Raise your shaker bottle if you swear agree: Protein means better workouts and better results. Any guy hitting the gym these days has probably got one of these noisy bottles in his bag with his own special concoction for pre and post workout. Protein shakes help repair and build lean muscle mass and keep your energy up. The right combination means you're less sore tomorrow and better able to maintain your routine.
While the protein powders available today are better formulated for the right balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein, there's always the option to customize them for your personal goals as well as tastes. If you're sick of chalky, artificial-tasting flavors or just want something with a little more substance, try adding some of these boosters to your shake to avoid getting bored:
Flax, chia and hemp are three examples of seeds that make a great addition to your shake. They're loaded with essential fatty acids, like omega-3s, which protect the heart and brain as well as amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, after all. You can grind them up and mix them in or look for oils made from them, like flaxseed oil, and add a little to the mix.
Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) and bananas are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, lutein and flavonoids that fight off free radicals that can damage cells. They also add natural sweetness and contain essential minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium which your body needs after intense training. Eating more berries in general also reduces your risk for certain cancers.
If you're looking to amp up the fuel in your shake, adding oatmeal increases the carbohydrate count. Oats are packed with vitamins and minerals like iron as well as protein and fiber, which promotes proper digestion, helps you feel satisfied longer and also keeps blood sugar levels stable to prevent spikes and crashes that make you feel awful. Just add the plain, raw oats. No fancy flavors.
A spoonful of nut butter makes a shake creamier and adds healthy fats and protein to your liquid meal. Peanut and almond butters remain among the top choices, but be sure to look for organic butters made from roasted nuts that contain no added sugar or hydrogenated oils whenever possible. Lowfat varieties are also a trap. The whole nuts are great too, just buy them ground or grind them yourself.
No surprise here, but dairy can be a great choice to add instead of water for extra protein and vitamins. Nonfat or low-fat milk and yogurt also give the shake a creamy consistency. If you like to avoid dairy, almond or soy milk can also be used in place of water for additional protein.
Herbs and Spices:
Adding an extra kick through spices can do great things for the body, like fighting inflammation. Plus, they're a calorie-free way to improve the taste of your shake. Some great ones to try are cinnamon for blood sugar regulation, mint for digestive health and nutmeg for a richer taste and a good dose of fiber.
The more natural the better when shopping for these ingredients and pay attention to calories and sugar to stay within your desired goal. Loading a shake with tons of fruit, for example, adds extra sugar that may may mean you end up crashing if you don't have enough protein in there. Experiment and pay attention to what combinations work and what don't to create your own list of go-to recipes.
VegLife Peaceful Planet Holy Hemp Unflavored Why you may like this product? Hemp seeds are a great way to
add more protein, amino acids
and omega-3s to your shake.
This product does the work for
you, grinding non-GMO hempseed
into a convenient powder. Each
serving provides 12 g of
Optimum Nutrition 100% Natural Oats & Whey Milk Chocolate Why you may like this product? Interested in adding oats to
your protein shake? This
product is an easy way to
start, combining whole oat
flour and fiber with whey
protein and cocoa powder. Each
serving provides 24 g of
protein and 4 g of fiber to
keep you feeling full and
prevent blood sugar crashes.
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