Life is hectic. Whether you’re a student, a parent, a working stiff or a member of any other demographic sometimes life gets in the way of healthy eating habits. As a result too often people skip meals, usually breakfast, or make bad food choices as they eat on the run. Skipping meals – especially breakfast – can sabotage your attempts at following a healthy eating plan.
Incorporating a protein shake into your daily routine, particularly at breakfast, is a great way to make sure you get enough, high-quality calories in your diet….
Look for a protein powder that is derived from either whey or egg whites, the two most complete proteins available, because they contain the required amount of the 8 essential amino acids, including branched chain amino acids (BCAA). The BCAAs are important because they are metabolized directly by muscles during prolonged exercise and are the first source of fuel used by the body. Additionally, the BCAAs aid the body in recovery from exercise and allows for the building of new muscle tissue.
There are literally tons of different protein powders on the market, but there are a few simple things to keep in mind when determining which kind and brand of protein you will buy. For those of you with short attention spans, I’ll tell you up front that the prevailing wisdom seems to be (how’s that for wishy-washy?) whey protein is the way to go.
Whey protein comes from cow’s milk and in the form of whey isolate contains little or no fat, lactose or cholesterol. So if you opt for whey, look for a protein powder where the first ingredient is whey in either “whey protein isolate” or “whey protein concentrate” form. There can be a big disparity in the prices between different brands that is a matter of both how big the container is and the level of quality of the protein. The higher the quality and the fewer the additives, the more expensive the protein will be – and this is for both whey protein and egg white protein.
Egg white protein is typically more expensive than whey but is every bit as effective. Just make sure that the ingredients list is pretty short and starts with “”Pure egg white powder” or something to that effect.
Regardless of the protein that you choose – they both offer superior nutrition – make sure that the serving size is no greater than 20 grams of protein, as this is about as much protein as our bodies can process in one serving. You don’t HAVE to use the whole scoop of protein, as half a serving – or 10 grams of protein/65 calories – mixed with a cup of milk adds up to about 215 calories, which is more than enough for most folks.
A protein drink can be the perfect breakfast for people on the go who don’t have time to eat a sit-down breakfast. The shake takes about 30 seconds to prepare and if you have a little Tupperware shaker, breakfast can be a portable and healthy meal. Starting off the day with a healthy 215-calorie protein shake will go a long way towards helping you have a good day.