As bodybuilders, we are always looking for that perfect diet plan that allows us to add lean muscle mass while keeping as trim as possible. I prefer a clean bulk rather than a dirty bulk. My diet is very clean. I rarely even indulge in cheat meals, and what I consider cheat meals, most would laugh at. I have a secret addiction to grapes. Some would call it an unhealthy addiction. While cutting, I cycle carbs at times, but keep to a much lowet carb intake than while bulking.
Finding high protein, low carbs snacks to consume is not nearly as hard as you would think. We have all read the labels on some protein bars and cringed at the amount of carbs and fats included. Even some protein powders suffer from the same issues.
If you are in a rut and looking for some quick, high protein snacks, try some of these options.
High Protein Snack #1: Egg Whites
I love egg whites. To me, this is the perfect bodybuilding food. You are talking about pure protein with no fat in an easy-accessible and easy to cook food. I start my morning with two cups of egg whites most mornings. Whether bulking or cutting, egg whites are the perfect high-protein snack. If you are ever on the go and not sure what to pick up to eat, try a local convenience store and purchase a few hard-boiled eggs and just eat the whites of the eggs. Even the yolks, in moderation, are no longer a hated food. Recent studies have shown that the benefits of egg yolks outweigh the high-cholesterol problems that egg yolks present for some.
High Protein Snack #2: Protein Shakes
Who does not like a nice, thick protein shake? While I would rather take my protein in through whole foods, the benefits of whey protein pre and post-workout are too impressive to ignore as well as the benefits of casein protein before bed. Make sure you read the labels before purchasing any protein powder though. Not all protein powders are created equal.
High Protein Snack #3: Low-salt Jerky
I love beef jerky, ostrich jerky, turkey jerky. Heck, I have not tried too many jerkies that I do not love. The problem with the majority of jerky products are loaded with sodium though. As much as I love jerky, it becomes a snack that I cannot ingest too often because of the high amounts of sodium. How can we possible fix this? I am glad you asked. There are low-sodium solutions out there, so check them out. Once again, not all jerky products are created equal, so read those labels.
High Protein Snack #4: Greek Yogurt
It was not that long ago that Greek yogurt had almost no shelf space in the supermarket dairy section. These days, Greek yogurt is everywhere including having as much, if not more, shelf space within supermarkets. Greek yogurt, which is strained to remove whey, is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, making it a healthy snack if you choose the low-fat variety. Greek yogurt also contains 15-20 grams of protein per 6-ounce serving versus just 9 grams in regular yogurt.
High Protein Snack #5: Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese may always be thought of as the go-to food, along with rice cakes, for anyone on a diet, but the reality is that a half-cup of low-fat cottage cheese provides 14 grams of protein with only 81 calories. I know that some people despise the taste of cottage cheese. All I can say to that is to sample various brands. I love cottage cheese, but there are certain brands that are much better tasting than others.
High Protein Snack #6: Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkins are full of fiber, vitamins, and body-boosting carotenoids. As it turns out, pumpkin seeds have 8 grams of protein in just one ounce while being rich in minerals, including potassium, manganese, and iron. Be forewarned though. Pumpkin seeds are dense in calories, so enjoy in moderation. Roasted your own pumpkin seeds also lets you control the sodium.
High Protein Snack #7: Lentils
Lentils pack a healthy dose of protein, fiber and minerals while containing comparatively few calories and almost no fat. A cup of cooked lentils offers 22 grams of protein, about 300 calories, and less than 1 gram of fat. Lentils are also relatively quick to prepare for a meal or snack, and because they soak up the flavors of whatever they are cooked with, they can make a tasty base for many dishes.
High Protein Snack #8: Tofu
Tofu, or soy bean curd, is another excellent high protein meal base and source of healthy fats and nutrients. Tofu absorbs flavors so well which, like lentils, make it an excellent base for many dishes.