It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, right?
Well, I’ve changed mine. About protein shakes and smoothies, that is.
One of the challenges that many of my clients face is getting enough protein in their diets. Most are ‘carbivores’ and are unlikely to meet their body composition goals without switching out some of their carbohydrates for protein. Not only does protein support their growing muscles, it also fills them up until their next meal and when consumed together with complex carbohydrates ameliorates the effects of carbs on blood sugar levels.
For years, I’ve routinely suggested protein shakes and smoothies as an easy way to increase lean protein intake without having to eat yet another chicken breast.
Never one to preach and not practice, I’ve made it a regular habit to consume some sort of protein shake or smoothie after my daily workouts. Two scoops of whey protein mixed with unsweetened almond milk, flax seed, some fruit and a big handful of spinach or kale (to get that extra veggie serving in at the same time).
The problem is, despite having provided me with 150 to 250 calories (and lots of important vitamins and nutrients) my shakes and smoothies never really fill me up. I’m always back in the kitchen looking for my next meal within an hour of emptying my cup.
Recent studies suggest that I’m not alone. That liquid meals never satisfy and satiate the way that solid, whole foods do. That whey protein may actually precipitate the same insulin response that sugar does. That the extra fruit I add to offset the bitter taste of the greens may be elevating my sugar consumption above recommended levels (I aim for no more than 30 g of sugar daily) and undermining my recent attempts of reduce my cravings for sweet foods.
While I still see protein shakes and smoothies as a valuable addition to my nutritional tool box, I’m using them less frequently these days, and opting for other sources of portable protein post-workout, including single-serving tuna packets, hard-boiled eggs and yes, my old friend the chicken breast. I’m also making sure that they contain more vegetables than fruit… and I’m encouraging my clients to do the same.
Are you protein shake-a-holic?
If so, do you find that your shakes and smoothies fill you up or leave you wanting something solid to fill your belly shortly after?