Top 5 Protein-Packed Foods for Active People

by | Updated: December 4th, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Whether you’re strength training or running a marathon, protein and fitness go hand in hand. Every time you exercise, your muscle fibers break and tear, and to repair, protein comes to the rescue! While the common go-to’s include chicken, fish, eggs, beans and shakes, there are far more surprisingly convenient foods to pack in the protein. This essential nutrient also helps to curb appetite and boost metabolism. Following are five fun ways to sneak in protein with fortified foods throughout the day.

Healthy breakfast table with protein-fortified pancakes, cereal and oats |

1. Dry Cereal

I am a big fan of cereal, it’s fast, convenient and easy to eat anywhere. Protein-fortified cereals can be eaten as a complete meal or snack. It’s low in calories, high in protein (generally around 12 grams per serving), low in fat and a good source of fiber. Many of these cereals are gluten-free, vegetarian and low in sugar (which I love). Measure out a serving into a storage container, sprinkle with some protein powder, ground flax seeds and a tablespoon of walnuts (to add healthy fat), then it’s ready to go—just add regular or dairy-free milk.

2. Oatmeal

If oatmeal isn’t already one of your healthy pantry staples, you may want to stock up! It’s a terrific complex carbohydrate, which aids in metabolism, energy and digestion. And if you choose to chow down before bedtime, oats naturally produce melatonin—the hormone that regulates sleep.

3. Pretzels

When you think of pretzels, protein doesn’t usually come to mind. But if this crunchy, salty snack is your vice, curb that craving with protein-fortified pretzels. These alternatives are low in fat and calories and contain anywhere from 5-12 grams of protein per serving. Low in sugar, high in fiber and free of trans fats, these are a perfect snack for when you’re on the go. Dip pretzels in a natural nut butter or organic hummus for a satisfying snack.

4. Pasta

Pasta doesn’t have to be all about the carbs. Whole grain protein-fortified pasta can have up to 30 grams of all-natural egg protein, 4 grams of fiber along with being low in fat and sugar. Split a serving between lunch and dinner (toss in some tuna and olive oil for lunch and try it with tomato sauce for dinner), that’s more than 15 grams of protein for each meal.

5. Pancakes

What better way to start the day (or end it!) than with fluffy pancakes. Protein-enriched pancake mixes range anywhere from 12-20 grams of protein. Some of these mixes even have added BCAA (branch chain amino acids) and glutamine. Trade in the sugary syrup for natural peanut butter or any nut butter you’d like to add a few extra grams of protein and healthy fat for good measure.