Pop some pumpkin seeds
A ¼-cup serving of SuperSeedz Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds contains about 8 grams of protein—the equivalent of large egg!—plus 15 percent of your daily iron needs. “Iron helps deliver oxygen to your cells, so it’s an important energy-enhancing nutrient,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, author of “The Superfood Swap: The Four Week Plan to Eat What You Crave Without The C.R.A.P.” and nutritionist for the Chicago Cubs. Bonus: No shells to wrangle.
There are actually two forms of iron: heme, found in animal foods (meat, for instance), and non-heme, found in plant foods like leafy greens, beans and seeds. It’s easier for the body to utilize heme iron than non-heme, so to increase absorption, pair non-heme iron-containing foods, like pumpkin seeds, with foods that are rich in vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers strips, Jackson Blatner suggests.
Try the Organic Pink Himalayan Sea Salt or Organic Garlicky Dill flavors, $4.79 for 4 ounces, or Cinnamon & Sugar or Tomato Italiano flavors, $4.79 for 5 ounces, at your local grocery store or Whole Foods Market.
Beans: The better-for-you snack
Think beans belong at the salad bar? They actually make for a tasty, portable snack. More companies are roasting garbanzo beans until they turn crunchy, seasoning them with spices and packaging them for healthy on-the-go munching. Beans are rich in fiber which, besides helping you stay full, can stabilize blood sugar levels (so you don’t feel the urge to run to the vending machine) and lower colorectal cancer risk. Garbanzo beans, also called chickpeas, count as a plant-based protein, making them a smart option for vegetarians, vegans, flexitarians or anyone looking to cut back on their meat intake.
Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas come in a bevy of flavors, including sea salt, falafel, chipotle and wasabi, all of which pack an impressive 5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein into each ¼-cup serving. (For comparison, two slices of oven-roasted chicken breast has 7 grams of protein and zero fiber.)
$3.99- $4.99 per 4.15- to 6-ounce package, available at your local grocery store or Whole Foods Market.
Bonus: If sitting through too many meetings has caused you to pack on a few pounds, chickpeas may help. A recent review conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research found that a daily serving of chickpeas, beans or lentils may help people lose a modest amount of weight without even reducing calories.