700 calories! This delicious food may be a danger for dieters as it is easy to consume multiple servings in a sitting thanks to mindless munching. Practice portion control by scooping out a serving rather than eating it out of the container. Also, hummus is easily made at home in a food processor, where you have more control over the ingredients and calorie-count.

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