As bodybuilders and/or general health and fitness enthusiasts, if there’s one supplement you’re probably sick to the back teeth of, it’s protein powder. As delicious as some protein powder supplements can be, depending on which brand you purchase of course, the main problem with them is that, like most things in life, after a while they can seem a little bland and boring, and you may find yourself growing sick and tired of them. People often think that protein powder supplements are intended solely for hulking great bodybuilders, yet in reality, athletes from a number of different sports use them for recovery and growth, as do general health and fitness fans looking to stay in shape. They’re even useful for people trying who can’t eat solid foods, or who may be looking to bulk up for medical reasons, due to being underweight perhaps. Whatever your reasons for consuming protein shakes daily, you can probably all agree on the fact that, after a while, the thought of chugging down yet another shake, will not be quite as appealing as when you first began using the supplements. The good news however, is that there are a number of ways of improving, not only the taste and texture of your protein shakes, but also the nutritional value and nutrient content in the process. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at these simple and effective ways of improving your next protein shake.
Sweeten it with honey
Although some protein powders may already be pretty sweet, the problem is that a lot of the time, the sweetness can taste chemically and artificial, because more often than not, it is. We know just how appealing sweet foods and drinks can be, and if your protein shake leaves a lot to be desired, and happens to be lacking in the sweetness department, try adding a generous teaspoon of honey before blending. If possible, go for natural and organic honey such as manuka, which is renowned for its many health benefits. Just one heaped teaspoon will lift the entire taste of your protein shake, making it taste much sweeter, yet more natural at the same time. The good news is that, because you don’t require much, you won’t increase the natural sugar/calorie content by too much, so you can certainly still easily fit each shake into your daily macros. If you want an especially delicious shake, choose a decent vanilla flavoured powder, and add the honey to it, as honey and vanilla is like a marriage made in heaven. Thank goodness for bees, ay?
If your shakes are bland and watery, rather than just resigning yourself to the fact that you’ll never be able to enjoy a rich and creamy shake, grab yourself a decent brand of natural Greek yoghurt, and add a heaped tablespoon to your shake before blending. A lot of people will agree that milk can make protein powders taste better and more creamier, but the problem with milk is that it does contain lactose, as well as fructose, and compounds which promote the production of estrogen, which is the last thing you want if you’re trying to burn fat and build muscle. Milk also slows down the rate of absorption of the protein. Greek yoghurt however, doesn’t slow down the rate of absorption and helps to make the shake richer and creamier. Simply add one heaped tablespoon to the shaker cup, or blender jug, add water and the protein, and give a good blend. Greek yoghurt is also rich in minerals, and protein, so you can even increase the natural protein content. For the ultimate shake, follow our honey and vanilla shake recipe suggestion mentioned previously, and but add Greek yoghurt as well.
Bananas are fantastic foods for athletes and fitness fans, due to the fact that they provide a combination of fast release energy, and sustained release energy. They’re also rich in minerals, including potassium, which is perfect because potassium prevents the build up of lactic acid within the muscles, which is responsible for muscle cramps. Bananas therefore, provide energy and help to prevent cramp and muscle fatigue. If you use bananas in your protein shake, you will need an electric blender rather than a shaker cup. Simply add the water and powder, and throw a whole peeled banana in there, and blend until smooth. If you don’t have an electric blender, you can mash the bananas in their skin before peeling them, and then add them to a shaker cup, and give a good shake, although the blender is still the best option. You will be left with a rich and creamy shake, with a pleasant taste of banana, and plenty of nutrients in the process.
Add some cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice that not only tastes great, but also has actually been found to increase thermogenesis within the body, which basically means that it can help raise core body temperatures and therefore boost the metabolism so you burn more calories. simply add a heaped teaspoon to any protein shake, give a good mix, and enjoy. Some manufacturers offer apple pie, or toffee apple flavour powders, so if possible, get your hands on one of those because as you probably know, apple and cinnamon go together unbelievably well.
Add blended oats
Another great way of really making your protein shakes taste better, more nutritious, and more pleasurable texture-wise, is to add blended oats to your shake. You can purchase blended oats from various health stores, or you can simply blend them at home using an electric blender. Once blended into a fine powder, you can then add two or three heaped tablespoons to your shake, and mix. This not only improves the texture, it also provides an increase in energy and fibre content in the process.
We all love peanut butter, and as if we needed another excuse to enjoy it, we can also add it to our protein shakes to make them more appealing and more nutritious. Peanut butter is rich in healthy fats, which mean a quick release of energy, making it ideal right before you train. On top of that, the nuts also contain amino acids and protein, which will help to up the protein count. Most importantly however, the peanut butter itself, will give you a delicious, smooth, and creamy shake that tastes like pure heaven in a bottle. You can also opt for other nut butters such as almond or cashew, but make sure you go with natural/organic butters with nothing added or taken away.