Boost Weight Loss and Feel Full with These High-Protein Snacks
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight for what feels like forever, you could be going about it wrong. Reducing your daily calorie intake is only one part of the equation – you also need to get some exercise and be smart about what you are eating. If you want to maximize your weight loss results without feeling like you are starving all the time, you might simply need to increase your protein intake. Keep reading to learn about some simple high-protein snacks that will keep you feeling full while you whittle away at your waistline.
How Does Protein Support Weight Loss?
Though the average American consumes a very carb-heavy diet, protein is the most important nutrient for looking and feeling your best. Meeting your daily recommended value for protein will help keep your metabolism running on high while reducing your appetite and regulating key hormones that play a role in controlling your weight. When you eat protein-rich foods, your body produces more of the satiety hormones that tell your brain you’ve had enough to eat. If you replace some of your carb intake with protein, you can reduce the amount of hunger hormone circulating in your blood and increase production of satiety hormones like peptide YY, GLP-1, and cholecystokinin.
Not only does eating protein help you to feel fuller longer, but it actually burns more calories than eating carbohydrates. Though the exact details are unclear, scientists agree that protein has a significantly higher thermic effect that carbohydrates – this simply means that your body expends more energy digesting and metabolizing proteins than it does for carbohydrates. This is called the thermic effect of food, or TEF. The estimated thermic effect of protein is 20% to 30% of the calories compared to 5% to 10% for carbs and 0% to 3% for fats. To give you an idea what this looks like, it means that if you ate 100 calories of protein, only about 70 of them would be usable calories.
Tasty High-Protein Snacks to Try
Now that you have a better understanding of how protein can help support your weight loss goals, you may be wondering how to incorporate it into your daily diet without messing up your calorie intake. Luckily, there are plenty of high-protein snacks that are moderately low in calories and loaded with other healthy nutrients. Here are some ideas:
- Hardboiled egg – With 6 grams of protein and about 70 calories, a hardboiled egg is a great snack. Plus, the fat contained in the egg yolk will help tide you over to the next meal.
- Cottage cheese – Though it may not be what you would typically consider for a snack, cottage cheese is loaded with protein, vitamin A, and vitamin D. A half-cup of 2% cottage cheese packs 13 grams of protein.
- Greek yogurt – This type of yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt because it is strained – it generally ranges from 12 to 20 grams of protein per serving. Just be careful to avoid flavored yogurts that are loaded with sugar.
- Nuts and nut butters – You need to be careful with this snack because nuts and nut butters pack a hefty calorie load but if you stay within the recommended serving size you’ll receive a boost of protein and healthy fats to keep you feeling full.
- Cheese – A one-ounce serving of cheese contains about 5 to 8 grams of protein and the fats will help to keep you sated between meals. Pair the cheese with some fresh fruit or high-protein crackers to make it a more satisfying snack.
If you are serious about losing weight, you need to take a closer look at your diet and make some adjustments. Increasing your protein intake is a simple step you can take to boost your metabolism, maximize your calorie burn, and speed weight loss. Give it a try!