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Updated On: May 04, 2023
Most gym goers are familiar with protein shakes, whether they swear by them or simply observe others guzzling them post-workout. And their popularity is for good reason. Lifting weights and protein drinks go together better than squats and deadlifts. If you want to build muscle, protein intake is paramount.
Simply mixing protein powder with water every day gets boring fast. Even with the many great-tasting flavors available today, nothing compares to a protein shake packed with healthy and delicious ingredients. Plus, if you add the right stuff, you can increase the nutritional value of the shake itself.
So, if you are looking for a great-tasting protein shake recipe, you have come to the right place.
In the article, we will cover the following:
A protein shake is a drink that contains powdered protein derived from milk, egg, or vegan protein sources. You can get protein shakes in two main categories – protein powder and ready-to-drink (RTD) products.
Protein powder is the best value, typically coming in two, five, or ten-pound containers. RTDs are great for when you are traveling, as you can find them at most gas stations.
Of course, protein powder is also the perfect addition to protein shakes. And we know you're excited to dig in, so we're going to get to our featured recipe right away.
Just make sure to stick around, because after highlighting the protein shake recipe, we've included some great tips, additional ingredient options and suggested substitutions, and two more great recipes you won't want to miss.
A chocolate peanut butter banana protein shake tastes fantastic and is easy to make. Better yet, you are likely to have all of the ingredients on hand, so there is no need to make a grocery store run and pick up anything special.
Whether you're looking for a bulking breakfast or something that fits into your cutting workout and diet plan, this recipe has got you covered. We've also included a savable recipe card (look for it after the detailed recipe we're about to discuss) so you can easily access it anytime you need it! Save, share, and enjoy! This recipe serves one.
Protein Shake Nutrition Info Per Serving: Calories - 468 calories; Fat - 20g; Carbs - 38g; Protein - 34g
One of the best things about protein shakes is how customizable they are! If one of the ingredients above isn't quite what you're looking for, consider some of these substitutions and additions.
We can't overstate the importance of high-protein foods in general. Consuming enough daily protein is one of the top nutritional priorities to build muscle, lose fat, and be healthy.
Protein shakes are not magic. But they do offer a few advantages over other protein sources. The most significant benefit of protein drinks is accessibility. Eating a steak, chicken breast, or piece of fish is not always feasible.
Here are some times when a protein shake makes the most sense.
Getting a high-protein breakfast is challenging for many, especially those who start work or school early. Getting in a protein shake is a great idea when you don't have time to make eggs, making it one of our favorite meals when food prepping for weight loss or muscle gain.
You can mix an incredible shake with multiple ingredients, like outlined above, or pair a shake with a bowl of oatmeal. You can also add coffee to your protein shake for a caffeinated protein coffee pick-me-up.
When considering what to eat before a workout, a protein shake is an excellent option if you don't have time to get a full meal in before your gym session. Also, if your gym session is within an hour, you want to eat something that's easier to digest and lower in calories.
In this scenario, eating a full meal might be a bad idea. Not everyone enjoys working out on a full stomach. If that is you, a protein shake with a piece of fruit is perfect.
The post-workout time frame has long been a popular time for a protein shake. As far as what to eat after a workout, it's vital to have protein within a couple of hours post-workout.
A protein shake after weightlifting is sufficient when you can't or don’t want to eat a regular sit-down meal.
Protein shakes can make a great meal replacement when traveling on the go. Instead of stopping and grabbing fast food or unhealthy snacks, pack a protein shake.
Making a shake in its simplest form requires only a bottle of water, a shaker cup, and protein powder.
We love having a protein shake before bed. In fact, ending your day with a solid dose of protein is a great idea to ensure plenty of amino acids are available during the night.
Opting for a protein powder with an extended release of amino acids like casein or milk protein isolate is the best option during this time. It's great for optimizing muscle recovery while you sleep.
Depending on your goals, there are many options for protein smoothie additions. If you are on a fat-loss diet, stick to lower-calorie choices. Just because they are low-calorie doesn't mean they won't add considerable flavor. On the other hand, if you are in a muscle-gaining phase, you have a lot more flexibility.
It's also important to find one of the best protein powders to use in your shakes as the good ones will make a huge flavor difference!
When choosing a protein powder, there are many options, ranging in quality, absorption times, and mixability. Once you determine the best type for you, all that's left is to figure out how much protein you need to include in your shake to help you hit your goals.
Whey protein concentrate is the most affordable form of whey protein. Very few protein powders on the market are all whey protein concentrate.
Most are a blend of whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate (we've got a great article on the differences between whey isolate vs. concentrate if you'd like to learn more).
Whey protein isolate is a higher-quality protein powder as it undergoes more filtration during processing. It is lower in fat and carbs (lactose) but higher in protein percentage than whey protein concentrate.
Additionally, the powder mixes very well. The only downside of whey protein isolate is the cost. For some great options on whey isolate protein powder check out our full article.
Casein protein is defined by the sustained release of amino acids, making it a perfect protein source before bed or as a meal replacement shake. Casein also mixes a little thicker than whey making it ideal for pudding or thicker shakes.
Our article on casein vs. whey provides more information on both proteins, as well as similarities and differences between the two.
Milk protein isolate (MPI) is the best of both worlds between whey and casein protein. MPI is 80% casein and 20% whey, the exact breakdown of milk. With MPI, you get a nice mix of fast and sustained release of amino acids.
Vegan protein powder has come a long way over the past decade. There was a time when it tasted terrible, and soy was the only option. Now, most vegan protein powders taste great and are a blend of pea and rice protein.
If you follow a plant-based or vegan diet, a high-quality protein powder can make hitting your daily protein goals easier. Be sure to check out our article on the best hemp protein powder supplements for some great vegan options.
Building muscle requires intense training, progressive overload, a surplus of calories, and adequate protein intake. On paper, it seems eating a lot of calories is the easy part. However, if you don't have a big appetite, eating a boatload of calories every day is nearly impossible. Consuming a high-calorie protein shake can make your life a lot easier.
The first tip is to find a protein powder you enjoy. If you don't like the flavor, you are less likely to use it consistently. When starting out, try a bunch of different brands and flavors until you find one you love.
Next, when creating muscle-building shakes, it's all about calories. Focus on the high-calorie ingredients listed above. Sometimes in the quest to build muscle, you need to eat some things that are not considered "healthy." Making a high-calorie shake using only fruits and vegetables will be hard on the digestive tract.
Calories are most important when it comes to weight loss. With that said, having the proper macronutrient breakdown is a close second. The macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) make up the calories we get from food. Protein and carbohydrates contain four calories per gram, and fat has nine.
Protein is always associated with building muscle, but eating enough protein is critical for weight loss, too. An abundance of research shows that following a diet high in protein helps you lose fat more efficiently, maintain muscle, and experience less hunger1.
When creating shakes for weight loss, it's essential to consider your protein shake calories. For this, we want to take the opposite approach to muscle-building shakes.
Instead of mixing in higher calories ingredients, stick to low-calorie items. Focus on fruits and vegetables. Things like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and spinach can add a lot of nutrients and flavor to your shakes without adding many calories. Pair this with a great workout split, and you'll be well on your way to weight loss!
Here are a few simple ways to increase the protein count of your protein shakes.
If you want or need a higher protein shake, you can add more protein powder to the recipe. An extra ½ scoop adds 12 additional grams of protein.
Using regular cow's milk instead of water or almond milk is a great way to increase the amount of protein in your shakes. Cows milk has 8 grams of protein per 8 ounces.
Greek yogurt is one of the best foods for muscles. Adding Greek yogurt to your protein shakes increases the protein count and makes the shakes thicker.
A serving of Greek yogurt will add roughly 15 grams of protein.
One easy way to add a few extra grams of protein to your shake is by using high-protein peanut butter instead of regular peanut butter.
This straightforward switch can net you an additional 5 to 10 grams of protein.
After you have mastered the chocolate peanut butter banana protein shake recipe we highlighted earlier in the article, here are two more homemade protein shakes recipes for you to try.
The first protein shake is perfect for building muscle and fits great into a clean bulk workout and diet plan. The second recipe is ideal for weight loss.
No matter your diet, we guarantee these protein shake flavors will hit the spot!
If you struggle to eat enough to support muscle hypertrophy and build muscle consistently, this ultimate 1000-calorie muscle-building shake will be your best friend. This peanut butter protein shake is filled with healthy fats and is high calorie, high protein, and high in flavor.
Feel free to get creative here too. You can use frozen banana to add more chill to your shake, switch up the type of nut butter you use, include some coconut milk, sweeten it up even more with some maple syrup, or add in some high protein nuts and seeds, like chia seeds.
The options are endless! This recipe serves one.
Protein Shake Nutrition Info: Calories - 1000 calories; Fat - 36.5g; Carbs - 117g; Protein - 51g
Fat loss diets can be pretty bland. After a few meals consisting only of high protein low fat foods, like chicken and rice, simply having a protein shake mixed with water can be pretty tasty. That said, we can do better than that. Here is a fat-loss shake that is low-calorie but still tastes fantastic.
A few things to keep in mind: If you don't like how baby spinach tastes in the shake, you can leave it out. If desired, use any berries instead of strawberries and blueberries. Frozen fruit, like frozen mixed berries, frozen bananas, and frozen strawberries, are also all good options.
Vanilla Greek yogurt is an excellent addition to this recipe if you want a little thicker consistency and extra protein. You can also add more flavor using ingredients such as cocoa powder and vanilla extract.
Protein Shake Nutrition Info: Calories - 260 calories; Fat - 4g; Carbs - 29g; Protein - 27g
Ready to head to the kitchen and whip up a protein shake? Read these FAQs first to make sure you're fully prepared.
The great thing about protein shakes is they are highly versatile. You can drink them anytime you need a serving or two of protein. The best times to drink a protein shake are first thing in the morning, pre-and post-workout, and before bed.
Since protein shakes are just powdered protein, you can drink them daily as part of a healthy diet. That said, eating a lot of whole-food protein every day is a good idea. Ensure your diet consists of plenty of chicken, lean red meat, white fish, salmon, eggs, lean dairy, and protein shakes.
Protein shakes can help you lose weight if you maintain a calorie deficit. The key is to be mindful of what you add to your shakes.
Amid a fitness lifestyle, nothing beats a delicious protein shake to help you hit your daily protein goals. You can only eat so much chicken or fish before you can't stomach it anymore.
Simply using a shaker cup to mix protein powder with water gets old too. Hopefully, after reading this article, you have a few new options to upgrade your protein shake experience.
Paddon-Jones, Douglas, et al. "Protein, Weight Management, and Satiety." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 87, no. 5, 1 May 2008, pp. 1558S1561S, 10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1558s
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