Your Guide to Protein
Protein is super important. It helps to build and repair muscles. However, it’s important to find the right protein powder and/or protein bar. There are so many options out there, how do you know which protein to pick? Here’s your guide to protein!
Your Guide to Protein: Read the Labels
Many companies will only talk about the positive benefits of their products such as “20g of protein,” and negate the negative (excluding saturated fat content and added sugars).
Because of this, it’s important to read both the ingredients section and nutrition label when picking out your protein sources.
I would highly recommend only buying the cleanest protein products that have limited saturated fat and sugars.
I would not consume a protein product that has more than 3g of saturated fat; I would also try to find protein that has less than 2g of sugars.
Best protein powders
In my experience and opinion, the best protein powders are Quest and Isopure. Isopure is a little bit cleaner than Quest, but both are healthy products.
Quest has a more extensive line of flavors and works better for baking protein biscuits and cakes.
However, both will do your body right for sure.
But what if I don’t eat animal products?
That’s no problem! Evolve and Owyn are both healthy plant-based protein choices with limited saturated fat and sugars.
Both brands have awesome on-the-go options too.
Quest and Epic are by far the cleanest I have found. However, there are new brands being created and discovered all the time.
Again, it comes down to added sugars and saturated fats in my book.
How much protein?
I recommend having 35-45% of your daily calories be consumed by lean protein.
However, this percentage may need to be adjusted based on many factors.
Too much protein can cause some stomach issues such as constipation. So, please pay careful attention if your body starts feeling off. If this occurs, please speak to a fitness and/or medical professional to make sure you are consuming the right amount of protein.
The best time to consume protein is within two hours after working out.
Also, I highly recommend mixing a scoop of protein with water or fat free milk or unsweetened almond milk about two hours before bed.
Since we do most of our growing and repairing when we sleep, this will aid in the rebuilding process.
Furthermore, for those that are on new nutrition plans, this can help with food cravings as well.
Lastly, it’s totally cool to have protein at every meal (again as long as you are not over-consuming protein). Above, I am merely recommending the most optimal times to have it.
Protein Shake Recipe
Below is my favorite protein shake recipe. Feel free to modify as needed.
- 1 scoop of Isopure or Quest protein
- 1 tablespoon of raw peanut butter or raw almond butter
- ¼ cup blueberries
- 1 teaspoon of honey or unsweetened maple syrup
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
***feel free to add ice if desired or water to make thinner
Things To Avoid
If you’re trying to lose weight, I highly recommend avoiding bananas or limiting them in your shakes.
As far as fruit goes it’s better to stick to berries such as raspberries or blueberries.
It’s also a good idea to make your shakes at home, since most of the shakes one would buy out have added sugars in their nut butters and frozen yogurt.
Knowing exactly what you’re putting in your body is key to reaching your fitness and weight goals.
Eat Other Foods
I also want to make it known that it’s very important to not solely rely on protein powders and bars as your only source of nutrition.
You still need other sources of protein as well as complex carbs and healthy fats.
The protein products I am describing should be part of your diet, not your whole diet.
Other Healthy Bars
Lastly, I would like to mention a couple healthy bars that are not protein bars due to their reduced protein content, but are still healthy options for the busy individual.
Rx bars and Lara bars are both great brands. Rx can be a little chewy, but definitely worth checking out.
I hope this article has inspired you all to be picky about your protein and overall food choices.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out. As always, thanks for reading and stay tuned!
Images via Dreamstime.com