If you were under house arrest, life would suck, with one exception: You could prepare all of your meals under strict calorie and macronutrient control. No restaurant secret sauces to worry about, no drive-through maidens singing their siren song, no convenience stores on every corner.
You travel about freely, however, and the only crimes being committed are dietary in nature. Even when you try to eat right on the run, it's hard to know what you're putting in your body.
Taking the time to pack smart muscle-building snacks will do more than help you avoid diet disasters. It'll help make sure all of your nutritional needs don't go unmet.
Let's take a quick look at 12 great ideas that you can use as you go about your diet plan that will support your lean-mass-building goals:
Chicken Wrap with Whole Wheat Tortilla
First up on the list of packable muscle-building snacks is a simple Chicken Wrap.
Use a whole-wheat soft tortilla, smear a small amount of low-fat mayonnaise on top, and add in a pre-grilled chicken breast, shredded lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
Wrap before placing in a Ziplock bag in your cooler for storage.
Nutrition-Packed Trail Mix
Mix together almonds, pecans, and dried fruit with whole-wheat pretzels and sunflower seeds.
Store in a Tupperware container for when your energy lags between meals.
Homemade Protein Peanut Butter Balls
Protein Peanut Butter Balls are quick and easy to prepare at home and will quickly provide your muscles with the nutrition they need.
Mix 2 scoops of protein powder, ½ cup peanut butter, 1 cup of dry oats, and ¼ cup dried cranberries. Once a sticky mixture is formed (note that you may need to add a small amount of water to moisten), form into balls.
Form a coating by rolling each ball in oats mixed with another scoop of peanut butter.
Store in a Tupperware container.
Beef Jerky and an Orange
Pair an orange with your beef jerky for healthy carbs and fiber.
Added benefit: The vitamin C in the orange will help to boost the body's absorption of the iron in the beef jerky, maximizing the benefits from this simple snack.
Peanut Butter and Banana Roll-Ups
If you love the combination of peanut butter and banana, peanut butter roll-ups are great for when you're in a hurry. Spread 1 or 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter over a whole-wheat pita or soft tortilla. Top with a sliced banana. Cut into smaller pieces and then store in a snack bag or Tupperware container.
This snack contains a great balance of healthy carbohydrates and fats, but lacks some protein, so consider drinking a protein shake along with it.
Protein Pancakes are our next great muscle-building snack to take with you on the go. Whip these up first thing in the morning and they'll be ready when you need them.
To prepare these, combine 1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup of cottage cheese, 1 cup of egg whites, and 1-2 scoops of your favorite protein powder. Once well mixed, pour onto a pre-heated pan coated with non-stick spray and pour batter evenly in the center.
Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until edges are brown and then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. You should easily get 5-6 large pancakes from this recipe.
Tuna is always a great grab-and-go protein source. Make good use of it in your quest for lean mass. To prepare this muscle-building snack, open and drain a can of tuna. Combine with ¼ cup salsa, ½ cup kernel corn, and chopped mushrooms, peppers, and carrots.
Top with chilli pepper for a nice metabolic boost, and garlic and onion powder if desired. If you plan to consume this within a few hours of making it, no need to keep it in a cooler. Any longer than that, and you should try and keep it chilled.
Apple With Low-Fat Cheese
You likely won't be consuming tons of fruits and vegetables during a mass-building phase, as they do add quite a bit of bulk to your diet. But for health's sake, still strive to consume at least three to five servings each day for the nutritional benefits they provide.
Apples are a great source of fiber and vitamin C and a quick-and-easy snack. Pair the apple with some low-fat cheese for added protein, a small amount of fat, and calcium, and you're all set.
Protein Shake with Raw Oats
When you're really in a hurry and don't have time to prepare much of anything, nothing beats a scoop of protein powder tossed into a shaker cup along with ½ cup of raw oats and a few tablespoons of flaxseeds.
This "just-add-water" snack will provide you with all three essential nutrients-proteins, carbs, and fats-and takes all of 30 seconds to consume. When you're trying to up those calories to build muscle faster, this is a great choice.
Canned Whole Salmon with Whole-Wheat Crackers
Canned salmon is another welcome protein source. The high essential fatty acid content will supply your body with important nutrients for maximizing the muscle-building process.
Cottage Cheese with Canned Fruit
When ready to eat, simply open the can and dump the fruit and juice into the cottage cheese. This is a great way to instantly add flavor to a food that many people struggle to enjoy.
Since you're building muscle, you can afford a few extra calories in your diet. A bar that contains 300 to 500 will likely be a great fit.