A protein supplement may be just what you need after a hard workout. However, making sure you get fresh, healthy protein is critical when planning your supplement routine. No matter where you buy it from, getting the freshest powder possible is key.

Check the Date

Protein powder has a use-by date, and using it past the “Best By” can be quite nasty. It also won’t give you the benefits that you paid for. When at the supplement store, make sure you flip the canister over and check out the freshness date on the bottom or side of the can. If you find old cans, shop elsewhere.

These supplements also contain sugars and multiple flavorings. If you need the protein due to your fitness regime, the sugar may be worth it. However,old protein powder loses the power of protein after about 12 months. This means you’re just drinking a milkshake over time. Take care not to overbuy.

Know the Storage Protocol

If you plan to order your protein power from an online supplement store, check the refrigeration requirements. A powder container that has been repeatedly heated and then cooled can put you at risk of buying protein powder that has gotten damp or musty.

Because you won’t know until you open it, the risks of getting powder that has gotten wet can get expensive quickly. To make sure that your powder is fresh, consider setting up a subscription that will allow you to get smaller batches of product that has been recently packaged.

Consider Protein Snacks

For many of us, a protein shake in the morning is too much weight on the gut. If you work out in the morning, consider backing away from the shake and make protein snacks to enjoy within an hour of your workout. A healthy trail mix can work, as can bars or nut butter treats made with unsweetened protein powder. Roll these in unsweetened coconut for a yummy, low sugar, high protein treat.

To boost your antioxidant intake, pair a slightly sweetened protein bar with green tea or incorporate matcha powder into your protein treat. Remember that this powder often contains caffeine and avoid it late in the day.

Stay In Balance

Take care not to use any protein powder instead of food. If you are upping your workout intensity to improve your overall fitness, a protein shake could be a good choice. However, protein shakes instead of meals can leave you short of

  • fiber
  • roughage
  • antioxidants

Natural sugars are more effective in keeping your energy level high than processed sugars, which can lead to a crash. When mixing your protein shakes, do your best to avoid sweetened milks and keep your intake of processed sugars as low as possible.

On the days you plan a lighter workout, avoid your shake routine. Protein shakes can have a lot of calories, and overloading on calories is never healthy no matter your fitness level.

Finally, make sure to get your kidney and liver function checked regularly if using protein shakes to support your fitness goals. High protein diets can do damage if followed too closely for too long. Be ready to back off the protein if you notice any excessive readings on your blood work.

Watch Your Sugar Intake

If possible, buy unsweetened protein supplement powder and strive to keep your sugar intake as low as possible. Go for optimum texture as well as flavor. For example, a green smoothie, well blended, can boost your Vitamin A intake without tasting like a salad in a cup.

Don’t be afraid to try savory protein shakes as well as sweets. Tomatoes and avocado can blend up into a luscious, flavorful treat that is comforting to sip without needing a lot of sugar.

Balance your smoothie routine with fresh fruits and veggies loaded with roughage. A protein shake may help you avoid post-workout pain, but an apple a day really is a great workout for your gut.

Boosting your protein intake without taking in too much sugar can be a challenge. If you notice that your efforts to gain muscle are also putting on fat, back off the sweetened protein powders and strive to make your taste buds a bit more sensitive with low sugar treats.