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8 Healthy, Pre-Packaged Snacks Perfect for Losing Weight or Building Muscle

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8 Healthy, Pre-Packaged Snacks Perfect for Losing Weight or Building Muscle

Quick, healthy, and tasty snacks are an easy and enjoyable way to meet your dietary numbers every day.

 

We all wish we could always have fresh, delicious, low-calorie foods within arm’s reach…but that’s just not the case. Packing fresh foods and transporting them around every day is a hassle, and especially so among those of us that travel quite a bit.

Therefore, I decided to put together a list of my 10 favorite pre-packaged snack foods…and all are under 150 calories, so you can decide how much to eat based on your weight goals.

 

1. Fage Total 0%

100 calories, 18 g protein, 7 g carbs, 0 g fat

I’m pretty much obsessed with this stuff. Rich, creamy, delicious, and nearly 20 grams of protein and 0 grams of fat per serving. How do they do it? Magic, I tell you. Mix in some honey or agave and it tastes like dessert.

2. StarKist Ready-Made Albacore Tuna Salad Packet

90 calories, 10 g protein, 5 g carbs, 3.5 g fat

Tuna packets rock for quick, easy protein. You can mix it with all kinds of stuff to give taste. Here’s a simple recipe from The Shredded Chef that I particularly like:

 

Spicy Tuna:

Mix 6 ounces tuna with 1 tablespoon diced pickled jalapenos, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, 4 tablespoons diced tomatoes, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.

 

3. Stretch Island Fruit Co. Fruit Strips

45 calories, 0 g protein, 11 g carbs, 0 g fat

Carrying around fresh fruit isn’t always feasible, but all-natural fruit leathers are a great alternative. A couple of these is the same amount of carbs as a piece of fruit, and satisfies your sweet tooth.

4. Sweet Potato Pop Chips

120 calories, 1 g protein, 20 g carbs, 4 g fat (per serving)

Sweet potatoes are a tasty, healthy option for carbs, and I like this brand a lot. They’re all natural–no fake colors or flavors, no preservatives, no GMO ingredients, and no trans fats.

5. Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips

29 calories, 0 g protein, 8 g carbs, 0 g fat (per serving)

How is this for simple ingredients: organic apples, and organic cinnamon. And it’s delicious. Great on-the-go carb option.

6. Barney Butter Squeeze Packs

90 calories, 3 g protein, 4 g carbs, 7.5 g fat (for .6 oz packet)

If you haven’t experienced the heavenly taste of good almond butter…watch out–it’s addictive. Almond butter is one of my favorite snacks, period. It’s high in protein and fats and low in carbs, and it’s downright delicious. Highly recommended.

7. Eden Foods Brown Rice Crackers

120 calories, 3 g protein, 22 g carbs, 2 g fat

Brown rice crackers are the next best thing to eating the grain itself, and I like this brand. They don’t use any artificial ingredients or trans fats, and they’re quite tasty.

8. Organic Valley Stringles

80 calories, 7 g protein, 0 g carbs, 6 g fat

I don’t eat much dairy, but these are a healthy, easy source of protein if you’re on the run.

 

 What do you think of my choices? Do you have any snacks you think I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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OVER 100,000 PEOPLE HAVE USED MY COOKBOOK TO GET THE BODY THEY WANT EATING THE FOODS THEY LOVE. WILL YOU BE NEXT?

What if I told you that just about everything magazines and trainers “teach” you about dieting is wrong?

What if you could build muscle and lose fat eating “naughty” foods every week?

What if you didn’t have to suffer through low-carb dieting to get lean? In fact, what if you could eat all the carbs you wanted?

And what if you didn’t have to gorge yourself just to gain muscle and didn’t have to put on pounds and pounds of ugly fat, either?

In short, what if I told you that proper dieting--whether you want to maximize fat loss or muscle growth--is much simpler and more enjoyable than you’ve been led to believe?

Imagine eating delicious, filling meals every day...never feeling starved or stuffed...having great energy levels and workouts...and watching your body respond exactly as you desire, dropping fat or adding muscle each and every week.

And imagine finally understanding how proper dieting really works, never again falling for the BS, tricks, and gimmicks pushed by “gurus” and other shysters.

Well, I have good news.

All these “fantasies” can be a reality...if you know how to do a handful of “little” things correctly.

You see, when you know how to diet properly--and this doesn’t mean learning to eat boiled chicken and raw broccoli six times per day--getting lean and muscular becomes simple, convenient, and dare I say...enjoyable.

And this book will show you the way.

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  • I eat cereal bars for when I’m away from home. There are many varieties, those with chocolate have more fat, but the standard with cereals and fruit usually have these stats:

    77 calories, 1g protein, 16g carbs, 1g fat.

    They’re usually quite tasty.

    • MikeMatthewsFitness

      Cool! The only thing I don’t like about many of these bars is the sugar. My body can handle a bit here and there, but it doesn’t like it regularly.

  • Great ideas, thank you! I am also a huge fan of fage. I also really like a product called PB2, which is all natural peanut butter that is only 45 calories per serving. I know a lot of people want the healthy fat in regular natural peanut butter, but this is a great tasting low calorie alternative. Amazon sells on the go type servings and in bulk servings in powder form (just mix with water).

    • MikeMatthewsFitness

      You’re welcome!

      Yeah Fage is awesome stuff. One of the few dairy products that don’t bother me at all.

      Cool on the PB2 product! I’ll check it out. I prefer almond butter over peanut, but both are delicious. 🙂

      • DM

        Hi Mike, when you say that dairy bothers you, what exactly to you mean? When I started your program, I started eating quite a lot of whey protein powder and greek yogurt (I am vegetarian), and it seems to be causing a lot of gas late in the day. I’m not sure if it’s the whey, the yogurt, or both. I’m wondering if that is a common thing. I haven’t tried Fage yet.

        • MikeMatthewsFitness

          Yup, I get gassy and my body just feels a little off. It’s kind of hard to explain.

          Once you’ve used up your whey, I recommend giving Healthy n Fit 100% egg protein a try (chocolate flavor only). It’s sweetened with stevia and has no artificial coloring or flavors. I find it really easy on my stomach.

          I hope that helps!

          • DM

            Thanks, I’ll try it.

          • MikeMatthewsFitness

            Cool. Let me know how it goes.

          • Khatera

            I have tried the vanilla ice cream and that is really good too-do you only recommend the chocolate because the vanilla may contain dairy?

          • Michael Matthews

            You like the vanilla? Wow. I think it tastes like soap, lol. That’s why I recommend chocolate. 🙂

  • Jamie Adams

    Mike I have read two of your books and I find them very helpful. My question is what is your take on protien bars? I have read some literature latley saying protien bars should be avoided due to hidden sugars and extra chemicals in them. I am a mom so sometimes I find its easy to grab a protien bar when Im caught out of the house with nothing clean to eat. What is your opinion? Thanks.

    • Hey Jamie,

      Thanks for reading my books! I’m really glad you enjoyed them.

      I’m not a fan of most protein bars for that exact reason–they’re just full of junk. That being said, there are some organic brands out there that are mainly comprised of raw foods, and I’m fine with eating those.

      Instead of bars, I recommend doing shakes (whey or egg protein powder), or whole food snacks like 0% Greek yogurt and almonds, fruit, chicken (have some cooked and cut up in the fridge during the week), and low-fat cottage cheese, to name some of my favorites.

      What do you think?

      Mike

      • Jamie Adams

        I usually do stick to the snacks you named, sometimes it’s just easier to grab a protien bar when I’m in a hurry. I will look into the organic variety as you suggested but I think I will try to stay away from them as much as possible. Thanks for the help. Congrats on your new baby! He was born on my daughters 1 year birthday.

        • Yeah, I understand the convenience factor. The healthier bars are definitely a way better choice than cheap, processed crap.

          Thanks regarding Lenox! Cool regarding your daughter! I hope you had a fun birthday weekend!

    • Guest

      Hey Jamie,

      Thanks for reading my books! I’m really glad you’ve enjoyed them.

      Most protein bars are garbage. They are full of junk carbs, and junk protein (cheap powders are often cut with fillers like flour, heh).

      However, I’ve found a few bars in a local natural foods store (like Whole Foods). They’re organic and their ingredients are all food (no chemicals). I don’t remember the brands because I rarely ever eat them (sorry), but I would definitely go for something like that over the stuff you’d find in the grocery store.

      What do you think?

      Mike

  • FrankR

    Great book. I am sore as hell and loving it. I have done well training over the last year as I put some weight after my daughter was born. So far I’ve lost a little under 40 pounds. I’ve switched to your methods of lifting weights and have seen improvements already.
    We all know that the diet is the hardest part. That is taking the most
    tweaking. But I will say that since I had already dedicated 6 months of
    training to get back in shape, the workout regimen is actually a nice
    change. Eating more and eating right!

    One thing I will say is that folks going heavy need to realize that form is key. Get out of using good form and your primed for injury. My motto is “Lift Hard, But Lift to Lift Another Day”.

    • Hey Frank,

      Thanks! I’m really glad you enjoyed the book, and embrace the soreness! Haha.

      Great job on the weight loss so far! That totally rocks! Yup, diet can be tricky at first, but as you’ll see, it becomes very easy once you build a routine.

      You’re totally right about the form, and I love your motto! Very true. 🙂

      Keep up the good work and definitely shoot me an email if you have any questions. Oh and take pictures! I’d love to feature you as a reader success story if you’d be interested!

      Mike

  • I absolutist love this book I’m not the type to finish most books that I start but this book l can’t seem to put down, I like it because it hits on the head those subjects that I have bee confused about, and clarifies them with not only explanation, but with example

    • Hey Donte,

      Thanks so much! I’m really glad you’re enjoying the book!

      Shoot me an email anytime if you have any questions!

      Mike

  • Rob

    Hi Mike,
    Fab book!! easy to understand and its nice reading something with no BS.
    I have been training for 8 years or so and used to be very active at work. I now have a desk job and find it difficult to balance my diet and water consumption. I’m currently 13st 10lbs with a machine body fat figure of 17%. I’m 5ft 11 inches.
    I could just do with some pointers of how I can manage my nutrition better.
    Much appreciated.

    • Hey Rob,

      Thanks for reading my book! I’m really glad you liked it.

      That’s great you already have 8 years of experience. It will serve you well on the program!

      Cool on your current stats. What issues are you running into exactly regarding your diet?

      Mike

      • Rob

        Do I need to eat less during the day compared to an active worker as im sat down all day? and how much water should I drink? is whole wheat pasta ok to eat post workout or is it best to scrap carbs for my evening meal?
        1 week into ur workout in the book and I already feel good and solid.
        Thanks Mike.

  • rob

    I forgot to mention. I work out 5 times per week and try to slip in 3*20 min cardio sessions, usually on a cross trainer after my lifts.

    • That’s great. You can achieve whatever you want with your body with that schedule.

      Mike

  • Aaron

    I find various beef jerky options great for midday snacking. Nice protein content low fat and no carbs usually.

  • Kevin

    Mike, I’ve enjoyed your books. What do you think of Maltodextrin mixed with a protein isolate powder as a pre and post workout drink? I work out first thing in the morning and have had trouble gaining weight, even though I eat a lot 4 to 5 times a day. I have been working out on an empty stomach and waiting until after the workout to eat and have my shake. Is maltodextrin an OK carb for just this time of day?

    • Hey Kevin,

      Glad you liked my books!

      Most people would say carb powders are fine for pre- and post-workout meals, but they bother my stomach. I prefer actual food. For instance, my post-workout meal is a smoothie of 2 frozen bananas, 2 cups of rice milk, and 2 scoops of protein (blended up). It’s about 100 grams of carbs, 60 grams of protein, and it’s delicious. Other good post-workout carbs are instant oatmeal and sweet potato (not too breafasty, but tasty!).

      For your pre-workout meal, you could do a scoop of protein in water and a banana.

      Let me know what you think!

      Mike

  • Marina

    Hi Mike,

    I read your book for women and it really changed my idea of nutrition, diet, and general biology of fitness. I appreciated it on a different level working in science research. immediately I wanted to do an ‘experiment’ on myself. I have been doing your weightloss diet. I normally weigh 115lbs and am 27yo. for this last week, I have been eating 6 servings/protein per day, 115g carbs, and 207 calories of good fats. I see a minimal difference. i eat well normally, but perhaps less meat and more carbs than this past week. am i at a point where it is about the workout and a maintenance diet? or should i keep going?

    • Hi Marina,

      Thanks for reading my book and for writing! I’m really glad you liked it.

      Nice on the diet. Were you exercising too? The reason I ask is the formulas assume that you will be exercising 3 – 5 times per week. If you aren’t exercising, you’d have to eat less.

      Also was your protein intake around 130 grams? Your fats sounds good.

      Let me know and we’ll work it out. Don’t worry. It’s really simple once you get everything tweaked. Some people’s bodies need a little bit more or less than the formulas, too.

      Mike

      • Marina

        Hi Mike,
        I have been working out in addition to the diet. 5 days weights and 3 days cardio. some overlap so I do get a day off of both. just a question on weight lifting – I do 8 sets of 9 reps for warmup that include 3 working sets, but then for the other excersizes for the muscle group, I just do 3 sets of 8 reps. thats all? it takes me about 30 min for 3 excercises. then I cannot do cardio.. so I am done. seems too little? i do ache and it is hard to do the excersizes… am i doing it right?

        • Hey Marina,

          Great on your workout schedule.

          Yup, you’ve got it. 9 total heavy sets per workout. You can bump it up to 12 heavy sets if you want (add one more exercise), but don’t do more than that. You will likely end up overtraining.

          No worries on not being able to do the cardio after. Separating your cardio and weights is best anyway.

          It sounds like you’re doing it right! How is your body responding?

          Mike

          • Marina

            thanks. my body is responding well. slower than I would like, but I have to he honest – some times I eat too little, or I cheat one extra meal/snack. and I am afraid to keep a protein diet for two long, so I have been increasing my carbs slightly. I definetely feel a difference and I see more definition, but I would like the fat to burn a bit faster! started taking 1 mg CLA twice a day. and i have mostly given up on alcohol. that all helps. I wish I could have you train me! form is so important. and I try my best but it is still hard. also my gym doesnt have the bars of different weights. I have to use free weights until I can lift the 25lb bar by itself.

          • I’m glad to hear you’re making progress, even if it’s a little slower than you want. If you’re losing 1 – 2 lb per week, you’re doing it right though. Healthy weight loss is slower, especially when you don’t have much to lose.

            It sounds like you’re building muscle too, which is awesome.

            Great on the CLA. It helps. Good job on cutting the alcohol back too. That makes a big difference.

            Haha I wish I had the time to train people! My schedule is pretty crazy these days.

            And keep hitting the weights and you’ll be handling the 25lb bar in no time! 🙂

            Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

            MIke

  • Blake

    Hi Mike, recently read Bigger, Stronger, Leaner and enjoyed it. Made a shift to the heavier weight from the usual 10-12 reps and like it, doesn’t take long to tell a difference. My one question on the book is your comments on saturated fat. With recent developments have you changed your stance on this? Just curious. Thanks again for the great book.

    http://preventdisease.com/news/12/030112_World-Renown-Heart-Surgeon-Speaks-Out-On-What-Really-Causes-Heart-Disease.shtml

    http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/how-did-we-come-to-believe-saturated-fat-and-cholesterol-are-bad-for-us

    http://www.nourishingdays.com/2009/10/dr-eades-on-7-reasons-to-eat-more-saturated-fat/

    • Hey Blake,

      Thanks for reading BLS! I’m really glad you liked it. That’s great you’ve started with the heavier weights and are seeing a difference.

      Yeah, saturated fat is fine. I made a recent update to the book reflecting this.

      Thanks for pointing it out, though!

      Please do keep me posted on your progress and if you have any other questions, shoot me an email anytime.

      Mike

  • patrick

    hey mike, I sometimes have trouble getting enough protein in my diet. It would be awesome to have a protein bar in the middle of the day but ones in the store are packed with sugar. Do you have any good homemade protein bar recipes?

    • Hey Patrick,

      Thanks for writing!

      Homemade bars are definitely a great way to get protein in throughout the day. I have several recipes in my cookbook. Here’s one:

      http://i.imgur.com/ztbs63a.png

      Let me know if you end up making it and what you think!

      Mike

      • Khatera

        I am going to try this recipe! How long can they be kept for, and do they need to stay refrigerated after you cut them up? Thanks Mike-and p.s. I am still working out what I’ve learned from TLS and am loving it. I’ve been referred to as “super-fit” more than once lately 🙂

        • Michael Matthews

          Good question! I keep the refrigerated and they last at least 5 days (I’ve never kept longer).

          Thanks regarding TLS! I’m really glad you’re doing well on the program! 🙂 Keep up the good work. Mrs. Superfit!

  • Mike

    Quest protein bars

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah they’re not bad at all.

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