How to Add Whey Protein to Your Diet
It’s well understood that our bodies require protein on a daily basis. However, knowing how and when to add protein can be challenging. Therefore, we’re going to review three simple ways to add whey protein to you day. However, before we jump into how and when how you can potentially add whey protein to your diet – it’s important to first understand how whey functions. Whey is considered a fast-digesting and absorbing protein as compared to casein protein. The amino acids from whey protein typically peak in the bloodstream in about an hour after consumption. Therefore, whey protein can be added throughout the day when you want to deliver protein to the body fast. Below are some key opportunities to fuel your body with whey.
Breakfast: Our bodies routinely fast each night while we sleep. In turn, consuming a morning meal can help you to “break the fast.” Balance out your morning routine with protein plus carbohydrates. Start your day with a high-quality protein-rich source by adding whey protein into some of your go-to breakfast foods or everyday morning beverages. Mix whey protein into your morning coffee, matcha tea, or steamed latte. Add whey protein to batter to create breakfast favorites like pancakes, waffles, or muffins. Create a yogurt parfait, avocado toast, overnight oats or homemade granola bars.
Snack: Protein is a great snack as it can help you feel fuller and satisfied longer. Protein also plays a role in regulating appetite control and cravings by increasing satiety hormone and decreasing hunger hormone. When it comes to snacking – there is no defined set standard for timing. Snacking may vary by individual, schedule and appetite. May snack on whey protein between meals, around activities and/or before bed. Try a whey yogurt bowl by mixing whey into yogurt, then topping with fresh fruit, granola and honey. Make a smoothie by combining your favorite ingredients into blender with whey protein. Add water, milk, soy milk or almond milk. Then top off with nutrient-rich ingredients like seeds, berries, spinach, oats, nut butters and more.
Post-Workout: Muscles are made up of proteins and prolonged intense exercise can potentially disrupt those muscle protein. Intense physical activity can lead to micro-damage or mini tears in the muscle fibers, which is a normal transient response to vigorous exercise. Although muscles are especially receptive to protein hours following activity – remember that the muscle recovery process goes beyond post-workout and it can take muscles several days to adequately recover following activity. Meaning - if you can’t get protein seconds following activity, then do not stress. Aim to take whey protein at a time that is convenient for you following activity. Aim to consume ~20-40 grams protein to help support muscle recovery and rebuild.
It’s essential that all healthy adults consume adequate amounts of protein throughout each day to help meet protein needs and help support muscle recovery. Always approach diet with a food-first. If protein needs are unmet through food alone, then whey protein supplements can be utilized to help meet your protein needs. How you use whey protein is entirely up to you. The time you decide to use whey protein depends on you and your goals. Whey protein can be used first thing in the morning, between meals, around activities, with meals, before bed and much more. Find what works best for you. Here are three simple tips to help add whey protein to your daily routine –
- Track your protein intake to ensure you’re meeting your daily needs
- Find opportunities throughout the day where protein may be missing – including post-workout
- Aim for 20-40 grams protein throughout the day among meals and snacks