If you’ve been reading here on my blog on the Internet or anywhere else in print about women’s nutrition, then you have been reading about protein shakes
Getting enough protein to build a lean, strong, sexy body is essential. Getting a nutrient-packed, well-balanced meal when you barely have time to stand in one place is also a huge concern. Women are busier today than we’ve ever been. We have demanding careers, children and partners who need our time and attention, causes and organizations to which we’re committed and then….somewhere in there….our own needs to see to as well. The two things most commonly left by the wayside are healthy meals and a good night’s sleep.
The Benefits of Using Protein Shakes
When they are prepared properly, protein shakes can be a solution to both our nutritional needs and our busy schedules. They’re fast, portable, inexpensive and you can customize the ingredients to meet your specific needs and tastes.
Once you have a few favorite recipes on hand, you can choose a shake to suit your mood and your needs. You can get a great post-workout dose of protein and carbs, a nutrient-packed meal on the run or even a healthy and satisfying dessert shake. The flavor variations are limitless and you can use ingredients that deliver the most nutrition and are in season and at their peak.
Stay Away from the Packaged Protein Shakes and Make Your Own
Whatever you do, steer clear of the prepared protein shakes you see on the supermarket shelves. Most of them contain far too much sugar, a ton of artificial ingredients and are made with inferior protein sources. On top of all that, they’re expensive. While you will spend a bit on a large container of high-quality whey protein powder, that container will usually make at least 30 shakes. This is much cheaper in the long run than buying single bottled shakes that start at about $2 or the six-packs you see at the grocery for $10-12
How to Get the Most Benefit from Protein Shakes
Use a high-quality, organic whey protein powder after a workout, casein or pea protein for any other time of the day. If choosing non-vegan protein, you want a powder made from milk that was raised without hormones or antibiotics and from cows that were pasture-raised and grass-fed. Not only is this safer for you, but it contains more of the healthy fats your body needs. Choose a low-carb powder, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Many protein powders are way too high in carb content, mainly from added sugar. Pay attention to the sodium as well. Some proteins low in sugar are high in sodium.
I caution women against using a soy protein powder for a few important reasons. Soy has been linked to several cancers, including breast, cervical and uterine cancer. Soy is also one of the most genetically-modified and heavily sprayed crops grown in this country.
I also strongly urge you to use organic fresh ingredients in your protein shakes. Why add chemicals and toxins to your body while you’re trying to nourish it?
When making shakes as a meal replacement or a healthy snack, remember that you want to get a little bit of healthy fats from things like flax seeds, chia seeds, coconut or almond milk and nut butters. Healthy fats not only help you to feel full and satisfied, they also help your body to metabolize the vitamins and minerals you are taking in.
Berries and other fruits are also great to add to shakes, not only for their taste, but for their vitamin content, particularly their B-vitamins. These and other low-glycemic fruits give you just enough energy and vitamins (plus added fiber) without delivering too much sugar. Keep in mind the carb content of your protein powder and don’t overdo the carbs. Aside from berries, peaches and apricots are good, low-glycemic choices.
When to Use Protein Shakes to Get the Most Benefits
You can drink a protein shake anytime you like as long as you’re not overdoing the calories or taking in too much protein unnecessarily.
A well-balanced protein shake can mean the difference between a healthy breakfast and no breakfast at all for especially busy mornings. Many women have a hard time getting anything more than coffee into their bodies in the mornings because of the early morning chaos of getting themselves and their kids out the door.
A protein shake is a great pre- or post-workout meal option as well. It can supply the nutrients you need to power through your workouts and to deliver protein to your muscles after your strength-training sessions.
You can also use protein shakes as a healthy dessert or sweet treat. I even like to freeze my protein shakes for 30 minutes to an hour and eat them with a spoon. This is especially yummy with the chocolate flavor. It’s extra satisfying because it takes you longer to eat it than to drink it and you feel like you’re having a decadent frozen dessert. Much better for you than giving in to that ice cream craving!
Five Great Recipes That Taste Awesome and are Great for You
Here are five of my favorite protein shake recipes. Try them all and find your favorites and use them as a springboard for creating your own recipes. The possibilities are limitless, so you never need to get bored.
This recipe is really yummy and creamy and you’ll get a nice dose of healthy fats from the almond butter.
Combine one scoop (or two if your powder requires it) chocolate protein powder, ½ cup cold water, ½ cup unflavored or vanilla coconut milk and one tablespoon almond butter in a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
The blueberries add fiber and tons of antioxidants. The chia seeds are loaded with fiber and Omega-3 fats. Buy them ground or grind them yourself by popping them into a spice grinder for just a few seconds.
Combine 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 cup cold water, ¼ cup fresh organic blueberries and 1 teaspoon ground chia seeds in a blender and blend until smooth.
This is a great shake for pre-workout nutrition. This is when you need some carbs and the banana has valuable potassium to help prevent muscle cramping during your workout.
Combine 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, ½ medium ripe banana, 1 teaspoon flax seed powder and ¾ cup cold water (or try coconut milk for an extra creamy shake). Blend until smooth.
This shake is like a cup of sunshine. It’s a great one to have for breakfast.
Combine 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 sliced (peeled) peach or ½ cup frozen organic peaches, ¾ cup cold water and one teaspoon ground chia seeds. Blend until smooth.
Very Berry Blend
This shake is loaded with antioxidants and fiber and is another excellent pre-workout or morning shake. It’s also delicious frozen.
Combine 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, ½ cup cold water. ¼ cup vanilla or unflavored coconut milk, ¼ cup fresh blueberries and ¼ cup fresh strawberries. Blend until smooth and drink immediately or pour into a shallow container and freeze for 30 minutes.
These are just a handful of some of my favorite protein shake recipes. Create your own using your own favorite ingredients and utilizing what is in season and the freshest where you live. Play around with the flavors and textures. Almond milk adds a subtle nutty flavor to your shakes and you can also swap out half of the water in your shake with a few ice cubes if you like them thicker. You’ll get the same effect from using organic frozen fruits, which are better than buying commercially grown fruits and cheaper than buying out of season crops.
Grab your blender and these recipes, take a look at what’s in your fridge or at the farmer’s market and have some fun creating delicious, nutrient-dense shakes that feed your taste buds and your muscles. Just remember to choose an organic, low-carb whey protein powder, watch the carbs you’re adding to your shakes especially if you’re trying to lose weight and save the higher-carb shakes for mornings or pre-workout use. Choose organic fresh or frozen fruits as much as possible and feel free to toss in some ground chia seed or flax seed into pretty much any shake for added Omega-3 fats and fiber.
Once you taste how delicious protein shakes can really be, you will never skip meals or spend money on nutritionally-inferior premade shakes again.
Yes protein shakes are for women too!! I find that a lot of people get surprised when they hear me say this and then I get a million people asking: “Where can I get the best protein powder?” This is always my answer: BioTrust. This is where I get my protein powder because it is the best brand out there! Go ahead and get try these recipes, you will love them!
Order BioTrust today: