How to choose the right protein powder or shake
Well, first.. you need to like it. It shouldn't be one of those things that you are forcing yourself to drink while plugging your nose. Everyone has different tastes so you need to find one that you enjoy.
Protein shakes come in 2 forms
Shakes come in powder form and an already prepared shake. Buying protein powder takes more work to prepare, but it gives you more options. You can use protein powder in making baked goods, self made protein bars, smoothies, or just mixing with water to drink. Having an already prepared shake is easier and more convenient. I like to have both on hand for ease and variety.
Protein supplements come from a variety of different sources.
Whey Protein-most common, contains lactose, contains all 9 amino acids
Soy Protein- very common, can be beneficial to women in menopause and can help with osteoporosis
Rice Protein- 100 percent plant based (good for vegetarians)
Hemp Protein-100 percent plant based, good source of omega 3 fatty acids
Some protein powders will have only one source of protein while others may combine 2-3 different sources. If you have allergies and if you are avoiding diary, or are a vegetarian, you should be mindful and read the label.
Tips when considering a protein powder or shake
1. Are you trying to avoid diary or gluten? If so, look at the ingredients! It may contain dairy based protein like whey and milk protein. If you are avoiding gluten look for these ingredients on the label.
2. The different protein sources have their own taste. Whey based protein will have a distinct taste, as will plant based etc. If you have tried a couple of different shakes of one type of protein and you don't like it, try a different source altogether.
3. Look at the macro nutrients! (Fats, carbs, and protein) If you are a diabetic or following a low-carb diet, be mindful of the carbohydrate and sugar content. If you have kidney disease, choose one that is lower in protein.
4. When you are looking for a new shake or powder, visit your local health food store. These stores typically have individual bottles or packets to purchase. Once you find ones you like, you can then order in bulk so it is less expensive.
Let’s be honest, no one wants to drink a shake instead of having a meal for the rest of their life. That would get boring and expensive. I don’t recommend that my clients depend on protein shakes as a replacement for an actual meal, but as a supplement (addition). They can come in handy when you are needing a snack, have craving for something sweet, or would like a boost of protein in your smoothie, baked goods, or in overnight oats. There are plenty of ways to use protein powder or shakes to supplement your nutrition but I recommend sticking to food for all your nutritional needs as much as you can.
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