Everyone's body, goals and nutrition requirements are unique. With that said, my guess is you're reading this blog because you want to better your health. That is where I come in.
We can break the selection of protein powder down into a simple checklist! Doubts? Keep reading and I will prove it to you. I know there is a myth that these shakes are just for bodybuilders at the gym not regular women like me! With all the kindness in the world, you're wrong. A protein shake, in addition to a healthy diet can help you reach and exceed your goals.
Here goes the checklist:
Step 1: Identify Your Goals.
Everyone has a different starting point and end goal in mind. Whether it is weight loss, muscle gain, maintaining your weight or just keeping up with life, it is beneficial to go into the protein selection process with your goal in mind. Don't worry, you can change your mind later because we are going to choose a protein that will change with you.
Step 2: Get Friendly With The Nutrition Facts Table.
Since we are accommodating all goals, let's start with a good nutritional baseline for everyone.
Protein: Aim for a shake with about 25 g of protein in one serving.
Carbohydrates: 5 g of carbohydrates per serving will give you the ideal flexibility and set you up for success towards any goal you choose.
Fat: A protein shake with 3 - 5 g of fat will do the trick.
Simple right? Well, the beauty of a baseline is the flexibility. If you have just completed an intense training session a protein smoothie with a banana and a scoop of natural peanut butter will increase the amount of carbs and healthy fats to support your recovery. Forget restrictions, you chose a protein power with the flexible base line so, you can add ingredients to make it fit you and your needs each day!
Step 3: Choose A Base Protein
There is a variety of sources you can get your protein from. Food allergies, restrictions and preferences may narrow it down for you but if not, here is the basic questions to ask yourself: Do I want protein from an animal source or a plant source? The most popular, and cost effective option, is whey protein. However, those of us with lactose intolerance have to look at the other options that come from plants because this milk based option is not ideal. Pea, hemp, and rice proteins are all good plant based options. If you don’t have any restrictions against dairy, whey protein is popular for its easy digestibility and quick delivery to the muscles. However, plant based proteins have the added benefit of providing heart-healthy compounds.
Step 4: Look At the Ingredients
Personally, I appreciate products that are minimally processed and as natural as possible. My favourite proteins have a short list of ingredients that I either recognize as things I have in my kitchen or can easily pronounce. I would caution against products that list anything chemical sounding. My no-go list includes gluten, skim milk powder, fillers, artificial colours, artificial sweeteners and preservatives.
So, what do you want in your protein powder? A high quality protein source, natural flavours and you can’t go wrong with some of the essential vitamins. As a woman, sources of iron and calcium are also a bonus.
Finding a shake with natural ingredients that tastes great is the goal for all of us. This list will help you make sense of all the different options you hear about and pick the right product for you! So hit the gym, go for a sweat sesh at the park chasing your toddler or grab your shaker cup for a quick snack as you run to work! The right protein will support your nutritional needs no matter what your goal is.
Shelby Lang-Perry is an AURA Team member with a passion for health and wellness. She is armed with a B.Sc in Nutrition and Food Science to get you the real story on all your nutrition questions.