What You Need To Know About Consuming Protein Powder
Most people only think of consuming protein powder as part of a shake for a post-workout pick-me-up. However, there are several different ways in which to use protein powder. Let’s explore a few unique ways.
Mix together 2 scoops of protein powder and 1 can of coconut milk. Add in other ingredients such as flaked coconut or powdered chocolate as desired. Blend together and freeze in popsicle molds.
Make your favorite banana bread recipe protein-friendly by substituting half of the white flour for whole wheat and adding about ¼ cup of protein powder. Adjust the liquid accordingly to get the right consistency.
Waffles and pancakes are always breakfast favorites too. Add a scoop of protein powder to your favorite recipe and back off the flour accordingly.
For something different, try making crepes with a scoop of protein powder. Mix together 1 cup of egg whites or 2 whole eggs, 1/2 cup mashed banana, 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder and 1/2 cup of whole-wheat flour. Pour a circle of batter into a hot greased pan. Once the bottom of the crepe starts bubbling, flip it. Once the other side is done, remove from the pan. Now, fill with scrambled eggs w/bacon bits and roll-up for a healthy breakfast kids will love.
This makes a super-simple dessert. Mix a scoop of your favorite chocolate or vanilla protein powder with 6 ounces of Greek yogurt and 1 to 2 tablespoons of water as needed to get the desired consistency. Chill until cold and enjoy!
Hot Cereal Substitute
For a super-easy breakfast, take 2 cups of unsweetened applesauce, 4 tablespoons of chunky almond butter, 3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk and 1scoop of protein powder. Mix ingredients together and cook in a small pan over medium heat. Stir often to prevent burning. Once hot through, pour in a bowl, add some almond milk and season to taste with cinnamon. You can also add other toppings including walnuts, or fresh or dried fruit.
Fresh fruit makes a healthy snack or dessert, but you can spice it up with this fruit dip. Take 1 scoop of protein powder and mix with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter powderf, such as PB2. Adjust consistency with about three tablespoons of water (more or less depending on how thick you want it). That’s it!
Getting protein powder via only shakes and smoothies can get boring after a while. But by adding these 5 ways to get protein powder to your diet, it puts enough variety to keep from getting bored.
5 Best Non-Dairy Protein Powders
Non-dairy protein powders are not as plentiful as dairy-based ones, but there is still a good selection available. However, determining which ones are the “best” can be subjective; what may be touted as the best by one person may not be the same for another. Allergies and certain food intolerances can bring one type of powder to the top of a list over others, while taste or nutritional value may be high on the list for someone else.
While talking about nutrition, not all plant-based powders contain complete protein as do the ones based on dairy. Complete protein are food sources that contain all nine essential amino acids. Because these nine cannot be manufactured by the body, and are necessary for good health, these three complete protein sources make our non-dairy protein powder list: soy, hemp or sunflower.
Easy to digest, soy protein powder is used in everything from shakes, yogurt, bars, pancakes and soups. One reason it is so versatile is because it adds little flavor and blends smoothly in liquids. One-hundred grams of powder provides up to 60 grams of protein.
Like soy, hemp contains all of the essential amino acids along with 12 of the non-essential ones. Unlike soy however, hemp is non-genetically modified. Along with being a complete protein, hemp protein powder is also hypoallergenic making it easier tolerated by people that suffer from food allergies. One-hundred grams of powder provides up to 49 grams of protein.
Derived from sunflower seeds, this superfood protein powder has a light nutty-like taste, different from the other two types. It is also one of the most nutrient, fiber and protein dense of all non-dairy protein powders making it a good addition to breads and baked goods for a little extra protein. One-hundred grams of powder provides up to 45 grams of protein.
Two other non-dairy protein powders also make our list. While not complete proteins as the first three, these two are great in their own right.
A fairly newcomer in the plant-based protein market, pea protein powder is taking the industry by storm. Why? Because it is rich in the amino acids lysine and arginine. These two amino acids are responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helps with the formation of collagen used to repair tissue, cartilage and tendons, making it an excellent choice as a supplement for those with an active lifestyle. One-hundred grams of powder provides up to 81 grams of protein.
Even though rice is mostly composed of carbohydrates, it does have a small amount of protein too. Through an extraction process, the protein is harvested and processed into a protein powder. One advantage of its protein is that it is easy to digest and hypo-allergenic making it a good choice for people with sensitive stomachs or prone to food allergies. However, because it is not a complete protein, it should be paired with hemp or pea powder to round out the complete amino acid profile. One-hundred grams of powder provides up to 75 grams of protein.
Adding non-dairy protein as part of a plant-based diet does not mean you can’t get enough complete protein. It means you just have to be smart, read nutrition labels and make sure to get enough complete protein to maintain good health. As shown above, in some cases that means combining two or more powders incomplete protein powders.
The Pros and Cons of Whey Protein
Whey protein has quickly become a staple of gym-goers around the world, but for many people, whey is still something of a mystery. Put very simply, whey is a complex protein most commonly found in a powder form and used as a protein supplement with the aim of building muscle. Whey has a fantastic concentration of amino acids. There are different concentrates of whey that contain differing amounts of protein, but ultimately, it is a more concentrated protein supplement. So is it worth taking?
The amino acids mentioned above are what make whey such an attractive source of protein for so many people. Many forms of protein only contain certain types of amino acids, but whey protein contains all of the amino acids that our bodies require for healthy functioning. This makes whey one of the most rounded forms of protein and explains why it has become so popular so quickly.
Further studies have indicated that whey protein supplements can have a positive effect on individuals’ immune systems and other bodily functions. Although whey is more commonly associated with those looking to build muscle, there are many suggestions that whey protein should have a place in most people’s diets. This is particularly relevant for individuals who may be running on a protein deficiency – a common occurrence amongst vegetarians and those who avoid red meat.
However, there are some drawbacks to whey protein. Firstly, when taken as a supplement, it can be expensive. Continued use of whey can put pressure on purse strings and, if being depended on, can result in a dietary imbalance if the whey can no longer be afforded. This is always important to consider if the balance of your diet is reliant on a whey protein supplement.
Furthermore, there is such a thing as too much protein in your diet. Although protein plays a very important role in the body’s regenerative powers and stabilising blood sugar levels, too much protein can have negative effects. The kidneys can struggle to process all of the waste caused by the digestion of protein and people can end up putting on weight when that was not their intention.
This is why whey protein should only be considered as part of a structured and well-planned diet. Whey might be an excellent source of protein, but only if your body actually needs that protein. Otherwise, you are just spending money for no good reason.
Protein Powder vs Food: Which is Best?
The debate over protein powder vs food has never been more prominent, and yet people still find themselves asking the question. There is no doubting the important role that protein plays in maintaining a healthy body, so surely anything which provides this protein in a simple and efficient way should be welcomed, right? Unfortunately, it is not quite as simple as proponents of each would have you believe. Depending on your circumstances, there are benefits and drawbacks to both.
Protein powder fans will argue, and with some merit, that protein powder is an efficient way of ensuring that you are consuming the right amount of protein for your dietary needs. The argument is valid – many people do not have the time to work out and calculate how much protein is in their daily diet. As such, a protein powder offers convenience in preparing and tracking your protein intake.
On the other side of this coin, you should always consider the balance of your diet. If you are unaware of how much protein you are consuming during the day, then knowing how much protein is in your powder supplement is only half the information. It still doesn’t give you a fully accurate account of your daily intake. There is such a thing as having too much protein in your diet, and a powdered protein supplement can easily result in users consuming far too much protein.
There is also the cost to consider – protein powders are, generally, rather expensive. They rarely replace food in the diet and, as a result, can be costly to maintain. From a budgetary point of view, it is far more economical to take the time in order to prepare your diet with a balanced amount of protein being provided naturally through food. There is no reason that the vast majority of people cannot do this.
Ultimately, some individuals who are looking to bulk up and add muscle to their frame will find a legitimate use for protein powder. However, the idea that regular individuals simply looking to live a healthy life have any need for protein powders on a regular basis is flawed. Finding a healthy source of protein in a natural diet is not difficult once you are willing to take the time to plan your diet accordingly. It may be slightly more time consuming, but a food based protein diet does make more sense for most people.
How to Improve the Taste of Protein Powder
The protein powders of today are not anything like the ones of even just a few years ago. Now there are many different types, each one having a unique taste. If you try one and don’t like it, try others until you do find one you like.
The main use of protein powder is for making protein shakes. While drinking a shake made from protein powder is a good way to get extra protein, they can get boring if you make the same one each time. Add some variety to keep the flavor fresh and exciting.
Depending on individual tastes, some people like thinner shakes or even a drink, while other like their shakes thicker. For a thin shake, use either plain water (which does nothing to change the flavor, or a berry-flavored tea such as raspberry, peach, mango or even acai.
For a thicker shake, substitute water or tea for a milk substitute, such as almond or soy milk. Some people like to use whole milk for an extra thick shake, but the combination of protein powder and whole milk can be hard to digest. If you have not had it before, go easy and see how your digestive tract reacts. For a different thickener, try adding some peanut butter. It will enhance the flavor besides thicken.
Sweetener comes in many varieties of which sugar, honey and maple syrup are three of the more popular ones. Fresh fruit also adds some sweetness along with flavor, fiber and nutrients naturally; bananas are one popular fruit. For a sweetener without the calories, try Splenda or stevia. You may have to cut back on the amount used, because these sweeteners tend to be sweeter than natural sugar.
Other Ways to Get Protein
Besides protein shakes, there is a myriad of other ways to get more protein:
- Ready-made drinks
- Protein Bars
- Greek Yogurt
There are several different types of ready-made drinks on the market. Most taste good, but some are loaded with sugar and fat. Be sure to read the nutrition label to see what ingredients it contains.
These are great for an on-the-go snack that isn’t as messy as a drink or shake. Again, be aware of added sugar and fat. Don’t compromise nutrition for convenience.
For a change, try Greek yogurt. Not only do some have up to 15 grams of protein per serving, but they are a good source of fiber without added sugar or fat.
With so many options available, no longer do you have to choke down some unpleasant tasting shake. Experiment until you find the protein source you like and enjoy.