So much protein, so little time. With the number of types of protein supplements available today, it’s hard to choose which is best for your needs. Depending on your workout and lifestyle, one type of protein supplement may be more suitable than another.
First, consider what you want out of your supplement. Are you trying to gain muscle? Add more protein to your diet? Do you have any food restrictions or a lactose intolerance? These are all questions to consider when choosing your protein supplement.
From there, decide if you prefer a powder, bar, or both. The type you ultimately choose will depend on your fitness goals, health restrictions, and taste preferences.
Types of Protein Supplements
The category of protein supplements is complex. While the longtime favorite has been whey protein powder, there is an array of others people are starting to use more frequently. Casein protein, for example, is similar to whey, but digested at a slower rate. This results in a slower release of proteins, which could be most optimal if taken before bed.
Pea protein is a good plant-based option, if you have a lactose intolerance. This powder contains no fat, no cholesterol, no gluten, and carries about the same level of protein per serving as its dairy counterparts. It could be an ideal choice for someone with specific dietary restrictions.
Soy, vegan, and brown rice protein powders are also plant-based (versus dairy) and more easily digestible, each with its own benefits. These types of proteins may be low or deficient in certain amino acids such as cystine or lysine. However, when used as a supplement to a well-balanced diet, they work well.
Basic Protein Shake Recipe
The standard mix for a protein shake is 2 scoops of protein powder and 1-½ cups of low-fat milk with a cup of ice. From there, you can add berries, cinnamon, chia seeds, bananas, or any other ingredients that sound like they would be good in the mix.
Some prefer to substitute milk with coffee or orange juice for their morning shake. Others opt to add oatmeal or peanut butter for more texture and to help them feel more full throughout the day. The way you make your shake is completely up to you; the options are endless for this meal replacement or post-workout snack.
Grab-And-Go Protein Bars
Protein bars are good for people on-the-go who want to throw a bar or two in their bag and be on their way. While there are several choices and flavors available, it’s important to carefully read the labels. Some bars include extra sugar, additives, or other ingredients that seem healthy, but aren’t.
Protein bars can also be high in calories or fat content as well. To choose yours, look at the protein-to-carb ratio and aim for a 2:1 split. Make sure you are getting the most out of your snack. While a protein bar isn’t the best idea for a full meal replacement, it’s good in a pinch as a pre-workout snack or to beat an afternoon slump.
If you are concerned about the nutritional info in store-bought energy bars, you can control what goes in to your bars by making them at home. Though more time consuming, homemade protein bars are great for those conscious of the ingredients in their protein supplements.
For people just starting to use different types of protein supplements, the options may seem overwhelming at first, but now you have an idea of where to get started. Otherwise, the protein supplement you settle on may be a result of a little bit of trial and error.
Feel free to look to us as a resource for any of your health and fitness goals. One of our staff members is always willing to give a good recommendation, or point you in the right direction.