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Protein On the Go!

Many individuals lead busy lives and find it difficult to prepare homemade meals or snacks. Convenient foods are foods that require little to no preparation. Unfortunately, convenient foods can be higher in fat and sodium. Also, they tend to be pricey! Recently, protein packs have become popular for those on the go who want a snack with more protein! There’s no arguing the benefits of convenience items, but are you really getting your money’s worth?

What Foods Contain Protein?

Protein is a macronutrient meaning our body needs it in greater amounts than vitamins and minerals. Protein is an important nutrient for building muscles and helping with feelings of fullness. Protein may be from animal sources (chicken, fish, and turkey), plant sources (tofu, lentils, chickpeas), or protein supplements (protein shakes, bars, power)!

How to Shop Affordably

The cost of a protein pack at two local grocery stores are $1.50 and $2.19 for one 2-ounce protein pack tray.  These 2-ounce protein packs contain a mix of 3 food items that may include bacon, Colby Jack cheese, turkey, ham, almonds, and chocolate nut clusters for a total of 13 and 15 grams of protein each. That is expensive considering one may make a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) protein pack and include Greek yogurt, hardboiled egg, and almonds for a lower price while receiving more protein.

DIY Your Own Protein Packs

The use of plastic trays which leads to more trash is not the best environmental practice. Using reusable containers is highly recommended for DIY protein packs.

DIY protein packs are easy to prepare and are more affordable. The products do require an increased upfront cost but they stretch your dollars long-term. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Meat – Boiled eggs or Deli turkey/chicken/ham or chopped rotisserie chicken
  2. Nuts – Raw or roasted almonds / Cashews / Mixed Nuts
  3. Cheese – White or yellow cheddar / string cheese / Colby Jack / Mozzarella
  4. Edamame – Cooked edamame / Garbanzo beans / kidney beans

Learn more about CHI Health resources for tips on nutrition and nutrition services.

Juan Ramirez, RD, LMNT
Juan Ramirez, RD, LMNT

Juan Ramirez, RD, LMNT is a Registered Dietitian with the CHI Health Weight Management Department.

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