It’s 3 p.m., you’re hungry and reach for an apple, thinking it’s a smart choice. But by the time you get home from work you’re ravenous and end up eating an entire sleeve of crackers while cooking dinner. It’s a common scenario. Sometimes what we think are healthy snacks don’t keep us full for long because they’re too low in protein.
Research shows that eating a snack with about 15 grams of this macronutrient can help you feel full longer, preventing you from overeating later in the day. Because of this, filling up on a protein-rich snack in the afternoon can keep you from feeling like you need seconds at dinner or digging into the freezer for ice cream at night. In fact, study participants who ate a high-protein snack — instead of a high-fat or carbohydrate snack — ate about 100 fewer calories at dinner and reported feeling less hungry leading up to dinner.
Consuming a diet — snacks, included — that’s higher in protein all around (between 25–45% of calories coming from protein) may also help speed your metabolism so you burn more calories while feeling more satisfied, which is the perfect combination for weight loss.
To help you visualize what a snack with 15 grams of protein looks like, we’ve put together a few tasty (and simple) snack ideas: