Want to know how drinking protein shakes can benefit you? Click here to learn how to make a protein shake with easy ingredients.
Getting your nutrients in doesn't have to be hard work. You might think you have to cook over a hot stove each day to nourish your body, but that's not always true. Protein shakes can help you get the nutrients you need while sipping a delicious blended beverage.
How do you make protein shakes? These drinks are super customizable, and we'll show you how you can optimize them to fit your goals and preferences.
What Makes a Shake a Protein Shake?
If you've heard of protein shakes before, you probably associate them with the image of someone who goes to the gym often. While those who work out may enjoy the support they get from protein shakes, they're not the only people who can enjoy this drink.
If you've never heard of protein shakes, that's okay! Essentially, protein shakes are cold, blended beverages with protein powder blended in to give you extra nutritional support. Many people enjoy this beverage after hitting the gym, but you can incorporate this blended drink into your life no matter how active you are.
Is a Protein Shake the Same as a Smoothie?
Are you used to having smoothies as snacks between meals? If so, you might wonder how protein shakes and smoothies are different.
Though they're both blended beverages, smoothies tend to include more blended fruit, while protein shakes contain an element of protein that makes it a fortified beverage.
What Are the Benefits of Adding Protein to Your Shake?
Many people want to add protein to their diet because of protein's many benefits. For example, protein aids in the repair of muscle tissue, and eating heart-healthy high-protein foods can assist in lowering cholesterol. Here are a few more common reasons protein might benefit you:
- It's filling. If one of your goals is weight loss or reducing carbs in your food, adding protein can help. This natural substance may help you feel fuller during and after meals.
- It helps you regulate. Proteins can help you regulate hormone levels throughout your body.
- It's the foundation for your body. Proteins help construct every part of you –– your hair, nails, bones, muscles, cartilage, and skin comprise protein to some degree.
- It aids digestion. Most dietary protein helps with the production of enzymes which can help you digest food.
- It provides oxygen for your body. Your red blood cells house a protein compound that makes it possible to transport oxygen throughout your body.
The Easiest Way To Make a Protein Shake
You don't have to brainstorm for hours about how to get enough protein in your diet. You can get the sustenance needed to feel energized by drinking protein shakes.
Many protein shake recipes include the use of frozen bananas. This ingredient helps sweeten your shake and creates the perfect texture to drink. Here's a quick way to make a protein shake with banana:
- Select your base. You can choose frozen fruit or ice to help make your shake the perfect consistency.
- Add in your protein. Many people use vanilla or chocolate protein powder to simplify the process, but you can also add protein sources such as nut butter or chia seeds.
- Add some flavor. Are you someone who likes your beverages on the sweeter side? If so, you might want to add a sweetener like maple syrup, honey, or a pump of vanilla syrup. If you like drinks less sweet, skip this step.
- Add a liquid. Remember, you can always add more juice or milk, so starting with less might be a good idea. You can use any kind of dairy milk, non-dairy milk, water, or juice!
- Blend. You're ready to blend your beverage! Using a high-quality blender with a sharp blade can give the best results. If the mixture looks too thick, you can add more milk or juice to make it more drinkable.
How Much Protein Should You Consume?
If you're wondering how much protein to add to your shake, you can calculate it to be perfect for your body.
If you're someone who isn't typically active, an appropriate amount would be 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you spend a lot of time doing physically strenuous activities, you can increase your intake from there.
How To Make a Protein Shake Without Frozen Banana
Some people don't like adding bananas to their protein smoothies. If you want to make a protein shake without this ingredient, you can follow the original steps and replace frozen bananas with any of these options:
- Ice: Using ice will give your shake a slushy, icy texture.
- Milk Ice Cubes: Using these can make your shake thicker than using liquid milk.
- Frozen Fruit: Mangos are a terrific option for a smooth blend
- Frozen Zucchini: If you're looking for a low-sugar option, this choice might work for you.
What Kind of Milk Can You Use for a Protein Smoothie?
If you're thinking about what liquid to use for your protein shake, you have several options. You can use water for a more bland-flavored shake or one of the options below if you'd prefer a different flavor and texture. Let's take a look.
Dairy Milk Options:
Using milk can be a good option if you're using powdered protein. Milk usually mixes better with protein powder and tastes more appetizing than water.
- Whole Milk: If you're drinking your protein shake between meals and want to stay fuller for longer, whole milk could be a suitable option. The higher fat levels can also help you achieve weight gain if that's one of your goals.
- 2% Milk: This kind of milk is a solid option if you want to add dairy to your protein shake.
- Skim Milk: You might prefer to use skim milk if one of your nutrition goals is to reduce fat in your diet. This milk type contains the lowest fat amount and has a thinner texture.
Many people prefer not to use dairy in their shakes for one reason or another. If you're lactose-intolerant, vegan, or have unique nutritional needs, dairy-free milk or juice might be a more fitting option.
- Oat Milk: This dairy-free beverage has risen in popularity in recent years. This option is lower in fat and higher in fiber, making it a choice many reach for in their drinks.
- Soy Milk: Soy milk comes from soybeans, and it's a terrific option for your shakes if you want to add more protein. This beverage also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can offer potential health benefits.
- Almond Milk: Let's say you're looking for a milk option that will thicken your shake without adding any sweetness. You can use unsweetened almond milk.
- Coconut Milk: This non-dairy beverage contains antioxidants that can help support your overall health.
- Cashew Milk: This nut milk option is another high-fat liquid you can add to fortify your protein smoothie.
- Orange Juice: If you'd prefer a thinner consistency, adding orange juice to your shake can give it a tangy taste.
- Fruit Juice: For a more tropical, fresh flavor, fruit juice is another option that can make your protein shake taste more vibrant and sweet.
What's the Best Protein Powder for Protein Shakes?
When adding protein to your shake, you can opt to use a protein powder or natural protein sources. Let's look at the details of protein powder, and then we'll talk about how to add natural protein and other ingredients to your shakes.
- Protein Isolate: This kind of protein powder contains the highest protein content at around 90%.
- Protein Hydrolysate: This protein powder uses hydrolysates that make it easier for your body to absorb the protein contents.
- Protein Concentrate: This kind of powder gets its protein by extracting it from whole foods. Usually, this type contains anywhere from 60%-80% protein.
- Whey Protein Powder: Many people enjoy using this protein powder because of its branched-chain amino acids and its ability to help your body recover from exercise.
What Other Ingredients Can You Add to a Protein Shake?
If you don't have protein powder, you can still add protein to your shakes and smoothie recipes by adding other ingredients. Let's take a look at the other add-ins that can make your shake more sustaining.
- Greek Yogurt: Adding plain greek yogurt to your shake can help thicken its consistency while adding protein. This ingredient is high in protein, which will help keep you full for longer.
- Nut Butter: Adding nut butter to your shakes can add a delicious flavor and help keep you full. Nut butters like almond butter and peanut butter are high-protein ingredients, meaning you can add a couple of tablespoons and enjoy around 8 grams of protein content. Peanut butter protein shakes tend to be particularly popular.
- Spinach: Spinach makes a terrific addition to your shakes because it is rich in nutrients. It contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium, among a host of other beneficial components like protein.
- Flaxseeds: If you want to add a little bit of protein to your shake, you can opt for a lighter option, such as flaxseeds. These are also rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and they may help lower cholesterol levels.
- Avocado: When you think of high-protein foods, you might not imagine avocado right away. These are rich in nutrients and healthy fats, and a whole avocado contains up to 4 grams of protein.
- Fruits and Veggies: If you want to add other natural proteins to your protein smoothie, green peas, raisins, guava, jackfruit, cherries, and grapefruit are excellent options.
- Chia Seeds: Here's another light ingredient you can add to your smoothies to feel fuller longer. Each ounce of chia seeds contains almost five grams of protein!
Add Flavor to Your Shakes
Some people might prefer protein shakes with a light flavor without much sweetness. If you'd like a sweeter shake, you can choose from several flavoring options to make your shake tasty every time. Let's check out your options for making a flavored shake you love!
- Honey: Honey is a natural sweetener that can provide a delightfully sweet flavor to your shake. It's better for you than regular sugar, and it contains antioxidants that can protect your body against free radicals.
- Maple Syrup: Did you know that maple syrup contains a wealth of potential health benefits? Like honey, it also has antioxidants and may also include anti-inflammatory properties compared to sugar.
- Cocoa Powder: Want to enjoy a chocolate protein shake? Adding cocoa powder to your smoothie can make your beverage super tasty.
- Vanilla Extract: Try adding vanilla extract if you want to enjoy a vanilla-flavored protein shake! Remember that it's super-saturated, and you only need a small amount. Try adding half a teaspoon of vanilla extract for flavor!
- Fruit: Adding raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, mangos, and other fruits can help give your protein shake a fruity, sweet flavor. You can add fruit juice or water for a thinner slushy consistency or use milk or non-dairy milk for a creamy, fruity blend.
Let's Prep Meals Together
Whether you're preparing a green smoothie with protein powder, looking for unique drink recipes, or searching for protein-rich meals you can cook for your household, we're here to help. See how you can simplify cooking, baking, and meal prep with us at Jow.