When you whip up your protein shakes, you expect positive results: stronger muscles and faster post-training recovery. Shakes are an efficient way to get the protein and carbs you need in that critical period after a tough workout. If you’ve been incorporating protein shakes into your nutrition plan and haven’t gotten the results you expect, it might be time to take a closer look at what’s in your glass and evaluate the ingredients.
Does Your Protein Shake Need a Makeover? Try 4 Healthy Fixes
1) High Sugar Nut Butters
Excessive sugar can sneak into that tall glass of smooth goodness without you realizing it. Too much sugar in a shake means excess calories, which can translate to fat storage and other problems. Peanut or almond butter are commonly used in protein shakes. Nut butter provides a nice texture in addition to flavor, but there might be added sugar in your brand. Use nut butter if you like, but check out how much sugar is in your choice. Instead of extra tablespoons of nut butter, try adding avocado for creaminess.
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2) Sweetened Dry Fruits
It might be convenient to keep dried fruit on hand to toss into protein shakes for added flavor. Some fresh fruits do spoil quickly. However, dried fruit is sometimes sweetened with syrups or sugar. Look at the sugar content on your favorites. A single dried piece of fruit is also physically smaller than its water-filled counterpart. This means instead of throwing five bulky strawberries into a shake; you might be throwing triple that amount of the dried berries. More berries mean more calories and more sugar, even if there isn’t added sugar in your favorite product. Try using frozen fruit. It will keep in your freezer and provide the bulk and flavor you need.
3) Sweetened Nut Milk
Excess sugar can also sneak in by way of sweetened nut milk added to shakes. Some brands tend to have more sugar than their unsweetened counterparts. Check the labels before tossing nut milk into the mix.
4) Using the Wrong Type of Protein Powder
If you’re hungry soon after drinking a hearty protein shake and find yourself reaching for more snacks, you might want to try a different powder. Conversely, if you feel bloated or gassy and are discouraged from eating normally the rest of the day after drinking a protein shake, you need to find a different powder.
The good news is, there are many choices out there from which to choose; whey, pea, rice, chia, soy, and others. Explore your options. Read the package and make sure you’re getting the serving size right. You’re aiming for 20-30 grams of protein in your shake depending on your weight loss or weight-lifting goals.
When deciding on a protein powder, make sure the powder doesn’t have excessive chemical additives or sugars. Your body would rather get natural sugar from raspberries in a shake than from a processed powder.