During my trip I traveled lightly during the day – only a large purse or backpack – with no access to a refrigerator and no desire to carry an insulated lunch bag during my hiking, shopping, walking, beach visits. For that reason I wanted to have portable protein that didn’t require refrigeration. I am also a vegetarian (so no meat) and limited on carbs (so no belowground veggies – e.g. peanuts, chickpeas). Here’s what I brought/bought:
1) Lightlife Meatless Smart Jerky – you got that right! “Lightlife has been making delicious vegan meat alternatives for over 30 years, and they've created something special with their new Meatless Smart Jerky! Dense, chewy, and full of delicious flavor, this vegan jerky is low in fat and calories, giving you a healthy way to get a "meaty" snack any time your cravings hit.” Each 1 oz serving has 9g protein and 8g carbs.
2) Sunflower seeds I found Superseedz’ Somewhat Spicy version of sunflower seeds to be a tasty treat with 15% zinc and iron along with 9g protein and 5g carbs in each 0.25cup serving. They have some other lovely sounding flavors like: Tomato Italiano, Sea Salt, Cinnamon & Sugar, Maple Sugar & Sea Salt, Coco Joe.
3) Hardboiled eggs I only eat the egg white, which as 4g protein. Okay, that’s a lie. I will totally eat the egg yolk but it has to be deviled. lol
4) Protein powderpacks I bought a sampler pack off of Amazon for Syntrax and it included 26 individual packets of different flavors. I brought only the fruity flavored ones with me (not the creamy ones) and while I was out, I would get an unsweet tea and mix in the packet (e.g. Roadside Lemonade, Peach, Fruit Punch). 23g of protein AND hydration! I also unsuccessfully tried to add it to a bottle of water that had too narrow a neck. I wished I had my shaker bottle but that would just be one more large item to schlep around.
5) Homemade tofu jerky I make this in the oven after slicing extra firm tofu into thin slices and seasoning with whatever I have on hand/am craving (e.g., sriracha, jerk, garlic and smoked paprika). 3oz of tofu jerky has 9g protein. Not to mention tofu has all 8 essential amino acids, iron, calcium and more!
6) Homemade protein gummy bears I have various recipes for this but mainly it involves, high quality gelatin (I use Great Lakes), Unjury unflavored protein powder and sugar free jello mix. I have silicon molds and can make a batch of 150 in ~ 10 minutes plus the cooling time. Each gummy bear has 1 g of protein and is a nice, easy way to get me to my protein goal.
7) Dried seaweed snacks Okay, doesn’t really have protein (1g per 0.17oz package) but I love salty and savory treats and this one packs a punch as it delivers iodine, B6, potassium, iron.
8) Premier Protein bars I use these sparingly as they have 30g carbs (yes, some are sugar alcohols) but also give me 30g protein.
9) TVP (textured vegetable protein) – “is a highly nutritious soy product. It is incredibly wealthy in complete protein and contains no fat, so it is an excellent alternative to meat. TVP is made from defatted soy flour that has been cooked under pressure and then dried. “ This is another snack trick to add to food while out (e.g., soups where it absorbs the fluid or salad where it acts as croutons). Each 0.25cup has 12g protein.
Snacks that sucked:
There are some snacks I tried that absolutely sucked and those include dried edamame, dried soy nuts and dried chickpeas (which violate my low carb rule anyway). While all are packed with protein punch, I found the texture off and they all were incredibly, incredibly dry. No matter what seasoning I tried, they were bland and moisture sapping on my tongue. I won’t be buying or making these again.
I found that it suited my purposes (only eating small amounts) and situation (traveling solo) better to enjoy happy hour food at the bar. One place had deviled eggs on their HH menu (to die for!), another had a caprese tower (tomato season! squeeee!) and another had this riced cauliflower and tofu concoction. Since I was still backpacking through the towns, I couldn’t have leftovers unless they would last without refrigeration.
So there you have it! Surviving a quasi-backpacking holiday in a developed vacation destination 5 weeks post-op. If anyone has any more ideas on protein snacks to-go, please leave them in the comments so I can check them out!