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Categories: Supplements

5 Best Protein Shake Recipes That Taste Great

By Marc Perry / July 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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.

29Comments

  • Lillian says:

    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)
    blend
    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!

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    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

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

      Cancel reply
  • Ailsa says:

    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!

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    • Barry says:

      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.

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    • John Leyva says:

      @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.

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      • John Leyva says:

        @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.

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      • Ailsa says:

        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.
        Ailsa

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    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      @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.

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  • Bill says:

    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.

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  • Bobby says:

    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

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  • Bobby says:

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

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  • Mike says:

    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!

    Cancel reply
  • Lorna says:

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

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    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

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

      Cancel reply
  • Susan Sorentino says:

    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.

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  • Seb says:

    Do these shakes taste good?

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    • Susan Sorentino says:

      They are very good. Just had one!

      Cancel reply
  • Susan Sorentino says:

    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.

    Cancel reply