Protein shakes and protein bars are a common sight amongst body builders. But for the average person doing weight training or regular exercise, are they really needed?
As a snack
Most people get all the protein they need from everyday foods: lean meat, chicken, fresh and canned fish as well as dairy products, eggs, nuts and pulses are all good sources of protein.
These foods have extra goodies, too. Meat is high in iron, dairy foods are a great source of calcium and nuts provide healthy fats.
If you are weight training, aiming for 1.0–1.7g of protein per kilogram of your body weight is a good place to start.
Have a snack rich in protein and carbohydrate after training to help repair your muscles. Try a smoothie made with banana, frozen berries and milk or a low-fat yoghurt and peanut butter on toast.
As a meal replacement
A healthy balanced meal will have a healthy balance of carbohydrate, protein, fibre, vitamins & minerals, plus a small amount of healthy fat.
Protein shakes tend to be low in carbohydrate and fibre and can contain a larger amount of protein than is necessary for most people.
Opt for real food as often as you can as regularly replacing meals with a protein shake could leave you short of valuable nutrients.