If you are anything like me, afternoons can seem to draaaaaag. Meetings run into meetings, calls into calls and you often need a bit of something to look forward to that isn’t just “going for a run as soon as I am outta here” (by run, sometimes I mean pub)
My previous poison was hot chocolate. Yes, even in July. Or sometimes a little trip to M&S for a Belgian chocolate flapjack (seriously, if you haven’t, go right now and buy one. You will thank me. Or maybe hate me for giving you an addiction). I’ve got better recently – snack packs of chicken and protein shakes have been my saviour for the past year or so, but I reckon you’ll still find me with a hot chocolate at least once a week (eek!)
And no, getting it with skimmed milk doesn’t really make it that much better for you Katie. Nor have you done such exertion between 2-3pm that a chocolate milk recovery drink with that much sugar is necessary. You might as well go and have a Coke (this is saved specifically for slightly fragile days)
Remember when smoothies were all the rage? Yeah and then people actually noticed how much sugar was in them. Except I’d put money on loads of people still grabbing them in the afternoon thinking it’s a good thing to be having. Wake up and read the labels! If you can’t hack 3pm chicken breast and cottage cheese with pineapple is making people give you weird looks at your desk….I am going to suggest keeping an eye out for something else – Upbeat. Dairy-based (i.e., whey protein) plus some fruity or chocolate-y fun. Also comes in a bottle, so no faff whatsoever.
It’s flying high on the current wave of mainstream protein drinks and tapping into a wider audience. Personally, I have no issue with protein shakes and supplements (because I mainly stopped caring about what people think about me a longggggg time ago) but I still speak to plenty of people (not generalising, but mainly women) who still see it as something that is only for hardcore weightlifters and gym nuts. The truth of the matter is, protein is a huge building block for the body. Everyone needs it. I know I’m always more likely to look for high-protein items because I know they fill me up more and make me feel that little bit better about snacking, especially with the amount of lifting and running I’m doing at the minute.
The lovely guy team at Upbeat kindly pointed us in the direction of a few free samples. I’d tried it previously (plus had a chance to test out the new chocolate orange flavour following a blogger meet up at Core Collective), but it was great to try out a few more of the flavours, and understand the nutrition stats behind it (er yeah, I always read labels, but I also assume – probably incorrectly – that protein-based drinks are typically OK-ish, which is probably another error)
So here are my thoughts
- Chocolate orange flavour is amazeballs. A bit like Terry’s in a drink. Although I don’t think I could have it every day. But, it does make me feel like I am having something better than a hot chocolate, which is a win in my book.
- It’s convenient – in a bottle, fairly easily available and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg like buying something like Maxi Nutrition milk when I forget to bring in any protein powder. Which I don’t mind, it just seems to be throwing away more money on my own poor planning, so it’s even better when it’s not such a hit to the wallet.
- It’s fun – the packaging is eye-catching, they are doing a fabulous job all over social media and it has a feel-good vibe to it.
Couple of things for the nutrition nuts amongst you (obviously I am using chocolate orange as an example, the fruit-based ones have a slightly higher sugar content)
- 20g protein
- 9.2g sugar
- 2.6g fat
- 150kcal per serving
So all in all, a decent set of stats. Compare it say to a certain well-known smoothie brand, where you are looking at 27g of sugar (vs 11.8 in a mango & passionfruit Upbeat) and not even 2g of protein…it’s definitely something I’d recommend considering if you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up or something to grab on the go.
So for those of you who are reading and still think that protein is just for hardcore bodybuilders – Upbeat is a sneaky whey (see what I did there?!) to get a bit extra into your day. You don’t have to awkwardly stand in the office vigorously shaking a shaker, nor carry round little pots of powder which you then spill on your desk AND yourself whilst trying to empty them out. You don’t have to dodge any questions from people along the lines of “why do you need protein, you’re a girl” or get into discussions about your gym session that day (although I secretly love that part because I like to give detailed descriptions about tyre flipping and 90cm box jumps and see how they react mwaha)
Kate and I took a sunny break recently to enjoy a couple of the flavours after tracking them down in a Holland & Barrett near the office (you will find them in most of the major supermarkets so take a look here to find a stockist near you) because we were both feeling a bit meh about life in general – and it felt like a much better approach to our previous week’s frappucino excursion!
Plus also, Upbeat are a great believer in #WillpowerWednesday and might even pay a sneaky trip to your office if you feel you need it enough – so give them a follow and get requesting!
Upbeat kindly provided us with vouchers for free samples and a few bits of merchandise – but all opinions are mine.