Eating 6 regularly spaced meals that each contains 1/6 of the total calorie intake for your day is the way to go. Of those 6 meals I have found that 2 can be a protein shake which helps to keep your total protein intake where you need it to be if you�re training. People will argue what the correct amount is but if you stay within .75 � 1.2 grams per lbs. of body weight you will be in the target zone. This does not mean avoiding carbohydrates.
Stay with simple carbohydrates and avoid processed sugars with your meals. A good generalization is to have each meal portion about the size of your fist with 1/6 of your daily protein intake. If you follow the 2 other rules about what to eat you will get the proper amount of carbohydrates etc�
I always bring my shake container with me to workout. On the way out I fill it with water from the fountain and drink it on the way home. An after workout shake is recommended as it helps aid in muscle recovery by providing the necessary material for the rebuilding of the damaged muscle created by straining the muscles during your workout. As for pre-workout this is an open argument but I find I get more done when I�m not full. Additionally, depending on how long your workout is you may end up taking to much in to short of time to realize maximum absorption.
Optimum is one of the most well respected names in the industry. Almost every professional Bodybuilder has at one time or another endorsed their products. The consensus seams to be the 100% Whey Protein is the one to go with. It won the supplement of the year for 2005/6/7/8 which is saying a lot.
I like the Extreme Milk Chocolate. Put it in a blender with a few ice cubes and 12 ounce�s of skim milk, blend for about 20-30 seconds and away you go. It tastes like a good malt milkshake.
I hope this helps, take care.