4 Reasons to Add a Protein Shake to Your Routine

The world is getting savvy to the benefits of protein. From exercise recovery and muscle growth to support for weight management and healthy aging, if you’ve got health and fitness goals, protein is your friend. So it’s no surprise that protein shakes are becoming more popular than ever. They fill a convenient niche for busy, health-conscious people who want to stay on top of their nutrition while they’re on the go.

Protein shakes aren’t meant to be a substitute for a healthy, whole foods diet, but they can supplement it in very helpful ways. Here are some of the top benefits of adding a protein shake to your routine.

  1. It’s easy

In a world full of good intentions and busy schedules, we all need some simple hacks to help us stick to our health goals. Eating healthy, nutritionally balanced meals takes planning and preparation, especially if you are changing your diet or trying to implement new habits. If you’re increasing your protein as part of a weight management or fitness plan, or transitioning to a more plant-based diet, keeping track of your nutrition can get complicated. It’s easy to fall back on less healthy habits when you’re crunched for time or away from home.

That’s where protein shakes come in. They make it easy to get the protein you need, without any cooking or complicated meal prep. They are quick to make and easy to take with you on the go. You can keep it simple and shake up some protein powder with plant milk for a protein-dense post-workout snack, or blend in some fruit, veggies, yogurt, seeds, and more to make an instant meal.

For vegans and vegetarians, a plant-based protein shake can be a convenient source of complete protein. Most plant proteins are incomplete proteins, meaning they don’t provide all of the amino acids the body needs. This means that vegans and vegetarians have to vary their protein sources to make sure they are getting all the essential amino acids. But a plant protein powder that combines two or more plant proteins can easily provide all nine essential amino acids in one go. This little extra convenience helps make the plant-based lifestyle more accessible.

2. It keeps you full

If you need something to tide you over until the next meal, a protein shake is a good option. Protein is more filling than other nutrients and takes longer to digest, helping you to feel fuller for longer. The gradual breakdown of protein in the body has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels, which can help you avoid cravings and support balanced energy levels. Plus, protein influences hormones that regulate your appetite, so you’re less likely to reach for more snacks.[1][2] It’s one of the reasons that eating more protein is recommended for weight management support.[3][4]

Many health experts recommend starting the day with a protein-rich breakfast to keep you fueled and help regulate appetite and blood sugar levels. A protein shake that includes some carbs and healthy fats can make a great instant breakfast. Complex carbs, such as fruits and vegetables, provide crucial energy for the body and brain, while protein and fat help slow the absorption of carbs to make the energy last longer. Try blending your protein shake with a handful of berries and spinach for carbs, and a scoop of yogurt or a spoonful of nut butter for some healthy fat.

3. It supports healthy muscle

Protein shakes are known for supporting post-workout recovery and muscle growth. If you’ve got fitness goals or you’re working to improve your body composition, exercise plus protein is a proven formula for building muscle and increasing strength.[5][6] It’s why protein shakes have always been popular with athletes and fitness influencers. But don’t think this means that muscle-building is only important for athletic types.

We need healthy muscles to support our joints, maintain a healthy posture, and give us strength and stamina to carry out everyday life tasks without becoming fatigued. Maintaining healthy muscle is also important for a healthy metabolism. Muscle burns about three times as many calories per pound as body fat does, even at rest. Muscles also help manage blood sugar by storing excess glucose as glycogen. Without this storage, glucose stays in the bloodstream and triggers the release of insulin, which encourages your body to store fat.[7]

If we aren’t building new muscle, we’re going to be losing muscle, especially as we age. Loss of muscle accelerates once we hit our 40s, and the resulting slow-down in metabolism is one of the most common reasons for midlife weight-gain. Maintaining muscle strength as we age will also help us stay active and independent for longer. So we’ve got to use it or lose it. Exercise those muscles and then follow up with a protein boost to help rebuild those tissues. A protein shake is a quick, easy way to replenish your muscles with protein.

4. You can add extra nutrients

Most of us don’t eat as many fruits and vegetables as we should. That means we’re missing out on an abundance of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that we need to stay healthy. One of the easiest ways to add more greens, fruits, seeds, spices, and other superfoods to your diet is to make a daily smoothie. Add a scoop of protein powder or collagen protein, and you’ve got yourself a nutrient-packed, extra filling, whole food protein smoothie.

Start with some liquid, such as plant milk or coconut water, and add some fresh or frozen fruit. Berries are a rich source of antioxidants, and pineapple is loaded with nutrients and fiber. Leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, or microgreens provide a powerful boost of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Fresh herbs, such as basil or mint, can also be delicious in smoothies and provide additional polyphenols. Spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric can help support digestive health and a healthy inflammatory response.[8]

For creaminess and a little healthy fat, try adding some Greek yogurt or avocado. Among other benefits, healthy fats help your body to absorb many of the other nutrients in your smoothie. Seeds are also a great source of healthy fats, as well as fiber and nutrients. Chia seeds and ground flaxseeds blend easily into smoothies and are a good source of essential omega-3 fatty acids. Finally, add a scoop of your favorite protein powder and hit blend, and you’ve got a complete meal.

Our Plant Protein Powder provides 22 g of protein per scoop from organic pea and brown rice, including all nine essential amino acids to make a complete protein, with 4 g of branched-chain amino acids to support muscle growth and repair. We also added an organic fruit and vegetable blend for an extra boost of plant-based nutrition. It comes in a delicious vanilla or chocolate flavor, with no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives.

For an extra nutrition boost, you can also add a scoop of our Raw Greens superfood powder. It’s packed with nutrient-rich organic greens like broccoli, kale, wheat grass, and spinach, plus fiber and probiotics to support digestive health, and organic herbs and superfoods like acai, goji berry, maca, reishi mushroom, and ashwagandha to support healthy aging, energy, immune health, and stress management.

References:

[1] Blom WA, Lluch A, Stafleu A, Vinoy S, Holst JJ, Schaafsma G, Hendriks HF. Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Feb;83(2):211-20. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/83.2.211. PMID: 16469977.

[2] Lejeune MP, Westerterp KR, Adam TC, Luscombe-Marsh ND, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Ghrelin and glucagon-like peptide 1 concentrations, 24-h satiety, and energy and substrate metabolism during a high-protein diet and measured in a respiration chamber. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jan;83(1):89-94. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/83.1.89. PMID: 16400055.

[3] Batterham RL, Heffron H, Kapoor S, Chivers JE, Chandarana K, Herzog H, Le Roux CW, Thomas EL, Bell JD, Withers DJ. Critical role for peptide YY in protein-mediated satiation and body-weight regulation. Cell Metab. 2006 Sep;4(3):223-33. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2006.08.001. PMID: 16950139.

[4] Leidy HJ, Lepping RJ, Savage CR, Harris CT. Neural responses to visual food stimuli after a normal vs. higher protein breakfast in breakfast-skipping teens: a pilot fMRI study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Oct;19(10):2019-25. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.108. Epub 2011 May 5. PMID: 21546927; PMCID: PMC4034051.

[5] Pasiakos SM, McLellan TM, Lieberman HR. The effects of protein supplements on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic and anaerobic power in healthy adults: a systematic review. Sports Med. 2015 Jan;45(1):111-31. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0242-2. PMID: 25169440.

[6] Bosse JD, Dixon BM. Dietary protein to maximize resistance training: a review and examination of protein spread and change theories. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Sep 8;9(1):42. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-42. PMID: 22958314; PMCID: PMC3518828.

[7]7 Body and Mind Benefits of Building Muscle.” Experience Life, Life Time, July 2021.

[8]10 Delicious Herbs and Spices with Powerful Health Benefits.” Healthline, 2017.