Best Protein ShakeOne of the most common questions that we see is about protein shakes—they are one of the most common snacks that people use to fuel and recover from their workouts, but there are so many options out there, both homemade and store-bought, that it’s hard to decide what the best choice is for you.

So, we asked a few of our experts about their best protein shake recipes and why they think it is a great choice. Keep in mind dietary supplements like protein shakes are not necessary to help build muscle, or lose fat, but they can sometimes make life a little more convenient.

#1: Green Super Drink

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Personally, I stay away from whey and casein because for some people dairy products may have pro-inflammatory effects in the body, myself included. Many people are lactose-sensitive but aren’t aware of it. So instead, I use an organic hemp protein powder. Hemp protein is a complete protein that boosts the body’s immune system, hastens muscle recovery, and has anti-inflammatory properties. I blend hemp protein with a banana, spinach, flax, almond milk, and cinnamon making a delicious Green Super Drink.

Kristin Rooke, CPT

Protein Shake #2: Strawberry & Banana

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I like keeping things simple with a protein shake, which I have occasionally after workouts. I prefer making a shake to buying an RTD (ready to drink shake) because it’s cheaper, tastes better, and has natural ingredients.

My protein shake includes 1 banana, 1-2 cups of strawberries, 1-2 scoops of vanilla whey protein (around 30-40 grams – just about any high quality vanilla whey protein isolate can work), 4-6 ounces of water, and handful of ice in a blender. If I wanted to add calories and slow down the digestion of the protein and make the shake more filling, I would add peanut, or almond butter. Tastes great every time!

Couple tips: Play around with the amount of strawberries, water, and ice. The less water, the thicker the shake will be. Blending the ice to the right consistency is the real trick to make the shake taste great. Also consider adding in some raw spinach to make the shake even more nutritious without sacrificing taste.

Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT

Protein Shake #3: Almond Chocolate

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I like Almond Plus Milk with Blue Bonnet Chocolate Protein, a Poliquin Electrolyte packet with a some greens, post-workout. The Almond milk only has 2 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein. The Blue Bonnet Protein is an additional 26 grams, the electrolytes help with workout recovery and the greens generally have vitamins, minerals and an overall alkalizing effect on the body.

John Leyva, CSCS, CPT

Protein Shake #4: Berries & Veggies

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My Best Protein Shake – My recovery day shake (since I try to get in more veggies) is almond milk, handful spinach, handful kale, 1 banana, frozen berries, chia seeds, 100% cacao nibs, tsp olive oil, protein powder. Tastes way better than it sounds!

Being a fitness guy for over a decade I have had the opportunity to try many different types of protein shakes from whey to egg to pea protein. Some are obviously better tasting than others but one thing that I have found is not all protein is created equal in the supplement world.

A couple years ago I decided to start doing some of my own research into what goes into some popular brands of whey protein. My only question was, “Does it really matter what brand of whey you use?”

Needless to say, I was shocked at what I found. Most companies use low grade whey from grain-fed cows and are loaded with fillers, chemicals and artificial sweeteners. For a society that is aiming for improved health and wellness this is really a step in the wrong direction if you ask me.

What I look for now is a good quality whey protein isolate that has few ingredients. A few that are acceptable are natural ingredients such as vanilla, cacao, and stevia. I choose whey protein isolate over concentrate as the filtering process will eliminate RgBH (a dangerous chemical found in grain-fed cattle). Isolate is filtered through an extra process and has also been found to be more readily available to your body. It is slightly more expensive but like anything else in life, you get what you pay for.

I have found Whole Foods to have a decent selection but some may be a little pricey. Personally I have found better deals online through various distributors. Some of the brands I stick too are EnergyFirst, Whey Cool, ProGrade and BiPro. For all of my vegan clients I recommend Sun Warrior which is great!

Stephen Bergeron, CSCS, CPT

Protein Shake #5: Blueberry Banana

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My favorite protein shake is very generic but an effective homemade recipe. I shoot for a 1:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio made with the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/2 serving plain unflavored Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ¼ cup of blueberries
  • ½ banana
  • 1 scoop of unflavored 100% whey isolate protein powder (20-30 grams)
  • 3 grams of glutamine + ice cubes

Nutrition facts

  • Calories-300
  • Protein-25 grams
  • Carbohydrates- 30 grams
  • Fiber- 12 grams

A 2:1 or 1:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is ideal for refueling your muscles and replacing glycogen levels. Drink this shake within 30 minutes of your workout: a liquid meal, such as a protein shake, is absorbed more quickly than solid food. The fruit will help you restore your glycogen levels and transport protein to your muscles.

Using natural foods such as fruit and unflavored yogurt prevents a severe insulin spike that you get with most “store-bought” shakes due to the large amount of processed sugars and additives that are present. The combination of chia seeds, fruit, yogurt, and almond milk provides an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

One tip: Make your shake the night before and store it in the fridge to save yourself the hassle and cleanup in the morning.

Kevin Deeth, CPT

Did you like any of these shakes? Do you have any favorites on your own? We would love to hear what you think, just leave a comment below.



  1. profile avatar
    Peter Oct 29, 2012 - 10:35 #

    For me, mixing so many things with protein powder defeats the purpose of a protein shake – convenience.

    Instead, I’d like to ask, what is the easiest and most convenient way to make a bad tasting protein shake taste good? I think most of us have bought bad tasting protein shakes some time in our lives…..

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Nov 02, 2012 - 09:40 #

      @Peter – I thought my recommendation was pretty easy; some strawberries and a banana…or simply just one fruit with ice can make a difference.

    2. profile avatar
      BP Nov 03, 2012 - 14:33 #

      I really like to take vanilla whey protein and mix with a little orange Gatorade mix and milk. It gives the shake an orange creamsicle taste, and most important it is extremely fast to mix and cheap too!

  2. profile avatar
    Barry Oct 29, 2012 - 11:47 #

    My favorite protein shake also gets in my ‘chocolate fix’: 1 scoop blended whey and casein protein – must be all natural with a digestive enzyme in it, and especially no sucralose + 1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk + 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt + 1 cup blueberries.

    This shake has 344 calories 37.5 grams protein 35.5 grams carbs 9 grams fiber 5 grams fat. This is a good protein:carb ratio for post-workout.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Nov 02, 2012 - 09:40 #

      Thanks for sharing, Barry.

  3. profile avatar
    Kent Oct 29, 2012 - 12:09 #

    When talking about isolates and effectiveness, how does Optimum Nutrition’s Gold series of whey and casein line up?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Nov 02, 2012 - 09:43 #

      @Kent – I generally don’t opine on specific protein supplement brands because they are not regulated by the FDA. John Leyva in his whey protein article wrote about the things to look for in a whey protein isolate. If Optimum Nutrition Gold passes the test he offers, than it may be a good brand.

  4. profile avatar
    Christian Oct 29, 2012 - 22:05 #

    Ive just recently started taking working out seriously. I bought some protien bars, but they just taste so horrible that it takes me about 10 minutes to eat one. After reading this I think Marc Perry’s is the most convenient protien shake, cause most of those ingredients are already in my kitchen lol, and probly tastes the best too judging from the ingredients.. Next time I go to the store ill buy the rest of the ingedients and ill be set. P.S. I love your guys website so many of my questions have been answered, and I’ve gotten my best workouts from you guys, keep up the awesome work.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Nov 02, 2012 - 09:46 #

      @Christian – I think that sounds like a smart idea. My opinion is that if you are going to have a protein supplement, buying a whey protein isolate and adding natural ingredients to a shake is the way to go. Protein bars on average have a lot of chemicals etc. in them. Thanks for the kudos about the website! We like to think we are just getting warmed up in terms of creating an awesome resource for you guys.

  5. profile avatar
    Dennis Nov 02, 2012 - 11:46 #

    My favorite shake is simple: water, tons of spinach, ice, 1-2 scoops of whey protein, cinnamon, tablespoon of coconut oil, and a banana. Taste delicious and is so simple to make! Will be trying some of the ones above soon too. Thanks!

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Nov 02, 2012 - 12:32 #

      @Dennis – Thanks for sharing.

  6. profile avatar
    Lillian Nov 02, 2012 - 11:57 #

    I discovered this one and I have it for breakfast, and it fills me up til lunch (I add 10 almonds on the side, too)

    mix four ice cubes with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
    add 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
    1 1/2 cup frozen cherries
    1/2 tsp of vanilla
    1 tsp of cocoa
    1 tsp cinnamon
    handful of spinach (can’t taste it and great way to add a veggie)
    then add 1 tbsp each of hemp hearts, ground chia, and flax seed oil, then the unflavoured or vanilla flavoured protein powder and gently blend.

    Thick, tasty and nutricious, and filling!

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Nov 02, 2012 - 12:33 #

      @Lillian – thanks for sharing. I hope more people share a bunch more recipes!

  7. profile avatar
    Ailsa Nov 02, 2012 - 14:55 #

    I have a challenge for the fitness / health food community. I want to make a protein drink that has NO soy / nuts or legumes. I am allergic to this family of foods. Is it possible? After I work out I want a healthful drink but I have been unable to find a protein source that I can use that is completely without these products. Good luck, and thanks!

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Nov 02, 2012 - 16:10 #

      @Alisa – thanks for letting us know. I added your question to our Q&A database so we’ll try our best to get it answered! If anyone else can chime in, that would be great.

    2. profile avatar
      John Leyva Nov 02, 2012 - 23:40 #

      @Ailsa – Your best bet would be a brand called Plant Fusion Protein shake. It’s my favorite vegan brand protein powder, made without soy, nuts or legumes. It’s a blend of 4 different plant proteins with comparable BCAA’s and glutamine as whey. I’ve read some reviews about the taste on Amazon, but personally think it tastes amazing also. Hope that helps.

      1. profile avatar
        Ailsa Nov 05, 2012 - 11:38 #

        Thanks John. I went to their website and looked at the ingredient list and unfortunately for me there is Pea Protein Isolate included. Peas are legumes of which I am allergic. I appreciate your efforts. I will keep looking.

      2. profile avatar
        John Leyva Nov 09, 2012 - 22:46 #

        @Ailsa – You’re right, I forgot that peas are legumes. My other vegan protein source is Rice Protein Concentrate. I haven’t found a brand that is “delicious” by itself, but if you mix it with other things, the taste should be fine. Hope that helps.

    3. profile avatar
      Barry Nov 06, 2012 - 09:46 #

      Ailsa, take a look at the classic protein from sun warrior – the protein source is sprouted whole grain brown rice. I can’t say that I have tasted it, but have heard some very good things about the company from people who are vegan and want a protein supplement.

  8. profile avatar
    Bill Nov 02, 2012 - 16:11 #

    My favs include:

    1. Chocolate Cherry

    6-8 oz almond milk
    Handful frozen cherries
    1 packet stevia
    1 scoop protein powder
    1 tbsp cocoa powder (I prefer dark chocolate)

    2. Orange Julius

    6-8 oz almond milk
    2-4 oz OJ (lots of pulp)
    Dash ginger powder
    1 scoop protein powder

    3. Tropical Breeze

    6-8 oz almond milk
    2-4 oz OJ
    Handful of frozen fruit – mangos and peaches
    1/2 banana

    1 & 3 require a blender due to the frozen fruit. For almond milk, I use Silk unsweetened.

  9. profile avatar
    Bobby Nov 02, 2012 - 16:36 #

    My recipe for protein shake is:
    Pure coconut water mixed with water
    50-50 ratio
    3-4 strawberries
    1tablespoon of chia seeds
    1tablespoon of flaxseeds
    3 almonds
    Couple of shakes of cinnamon
    And two scoops of pHd whey isolate -vanilla cream flavour

  10. profile avatar
    Bobby Nov 02, 2012 - 16:39 #

    Sorry forgot to say this made immediately after training .. The coconut water is used to replace your glycogen levels

  11. profile avatar
    Mike Nov 03, 2012 - 00:10 #

    Some great suggestions here. And I agree, keeping it simple is the way to go, as in your strawberry and banana recipe.

    I use skim milk and a mix of fresh berries – whatever’s in season, and frozen strawberries because that makes it ice cold without being too watery.

    I also add half a cup of Greek yogurt which makes it thick and creamy and provides even more protein so you don’t have to use so much protein powder.

    Keep up the great work!

  12. profile avatar
    Lorna Nov 04, 2012 - 15:33 #

    Sent a post in couple of days ago and not on showing? Any reason why?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Nov 04, 2012 - 19:53 #

      @Lorna – Your comment was not accepted because it did not meet the guidelines outlined in our Comment Policy.

  13. profile avatar
    Susan Sorentino Nov 05, 2012 - 07:46 #

    Love all the shake ideas. If you want to have a great shake that is easy and high quality, I have found the best plant based shake and organic raw super greens. No need to add one vegetable when you get it all in one scoop. This will give you the right about of minerals, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids and protein and alkaline your body. I add the super greens in my water throughout the day for added energy.

  14. profile avatar
    Seb Nov 05, 2012 - 18:59 #

    Do these shakes taste good?

    1. profile avatar
      Susan Sorentino Nov 06, 2012 - 10:22 #

      They are very good. Just had one!

  15. profile avatar
    Susan Sorentino Nov 10, 2012 - 07:23 #

    Ailsa – I will talk to Green Organics to see about creating a shake without legumes. For those looking for a great tasting, high quality plant based protein, this is the very best I have ever had.

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