Updated: Aug 24
When it comes to building muscle, paying attention to your nutrition is absolutely key. Although hard work, well-informed workouts and supplementation might be just as important, food and your daily nutrition is an area in which you can boost your muscle gains and get ahead. And whilst you might have your meal plan sorted out, what about those in between phases during the day where a snack is required? In this article, we share 8 high protein muscle building snacks to help you reach your muscle building goals.
Snack your way to muscle building
Incorporating high protein snacks into your diet is essential if you're looking to build muscle - there's no question about it. Protein is the building block of muscles, providing the necessary amino acids for growth and repair. There are therefore a number of reasons why snacking on a little protein throughout the day can help you out.
Including some extra protein sources into your day and your diet - in the form of protein-rich snacks - is never a bad idea. In fact, adding more protein to your diet helps you to maintain a positive nitrogen balance, promoting muscle protein synthesis and preventing muscle breakdown.
Well-considered, high protein snacks will also provide a sustained release of amino acids, ensuring a steady supply of nutrients for muscle recovery and growth throughout the day. It won't come as a surprise that they actually help regulate appetite. If you're familiar with the idea of being super hungry at work by 12pm and again at 5pm as you leave, a snack here or there can help you stay satiated and reduce the risk of overeating at meal times.
10 go to high protein muscle building snacks
So by prioritising high protein snacks, you will provide your body with the fuel it needs to optimise muscle building and achieve your fitness goals. In this article, we offer a number of high protein snacks that you can carry with you throughout the day, helping you to avoid overeating, provide a sustained release of amino acids and best of all; build muscle.
Before you read the word nuts and move swiftly onto the next muscle building snack, take a minute to hear us out. Whilst nuts are of course high in protein and great for your muscle building regime, they can also be tasty. With lots of different varieties to choose from as well as different flavours, it might be worth searching for something you like. Plus, they are highly convenient and portable, making them an ideal on-the-go snack option!
And the reason you should give nuts a chance is because they are a fantastic choice for individuals looking to build muscle. First, they are highly rich in protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth. For example, almonds contain approximately 6 grams of protein per ounce, while cashews provide around 5 grams per ounce. Peanuts offer a higher protein content with approximately 7 grams per ounce, and pistachios - approximately 6 grams per ounce.
You might also like to know that the protein found in nuts is considered a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle tissue. This makes nuts a valuable option for individuals following vegetarian or vegan diets, as they can help meet their protein requirements.
Furthermore, nuts contain healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats not only provide a concentrated source of energy but also support hormone production, including testosterone, which plays a crucial role in muscle development.
In addition to protein and healthy fats, nuts are also packed with fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes a feeling of fullness, helping to control appetite and maintain a healthy body weight.
There are a heap of protein bars out there on the market to try and so finding's one which you like could be a great first step towards healthy, protein rich snacking. Protein bars have gained popularity as a convenient and portable snack option for those aiming to build muscle. Normally, they are specially formulated to provide a concentrated dose of protein, along with other nutrients, making them an attractive choice for fitness enthusiasts. But remember, not all protein bars are good for you, and not all of them have the same amount of protein, so it's worth checking the label! Some can be packed with sugar and other things you might like to avoid.
It's also worth noting that many protein bars are also nutrient dense, designed to be beneficial for your overall health. They often contain additional nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber, providing a well-rounded snack option to support overall nutrition.
A typical protein bar generally contains around 15-25 grams of protein per serving. Take a closer look at the different types of protein bars that are available on the market and why they can be a great snack for muscle building:
Whey protein bars
Protein bars made with whey offer a high-quality protein derived from milk. They are rich in essential amino acids, which are crucial for muscle repair and growth and are quickly absorbed by the body, making them ideal for post-workout recovery.
Plant-based protein bars
Vegans ca rest assured, that there are lots of protein bars available for them too. Plant-based protein bars are made from sources such as soy, pea, or brown rice and often provide a complete amino acid profile.
Meal replacement bars
This kind of protein bar contains a balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, providing a more substantial and satisfying snack. As the name suggests, they are designed to replace a meal. Meal replacement bars can be consumed as a quick meal replacement when on the go, ensuring you meet your protein requirements while also managing hunger!
Low-carb protein bars
Designed for individuals following a low-carb or ketogenic diet, low-card bars contain minimal carbohydrates and are higher in fats and protein. They will help you to maintain muscle mass while keeping carbohydrate intake in check.
After dinner in the evenings, or perhaps in the morning as you start to get peckish, greek yoghurt is a great snack to curb your hunger. With its rich protein content (a typical serving of Greek yogurt can provide approximately 15-20 grams of protein), Greek yoghurt is great for repairing, recovering, and growing muscles.
As an invaluable component of a muscle-building diet, what sets Greek yogurt apart is its status as a complete protein source, containing all the essential amino acids needed by the body - especially a body building muscle! These amino acids play a crucial role in muscle protein synthesis, facilitating the rebuilding and strengthening of muscle tissue following intense workouts.
And what's even better is that Greek yogurt contains both whey and casein proteins. Whey protein is quickly absorbed, delivering amino acids to the muscles promptly, while casein protein offers a slow, sustained release of amino acids, optimizing muscle recovery and growth.
On top of the high dose of protein you'll get from Greek yoghurt, it's also a good source of calcium and often fortified with vitamin D, promoting proper muscle function and bone health. Its probiotic content also enhances gut health, which in turn supports digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function—all important factors for muscle growth and recovery.
And finally, Greek yoghurt is great because it can be eaten using many different recipes. Add some fruits, nuts, or seeds to enhance flavour, or make a smoothie with your favourite ingredients!
Whole grain crackers with cottage cheese
Craving a savoury snack? Sometimes a protein bar or a handful of nuts just won't fit the bill and that's okay. Your favourite whole grain crackers paired with cottage cheese can make for a great high protein snack for a number of reasons.
Firstly, cottage cheese boasts a high protein content, delivering approximately 14 grams of protein per half-cup serving! This complete protein source contains all the essential amino acids crucial for muscle growth and repair, so you can rest assured you're getting everything you need. Secondly, the combination of whole grain crackers and cottage cheese offers a balanced blend of protein and complex carbohydrates. This ensures that you'll get a gradual digestion process that promotes feelings of fullness and prevents overeating at meal times.
Finally, this high protein muscle building snack provides a nutrient-dense option, packed with essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and selenium. It's great for vegetarians too! Unfortunately it is a little less transportable than nuts or protein bars, but it's a great option to have at home in the kitchen for when hunger strikes!
Hard boiled eggs
Packing a hard boiled egg into your bag as you go off to work in the morning is pretty easy, and is one of the reasons that eggs are a great high protein muscle building snack.
Packed with essential nutrients, a single large egg contains approximately 6 grams of protein. And what makes them particularly beneficial is their high biological value, meaning that the protein in eggs contains all the necessary amino acids required by the body for muscle repair and growth.
On top of their protein, eggs also provide important nutrients like vitamin B12, which supports energy production and aids in muscle function. Plus, they are rich in vitamins D and E, which contribute to overall muscle health and recovery. What's more, the inclusion of healthy fats in the yolk helps promote hormone production and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Since boiled eggs are so easy to transport and are super versatile, you can also add them to salads, sandwiches, or enjoy them on their own with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Peanut butter on toast
Peanut butter on toast might sound like a lazy or junk food snack, but sourced properly it is one of the best high protein muscle building snacks out there!
Peanut butter itself is a rich source of protein, containing approximately 7-8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons. When spread on toast - ideally made from whole grain bread - you further enhance its nutritional value. That's because whole grain bread provides additional protein and fibre, making it a wholesome and tasty choice for anyone on a muscle building mission.
The combination of peanut butter and whole grain toast therefore offers a balanced snack that can provide sustained energy and promote muscle building. Moreover, peanut butter is also a good source of healthy fats and essential nutrients like vitamin E and magnesium.
It is worth remembering however that it's important to consume peanut butter in moderation due to its calorie density. What's more, if you are constantly eating white, sugaring bread then the health value of this particular snack will dramatically decrease!
It's no surprise that meat is a great source of protein, and it's a great way to add some extra protein into your diet. As well as enjoyed within a meal, beef in particular makes for a great snack during the day in the form of jerky.
Packed with approximately 15 grams of protein per one-ounce serving, beef jerky provides a concentrated source of high-quality protein. Plus, it's low in carbohydrates and fat, making it a favorable option for individuals following a high-protein, low-calorie diet. What is also beneficial about beef jerky is that it has a very long shelf life, so you can easily keep a packet in your cupboard and snack on it when you want to.
Looking for a more sustainable source of meat or jerky? In Australia, kangaroo jerky is a great alternative to beef jerky. Kangaroo meat is known for its exceptionally high protein content - which is on average 22-23 grams of protein per 100 grams - while beef typically contains approximately 20-23 grams of protein per 100 grams (depending on the cut).
Thanks to edamame beans, there is a super tasty, convenient and fresh snack out there that will get your protein levels to the day right up where you want them. If you didn't know already, edamame beans are young soybeans which are not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients.
With approximately 17 grams of protein per cooked cup, edamame beans provide a very substantial amount of plant-based protein, making them an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans too. And what's really greta about edamame beans is that they have a complete protein profile, containing all the essential amino acids necessary for muscle growth and repair.
You'll also enjoy that edamame beans are packed not only with protein but nutritional value. They are rich in fibre, which aids in digestion and helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. Plus, they are also a good source of folate, vitamin K, and manganese, which support overall health and contribute to proper muscle function (a great extra benefit!).
If you haven't tried edamame beans, you'll be surprised by their great taste and verticality. They can be enjoyed boiled or steamed, sprinkled with a pinch of salt, or incorporated into various recipes. Throw them onto your salads or stir-fries when you get home form work for a great addition to a healthy meal.
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