Protein needs are increased during pregnancy, and protein shakes are a great method to ensure you get enough protein during all the trimesters. The best time to take protein depends on your pregnancy, appetite, and personal preferences. Pregnant women often experience various cravings at specific times of the day, or food aversions at other times during the day. The great thing is that protein supplements can be taken and properly absorbed at any time during the day.
There isn’t a specific time that your body will absorb more protein than other times, so the best time is when you want to make it most. Here are some optional times, and why they may be beneficial to you for cravings, morning sickness, or hunger.
Benefits of drinking your protein powder in the morning:
A protein smoothie for breakfast is a great time to drink your protein. Protein first thing can help reduce appetite throughout the day, ease morning sickness and ensure you get in your protein requirements early on. It is a good idea to make a protein shake in the morning, and here is why:
- Eases your tummy if you struggle with morning sickness
- Reduces appetite throughout the day
- Stabalizes blood sugar
- Helps with maintaining a healthy weight
- Sets you up for adequate protein intake and a balanced diet
If you can’t stomach your protein shake in the morning, don’t worry! Your body will still get all the benefits and absorb all the grams of protein at any other time of the day as well! It is most important that a pregnant woman gets in all her protein, rather than what time she drinks it.
Benefits of Protein Powder in the afternoon:
There are also great benefits of drinking protein powder in the afternoon. Many times, pregnant mamas find themselves tired and really wanting a pick-me-up in the aternoon. This can lead to mindless snacking on carbs and sweets, where a protein shake is an efficient and tasty option to really help with the fatigue. Protein sources like Bump Dust are also full of additional nutrients, which help with brain function and energy. The additional superfoods like spirulina and chlorella boost iron levels and vitamin B levels, which are essential during pregnancy for both mama and baby. I personally drink a little coffee while pregnant, and I LOVED a protein coffee in the afternoon when I was pregnant during the summer. It was the perfect boost that helped me not overeat before dinner, and keep my blood sugar stable in the later afternoon. Benefits of protein powder in the afternoon include:
- Helps avoid mindless snacking
- Reduces brain fog and fatigue
- Helps with afternoon cravings
- Tastes like a great treat to alleviate sugar cravings
- Keeps blood sugar levels stable later in the day
- Reduces hunger before dinner
Protein shakes as a dessert during pregnancy:
One of my all-time favorite ways to have a protein shake is like a milk shake after dinner! Bump Dust blends so sweet and creamy, it was my favorite, plant-based dessert! It really helped me keep from eating a ton of ice cream in the super hot months of summer. Depending on what kind of protein powder you choose, it could be a chocolate protein shake, a strawberry, or even peanut butter shake that really hits the spot in the evening. This is a great time to drink your protein shake as well because:
- Protein shakes in the evening keep blood sugar stable while sleeping
- It helps you wake up less hungry, and hopefully less nauseaus
- It provides lots of nutrients at the end of the day, rather than sugar and fat in something like ice cream
- It stops late-night binge eating or cravings
These are awesome benefits to drinking a protein shake as your dessert, and this is another way I LOVED to have mine during pregnancy. I blended Bump Dust with some peanut butter or frozen berries, and it was just so good!
What’s the best protein powder to drink during pregnancy?
It is really important to choose a high-quality, clean protein powder free of artificial sweeteners and heavy metals. A good protein powder consists of whole foods, no chemicals, and an easy-to-read ingredient list. There are many different kinds of protein powders on the market, so it can be confusing to know which protein supplement to choose. Here is a list of different kinds of protein powders, and options, so you can choose the best one for you:
Whey protein powder:
Whey protein powder is derived from cows milk, and it offers a great, creamy texture. Because it is a dairy product, and comes from an animal, some are sensitive to the protein. If you are sensitive to dairy products or animal proteins, this may not be the best choice for you. Whey protein powder offers a complete amino acid profile, usually have natural ingredients and make great, creamy protein smoothies. It is important to look for whey protein from cows that are free-range, grass-fed and free of hormones. This is key because you don’t want to consume hormones that will be found in the whey if that’s what the animals are given. The reason some don’t choose whey is because of the digestive issues it can cause. They tend to be harder to digest for some people.
Here are some great, whey protein powder options for pregnancy:
Pea protein is a protein source used in most vegan proteins and organic protein powders. Pea protein is one of the few plant-based sources that offers all essential amino acids (complete profile). Most plans only offer some amino acids. Pea protein blends well and offers a good amount of protein per serving. Often times, pea protein is mixed with additional plant proteins like chia seeds, brown rice protein and flax seed protein. Depending on the formula, more protein sources can offer more nutrients overall and increase the nutritional value. Many pea protein powders offer organic ingredients, which helps ensure that pesticides and chemicals aren’t used on the plants.
Some great pea protein powder options for pregnancy include:
Soy is another protein source that is found in vegan protein powders. It blends well, and has a great texture in smoothies, but sometimes isn’t as popular because of the hormonal effect it can have. Soy can act like estrogen in the body, which may be less ideal during pregnancy. There are also abroption issues for soy because it is a legume, and some studies on rats during the prenatal period showed high exposure to soy reduced the baby’s immune system. It is not a protien source that I really recommend during pregnancy.
Benefits of protein for pregnant moms:
There are so many benefits of protein for pregnancy, and I think it is important to go over what they are to encourage you to find a good protein shake. First of all, your nutritional needs for protein are increased during pregnancy. As you are growing a baby, protein is needed for that growth and development. Second, many protein powders offer essential nutrients found in your prenatal vitamin. Bump Dust is now being formulated to replace your prenatal vitamin all together, which is really helpful. Now, you don’t have to take a prenatal and a protein powder. Protein plays an important role for your growing baby, and it is a great way or both you and your baby to stay healthy.
Protein shakes help with weight management during pregnancy:
Protein powder also is a great tool to help with a healthy pregnancy and optimal weight gain. Protein consumption helps maintain muscle mass, while also increasing metabolism. It can be hard to stay active during pregnacy, and easy to lose muscle mass when you become larger and more sedentary. Eating enough protein will help keep the muslce mass needed to keep your metabolism faster. This will also help you during labor as well. The more muscle and strength you have, the stronger you will be able to push when the time comes. A healthy diet is most important for weight management, and protein shakes are an easy way to help keep the healthy diet going. I know protein shakes really help me during my pregnancies because I can at least get in a healthy meal or snack fast, with minimal clean up. That is one of my favorite parts of protein shakes. The fact that they are fast, taste great, and I can take them on the go with me too.
Protein shakes are great for all trimesters:
You can start drinking your protein shake during the first trimester, and continue through the second and third trimester. If you are too nauseaus, and can’t eat anything in the first trimester, don’t worry. It will get better, and you can make up for lost nutrition later on. There are many mamas who can not eat, and often lose weight during the first trimester. Make sure to keep up with your doctor, and they will advise you on how and when you can start your protein shakes. Always have your doctor review the protein shakes you are considering, so they can ensure the ingredients and nutritional profile are right for you. They can also advise you on the recommended amount of protein for you personally, verses the general population. They will take into account your weight, and weight goals through pregnancy, to ensure you hit the right amounts of protein in your regular diet.
My favorite protein shake recipe to hit my prenatal protein goals:
- 1 Scoop Bump Dust Prenatal Protein Powder
- 2 cups Ice
- Handful of spinach
- 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 cup almond milk
Blend together, and you will LOVE how delicious this smoothie is! It is also so full of amazing ingredients for both you and baby.