For bodybuilding and fitness goals, protein shakes are part of life, and… they’re not that bad at all.
They’re not a necessary evil like caloric deficit or soreness. Protein Shakes actually taste good for the most part and give your muscles the building blocks they need to grow and strengthen from your workouts. For those of you that are worried about gaining too much fat when consuming protein take a look at this study that explores “you don’t gain more body fat with a high protein diet”.
However, they DO get boring. There’s no way around that. No matter how wonderful the chocolate fudge pie flavored whey gets, your taste buds will scream “ENOUGH!” at some point.
Here are some ways to “shake things up” so you can continue using this wonderful resource without getting fatigued on it.
Obviously your needs for carbs and fat will vary, so use your own judgment on certain ingredients for what you add to your protein shakes.
#1 Switch to Smoothies
Your home blender will always give you way more options than a cup shaker or spoon for your shakes. Even those little blending cups have minimal chopping ability.
This does make things more difficult on-the-go, of course. If you need part of your smoothie for later on, store it in a thermos and use one of those metal twine balls inside (from a shaker cup) to re-mix everything later in the day.
A good standard staple is to use milk and some plain yogurt (full fat or non-fat), which will add a pro-biotic nutritional edge to your morning. Then you can add more of the items below as you wish.
#2 Add Frozen Fruit to Your Protein Shakes
The great thing about this is that you have a near limitless variety for what you can add to a protein smoothie. In the frozen section of your grocery store, you will find frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, mango, pineapple, cherries, guava, and more.
You may have to visit a few stores to find everything, but that isn’t so bad. If it turns out that Shop Rite is the only place to find organic frozen cherries, then you can just buy a few bags while you’re there and only return once every month or two.
And of course, any fruit you find in the fresh produce section, such as bananas, are great for unpeeling and freezing for later use.
The combination possibilities are near endless as well, because you never know how peach will combine with blueberries compared to raspberries, etc.
Most diets allow at least one serving of fruit a day and a smoothie is a great place to make this happen.
Note: Vanilla flavored protein powder seems to work best with fruit for the most part.
#3 Switch the Protein Source Up
Ok, hear me out on this one before you start rebelling in the comment section. Ask yourself what protein powder is the best for you?
I am fully onboard with the idea that the best protein powder is a blend of fast-digesting and slow-digesting milk proteins (such as whey & casein).
However, just like salmon is arguably healthier than pork chops, you would not want to eat fish every single day of your life.
A healthy diet has variety, there’s no way around it. For some reason, we gym rats assume that sucralose and whey should be immune to variety rule, but if you care about your total health, then it makes sense to mix some other types of protein powder in.
Don’t go for the soy, but there’s egg, hemp, and rice protein to at least look at. Even if you end up having days with less protein in your shakes, you’ll feel a lot better and enjoy having new shakes you’ve never tried before.
#4 Try Some Oatmeal
This one surprises a lot of folks because most likely your entire life, oatmeal has only been a food that is only EATEN and never drank through a straw.
However, if you take some rolled oats fresh out of the canister and throw it in your blender, it makes a great smoothie even tastier and heartier. An eighth or fourth of a cup goes a long way.
You’ll get some more carbs with this, but you also get a ton of fiber and nutrients… as well as lowering your overall cholesterol. Along with quinoa, oatmeal is one of the top grains on earth so don’t shortchange it.
#5 Add Peanut Butter
This is another counter-intuitive measure but will make your protein smoothies tasty and dangerously addictive. If you already have some mixed frozen berries in your blender, add a spoon or two of smooth peanut butter and you get a delicious peanut butter and jelly taste to your protein shake.
If you want to take it even farther, use Earth Balance “Coconut & Peanut Spread,” which combines coconut oil with peanut butter for a unique and unforgettable taste sensation.
Speaking of coconut oil, if you need a fat source for your morning, that is a great addition to put in a smoothie as well, and goes especially well with strawberries and cherries.
When in doubt, simply just be creative. As said earlier, you will want to see how the fruit, oatmeal, and natural fat recommendations gel with your nutritional regimen. Either way, you can rest that there’s no reason your protein supplementation has to be boring.
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