A perfect fit for busy and hectic lifestyles, protein smoothies are easy to make and can be relished while on the go too. While it cannot substitute a real meal, this nutrition-packed delight is a good way to ensure that you do not miss out on what is essential for your body to function at an optimal level. Plus, it is convenient to feed to fussy kids! Here we dive deeper into when best to have this favoured smoothie and also share some expert-backed recipes.
Why have it in the first place
Protein, as you all know, is an essential nutrient your body needs to energise, heal and function. It is highly beneficial in smoothie form as well. Shakti Kashyap, Fitness Expert, Dietician, Nutritionist and Co-founder at the ‘Goodways Fitness’ notes some of them:
- Full of nutrition, it boots overall health and wards off diseases in the long run.
- Helps in fighting against bad cholesterol, blood pressure and heart disease.
- Effective in preventing the loss of lean muscle.
- Aids in fighting osteoporosis
- Provides added protein for vegetarians
- Boosts the immune system
The best time:
While a protein smoothie is beneficial anytime you have it, when it is consumed makes a difference in the results you want to achieve. Depending upon what your motive is, you can pick the correct time.
Note: Protein shakes and smoothies are not a substitute for your meals, rather they can supplement them and increase your overall intake.
Post a workout
Noticed how gym buffs stress on their protein shake by the end of the workout? As per Shakti, consuming this goodness post-workout is a great idea as it will enable your muscle to heal, recover and grow. This especially holds true for strength training when your tissues have gone through a certain amount of wear and tear.
Initially, it was advised to have a protein shake within 30 minutes post the workout (also referred to the ‘anabolic window’) to get maximum results. However, recent studies suggest that this time frame can be extended. The debate still continues as some experts insist that is the period when your muscles really soak up the nutrition. Irrespective of this, more protein needs to be incorporated into your diet if you want to maintain and build muscle. Having this post the workout ensures that you do not skip on it and that your energy levels are replenished.
Eat to lose weight? It sounds too good to be true right. But there is a logic to it. Shakti explains, “When you consume protein in any form, the stomach feels full. You can stay without food for a long period of time and land up eating lesser calories than the usual days. Also, chances of consuming carbs and junk become lesser. This is the only secret behind your weight loss.”
She further shares, “Protein increases muscle mass and reduces fat in the body. Scientific study too reveals that muscle burns more calories and gives power to your body and brain to focus.” As per the expert, for your weight loss goals, you can have the smoothie before your meals.
Night time muscle recovery
Another effective option is to sip on one before you go to sleep. Says Shakti, “If you take your smoothies 1/2 an hour before you go to bed then it helps recovers the muscle for the whole night, making it an ideal time to take it.”
This especially holds true for those who are losing muscle mass due to age. Studies back this revealing that taking protein supplementation before sleeping show an augmentation of muscle mass and strength. If you are on a weight-loss mission, plan in such a way that your calorie intake throughout the day remains the same.
Remaining active throughout the day
What you begin your day with makes a huge difference in how you will feel for the rest of the hours too. If you tend to get sluggish or tired easily, you might want to increase your protein dose.
Shakti advices, “When you start your day with protein smoothies, you are charged up for the rest of the day and don’t feel lethargic, low, depressed or confused. What’s more, you are likely to have more focus and concentration at work.”
Recipes for protein shakes
Below are some power-packed protein smoothies shared by Shakti, you can add supplement powders to it if you wish and have them as it is.
Walnut protein smoothie
A powerhouse of nutrients, walnuts contain protein, calcium and fibre to give you that much-needed fuel. Adding dates further amplifies this smoothie’s benefits. And finally, the cinnamon and honey give it a dessert-like touch.
- 1⁄2 cup walnuts soaked overnight
- 5 large dates
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2½ cups of water
Blend and enjoy it.
Chia Berry Smoothie
Chia seeds are bundled up with a whole lot of nutrients along with protein. That teamed up with antioxidant-rich blueberries and strawberries nourish and boost the system.
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ cup strawberries
- ½ cup blueberries
- A handful of mint leaves
Toss the berries and mint leaves into a blender and blend well. Pour it into a glass. Add honey and chia seeds to it. Stir well and drink.
Sunflower Seeds Smoothie
Loaded with B complex vitamins, calcium, potassium, protein, vitamin E and more, sunflower seeds are beneficial to health. Sesame seeds further boost the immune system with its multiple nutrients. Lastly, the ginger root heals with its medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties.
- ½ cup sunflower seeds roasted
- ½ cup sesame seeds roasted
- 1 tablespoon honey (as required)
- small piece of fresh ginger root
- 3 – 4 cups water
Blend it and enjoy your protein healthy smoothie.
Satvic Protein Smoothie
A power-packed smoothie that brings to you the goodness of banana, coconut water, mixed berries, chia seeds and sesame seeds. All the ingredients come together for a nutrient and antioxidant-rich outcome.
- 2 cups coconut water
- 1 banana, peeled
- 1 cup fresh mixed berries
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds soaked
- 1 tablespoon raw sesame seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
Blend banana, mixed berries, honey and coconut water in the blender first, then add the seeds to it and enjoy.
Almond Protein Smoothie
Along with protein almond milk also contains Vitamin E, magnesium, calcium and more. That compounded with the goodness of banana, peanut butter, avocado and coconut milk make it the ideal smoothie.
Blend all the ingredients and enjoy.
So, go ahead and reveal in your tall glass of protein smoothie!