As a part of my newfound motivation to increase my overall physical health and well-being, I have recently fallen into the habit of using protein powder. Protein powder pancakes, protein powder shakes, protein powder you-name-it. One thing I’ve found is that I’m eating less and also feeling less sore to the point where I have difficulty moving any and every muscle volitionally. As part of my exercise routine, I’ve gotten into the routine of doing my cardio, lifting my weights, stretching it out, and then gulping my protein-packed post-workout snack (or most of the time, drink). For the last few weeks of March and all through April, I’ve been opting for the cheap, generic form from whichever grocery/convenience store I’m shopping at that day. I’ve been using CVS brand, which runs around $18.49 for a tub. With about a scoop or two each day, with some days where I forget/eat other forms of protein, it’s lasted me a long, long time. The flavor is decent (for a protein shake), and when added to pancakes and other baked foods, it’s just fine. I would recommend this powder if you’re looking for a product that does its job without breaking the bank. Luckily, I’m also a member of Influenster, and I recently qualified for their Go VoxBox. This box was designed for fitness fanatics who are all about health and wellness, and I couldn’t have been happier to have been selected. Included (thank goodness!!!) was a sample of The Vitamin Shoppe’s Next Step meal replacement, and a blender bottle from the same company. I could not have been happier.
While my protein shakes were cutting it for me, the lumps were not too palatable. Granted, I made do with my resources, but it was so nice to not drink a lumpy, chunky shake when I was fueling up post-workout. Smooth protein shakes? This is a gift from the Influenster gods! Naturally, I was over-eager to sample my Next Step powder.
First on the list: Swiss Chocolate. (I’ve always been a go-to Vanilla girl, but after a month of chunky Vanilla shakes, I was ready to mix it up 😉 ) The chocolate was good in terms of a protein powder. It wasn’t quite the rich, dark flavor I crave in my chocolate, but it was tasty, nonetheless. The directions suggest mixing your packet with 8 oz of water, but I think I would opt for milk next time to make the drink creamier. I chose to try this drink for breakfast, and I didn’t work out that morning. (I’ve been kicking butt with my daily routines, but it has been leaving me feeling whooped at my typical 5am wake-up call. I’m fine with my evening “body blasts.”) It didn’t leave me completely satiated, but I did feel satisfied. I paired my shake with a grapefruit, sans sweetener, and I definitely got the morning munchies. I’m not blaming this on the powder: I’ve been eating around 5-6 meals a day, saving one of those as a protein powder “meal”.
When I say I’m eating 5-6 meals a day, please don’t think I’m having huge, elaborate meals 5 to 6 times each day. (Pretty counterproductive, no?) I’m counting some of my “meals” as a grapefruit, a handful of nuts, some yogurt, etc. Something small. Maybe it’s psychological, and calling it a “meal” makes me feel fuller and eat smaller meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but its working! I eat every 2-3 hours, which is helping with my recent appetite surge.
Next on the list, Fresh Berries. I mixed this one with water, too, because I was worried the milk might make the berry flavor taste a bit odd. I was super excited for this packet, because I wanted to stray away from the ever-present chocolate and vanilla protein flavors. I have to say this flavor was great, but the drawback for me was how clumpy it was. I shook the drink my usual 30 seconds or so, sampled, and upon drinking several clumps, shook again. I was pretty disappointed at how many clumps I was drinking. I would probably still order this flavor because it tasted so good compared to my tired vanilla, but I wish there was a way to beat out those clumps.
Last, but not least, French Vanilla. I mixed this flavor with milk, and I never looked back. The flavor was creamy and delicious. I loved it so much more than my CVS vanilla, and it was the only flavor of the 3 that actually satiated my hunger.
Disclaimer: Influenster provided me with a copy of this product for review. No other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed are solely mine.