Protein has long been considered the go-to nutrient for athletes to build and maintain muscle mass. But the more we learn about this nutrient, the clearer it becomes that protein’s benefits extend far beyond sports nutrition. Protein is a slow digesting nutrient that stimulates the release of hormones that signal satiety. Therefore, meals and snacks that contain protein keep you full for longer. Protein has a high "thermic effect" (compared to carbohydrates and fats) meaning that a high protein diet can increase the total number of calories the body burns in a day. Additionally, consuming protein at your meals and snacks can fend off cravings for processed carbohydates and sweets (aka: you can more easily stick to a reasonable portion of mini-Eggs!). With these facts considered, protein is a rock-star nutrient to keep you feeling satisfied and energized while assisting in weight management or fat loss goals.
Unfortunately, many folks struggle to consume adequate protein. Whether you're traveling this Easter weekend or just on-the-go, stocking up on travel-friendly high-protein and non-perishable ingredients is a must! Consider these "on-the-go" protein ideas to stay on track with your fitness and nutrition goals this weekend:
- Grab turkey or beef jerky at any gas station
- Add deli meats or pre-cooked chicken to a FlatOut wrap for a quick lunch
- Stir protein powders into yogurt or oatmeal for a punch of flavor (and protein!)
- Pair pre-portioned cheese, like Babybel, with an apple or some veggies
- Enjoy hard-boiled eggs to satisfy your hunger between meals
- Share turkey bites with your car-mates on a long road trip
- Scoop flavored tuna with easy "peel-off" lids onto some rice crackers or veggies
- Select Greek or Skyr yogurt as they contain more protein than the regular yogurt varieties. Look for the plain or lightly sweetened flavors to reduce the total sugar. Tip: I like the Skyr yogurt from President's Choice as there is less sugar added to flavours like vanilla or berry.
- Keep protein bars in your car, gym bag, or purse. Select bars that are low in added sugars and contain >15g of protein, >5g of fibre. I like the Kirkland protein bars, Grenade bars, Quest bars, Detour, Pure Protein or Fit Joy bars.
- Protein is important to build muscle but it also:
- Digests slowly to keep you full
- Causes the release of hunger satiating hormones
- Increase the number of calories you burn in a day
- Consider travel-friendly protein options to keep you fuelled and energized