Protein is one of the most recommended dietary supplements for men and women, especially for people living an active lifestyle. Learn more about this essential macronutrient and check out our best protein shake recipes. Discover fun ways to get more protein in your diet!
Why is protein important?
Protein contains essential amino acids that are the building blocks for muscles. It’s also necessary for everyday body processes. Many of us don’t get enough protein in our diet. This is especially true for active people and individuals starting new workout regimens. When you work out (especially if you’re lifting heavy weights), you break down muscle fiber and your body rebuilds it with bigger, stronger, tougher muscle tissue. This is how your muscles get bigger. In order to rebuild muscle, your body needs the amino acids found in protein. If you’re not consuming enough protein, you will burn muscle when you work out and not be able to properly build it back. Post-workout recovery will take longer and you might not see results.
How much protein should I be eating?
You should eat a minimum of 0.5 grams of protein for every pound of bodyweight. This means if you weigh 150 lb., you should eat a minimum of 75 grams of protein. For people following a demanding workout regimen or anyone trying to build more muscle, the recommended amount of protein can be as high as 1 gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight.
What are the best sources of protein?
Lean chicken and turkey are famous for their great protein content. For vegan protein, you can try different legumes such as fiber-rich beans, lentils, and chickpeas, or a variety of nuts and seeds. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are very high in dairy protein, so it’s a good idea to choose these over regular yogurt whenever possible. Tofu and certain leafy greens are also great vegan sources of protein. You can also try protein powder as a quick way to add protein to your diet. To read more, check out our post on the best protein sources for weight loss.
How do I choose a protein supplement?
If you suspect you’re not getting enough protein, a supplement is a great way to up your protein intake. The most common supplement is whey protein, which is derived from milk and is available in almost any sport nutrition store. Casein is the other milk-derived protein, but it is less popular because it is absorbed slower. Whey is a quicker source of amino acids for post-workout. If you are vegan and choose not to consume milk proteins, many brands offer alternatives derived from plants. Plant-sourced protein is also available in most stores, but unfortunately tends to be more expensive. Look for low-fat supplements that are low in sugar. Always scan the nutrition label so you know what you’re getting.
Keep reading for our best protein shake recipes!
Strawberry and banana are a famously popular smoothie combination. This is one of our best protein shake recipes. The taste is unbeatable, and the 13 grams of protein from Greek yogurt, wheat germ, and skim milk make it a well-rounded snack.
This smoothie is inspired by the famous ice cream dessert. Reminiscent of childhood, the recipe is like a thick, creamy milkshake you don’t have to feel guilty about. For an even thicker consistency, try freezing your banana slices before blending.
Frozen bananas are great for smoothies because they blend into a rich, creamy consistency similar to ice cream. That’s why bananas are featured in so many of our best protein shake recipes! In this recipe, frozen banana is combined with the sweet flavors of cocoa powder and natural peanut butter for an unforgettable experience. Greek yogurt adds extra protein and important probiotics.
Use your favorite chocolate protein powder to make a thick and creamy meal replacement. Combine protein powder with frozen banana, almond milk, and some ground flax seed for a complete, flavor-rich meal.
Smoothie bowls are a fun meal because they allow you to add a large variety of toppings. This recipe has 10 grams of protein from spirulina powder (a vegan protein powder), Greek yogurt, cashew butter, and hemp.
With 18 grams of vegan protein, this smoothie is one of the best protein shake recipes out there. It’s made with tofu, which gives it an incredibly creamy consistency. Additionally, this recipe has no added sugar and is instead sweetened with nothing but banana.
This 280-calorie smoothie is ideal as a small meal. It has 23 grams of protein from vanilla protein powder and rich flavor from pumpkin, frozen bananas, and cinnamon. You can turn this recipe into a low-sugar snack by replacing the coconut sugar with stevia.
Flax seeds and almond milk contain a good amount of protein. Blend together with some blueberries for a refreshing protein snack.
10. Bahama Splash