High-Protein Snacks for Travel: 14 Easy Ideas for Athletes
Traveling is fun and exciting, but finding high-protein snacks for travel that are convenient, tasty and travel friendly can be challenging for athletes.
Protein is essential for building, maintaining and repairing muscles to optimize performance and recovery as part of your sports nutrition plan. (1)
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 14 high-protein snacks for travel that are easy to pack in your backpack, gear bag or suitcase. Not only are these snacks delicious, they are nutritious and satisfying.
These snacks will help you keep your muscles strong and your energy levels high when you combine them with a high carbohydrate snack.
Whether you’re heading to a tournament or need a quick hearty snack, we’ve got you covered.
Read on to discover the best high-protein snacks for travel for athletes.
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Why should I eat high protein snacks
High protein snacks help you feel full and satisfied and since they’re slower to digest, can help to stabilize your blood sugar when combined with carbs.
Also having protein snacks available when you’re hungry ensures that you’ll meet your protein needs and balance your protein intake throughout the day.
Choose a high protein snack combined with carbohydrates for a post game snack or at least a couple hours before a game starts so you have time to digest.
What snacks are high in protein
Some of these ideas can be stashed in your gear bag, while others require staying cool and on ice. Mix and match these high protein travel snacks with some of our high carb snack ideas for a balanced healthy athlete snack.
Beef, turkey, salmon or plant-based jerky is a fantastic high-protein snack that’s easy to pack and doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
Jerky is made from dried meat or plant-based alternatives that are high in protein and low in fat. It’s also easy to digest and can help you feel full for longer.
Look for jerky that’s low in sodium, sugar and preservative-free for the healthiest option.
2. Nuts and seeds
Nuts are a classic snack that offer healthy fats, fiber and protein. You can choose from almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, or mix them up for some variety.
Nuts are also rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that can boost your immune system and overall health.
You can also add some dried fruits or dark chocolate chips for some extra sweetness and antioxidants. They’re also easy to pack and can be combined with dried fruit for a tasty and nutritious trail mix.
3. Protein bars
There are many types of protein bars on the market, so make sure you choose one that’s high in protein. Look for bars that are made with whole foods like nuts, seeds, and grains for a healthier option.
Protein bars are convenient and satisfying, and can provide you with a quick boost of energy before or after your workout.
4. Tuna and salmon packets
Fish packets are a great way to get some lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation.
Fish packets are made from cooked fish like tuna or salmon that are sealed in pouches with added flavoring.
They don’t need to be refrigerated and can last for a long time. You can eat them plain or with some crackers, bread, salad or rice for a quick and easy snack.
5. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein (17 g per 8oz) and probiotics that can support your gut health and digestion.
Greek yogurt is also creamy and delicious, and can be easily packed in a small container or bought as a single serving. Add some fresh or dried fruit, granola or honey for a satisfying and sweet snack.
You’ll want to keep greek yogurt cool in a portable cooler or lunch box
6. Cheese sticks
Cheese sticks are a great source of protein (around 7 g per stick) and calcium that can support your bone health and muscle function.
Cheese sticks are also versatile and can be paired with crackers, fruit, nuts or bread for a balanced snack. You can choose from different types of cheese like cheddar, mozzarella, swiss or string cheese, depending on your preference.
Store your cheese sticks in a cooler bag or an insulated container to keep them fresh.
Hummus is high in protein and fiber that can help you feel full and satisfied. It’s also rich in healthy fats, iron and vitamin C that can benefit your health and performance.
You can dip some fresh vegetables, pita bread, pretzels or crackers into hummus for a tasty snack.
8. Roasted edamame
Edamame are high in protein and fiber that can support your digestion and blood sugar levels. You can eat edamame plain or seasoned with salt, soy sauce or sesame seeds for a simple and satisfying snack.
Roasted edamame can satisfy a salty and crunchy craving.
9. Peanut butter/nut butter
Peanut butter and nut butter are staple snacks high in protein and healthy fats that keep you energized and satisfied. You can purchase individual nut butter packets in most grocery stores.
Peanut butter is also a good source of magnesium, potassium and vitamin E that can support your muscle and nerve function.
You can spread peanut butter on some bread, crackers, apple slices or celery sticks for a delicious and filling snack.
10. Protein powder
Protein powder is a convenient way to increase your protein intake when you’re traveling. Protein powder is made from different sources like whey, casein, soy, pea or hemp, and can provide you with around 20 to 30 g of protein per serving.
You can mix protein powder with water, milk, juice or smoothies for a delicious and nutritious drink. You can also add some fruits, nuts, seeds or oats for extra flavor, fiber and texture.
11. Roasted chickpeas
Chickpeas are a good source of protein and fiber and roasted chickpeas make for a crunchy and satisfying snack. They’re also vegan and gluten-free. You can make your own by seasoning canned chickpeas with your favorite spices and roasting them in the oven.
12. Protein packs
These are pre-packaged snacks that contain deli meat, cheese and nuts. They’re convenient and satisfying. You can find different combinations, such as turkey and cheddar, ham and Swiss or chicken and almonds.
Some coffee shops like Starbucks also sell protein focused bento boxes or you can make your own.
Keep these refrigerated until you’re ready to eat them.
13. Hard-boiled eggs
Hard boiled eggs are one of the simplest and cheapest high-protein snacks you can make. They are a complete protein source that contains all the essential amino acids, as well as healthy fats, choline and vitamin B12.
You can peel them ahead of time and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Or you can purchase them in individual packs.
14. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is another high-protein dairy product that is versatile and easy to eat. It has a mild flavor and a soft texture that can be paired with sweet or savory toppings.
You can enjoy it with fresh or dried fruits, honey, cinnamon, nut butter, crackers, veggies or salsa.
As you can see, there are many high protein travel snacks for athletes that you can easily prepare and pack for your trips.
These snacks will help you meet your protein needs and keep you satisfied and energized throughout the day. Try some of these snacks the next time you travel and see how they improve your performance and recovery.
And don’t forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated as well.
What are your favorite high-protein travel snacks?
Steph Magill, MS, RD, CD, FAND has over 20 years in public health and nutrition experience. As a performance nutritionist, Stephanie specializes in sports nutrition and provides simple and actionable information so that athletes can be well fueled for high performance on and off the field. Stephanie has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.