We can all relate to days where you have had breakfast, it’s not close to lunch time and you are desperately trying not to give into the temptation of ploughing through the box of doughnuts in the staffroom or use the spare change at the bottom of your bag to buy something from the vending machine. Just a little nibble obviously means you eat the whole thing (I mean who leaves half a doughnut anyway?!).
When lunch time finally rolls around you make sure to choose the lowest calorie salad to make up for this morning’s blip, but come 3/4pm, you hit a slump and sugar cravings rear their ugly head all over again.
This is an all too common scenario for many of us and the good news is: it can be easily remedied with the addition of more lean protein into your diet.
Starting your day with a protein rich meal has been shown to curb hunger and keep you fuller for longer as it provides a second meal affect. Adding protein to your meals can slow the release of energy from carbohydrates which helps to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. In addition, it has been found that people who eat a higher-protein breakfast, experience reduced snacking throughout the day as they are likely to feel satisfied and have less cravings. However, when you’re strapped for time, eating on the move, or trying to cut down on your egg and red meat consumption, reaching your daily protein quota can be challenging, not to mention monotonous.
In the UK, adults are advised to eat 0.75g of protein for each kilogram of body weight “based on the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI)”. For example, someone weighing 70kg (11 stone) is advised to eat ~52.5g of protein a day. On average, men should eat 55g and women 45g of protein daily. That’s about 2 palm-sized portions of meat, fish, tofu, nuts or pulses.
However, those who don’t eat meat, fish, or eggs need to eat a wider variety of protein rich plant-based foods such as quinoa and soya beans as they are the only plant-based foods to contain all 20 essential amino acids (The building blocks of protein).
Protein powder can be an excellent, inexpensive way to ensure you are meeting your intake guidelines daily. Plus, getting some of your daily protein in powder form can reduce your calorie intake as they contain little to no fat or carbohydrates. Adding in some nuts, nut butters, flax, hemp, or chia seeds can add healthy fats to your meal to keep you fuller for longer. Mixing in veggies and fruits such as apple, pear and berries will help you hit your carbohydrate, vitamin, and mineral needs whilst satisfying the potential need for something sweet.
Why is protein powder associated with exercise?
When you exercise, your body can lose energy and strength. Aerobic exercise such as running tends to deplete glycogen (energy) stores and may dehydrate you. Anaerobic exercise such as weightlifting and body weight exercise, power yoga, and bootcamp sessions, intensely work the muscle fibres which sometimes makes you feel sore and stiff afterwards. Consuming a protein shake within 60 minutes post workout can help to shorten your recovery time, alleviate muscle soreness and even improve muscle protein synthesis. Your body will favour fast releasing sources of energy so taking a protein shake can be just what your muscles require, it does not need to be broken down and digested which means it is a fast source of fuel to repair and build lean tissue.
Protein powder alone will not make you bulky or overly muscular, if it did it would be a miracle potion. Consuming protein powder is merely an effective way to ensure you are reaching your recommended daily intake of protein while not overdoing it on the calories. It is a super addition to recipes that can otherwise be slightly nutrient deficient, such as pancakes and muffins. Like everything, moderation and variety are key and incorporating protein powder into your diet gives more options to fortify your diet and stay on track with your fitness goals.
Where to buy Protein Powder
You will find several protein powders in the market, and we have our own OSLO Health organic protein powder thanks to 'The Proper Food Project' that we can't recommend enough. We stock both whey & vegan protein, and you can find more info including where it's made, flavours and price here.
Also, 10% of each bag of protein powder that we sell goes towards 'The Proper Food Project' secondary school and Organic farm in Ghana.
And now, a special recipe by our amazing partners The Proper Food Project
Superfruit and Vanilla Protein pancakes with Raspberry Chia Jam
For the pancakes:
35 g OSLO & The Proper Food Project Superfruit and Madagascan Vanilla whey protein powder
110 ml milk
1 large egg
50 g porridge oats
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp baking powder
a few frozen berries
Whizz all ingredients together, add a little coconut oil to a hot non-stick pan and voila!
For the Jam:
2 cups raspberries (if frozen, defrost first)
2 tablespoons Chia seeds
2 tablespoons warm water
2-4 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
Add all ingredients to a blender on a relatively slow speed and combine until desired consistency is reached (add more warm water if too thick). Transfer to a jar and put in the fridge. The chia seeds will absorb water to double their size which will make the jam set.