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When discussing diet and health, few things are spoken of with more fervor than meal prepping and shakes...
but if you’re new to the game, there are some very important details you need to know about your food and your body. If you’ve been at this for years, it may be a good idea to brush up on the basics just to see if there’s anything you’ve forgotten or overlooked.
For a beautiful marriage between your fitness goals and food, you need to get really clear on your goals. Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to maintain your current size? Are you working on bulking up, or is your focus more on lean muscle and endurance training? Maybe it’s not a training goal. Perhaps you’re trying to heal your body. Maybe your goal is energy and stamina or distressing overtaxed adrenals and getting a good night's sleep.
Whatever your personal goal is, there are food basics that you need to know to plan a functional meal prep. Some basic, extremely general, facts are a rough look at your macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, fats and we like to include fiber.
For energy needs, your body uses carbohydrates. If you’re feeling sluggish, these can give you a boost. If you need to sleep, avoid them at night.
Protein builds and repairs tissues and cells. If you’re bulking up, amp your protein levels. If you’re eating for wellness and physical repair, protein offers your body support.
Believe it or not, fat plays an important role in the diet as well. You can choose from healthy fats, but you need to put it in your meal prep. Fat stores energy for later, giving your body something to burn when it expends energy. Fats protect certain organs and act as a carrier for many nutrients through the body. Fat also helps protein do its job.
Finally, soluble fiber slows digestion keeping you satisfied for longer as well as giving your body more time to absorb nutrients from food. Insoluble fiber acts as a scrub brush in your system cleaning everything out and aiding in elimination.
When you meal prep, it’s imperative to look at your goals and get a rough estimate of what you need from your macros to succeed. If this completely confuses you, you can work with a nutritionist.
So what is the role of protein shakes in this process? Well protein obviously. But when it comes to prepping your food ahead of time, what is the best way to incorporate them into your day?
First, a protein shake is NOT a meal replacement, but you can make it into one. As you set out to prepare all your food for the next week, adding in enough protein can take some creativity, especially if you’re a plant-based eater.
A protein shake for breakfast is only a meal if you are aware of your fat, carbs and fiber too. Grab your blender and a week of mason jars to keep protein packed breakfasts ready all week long. Do multiple batches, like two days, two days and three days or three days and four days to allow some variety in your mornings.
For added carbs, fruit is a great go-to choice, but you can even blend in some steal cut oats for a thicker option. For fat, a scoop of nut butter makes a tasty addition, or some avocado, seeds or raw nuts. And for a bit more fiber, a greens powder or fresh greens, plus your carbs and fats most likely have fiber too. If you prefer to keep your shake as is, you can throw together a fruit and granola medley for eating along with your protein.
If you don’t make your protein shake into a meal, don’t forget to add in the macros and calories to your day’s total. Sometimes what we drink can be forgotten, but our body still has to process it.
When needing that post-workout repair boost, keep OWYN’s ready to drink protein in your gym bag. Or have your shaker on hand with the powder already inside and simply add a bottle of cold water. A pure protein shake not only repairs your muscles and cells, it makes an excellent snack that is body conscious in between meals.
Of course, the apparent benefit of protein shakes in meal prep is their ease in pre-mixing and portability. Not all foods are quite that easy. They also keep you from binging at inopportune moments. If you keep one of your mixed OWYN shakes in the fridge at work it can keep you from hunting down fast-food or vending machines in a hunger pinch.
When it comes to a plant-based protein that gives you only what you need, there is no better choice than OWYN. It makes meal prep and macros as easy as reading the label.
First, a protein shake is NOT a meal replacement, but you can make it into one.
A pure protein shake not only repairs your muscles and cells, it makes an excellent snack that is body conscious in between meals.
Laura Manning, MPH, RDN, CDN The Low FODMAP diet is getting some well-deserved attention these days.