Food & Nutrition

Protein Shake Recipes

The routine of taking protein powder two or three times everyday can become quite monotonous, especially considering most of us can only afford to buy one flavour at a time. There’s no need to hold your nose every time you drink a protein shake, though – it just takes a little creativity to turn your protein powder from a necessary evil to a tasty treat. On this page you’ll find plenty of recipes as well as suggestions for ingredients in case you want to freestyle it.

Protein Shake Recipes

The best dairy-based protein shake to start the day

If your morning routine consists of repeating hitting the snooze button so that breakfast is always a pastry or high-sugar snack on the way to work, do yourself a favour: get up two minutes earlier to make yourself a protein shake – with milk, not water – to enable your body to shift fat faster.

In a new study, people who consumed a high-protein breakfast that included milk had more stable blood sugar levels and reduced feelings of hunger during the rest of the morning than those who were given a high-carb breakfast, according to results published in the Journal Of Dairy Science. The addition of protein helps slow the digestion of carbs, resulting in a more stable release of energy to keep blood sugar levels from spiking and then crashing, which results in more carb cravings.

Add a 30g scoop of protein powder to 300ml of semi-skimmed milk, add ice and a handful of your favourite fruits and vegetables, and whizz it up to start your day the best possible way.

Breakfast protein shake

If you don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast, then this high-protein smoothie, which also contains good fats, fibre and a ton of vitamins and minerals, will keep you fully fuelled until lunch. “This fruity breakfast beverage contains cashew nuts and cinnamon, which can help stabilise blood sugar levels and prevent hunger pangs to give you a sustained release of energy all morning,” says personal trainer and Multipower ambassador Anthony Nyman. The yogurt and whey powder increase the protein content, while the pineapple and blueberries are packed with antioxidants and other health-boosting compounds.

  • 200g Greek yogurt
  • 50g pineapple, roughly chopped
  • 30g blueberries
  • 1 scoop of whey protein isolate
  • A handful of cashew nuts
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • Water, to taste

Pre-workout protein shake

If you want to have the best workout possible, make sure you give your muscles all the fuel they need to perform to their maximum potential for the duration of the session. That’s what this performance-boosting smoothie helps to do, if you drink it an hour before training. The oats provide a steady stream of carbs for fuel while the protein powder will provide the amino acids that prevent too much muscle breakdown and encourage new muscle growth. “The banana in this creamy shake provides plenty of potassium, which helps to support muscle function during exercise,” says nutritionist Clare Baseley (forgoodnessshakes.com). Coconut water is high in other electrolytes to aid hydration and muscle contractions.

  • ½ a banana
  • A handful of porridge oats
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein
  • 1tbsp flaxseeds
  • 330ml coconut water

Chill all the ingredients in the fridge, blend them until smooth, then sprinkle some desiccated coconut on top and drink immediately.

Recovery protein shake

After a hard training session your body is crying out for high-quality protein to repair damaged muscle tissue so it can grow back bigger and stronger. But your body needs more than just protein to recover quickly. “In addition to plenty of muscle-building protein, this citrusy and refreshing smoothie also contains vitamin A-rich carrots to help support your immune system which can be weakened by long and intense training,” says chef Dee Chauhan (naturalblender.com).

  • ½ a carrot, peeled and sliced
  • ½ an orange, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ of a cantaloupe melon, peeled and chopped
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder
  • 125ml cashew nut milk
  • 50ml water
  • A handful of ice

Fat loss protein shake

The key to losing weight is to reduce your calorie intake while still eating enough essential vitamins and nutrients, and drinking plenty of water. This smoothie is packed with healthy compounds, but it’s also got protein and fibre to keep you feeling full. “Matcha green tea will fire up your metabolism to help encourage fat loss without causing the jitteriness or headaches that can be associated with caffeine-heavy drinks promoted as a fat-loss aid,” says nutritional therapist Christine Bailey (christinebailey.co.uk).

  • A handful of basil leaves
  • A handful of spinach leaves
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 lime, peeled
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 green apple, sliced
  • ¼tsp matcha green tea powder
  • ¼tsp spirulina
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein
  • 4 ice cubes
  • Water, to taste

Muscle-building protein shake

Aiming to build muscle mass? Then you need to be eating more of the right kind of calories from carbs, fats and protein, which will give your body the energy surplus it needs to add size faster. “Upping your calorie intake with healthy ingredients is crucial if you’re trying to add size, which is why this smoothie features nutritious and calorie-dense ingredients like dark chocolate and coconut milk – as well as a good serving of fast-acting whey protein,” says nutrition specialist Scott Baptie (foodforfitness.co.uk).

  • 20g dark chocolate (85% cocoa)
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 25g scoop whey protein isolate
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 banana
  • 50g porridge oats, soaked in 100ml of water for five to ten minutes

Left to right: Super strawberries, power latte, punchy chocolate peanut, fruit fusion

Super strawberries

One regular strawberry contains 20% of your RDA of recovery-improving vitamin C, which is why this recipe contains five.

  • 1 scoop of strawberry whey protein
  • 5 strawberries, stalks removed
  • 400ml milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • Water, to taste

Power latte

Trade your normal morning coffee for a bonus hit of calcium-heavy almond milk and insulin-regulating cinnamon.

  • 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein
  • 100ml chilled coffee
  • 300ml almond milk
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • Water, to taste

Punchy chocolate peanut

Like liquid Snickers in a glass (but a lot healthier) with high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

  • 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein
  • 400ml milk
  • 1tbsp peanut butter
  • 2tsp cocoa powder
  • Water, to taste

Fruit fusion

Winter’s the best time of year to enjoy seasonal citrus fruits, when their levels of health-boosting vitamin A are highest.

  • 1 scoop of plain whey protein
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 400ml pineapple juice
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • Water, to taste

Left to right: Berry blast, energy banana, blue flu fighter

Berry blast

Berries are the ultimate low-fructose fruit – perfect if you’re trying to lose weight.

  • 1 scoop of strawberry whey
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Handful of raspberries
  • 200ml milk
  • Water, to taste

Energy banana

One banana contains 25% of your RDA of brain-boosting vitamin B6.

  • 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 2tsp honey
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • Water, to taste

Blue flu fighter

A potent antioxidant cocktail that will help stave off illness in the depths of winter.

  • 1 scoop of strawberry whey
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Handful of blackberries
  • 2tsp manuka honey
  • Water, to taste

Left to right: Healthy honey, green and lean, big breakfast

Healthy honey

Keep winter bugs at bay with manuka, a honey with anti-bacterial properties.

  • 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein
  • 2tsp manuka honey
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 400ml coconut water
  • Water, to taste

Green and lean

Not a fan of greens? Try mixing your kale with delicious vitamin K-rich blueberries.

  • 1 scoop of chocolate whey
  • 2tsp supergreens
  • Handful of kale
  • 1tsp flaxseed oil
  • Water, to taste

Big breakfast

This morning milkshake has four different sources of bulk-building protein.

  • 1 scoop of vanilla whey
  • Handful of porridge oats
  • 1tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 400ml almond milk
  • Water, to taste

Great grape

The grapes are a great source of vitamin C, potassium and manganese and the berries contain plenty of antioxidants, while chia seeds deliver an extra hit of protein.

  • 2 scoops vanilla flavour protein powder
  • Handful of purple grapes 
  • Handful of blueberries
  • 1tsp dry chia seeds
  • 1tsp flaxseed oil
  • 120ml of water

Oat-some energy

Anything with bananas and oats is going to be packed with energy making this the perfect pre-workout, energy boosting concoction. As well as energy this shake will help to prevent muscle cramping and sustain your blood sugar too. 

  • 2 scoops banana or vanilla-flavoured protein powder
  • 2tbsp of rolled oats
  • 2 bananas
  • 240ml of unsweetened almond milk 
  • 120ml of cold water
  • ¼tsp of cinnamon
  • 1tsp of honey
  • 4 ice cubes

Chocolate and peanut butter

Who doesn’t like chocolate and peanut butter together? As well as being a decadent mixture of two milkshake favourites, this recipe is actually good for you. The peanuts are full of good stuff including protein, folate, vitamin E and manganese.

  • 2 scoops of chocolate protein powder
  • 1 banana
  • 2tbsp of good-quality peanut butter (the less sugar the better)
  • 240ml of unsweetened almond milk, skimmed milk or soy milk
  • Ice cubes to taste

Peachy green

A nutrient-rich breakfast smoothie. It’ll come out green and may look fairly unappetising but it will start your day off the right way with a hearty serving of fruit, veg and protein.

  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • Handful of frozen pineapple
  • ½ a banana
  • 2 handfuls of kale
  • ½ a frozen peach
  • 240ml of unsweetened almond milk

Great Protein Shake Ingredients

Blueberries Fresh berries sweeten the shake and provide you with antioxidants, which reduce your risk of cancer by mopping up free radicals. Their high fibre content also staves off hunger – and therefore unnecessary snacking – for longer.

Strawberries These are a great source of manganese, a mineral that controls blood sugar levels and reduces the urge to snack. This helps to ensure you don’t undermine all your hard work in the gym with poor food choices as soon as you get out of it. 

Nuts Chucking some nuts into the blender won’t just give you an extra protein kick. Brazil nuts, for example, are packed with cancer-fighting selenium and zinc, while cashews are rich in iron, which is vital for energy.

Peppermint Oil The concentrated essence of the sweet herb contains omega 3 fatty acids, thought to improve blood circulation and reduce your risk of a stroke. It can also relieve stomach ache and indigestion.

Oats Not just for your porridge bowl. Oats are a low-GI source of carbohydrates that will help replenish your muscles with glycogen so they recover and grow bigger faster. They also provide a generous dose of zinc for healthy immune function, magnesium to help your muscles relax after training and dietary fibre to aid with digestion and help remove cholesterol.

4 key ingredients for a post-workout shake

1. Skimmed milk If fat loss is your primary fitness focus, blending your protein powder with water instead of milk will keep the calorie count lower and reduce your intake of both sugar and fats. But if you want to increase both muscular size and strength, then add some milk to the mixer. Research shows that taking protein with carbs during the post-workout window hastens muscle recovery thanks to a faster replenishment of glycogen stores.

2. A medium banana Adding a banana to your blender when making a post-workout shake can do wonders for your physique because they’re an excellent source of vitamin B6, which plays a central role in the metabolism of the fats, carbs and protein you eat. A medium banana contains more than one-third of your daily recommended intake of this vital B vitamin, which is also involved in neurotransmitter synthesis and gene expression.

3. Ground cinnamon Adding this spice will keep your blood sugar levels stable, a key consideration when trying to add muscle and lose body fat. Indeed, a study published in the Journal Of Nutritional Science And Vitaminology found cinnamaldehyde, a compound in cinnamon, is involved in the metabolism of fatty visceral tissue (ie your beer belly). So more cinnamon could help reduce the size of your waist.

4. Peanut butter Adding a dollop of organic peanut butter (or other nut butter) – as long as it’s low in added salt or sugar – will (a) transform the taste of your post-workout shake and (b) increase your intake of quality fats, which your body needs for better hormone production, including muscle-building testosterone. Most nut butters are also high in the antioxidant vitamin E, which combats cellular damage caused by training.

Extra supplements

Whey protein is a given for growth – but adding these additional supplements to your shakes will have you operating at full capacity, says nutritionist Ben Coomber

Dextrose Want to build impressive muscle and earn boast-worthy PBs in the gym or on the road? Then buck the low-carb trend. These easily digestible starch powders – maltodextrin is another alternative – are the primary fuel for any exercise. If you’re performing twice in quick succession, such as at a five-a-side football tournament or CrossFit competition, or even simply bulking and in need of extra calories, they’ll be your secret weapon. On long cardio sessions, take 50g per hour after the first hour of action to top up your glycogen stores and avoid hitting the wall.

Shake up a mix of carb powder, electrolytes, creatine and fruit juice with a little honey.

Greens Top up your five-a-day with this veg, fruit and herb dose in powder form. Greens should be a travel staple alongside your sun cream and passport: their potent antioxidant qualities protect your immunity from the added stress of missing home comforts and the toxins produced by the stress of travel (and besides, most of us aren’t great at getting lots of vegetables and fruit in on holiday). Basically they’re packed with nutritional benefits, helping you towards a high-functioning, healthy body and maximising your fat loss potential.

Sprinkle a 10g dose in with chocolate whey protein, coconut water and desiccated coconut.

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Nutrition

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