You’re working away when that midday slump hits and you’re grateful for the stash of snacks you keep stowed away in your desk drawer. You nosh away, but then, bam! You're hungry again an hour or two later and you’re contemplating another snack, plus what you’ll have for dinner.
What gives? Well, certain foods can make us feel full for longer (fat, protein, and fibre) while others, like processed carbs, are metabolised quickly, leading to an energy spike and crash. And of course, those hunger pangs you feel an hour after eating.
That's why it's time to swap your old eats for some high-protein snacks that will keep you full longer.
“Including more protein in your meal helps you feel full because it slows digestion and helps buffer the breakdown of the carbohydrates in that meal so you don’t burn right through it and wind up feeling hungry right after eating,” says Jessica Cording, a registered dietitian.
But how much protein is enough? You can consider your snack high-protein if it has five to eight grams of protein, says Cording. That might not sound like a lot, but consider that the average woman should be eating about 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal. Compared to what you're having for a meal, eight grams seems a lot more reasonable for a snack. (Plus, eating too much protein does have its health drawbacks.)
These nutritionist-recommended, high-protein snacks will help you solve any crime until dinner time... or at least stay full until it’s time for dinner.
A HARD-BOILED EGG
You’ll get six grams of protein in a hard-boiled egg. Plus, the fat in the egg yolks will help you feel satisfied for a while, says Cording. You can spice it up with seasoning or simply salt and pepper.
Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt because it is strained and most brands range from 12 to 20 grams of protein per serving.
“Choosing a low-fat or even full-fat option instead of fat-free also boosts satiety because the fat in the yogurt means it will take a little longer to digest and helps with the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A and D,” says Cording.
NUTS OR NUT BUTTER
Have some nuts or nut butter nearby for a quick protein boost. Although the specific protein count varies among nuts, you'll get a decent amount of protein from most varieties. (For example, a quarter-cup serving of almonds has six grams of protein, and a two-tablespoon serving of almond butter has about seven grams of protein). The healthy fat and fibre in both will help you stay full, says Cording. You can also upgrade an apple by pairing it with a tablespoon of nut butter (about four grams of protein), Cording says. If you are allergic to nuts, try sunflower seed butter to get the same nutrients.
Although cottage cheese isn't exactly the most exciting snack, it does pack healthy nutrients like calcium and vitamins A and D in addition to protein. Eliza Whetzel, a registered dietitian recommends it because half a cup of 2% cottage cheese has 13 grams of protein.
A one-ounce piece of cheese has about five to eight grams of protein, depending on the type, Cording says. You can pair it with fruit, veggies, or some high-protein crackers to help you stay fuller for longer. Whetzel also likes Babybel cheese in part because it’s easier to exercise some portion control willpower. One Babybel cheese has five grams of protein.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US