When it comes to nutrition, eating a well-balanced meals and watching portions is important. It is not unusual for options to feel limited when it comes to adding protein in your diet—often obtained through chicken and other meats and fish—or for a routine to start to feel a bit stale.
As an athlete, Kate Osman understands. She is a member of team Optimum Nutrition, an NPC bikini competitor, former NFL cheerleader and LFL player, who recommends whey protein as a great way to add protein into your diet.
“Whey protein is considered a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids, including BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) which help support muscle strength and recovery,” she explains. And because she needs to keep an eye on the balance between protein, fat and carbs in her diet, she recommends Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey™, specifically. “It has 24 grams of high-quality protein in every serving, but isn’t high in fat or carbs—and, because Optimum Nutrition owns its own manufacturing facilities here in the U.S., you get exactly what’s on the label and nothing else.”
Protein has both pre-and post-workout benefits, and it is great to experiment with adding whey protein to different types of meals, such as shakes, pancakes and more. Whey supplements are fast-digesting, meaning your body will receive the muscle recovery effects quickly if you have it post-workout.
There are many flavors available of whey protein powders—Optimum Nutrition offers Key Lime Pie and Salted Caramel, for example—so it can be great to experiment with different kinds and flavors to find the one you like best.
When thinking about adding protein to your diet or routine, Osman says your protein needs depend on your body weight and your personal level of activity. “It’s a good idea to consult a physician, dietician or trainer to determine what amount of protein is appropriate for your fitness goals.”
Want to try adding some whey protein into your life without the standard shake? Try this recipe for banana pancakes from Optimum Nutrition.
Banana Pancakes (makes 8-10 pancakes)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1-2 scoops Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Vanilla or Banana Cream Protein
6 whole eggs, 2 egg whites
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 whole banana
Cinnamon to taste
Liquid vanilla Stevia
Preheat your pan to 300 degrees. In a bowl mix eggs, 1/4 cup coconut flakes, 1/2 of a mashed up banana, 1/2 drop liquid Stevia. Melt coconut oil in microwave and add to mix. Stir in flax meal and protein to a desired creamy consistency. Add cinnamon. Pour on pan and cook a few minutes on each side. Once all pancakes are made, slice the remaining 1/2 banana and top the pancakes with zero-calorie maple syrup.