What’s up with protein powder?

“What’s up with protein powder? What is it? Who needs it?”

I’m glad you asked! Protein powder is a growing fad and many people are jumping on the bandwagon. We’ll tell you all about what it is and who needs it in their diet.

Protein powder is a powdery mix that turns into a drink when it’s added to liquid, most commonly water. The three most popular forms are whey, soy and casein. It is an easy way to get a complete, high-quality protein meal.

So who needs protein powder? Everyone needs protein but certain people are looking to add more protein in their diets, such as:

  • Athletes trying to build muscle
  • People amping up their workouts, like for marathon training
  • Growing teenagers
  • People recovering from an injury
  • Vegans

Protein powder can be helpful but before you run out to the store and stock up, remember that you can have a protein-rich diet with lean meat, chicken, fish, dairy, nuts and eggs. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that 30 percent of your daily diet comes from protein. So while protein powders may be delicious and easy, make sure you don’t over-do it.

Twelve Healthy Protein Packed Snacks

Twelve Healthy Protein Packed Snacks

Protein is much more filling than carbohydrates and is a vital component of any healthy lifestyle.  Reach for a protein snack and you will ward off hunger for longer.

Here are 12 protein packed snacks to always have on your grocery list:

1. Cheese Sticks 

Most cheese sticks have low carbohydrates and also provide a small serving of dairy.

2. Eggs

Hard boiled, fried or baked. One make-ahead snack idea for the whole family is “egg cups” or “mini egg frittata.” Simply combine eggs, veggies and cheese. Pour the mixture into muffin pan or cups and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

3. Edamame  

Enjoy one cup of unshelled edamame or 1/3 cup shelled and you’ll receive a good punch of protein with low carbohydrates. You can even buy edamame frozen or dry roasted.

4. Deli Roll

Take a cheese stick (or two slices of cheese) and wrap with two slices of deli meat. For an added twist, microwave for nine seconds.

5. Nuts and Seeds

Some suggestions of types of nuts and seeds for you to try include almonds, walnuts, pecans, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. Try different kinds to see which ones you like. Just remember the normal serving size is 15 – 20 nuts and ¼ cup of seeds.

6. Peanut Butter

Yes, peanut butter! Buy natural peanut butter with three ingredients or less and no added sugar. Savor a tablespoon or two on celery or apple slices. Another idea is to make a protein shake by combining protein powder and peanut butter.

7. Beef or Ostrich Jerky

The best kinds of this chewy snack are at health food stores. Look for packages with no added sugar and lower sodium.

8. Surviving Holiday Dinners & Office Pitch-Ins

Protein bars and shakes can be a lifesaver because they’re easy, convenient and filling – but BEWARE! Not all protein bars and shakes are created equal and many are FILLED with sugar!  Aim for no more than 20 grams of total carbohydrates and at least 10 grams of protein

9. Plain Greek Yogurt

Enjoy plain Greek yogurt and add in splenda or truvia, fresh fruit, nuts, cinnamon or nutmeg.

10. Cottage Cheese

A simple ½ cup of cottage cheese with fresh fruit, sugar-free flavoring or cinnamon makes a perfect snack.

11. Turkey Pepperoni Chips

Take the pepperonis chips and place on a baking pan at 350 degrees. Enjoy them as a crispy and delicious no carb snack!

12. Quesadilla or Pizza Roll

Take a low carb tortilla, place fresh or canned tomato or salsa, cheese, meats or veggies and bake or microwave until the cheese melts. Roll up and enjoy!