By Jackie Edwards:
People aged 51 and above aren’t getting enough protein in their diets, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging. Therefore, if you have a large family that includes older and younger members, making healthy snacks for family visits and soirees, or packing a protein snack in your spouse’s lunch is a great way to make up for the gap. As we age, muscle strength can wane by around 50%. In order to build muscle, an adequate consumption of protein daily is key. If you have a free moment this weekend, try making these fun snacks. One is perfect for a lunchbox treat and the other is meant to be enjoyed at home when your loved ones are feeling peckish (or as a colorful appetizer!).
Shazam! Protein Balls
These protein balls will give you a real bounce and best of all, just a couple of them will fill you up and help reduce cravings for unhealthy sweets. They take just a few minutes to make and will last for many more so make and freeze a couple of batches to save time. If you aren’t into food preparation, you can always buy snacks, but remember that snacks add up to your total caloric intake. Therefore, high protein low calorie snacks such as protein bars can reduce your total caloric intake, as can simple snacks like crudites and homemade jerky.
Ingredients (Serves six, at a ratio of three protein balls each):
1 cup packed pitted dates, cut into eighths
200 grams raw almonds, ground in a blender (you can use one cup of natural oats instead)
2 tbsp flax seeds
2 tbsp hemp protein powder
2 tbsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp Himalayan salt
2 tbsp almond milk
Mix all the ingredients and form into balls, placing them into a freezer until they harden (around two hours). These can be consumed for up to a week if stored in the fridge and for around three months if stored in the freezer.
Egg and Pesto Stuffed Tomatoes
Ingredients (Serves four):
Two large tomatoes
¼ cup cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves
½ cup fresh parsley
7 romaine lettuce leaves
Himalayan salt, and pepper to taste
To make the pesto, slice the lettuce into small pieces and blend together with the garlic, oil, and a little salt and pepper. Blend until you obtain a creamy consistency. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Slice each tomato in half and remove the fleshy pulp. Place the tomatoes on a greased baking dish, open side up. Place 2 tbsp of pesto in each tomato half then crack the egg into the gap. Sprinkle with a little Himalayan salt and bake for around 22 minutes.
Most Americans are doing okay when it comes to meeting protein recommendations. However, one group in particular (seniors) are faring a bit worse. Kids, too, can benefit from a filling protein snack that can keep cravings for refined foods at bay. From a yummy egg and pesto breakfast to an energy-giving ball sweetened with dates, kids can discover that protein comes in many shapes, sizes, and flavors.