Nearly everyone who has been to a gym or been around a fitness environment has heard of protein shakes or seen someone drinking them, but what actually is a protein shake and could it be beneficial to me and my training?
A protein shake is protein powder that has been mixed with a liquid to make a shake. Protein powders are made simply as a by-product of cheese production. See below the journey it takes from the cow to your shaker bottle!
Now I know what they are should I use them? Protein powders can be found in shops and supermarkets around the world in the ‘supplement’ section. All supplements should be used exactly how their name dictates, to supplement your daily diet. Protein powders are not a magical form of protein that help you reach your goals quicker or more efficiently, they are merely concentrated powders that nutritionally contain 85-90% protein. The answer to whether people should use them depends on whether or not they are consuming enough protein through their diet from natural sources. Natural sources of any nutrition are always better than supplements!! Ultimately, if you feel you are struggling to get much protein in your diet (especially if you are vegan or vegetarian) then adding in protein shakes can help you to increase your amount in a convenient way.
If you find yourself in the position of trying or wanting to try protein powders as a method of increasing your daily protein intake, there are a few ways in which you can use them to make your diet a bit more creative. Here are a few recipes/ways you can use them to increase your daily protein intake:
- Protein yoghurt – Mix one scoop of flavoured protein powder with 200-300g of Greek yoghurt (look for strained yoghurt such as SKYR or FAGE as they contain fewer sugars and more natural protein). Mix well until you get a smooth consistency like angel delight. Top with fruit or nuts depending on your taste and nutritional goals.
- Proats – Mix one scoop of flavoured protein powder with a bowl of cooked porridge. Some powders mix better than others so it may take a trial or two to get the consistency you want. Top with fruit or nuts depending on your taste and nutritional goals.
- Protein smoothies – Mix one scoop of protein into your favourite smoothie recipe. Use the right flavour protein to complement the fruits and liquid you choose. It will slightly alter the consistency to make it a little thicker but simply use a little more liquid.
- Protein pancakes – Mix one scoop of protein with a simple pancake recipe. Use vanilla flavour protein for a more neutral flavour. Top with fruit and nuts depending on your taste and nutritional goals.
If you feel you do need to increase your protein intake, then don’t be scared by protein powders but also don’t think they will be the answer to all your prayers. Try some of the above recipes or be creative yourself and create some tasty protein packed food of your own 😊