One 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
Protein Shake #2: Strawberry & Banana
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
Protein Shake #4: Berries & Veggies
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!
Protein Shake #5: Blueberry Banana
- 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
- 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.
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.