A big part of fueling your body with optimal nutrition as you go about your muscle building or fat loss program is ensuring that you are meeting your protein requirements. Protein is the only nutrient that the body has a firm requirement for, meaning you simply can’t miss out on it if you hope to stay alive. While your needs for staying alive and your needs for optimal functioning may be two different things, this point underscores the importance of ensuring that you get adequate protein into your day. A protein blend makes it easy. A high-quality protein blend product is an excellent addition to any nutrition line-up for a variety of reasons.
- It’s convenient. Most protein blend products mix up quickly with just plain water and a shaker cup, so you can take them anywhere and drink as needed.
- It’s a high-quality protein. Unlike some other ‘convenience’ protein options that you may pick up at the local store such as processed beef jerky, a protein bar loaded with sugar, or something like crackers and nut butter, all of which provides some protein, but not much, a protein blend is pure protein that is designed to help provide your body with all the critical amino acids you need to keep your nutrition up.
- Most people will find the taste appealing. Now, this might just surprise you. Chances are when you think of protein, you think of some chalky protein shake that tastes terrible. However, if you haven’t tried protein powders in recent years, it’s time to try them again. They’ve come a long way from where they used to be and can actually taste quite delicious.
So for all of these reasons, you should consider getting a protein blend in your life. You don’t just need to slam it back protein shake style. There are many things that you can do with your protein blend, so let’s go through a few of them right now so that you can see how easy it is to incorporate these into your menu.
Prepare Protein Packed Yogurt
Perhaps one of the best ways to use your protein blend is to transform your usual morning yogurt into one that is absolutely packed with protein. Yogurt is already a fairly decent source of protein – especially if you get a Greek yogurt variety – but the biggest issue with yogurt is that most will find the taste not so great unless they get the sugary, pre-sweetened varieties.
Protein powder will fix this and add more protein at the same time. Since protein blend products are already flavored in many delicious flavors, stir half a scoop or so into the yogurt and you now have your flavoring plus the added nutrition.
Make A Real Protein Smoothie
While protein powder mixed with water is always one option you can consider, when was the last time you made a real protein smoothie – one that was going to serve more as a meal replacement than just a source of protein?
If you’re busy and on the go, a protein smoothie can be a five-minute meal option that you always have in your toolkit. The great thing about making your own is that you can customize it to your nutritional needs. If you stop off for a protein smoothie at your local smoothie bar, there’s no real telling what exactly they’re going to be putting into it.
When preparing your own, consider adding a variety of ingredients such as the protein blend, cow’s milk or almond (or coconut) if you want to avoid lactose, fresh or frozen fruit, ground oats if you want to boost the carb content, and then a healthy fat source such as nut butters, flaxseeds, dried shredded coconut, or avocado.
Add some ice, blend it all up, and you’ll have an energizing snack in seconds.
If you need to focus on increasing your vegetable intake in your diet, you can also add some spinach to the blender and blend that in as well.
Whip Up Protein Cookies
Are you a cookie fan? The great news is that you don’t have to entirely cut these out from your diet to stay on track. Making a batch of protein cookies is a perfect option to use your protein blend. The nice thing about a protein blend as well is that often it contains casein, which is a protein powder that does tend to work better with cooking and baking. While straight casein is often not ideal as it dries out the baking too much, a protein blend contains casein along with whey so gives you the best combination possible.
Try this recipe next time you’re in the mood for a cookie.
¾ cup natural peanut butter
2 scoops protein blend (vanilla or chocolate)
¼ cup ground almonds
1 whole egg
2 squares dark chocolate
Mix together the peanut butter, protein blend, almonds, and egg. Once well mixed, form into bite-sized cookies and then press some dark chocolate pieces into the cookie. Bake at 350 for about 9-10 minutes and then remove and let cool before serving.
These are a delicious treat that will be lower in carbs and higher in healthy fats so great for those on reduced carb diet plans.
We can’t forget about protein pancakes! If you’re tired of the typical eggs and oatmeal for breakfast and want a change of pace, you’ll definitely want to consider whipping up some protein pancakes for something special.
The great thing about protein pancakes is like your smoothie option noted above, there are so many different varieties that you can do with protein pancakes. You can ramp up the carb count if you are headed into an intense workout shortly or just have a busy and active day ahead of you or you can remove the carbs and instead, lean heavier on the dietary fat content to keep your blood sugar in check.
Dieting very intensely? Not a problem. Simply mix your protein blend with some egg whites and cook up a protein crepe, which will stand in for the time being.
If you add just a little baking soda and powder to the recipe (1/2 tsp. should do you), you’ll still get a relatively fluffy effect that may make it seem like you’re eating a pancake.
Drizzle on top some sugar-free maple syrup and you’ll hardly miss the real thing.
So there you have four delicious ways to start using a protein blend that doesn’t involve a shaker cup and water. While for many, simply mixing with water or almond milk is the faster, easier solution, for those who do want to get a little more creative and do some cooking, there are other options available.
When shopping for a protein blend, make sure that you are choosing one that is of high-quality protein (whey, whey concentrate, egg protein, and casein), and check the carb and fat count. Usually, the lower the carb and fat count is, the higher quality the protein will be, so that will tell you whether it’s a product to consider investing in.