As we discussed food last week, let us stay on topic. What is an athlete’s best on-the-go food that he/she can drink, which optimizes protein intake? A protein shake, of course. These can cost between $500 and $1,000 a pop and could easily contain artificial colours and flavours.
But you can make better ones at home for way less. Try the recipe below for a 100% natural, delicious, low fat shake that can be used when you are short on time but want something delicious and nutritious.
(Makes one shake)
- 1 cup of milk (if you are lactose intolerant or vegan, soy, almond or any plant-based milk or water can be used instead)
- 1 scoop (25) whey protein isolate (I use Dymatize, again depending on your needs vegan protein powders are available. Fitness Express usually has a selection)
- 1 frozen banana (See below)
- Add milk/water and protein powder to blender
- Add broken up frozen banana
- Blend immediately on high speed—before banana starts sticking together—for about one minute or until creamy.
* If your shake is too runny adjust the ratio of frozen banana and liquid. You may need 1½
bananas or ¾ cup liquid.
* If your shake is not creamy, add a bit more protein powder.
* Start blending the shake immediately after adding the frozen banana. You should always break
the frozen banana into smaller pieces.
A protein shake is a convenient meal replacement when you do not have the time for a healthy balanced meal. Athletes who are training hard and want to maximize muscle growth need a constant supply of protein throughout the day, preferably every 2-3 hours except when sleeping. Each meal should contain its share of your daily protein, 10-35g/meal depending on bodyweight, but your body really does not care where that protein comes from. It can be chicken breast, beans or a shake.
Should you have your protein shake, before or after working out? It does not matter. If you are a weight-lifter/body builder, then you should be eating your protein every three hours, which translates to five or six meals a day, depending on when you have your first meal. It also means that you will be eating both before and after working out.
This shake can easily replace any one of your daily meals.
It is known that bananas are not to be stored in the refrigerator. But that only applies if you are going to eat them or make certain recipes which require room temperature, perfect bananas. The key to making this great protein shake is using frozen bananas, not only does it taste better but the frozen bananas can keep for a long time if you store them properly. That means you can go to the market and really stock up on your favourite variety. You may even be able to buy in bulk and save as you can approach the wholesalers if you are buying significant poundage.
Once you get home, peel your bananas, place them in freezer bags and stick them in the freezer. They will keep for weeks and you will only need to stock up when you are running low. If you are using huge bags, alternate the directions of each layer so the bananas don’t stick together. If you are using smaller bags you can put just enough for one or two shakes in each bag, which would further simplify your shake making.
Don’t mess around with weak blenders. A blender worth a ʽGranger’($5,000) probably will not give you the power you need. The blender I have had for years and can highly recommend is the NutriBullet. It has the power necessary to handle hard frozen bananas and costs between US$45 and US$300 on Amazon, depending on which one you get. Or you can pick one up at a local store.
If you choose some other blender then make sure to do some research and find a good one. Cheers to the gains.