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Protein Snack Packs for Endurance Strength, Training & Recovery

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In the world of endurance sports, protein is more than just a staple in your diet; it’s a crucial component for optimizing performance and recovery. As an endurance athlete, you use your body for long training sessions and races. It can be helpful to have go-to protein snack packs before heading back home, to the office, traveling, or just a busy day. 

Hi! As a sports dietitian, long-distance runner and busy mom, I am here to help you learn when and how to incorporate protein into your training routine with quick, portable protein snack packs.

Your body requires protein to train stronger and recover quicker. Studies show that endurance athletes have higher protein needs, requiring ~0.3 grams of protein per kilogram every 3 to 5 hours throughout the day. (1) For example, a 150-pound athlete would benefit from consuming approximately 20 grams of protein per meal or snack.

In this blog, you will learn:

  • Why protein is important for endurance.
  • Five quick protein snack options with at least 20 grams of protein.
  • How to create your own protein snack packs so that you can think on your feet. (Pun intended!)

First, let’s talk a little bit more about why protein is important for endurance since carbohydrates usually get center stage.

Protein for Endurance

Protein serves as more than just a muscle-building nutrient. (2) Protein is also needed for:

  • Repairing tissues
  • Supporting immune function
  • Enhancing recovery

In addition to its role in muscle recovery, protein also serves as a valuable source of essential nutrients, including vitamin B12 which is crucial for energy metabolism and red blood cell production. 

Protein also serves as a primary source of creatine for endurance athletes—a critical compound for energy metabolism in muscle cells. Creatine, made from amino acids found in protein foods, is the primary energy source needed during high-intensity sprints or other short bursts of energy.

As an endurance athlete, carbohydrates should make up the majority of your diet so prioritizing protein can be a challenge if you’re not used to paying attention to this part of your diet. Next, let’s look at some quick, portable options that you can make at home.

protein snack packs in pills and powder protein supplements

Homemade Protein Snack Packs

For those hectic days when training schedules and grocery runs don’t align, homemade protein snack packs can be a lifesaver. These protein-packed snacks provide a quick recovery option that can also help you recover, boost energy and stay focused. 

By incorporating a variety of plant- and animal-based protein sources, you can optimize your nutrient intake and support your training demands effectively.

  1. Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups
    • Ingredients: 3 slices turkey breast, 3 string cheese sticks
    • 25 g protein

      Carb Bonus: Add fresh fruit or 8 oz Cheribundi Pure Tart Cherry Juice.

  2. Greek Yogurt Parfait
    • Ingredients: Oikos Pro Greek yogurt, Kodiak crunchy granola bars (crushed into granola)
    • 30 g protein

      Carb Bonus: Add mixed berries or honey.

  3. Tuna Salad Snack Box
    • Ingredients: 1 pouch Safe Catch tuna, whole grain crackers, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes
    • 27 g protein

  1. Hummus and Veggie Plate
    • Ingredients: Individual hummus, Quest protein chips, sliced bell peppers, baby carrots, cucumber slices
    • 21 g protein

      Carb Bonus: Add two slices of whole grain bread or wrap.

  1. Hard-Boiled Eggs and Whole Grain Bread
    • Ingredients: 1 hard-boiled egg, Chobani Complete Greek yogurt drink
    • 26 g protein


      Carb Bonus: Add fresh fruit or Nature’s Bakery fig bar.

The options are endless for homemade snack planning. Next, let’s review how you can make your own so you can think quickly on your feet around the foods you have available.

protein snack packs full of pretzels, celery, carrots, hummus

How to Make Your Own Protein Snack Packs

The first step is knowing how many grams of protein you need for your body size. Keep this quick calculation in your memory bank (or in a note in your phone). If you do not have this handy, aim for at least 20 to 40 grams of protein when building snacks and meals. (3)

Protein Needs per Snack = 0.3 g/kg body weight*

*Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms, then multiply by 0.3. (e.g. 150 lbs ÷ 2.2 = 68.2 kg); 68.2 kg x 0.3 g = 21 g protein

Once you know how many grams of protein you need, you can:

  • Check the Nutrition Facts Label on foods for protein per serving.
  • Aim for a palm-size or deck of card-size amount of protein.
  • Combine foods together if one single food does not have enough protein to meet your needs.

Note: Add carbohydrate foods to your protein snacks–especially if you have another training session later in the day or a high-intensity session the next day. 

Knowing your body’s protein needs is also part of the meal prepping process. Read more tips about preparing snacks and meals in the meal prep for athletes blog. Meal prepping and packing snacks are great strategies for busy athletes striving for peak endurance performance. Your body will thank you later!

Incorporating these protein-rich snacks into your endurance routine can provide the sustained energy and recovery support you need to set your next race PR, be on top of your game at work…or be fully present with your family at home.

Elevate Your Endurance Recovery

Ready to elevate your endurance? Remember, preparation is key to success, whether you’re hitting the pavement or pushing your limits on the trail.

As an endurance sports dietitian, I am here to help! Schedule a consultation if you are looking for customized solutions for your training and lifestyle challenges.

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Meet Jena Brown
RD, CSSD, LD

Jena founded Victorem Performance Nutrition to help endurance athletes define and achieve their own brand of victory. Over the course of 15 years, she has partnered with hundreds of athletes by leveraging data-informed custom nutrition plans and non-restrictive nutritional counseling.

Order supplements through my Fullscript store.