If you're on the road and only have time to make pit stops, make sure you choose the best option available. Shakes and bars are great if you're stuck in the driver's seat, but if you're riding shotgun, go for Greek yogurt, beef jerky, or a hard-cooked egg. You won't have to spend 15 minutes deciphering dense labels, and most convenience stores stock them.
To round out your arsenal of protein-rich shakes, bars, and convenience-food store snacks, try these quick and easy mini meals made at home.
Baby carrots and hummus
Carrots contain complex carbs to sustain your energy levels, and provide enough potassiumto control blood pressure and muscle contractions. Add 2 tablespoons of hummus to your mini meal for slow-digesting carbs, protein, and unsaturated fats—all the right elements to fuel activity. Plus, most varieties are made with olive oil, which contains oleic acid—a fat that aids in warding off the gene responsible for 20 to 30 percent of breast cancers, according to research from Northwestern University.
Half cup of edamame and a stick of string cheese
Sargento String Cheese Snacks keep your calories in check with 8 grams of protein in just 80 calories. Add edamame for another 9 grams of protein and a dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Remix your lunch box fave. Spread a tablespoon of natural peanut butter on sprouted grain Ezekiel bread. Top with a handful of sliced strawberries instead of jelly for a mini meal that contains 10 grams of protein in less than 200 calories.
Not sure if you want something sweet, salty, or cheesy? Surprisingly, you can have all three—and be healthy! Try 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter on a whole grain English muffin with 1 stick of part-skim string cheese (torn into strands). The result is a mess-free mini meal with 23 grams of protein.
Two leaves of lettuce with light cheese and sliced turkey
Roll a Laughing Cow light cheese and 2 thin slices of deli turkey into a large lettuce leaf. Pack two for a low-fat meal that tallies up 25 grams of protein in 160 calories.
Cottage cheese with pumpkin seeds and cereal
Be sure to pack a spoon. Two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds and 1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean cereal on top of 1/2 cup cottage cheese satisfies your need for crunch and savory flavor. The seeds supply omega-3s, magnesium, and iron to fuel your muscle recovery. The combo with Kashi and cottage cheese pumps your protein intake up to 25 grams in one dish.