The Ultimate Guide to Portable Protein

    Everyone knows protein is an athlete’s best friend. Packed with nutrition and usable fuel, it’s a go-to snack. But what if you don’t have a cooler? Right. How about these ideas that can be easily tucked into your track bag to provide you with the perfect nosh when you need it?  

    Jerky. High in protein, low in fat and virtually carb free. It is made by slicing fresh meat and drying it to keep it from spoiling. It has been around since the 1500s and was a way for people to preserve protein when it was plentiful and be able to consume it when food was scarce. Today there are so many different types, flavors and brands to choose from. Whether you like beef, chicken, turkey, pork or game meats, there is a brand and flavor for every palate. Look for high quality ingredients without a ton of added sugar or chemical preservatives. If you are feeling really motivated, make your own at home in the oven. It is a healthy, protein-rich snack that conveniently packs in your bag with no need for refrigeration even on the hottest days. Speaking of hottest days, jerky tends to be salty, so if it is a hot day, make sure you stay well hydrated. 

    Nuts. Not as carb free as jerky, but there are tons of options as well as salted or unsalted. They are packed with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin E, potassium and magnesium…pretty much a powerhouse. This category also includes nut butters. Many nut butters come in individual servings and squeeze pouches (think oversized ketchup packet). Some like them straight, but if that’s not your thing, pair them with crackers, pretzels or celery sticks. 

    Protein Bars and Snacks. There are a slew of bars and chip-like snacks with added protein. Look for quality ingredients that you can pronounce. Chia seeds, nuts, beans, and kale for added nutrition. Also in this category is granola and that also comes in a wide range of combinations to please just about anybody.

    Dry Roasted Edamame. Yes, there is such a thing. A great nut alternative and nutritionally sound too. There are 11 grams of soy protein and six grams of fiber in each 100-calories serving—it doesn’t get much better than that!

    Crunchy Chickpeas.  Yep, those too. They weigh in at 6 grams of protein per serving. You can make them yourself in the oven at home or buy them in a bag like chips. They may be a bit harder to find, but well worth it. They are crispy and crunchy and come in a variety of flavors. 

    That’s the roundup. You can also include a piece of fruit, pretzels, pita chips or crackers for quick carbs and make sure you pack the true essential–plenty of WATER! Happy tummy, happy athlete. #toolsforbetterpolevaulting.