Journey To 30 Challenge: Make a High-Protein Snack

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Satisfy a craving and power through your day with a snack that nourishes your fitness goals.

Almond Pistachio Cocoa Bites

To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we’ve put together the Journey to 30 Challenge! It’s four weeks of summer-fun activities to help you stay active, connect with the SilverSneakers community, and have a total blast doing it.This is Activity No. 18. Find the full step-by-step guide here. And download the game board PDF here. 

Journey to 30 Challenge Board Game PDF

When it comes to building — and keeping — muscle mass as you grow older, food is just as important as fitness. Specifically, your protein intake.

Thing is, there’s evidence that older adults aren’t eating enough protein to stave off this muscle loss, according to a 2019 report in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging.

Why? As we get older, we don’t absorb or metabolize protein as well as we did when we were younger, says Sonya Angelone, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

So how do you make sure you’re getting enough protein? We’ll get down to it in today’s challenge.  

SilverSneakers members: RSVP for the 30th Anniversary Grand Finale Member Celebration that takes place at 1:00 p.m. ET on September 16. It’s an online workout party that you won’t want to miss! Check your eligibilityand RSVP here. 

The Journey To 30 Challenge Activity 18: Make a High Protein Snack 

Angelone encourages every older adult to talk to their health care provider and/or a registered dietitian about their eating habits and nutrition needs. This is especially true if you’re managing a chronic health condition or are trying to lose or gain weight.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a handy online tool to help you calculate your daily needs for protein and other key nutrients. These numbers are based on the Dietary Reference Intakes established by the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Keep in mind that these numbers are a good baseline. Depending on your activity level and other health needs, you may need more protein. In one American Journal of Physiology—Endocrinology and Metabolismstudy, older adults between the ages of 52 and 75 improved their muscle health by eating 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. That’s roughly double the RDA.

To save you from doing a lot of math, Angelone recommends spacing out your protein needs throughout the day. Aim to eat 25 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, she says.

If that seems like too much, include one to two high-protein snacks in your daily meal plan.

One to try:

Almond Pistachio Cocoa Bites 

These snack-size energy bites (shown above) from Amy Gorin, R.D.N., have no added sugar and are made with a few different high-protein ingredients:

  • Almond butter, which has 7 grams of protein per tablespoon
  • Chia seeds, which have 2.3 grams per tablespoon
  • Pistachios, which have 5.72 grams per ounce

You’ll need:

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  • 1½ cup oats
  • 1 cup almond butter (no sugar added)
  • ⅓ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, divided

What to do:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix oats, almond butter, chia seeds, pistachios, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder with a spoon until well combined.
  2. Roll into 14 balls with your hands, then place on parchment paper in an air-tight container.
  3. Dust with remaining cocoa powder.
  4. Refrigerate or freeze for a few hours or overnight before eating.
  5. Store them in an air-tight container in the freezer or refrigerator for quick, on-the-go snacking.


Get and stay fit with SilverSneakers! Choose from dozens of different Community classes, visit a participating fitness location, or view the current schedule of SilverSneakers LIVE online classes.

Want more high-protein inspiration? We’ve got plenty of ideas to fuel your brainstorm: 

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