How To Incorporate Protein Shakes Into Your Diet

 8 min read

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Protein shakes are ideal if you want to build muscle, lose weight or simply include more protein in your diet. But what time of day is the best time to consume a protein shake?

In this article, we will take a look at how consuming protein shakes at a certain time of day may be more effective for muscle growth and weight loss.

Ready to dive in? Let’s get to it.

Are Protein Shakes Better Before or Post-Workout?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question as the choice is totally yours. Some people think that consuming a protein shake 30 minutes before a workout provides better results. This is often known as the ‘anabolic window’.

However, there is research to suggest that the anabolic window is much longer than 30 minutes and that this window extends beyond a workout.

According to one study, the effects of drinking a protein shake before or after a workout are very similar. So it really is a case of personal preference.

Should I Have A Protein Shake On A Rest Day?

Yes, absolutely! There is no need to lower your protein intake on rest days as your muscles are still recovering and growing. Therefore, your muscles are still reaping all the benefits even when resting. So keep the protein shakes coming! For more information about keeping on top of nutrition, check out this article.

Protein Shakes Before Bed: Will It Make A Difference?

Finishing off the day with a protein shake isn’t such a bad idea. Even during rest days, the muscles are constantly repairing themselves, and allowing them to do this while you sleep allows the body to do what it needs to do without interruption.

Below are a couple of tips you might want to consider if you decide to start drinking protein shakes before you go to bed.

#1: Choose Plant Protein Powder

You’ve probably heard that casein is the best protein shake to drink before bed. While true that it is a better option than whey because it takes longer to digest, it’s inferior to plant protein due to the gastric distress it can cause.

#2: Exercise To See Results

Unless you are consuming protein shakes to gain weight, you need to be exercising alongside your shake intake to see results. This may be in the form of weight training, walking, or another form of cardio. A solid workout routine is essential if you want to see any results.

#3: Be Sure To Consume A Healthy Shake 

Don’t be fooled into thinking all protein shakes are healthy - because they aren’t. Shakes containing nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew) can be fattening. Milk-based proteins like whey are known to be inflammatory and come with a number of undesirable side effects, not to mention all the artificial sweeteners and additives that they usually contain. 

Here are a few more reasons why you should consider drinking protein shakes before bed.

There are a variety of ways to create protein shakes to make them flavorful and above all, enjoyable! 

How To Make A Protein Shake At Home

Most of the ingredients found in a protein smoothie are often products we already have in our kitchen (which saves a grocery store run!). 

The Basics 

To make a basic protein shake you need: 

Plant-Based Milk

You can use any type of milk in a smoothie to give a delicious, creamy taste and texture, but we recommend avoiding cow’s milk for the same reasons we advise against whey protein. Industrialized dairy is just plain scary!

If you are in the 48% of Americans that have some sort of lactose intolerance, then you’d be especially wise to use a plant-based product such as almond, oat, coconut or any other type of high quality nut milk you can find. Just be sure to read the labels because many of the nut milk products that you’ll find at your local grocery store have a lot of added sugar and hidden ingredients.

Unsweetened coconut milk is a popular choice as it is creamier than other plant-based options (in our opinion!).

Plant-Based Protein Powder

Obviously, it wouldn’t be a protein shake without protein powder. The old school options used to be whey, casein, and egg protein. Fortunately, nowadays there are cleaner, more nutritious, and more environmentally-friendly options available that are made entirely from plants. 

It’s no secret that if your goal is to lose weight or get into shape, the quality of the fuel you consume will have a major impact on the timeline and ability to achieve it. For this reason, you should always seek out premium protein powders that contain no artificial colors, additives, preservatives or fillers. 

If you’re looking for a basic protein powder, your best bet is to avoid the hefty markup that branded charge and go straight to your local bulk bin store. You can usually find a variety of plant protein options that come without additives and the expensive price tag.

Added Extras

Now here is where the excitement lies (as exciting as protein shakes get). Homemade protein shakes are nothing without the added extras. You can add a whole variety of fruits, nut butter, seeds and syrups to your shake to spice up the flavor and make it your own.

Fruit

Fresh or frozen fruit, the choice is yours. Berries are a great way of adding flavor to a protein shake as on their own, they are quite bland. Try adding strawberries, raspberries or blueberries to the mix for a fruity taste. Blueberries in particular are an excellent source of antioxidants.

Banana protein shake - you got it! Fresh or frozen bananas are also a great addition which gives a shake that creamy consistency that we love. Not only will it make it taste good, bananas provide us with fiber and potassium. 

Cutting back on carbs? Swap the bananas for frozen zucchini. They help make protein smoothies creamier without changing the taste.

Nut Butter

Although adding too much can be fattening, a couple of teaspoons of your favorite nut butter is a good way of adding healthy fats to your diet. You’ll be surprised at just how many types of nut butters are available at your local grocery store, so get on down there to scope it out! Peanut, cashew and almond butter are all equally delicious.

Seeds

It’s true that seeds add texture to shakes, but they also have added health benefits. Chia, flax and hemp seeds are all fantastic sources of omega-3, fiber and protein. Just a couple of teaspoons of seeds in one protein shake is enough to make a difference.

Extra Additions

Coconut yogurt is a good way to thicken up a shake. Just be sure the yogurt is plain as flavored varieties often include a ton of sugar.

Different Protein Shake Flavors

There are a whole range of protein powder flavors out there that try to appeal to modern taste profiles, but they often do more harm than good. Any company that is selling birthday cake flavored protein powder should be in the ice cream business, not nutrition.

Unflavored Protein Powder

Raw cacao powder, vanilla bean and berries can be added if you want a tasty protein smoothie with a natural taste and clean ingredient profile. 

Vanilla Protein Powder Shake Recipe

Vanilla extract is a good way to flavor a protein shake. A couple of drops is all that is needed, so one bottle goes a long way.

Chocolate Protein Powder

Ready-made chocolate protein powder is ideal if you have a sweet tooth. Then all you need to do is add water or milk and any other additional items to take your shake from zero to hero!

Before You Go

You can have a protein shake at any time of the day as there is no evidence to prove otherwise. Consuming a shake before bed is also recommended as your muscles need time to repair.

And, if you want to take your protein shake to another level, why not take a look at our selection of complete nutrition shakes to help you get started! They’ll do a lot more for your body (and budget) than what you may be spending on overpriced and over-hyped basic protein powders.

Disclaimer: The LYFE Fuel blog is for informational purposes only. The information does not serve as a replacement for professional medical advice or treatment. We kindly ask you not to ignore professional medical advice because of any information you’ve read on https://lyfefuel.com/. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult a physician or appropriate health care expert.