Q: Apparently upping our protein intake and lowering carbohydrates can help us to feel fuller longer, and will protect us from losing too muscle as we lose weight. Can a protein shake be considered a good meal replacement?
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As a cyclist, your energy demands are likely to be relatively high and therefore you should be cautious when using a protein shake as a meal replacement.
A standard protein shake alone is very unlikely to provide you with substantial nutrients to leave you feeling full and provide you with energy. However shakes, particularly breakfast shakes, are quite common amongst athletes.
You just have to make sure you are adding enough substance to the shake so that it provides you with all the nutrients you need. For example, when making your protein shake, try adding some more ingredients such as:
– Peanut butter (around 3 tsp)- provides you with protein and slow release energy to keep you feeling fuller for longer
– Milk- provides you with protein and extra calories for the added energy boost
– Fruit- shakes are a great way of incorporating plenty of fruit into your diet. Try adding 2 portions of fruit to increase the amount of vitamins and minerals you are consuming
– Vegetables- this might sound strange, but try adding two handfuls of vegetables to your shake (such as spinach and kale). Once blended, you can’t taste them, but they provide you with loads of essential nutrients, in particular important minerals, which are essential for an athlete’s diet
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As you can see, protein shakes can be a great way of packing in nutrients and ensuring you’re getting plenty of fruit and vegetables. Just make sure you’ve packed it out with extra goodies and you’re good to go!
Charlotte Kennedy is a sports nutritionist at Etixx. For more information on Etixx sports nutrition, please visit: www.etixxsports.com