Fun fact: the average woman consumes a whopping 100,000 extra calories per year just from snacking. Okay, not such a ‘fun’ fact.

But if you’re eating three substantial and balanced meals throughout the day yet still find yourself reaching for the cookie jar come 3 p.m., you actually might have a protein deficiency.

A study published in Obesity Reviews found that inadequate protein intake might prompt our bodies to increase our appetite, encouraging us to munch on something rich in protein.

Read more like this: These are the dietitian approved snacks under $2 a pop. Plus, these are the healthiest desk snacks.

But a protein deficit doesn’t aimlessly drive the urge to eat, as another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutritionpointed out. In fact, it may selectively increase people’s appetite for savoury foods, which tend to be higher in protein.

So, all you need to do is reach for poached chicken whenever you need a snack? Well, that’s where the problem lies, my friend, because apart from bodybuilders, how many people actually want to snack on chicken??

In today’s modern society, we are offered too big of a selection of sugary, calorie-dense foods (hello chocolate), which inevitably leaves us tip-toeing back to the kitchen looking for something else to snack on.

As a result, poor protein combined with regular snacking leads to weight gain and obesity – an idea known as protein leverage hypothesis.

Although not all studies support the hypothesis, protein is known to be more fulfilling that carbs and fat.

The verdict? If you’re feeling hungry all the time or find yourself making trips to the kitchen more often that needed, try adding some lean protein to every meal or reach for a delicious protein-rich snack other than a chocolate bar.

Healthy protein-rich snacks:

  • Serving size of roasted chickpeas
  • A handful of nuts/a tablespoon of nut butter
  • Plain Greek yoghurt (topped with a few fresh or frozen berries)
  • Tablespoon of hummus and veggie sticks
  • A hard-boiled egg
  • Three multigrain crispbreads with a tomato and a slice of low-fat cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Tin of tuna

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