If you're a student gearing up to gain some muscle by changing your diet, you might feel as though your biggest obstacle is your class schedule. There's no denying the fact that as a busy student, it can be hard for you to find times during the day when you can get the right nutritional nourishment -- and when you do manage to scrape together a few minutes between classes, your only options are often Doritos and Milky Ways: not exactly quality calories. But if you want to succeed at building lean muscle, nutrition has to play a big role. And when it comes to school day snacks, the healthier and more calorie-dense, the better.
Here are my top 5, all-time favorite snack ideas for sticking to your diet goals away from home.
1. Bagel + Peanut Butter
Quick, easy, and delicious. Grab a bagel in the morning, smear some natural peanut or almond butter on both halves, and you've got yourself a calorie-dense snack that does more for you than those gummy bears will. The bagel will provide you with a good source of complex carbohydrates, while the nut butter will give you healthy fats and a bit of protein to even out your blood sugar levels. Try 100% whole wheat bagels for an even better carbohydrate source, or use mini bagels instead of full-size to help you stay within your daily calorie needs.
2. Tuna Pocket
You've never heard of a tuna pocket?! This is another great snack option and tends to transport very well as you move throughout your busy day. Combine some canned tuna with some lower-fat mayonnaise, mustard, or cottage cheese. Add some diced onion or pickles -- whatever you like in your tuna salad. Spoon this into a 100% whole wheat pita pocket along with a drizzle of olive oil dressing and some spinach leaves, then wrap and go! You'll be set with a protein-packed snack that will help you reach your muscle-building goals.
3. Beef Jerky + Orange
Beef jerky and orange are a perfect pairing (and no, you don't have to eat them both in the same bite). The vitamin C in the orange will actually help boost the absorption of the iron from the beef jerky -- and getting enough iron in your diet is crucial for building lean muscle tissue. When selecting your beef jerky, aim for a lower-sodium variety in order to keep it as healthy as possible. Fortunately, it’s naturally lower in fat, so will be a great protein source mid-day.
4. Apple + Cheese
Going for an apple with some cheese is another smart snack to consider as you work through your diet to put on muscle. Cheese is a good source of protein, and while it does contain some saturated fats, smaller doses of saturated fat will help to keep your overall testosterone levels higher, so this isn't a bad thing. The apple will provide some crunch, fiber, and the sweet taste you may be craving, making this a great snack pairing.
5. Protein Powder + Oats
Finally, for those rushed mornings when you simply didn’t have time to prepare a snack, grab some protein powder and oats. Oats are a great source of complex carbs, and you can easily mix them with protein powder in a water bottle along with some water (or milk purchased at the cafeteria or vending machine). Choose a high-quality whey protein for your protein powder, and simply toss a scoop into a Nalgene with a 1/2 or a full cup of oats and you've got yourself a seriously nutritious snack in seconds.
This is a far better option than some of the commercial weight gainers that you might otherwise purchase as well.
So there you have my top quick and easy snacks to help you along your diet to build muscle. Bonus: all these options are much cheaper than snacking on vending machine treats or fast food. Pack these healthy snacks and eat between classes (or sport practices) to see results faster!
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