Put down the scooper.
Protein shake recipes don't have to be boring, uneventful combinations of water and your favorite protein powder. You can actually turn them into mini-meals, filled with tons of nutritional value, macronutrient variety and taste.
Before we start to talk shake specifics, I want you to head to the grocery store and get the following items:
- Heavy Cream
- Whole Milk
- Cream Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Coconut Oil *
- Almond Milk
- Chocolate Milk
- Orange Juice
- Dark Chocolate *
- Coconut *
- Peanut Butter *
- Almond Butter *
- Cocoa Powder *
- Vanilla Extract *
- Instant Coffee *
- Ground Red Pepper *
- Fresh Spinach
- Splenda *
There, that was a fun trip...wasn't it? Obviously you don't need to purchase all these items; I was being facetious. They are merely suggestions, and items that can help you make some tremendous shakes.
Half of these items are perishable, while the other half can sit in your cupboard for quite some time. The items marked with an asterisk have a longer, or long shelf life.
Let's Get Our Shake On!
It's time to play. In this section I want you to get creative. Think of flavor combinations you enjoy, and try mixing them in a blender. Don't be afraid to experiment.
My recommendation is to add your liquids and powders first. From this point, add in smaller(ish) amounts of ingredients so you can test the flavor.
Toss them in the blender, pulse away and taste. If there is not enough flavor, add more of the ingredient. it's really as simple as that.
Here are some combinations that you might want to try:
- Banana and Peanut Butter - With a banana and/or peanut butter protein powder, along with fresh banana and peanut butter.
- Chocolate and Red Pepper - Your favorite chocolate protein powder with some real dark chocolate and red pepper to taste.
- Creamsicle - Milk, orange juice with a little heavy cream. This works great with a neutral tasting protein powder, or a vanilla protein powder.
- Morning Jolt - Protein powder of choice, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, dash of instant coffee grounds (or added black coffee), dark chocolate, whole milk.
- Protein Smoothie - Fruit, Greek yogurt and protein powder of choice.
- The Bulker. Two cups whole milk, one cup heavy cream, a dollop or two of mascarpone, protein powder and flavors of choice.
- Paradise Shake - Fresh pineapple in milk, vanilla protein powder, small amount of blueberries and a dash of vanilla extract. Top with shredded coconut.
Obviously there are a near-endless number of combinations. To help you get started making better shakes, here are some tips.
Tip #1 - Need Calories? Get Creamy
Heavy cream, cream cheese, mascarpone and Greek yogurt are an excellent way to add flavor, calories and creaminess to your protein shakes. A little bit goes a long way. Try adding either a 1/2 cup of heavy cream to each 16 ounce shake, 1/2 stick of cream cheese, a dollop or two of mascarpone, or a container of Greek yogurt.
Tip #2 - Make Your Own Whipped Topping
Place a cup of heavy whipping cream in a bowl, and add in a touch of vanilla extract alone with 1/8 cup Splenda. You can add more Splenda if you feel it's not sweet enough.
Using a mixer, mix until the whipping cream starts to stiffen up. You should be able to pull the mixing blades out and see peaks forming.
This is a healthy and natural whipped topping that can be placed on top of any protein shake. It will add taste, calories and nutritional value.
Tip #3 - Add Some Chocolate or Cocoa Powder
Don't be afraid to toss in a little dark chocolate or cocoa powder into your fruity protein powder. Chocolate goes well with many fruits, including strawberries, bananas and even oranges.
Tip #4 - Make a Protein Smoothie
Instead of making a protein shake, combine fruit, protein powder, Greek yogurt and a dollop or two of cream cheese or mascarpone and make a tasty smoothie.
Tip #5 - Get "Fat"
If you are on a cutting or fat loss diet it can be difficult finding creative ways to sneak in quality fats. If you aren't hitting your daily macro requirements for fat, or if you missed a meal, try adding a small amount of almond milk or coconut oil into your shakes.
Tip #6 - Add Some Peanut Butter
If you love peanut butter (or nut butter), add a dollop or two into your favorite chocolate protein powder.
Tip # 7- Go Green By Adding Spinach
This might sound odd, but spinach hides well in most healthy protein shake recipes. If you hate, hate, hate veggies, try finely chopping up a golf-ball sized portion of spinach. Toss it in your shake, blend, and drink. Odds are you won't notice it's in the mix.
Tip #8 - Sweeten With Splenda
If your shakes lack sweetness or taste, add a little bit of Splenda into the blender.
Tip #9 - Use Coffee, Or Instant Coffee Crystals
Make a protein coffee drink. Add your favorite protein powder to coffee, and combine with other flavors such as vanilla extract, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, almond milk, heavy cream, etc. You can even ice your concoction, then blend with ice cubes for a refreshing ice coffee drink.
Eating healthy, building muscle and/or losing fat does not have to involve tedious eating. Find as many low to non-processed food choices as you can, and ask yourself if there is a creative way to incorporate them into a shake.
Make a list of food combinations you enjoy, and try to recreate them in shake form. Don't be afraid to make mistakes in the kitchen. All great recipes required some tweaking alone the way.
Last but not least, don't fear foods that you haven't cooked with or eaten before. They are popular for a reason, and when combined correctly, can be made into amazing and tasty protein shakes.