Sports Mama Tip: 8 Protein Packed Snack Ideas That Your Athlete Will Actually Enjoy!

Both No. 1 and No. 2 will be playing football for their high school this year. My boys are growing up! The season may not officially begin for another month, but that doesn't mean that they are just sitting around twiddling their thumbs.

They are working on speed and agility, lifting weights, and eating high protein diets in an effort to put on healthy weight and muscle. I'm petite and Coach Hubby didn't even weigh 140lbs when he graduated high school, so as you can imagine, we don't make naturally big kids!

Sure we could drive them through the drive thru a couple of times a day and fill the house with cookies and chips, but that type of weight gain will do nothing but slow them down and decrease their performance as well as their overall health. We are trying to build muscle mass, not fat. And protein is a key part of this journey!

Here are eight protein packed snack ideas (in no particular order) that my boys love:

  1. Kodiak Cakes. I buy the Buttermilk Flapjack & Waffle Mix. It's a pancake mix made with non-GMO ingredients and whole grains. There are 3 different ways to make them (add water, add milk, or add milk and egg) to increase the grams of protein from 14-21 per serving! I cook them in butter (hello extra calories!) and serve them with syrup. You can cook up a big batch and freeze them so that they last throughout the week (or longer depending on how many you make!). When your athlete is ready to eat them, simply pop them in the microwave for about a minute and voila!
  2. Boiled eggs. Easy to make and even easier to eat! Each egg has 6 grams of protein. My boys will usually eat 3 in one sitting. This is another great make ahead food.
  3. Nuts. The perfect on-the-go snack! My boys' favorites are peanuts and almonds. A one ounce serving (approximately 23) of almonds provide 6 grams of protein. You can even throw in some chocolate chips or M&Ms for that salty sweet kick!
  4. Cheese sticks. Another on-the-go favorite! A stick of colby jack has 5 grams of protein while mozzarella has 7. Of course most growing athletes stomachs are bottomless pits, so that number is usually doubled in our house!
  5. Milk. One cup of whole milk provides 8 grams of protein as well as calcium and Vitamins A and D. TruMoo's High Protein milk is No. 1's favorite and contains a whopping 25 grams of protein per bottle! I stock up on this stuff whenever I find it in my local stores. It comes in different flavors including vanilla and chocolate.
  6. Peanut Butter. Just two tablespoons contains 8 grams of protein. You can add it to just about anything; smoothies, oatmeal, pancakes. My boys love it with sliced apples. And you can't forget about the oldie but goodie, PBJs. We go through a whole lot of peanut butter (and bread and jelly) in our home!
  7. Protein bars. My boys have probably tried just about every bar out there, but not all are created equal. So what makes a bar a winner, you ask? It's gotta be high in protein, not too high in sugar, have a good amount of calories and taste good, of course! Our current favorites are One Bars (20 grams of protein- Birthday Cake flavor), Power Crunch (14 grams of protein- French Vanilla and Cookies & Crème flavors), and Gatorade (20 grams of protein- Chocolate Caramel flavor). I make sure they keep a few in their backpacks at all times. They are super easy to transport and eat post workout/game.
  8. Protein shakes. Like bars, it took some trial and error to find one that they actually like. For premade shakes, I buy Premier Protein. It contains 30 grams of protein and comes in a variety of flavors, although chocolate is the only one my boys will drink. No. 1 also drinks whey protein, which he mixes with milk post weight lifting.

As a rule of thumb, if your athlete is trying to gain healthy weight like mine, they should be consuming 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. For example, if their goal is to weigh 160lbs, their diet should include 160 grams of protein daily.

I hope you found this post helpful and that you try some of these healthy snack ideas with your athletes!

I'd love to hear some of your ideas! Feel free to share them below or in the Confessions of a Sports Mama Facebook Group.