Snacks are a great go-to for on-the-move men. While there’s nothing wrong with the predictable hunger killers – peanuts, pretzels, a simple piece of fruit — they’re distinctly uninspired, and often not filling enough to curb your hunger. In an effort to help you step up your snack game, we’re bringing you our Man Snacks series. Join us each week, as we show you how to fight the scourge of boring snacks.
If building muscle is on your to-do list, switching up your diet is key. But if you’re serious about bulking up, you need to do more than just ramp up your calorie consumption and intensify your weight training. You need to eat the right foods, and that includes snacks. These five recipes will help you on your quest to increase strength and build the killer biceps you’ve been dreaming of. We’ve also noted the estimated amount of protein you’ll get from each snack. (Nutrition data courtesy of CalorieCount.com)
1. Chicken Wrap with Whole-Wheat Tortilla
Consuming plenty of protein is key if you’re trying to bulk up. Bodybuilding.com recommends this easy-to-make basic chicken wrap, which contains a balance of protein and good carbohydrates, for an on-the-go snack.
- 1 soft whole-wheat tortilla
- Low-fat mayonnaise
- Grilled chicken breast
- Shredded lettuce
Directions: Smear a small amount of low-fat mayonnaise on a whole-wheat tortilla. Top with a pre-grilled chicken breast, shredded lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
Protein punch: The average grilled chicken breast contains 27.6 grams of protein.
2. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Men’s Fitness named eggs one of the top muscle-building foods, and it’s easy to see why. Eggs are packed with protein and are also a good source of vitamin B12. Not getting enough of this essential B complex vitamin can lead to weakness and fatigue, according to Harvard Medical School. Having a stash of hard-boiled eggs in your fridge means you’ll always have something to grab when hunger strikes.
Follow these instructions from Simply Recipes to make perfect hard-boiled eggs, every time.
- Eggs (Note: Older eggs will be easier to peel than fresh eggs.)
Directions: Place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan on the stove and cover with an inch or two of cold water. Turn the heat up to high and wait for the water to come to a rolling boil.
Once the water boils, turn off the heat and leave the eggs in the pan on the stove for 10 to 12 minutes. If your burners do not retain heat, you may want to reduce the heat and let the eggs simmer for an additional minute. Drain the water from the pan and run cold water over the eggs to stop them from cooking.
Protein punch: One large egg contains 6.3 grams of protein.
3. Rosemary Roasted Almonds
Almonds are one of the best muscle-building foods, according to Muscle & Fitness. These little nuts are a great source of healthy fat and can help repair worn-out muscles. You could just grab a bag of plain almonds, of course, but this recipe for rosemary roasted almonds, from Cooking Light, which includes a dash of chili powder, kicks things up a notch.
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- Dash of ground red pepper
- 1 (10-ounce) bag whole almonds (about 2 cups)
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Arrange nut mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool to room temperature.
Protein punch: One ounce of dry roasted almonds with salt contains 6.3 grams of protein.
4. Banana, Walnut, and Honey Greek Yogurt
“Yogurt is an ideal combination of protein and carbohydrates for exercise recovery and muscle growth,” Doug Kalman, R.D., director of nutrition at Miami Research Associates, told Men’s Health. Yogurt also contains conjugated linoleic acid, which studies have shown to reduce fat in animals, though it’s not clear whether the substance has the same effect in humans. This recipe from Lean It Up includes potassium-rich bananas and heart-healthy walnuts.
- 2% Greek yogurt
- ½ banana
- 5 walnuts
- 1 teaspoon clover honey
Directions: Slice banana. Combine with all other ingredients in a bowl.
Protein punch: A ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt (2% milkfat) from Fage contain 11.5 grams of protein. Seven walnuts have 4.3 grams of protein.
5. Cottage Cheese and Apples
Cottage cheese has long been a favorite food of bodybuilders, and not just because it contains a lot of protein. This dairy aisle staple is also loaded with casein and whey protein, explains Muscle & Fitness, which can help with recovery from weight training. This recipe from Real Simple combines cottage cheese with fiber-rich apples.
- 1 apple
- ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
Directions: Slice an apple, such as Fuji or Granny Smith, and top with ½ cup of low-fat cottage cheese.
Protein punch: A ½ cup of low-fat cottage cheese (2% milkfat) contains 15.5 grams of protein.
Follow Megan on Twitter @MeganE_CS