10 Protein Shake Recipes That Won’t Make You Want to Hurl

kc1I’m probably sounding like a broken record here, but protein plays a huge role in your ability to recover from a workout. Studies frequently show that protein is necessary for both building and maintaining muscle, with daily recommendations from CrossFit HQ suggesting that you consume roughly 30% of your daily calories in the form of protein (or, between ½ to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight).

Clearly, it’s important to stay on top of your protein intake, and a great way to do that is through the use of supplemental protein powders. Whey protein (one of the most common forms of protein powder) has been shown to have an exceptionally effective impact post-workout.

The thing is, protein supplements are all about giving you an edge in your workout or in your recovery.

They’re all about performance.

They don’t necessarily cater to a refined palate.

It’s true, supplement companies aren’t frequently in the “taste good” business. Luckily for you, there are tons of awesome ways to make your protein shake taste great. If you don’t have a great-tasting protein bar on hand, the following ten recipes will make your post-workout shake a joy for your taste buds.

1. Berry Breeze Protein Shake

One of the best ways to add flavor to the distasteful in a healthy way is to use fruit. Berries are particularly healthy, from their abundant amounts of antioxidants (blueberries especially), to their high fiber content (raspberries have some of the highest fiber content out of all fruits) and their massive varieties of vitamins and minerals. They’re also some of the lowest glycemic index fruits around for all you Paleo-eating cavemen out there.

And, as if all that wasn’t enough, they taste great!

Take advantage of the plethora of berries out there in a protein shake or smoothie. Here’s a great recipe with tons of room for personalizing to your own tastes:

Ingredients:

 

    • 1 scoop protein powder (flavor of your choice)
    • 2 ice cubes
    • 1 cup milk or water
    • 1 cup mixed berries (choose from blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries)

2. Chocolate-Banana Protein Shake

Love chocolate? Love bananas? Then you’ll definitely love this protein-packed combo. Bananas are renowned for their potassium (important for heart and muscle function), as well as for being great sources of vitamin C and fiber.

Ingredients

 

    • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
    • 1 large banana
    • 2 ice cubes
    • 1 ½ cups milk or water

3. Spiced Green Tea Protein Smoothie

Green tea is known for its ability to provide energy, but did you know that it also helps lower blood pressure and manage blood sugar? Combine that with spices like cinnamon (which helps facilitate your metabolism) and you’ve got a smoothie that gives you the protein needed to recover from a workout, while still keeping your healthy and energized.

A quick note about pears… Much of the nutrients are found in the skin, so don’t peel your pear for the best nutritional value.

Ingredients

 

    • 1 scoop protein powder (flavor of your choice)
    • ¾ cup of green tea, chilled
    • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 1 small pear, cut into pieces (skin on)
    • 2 ice cubes
    • 1 cup milk or water

Because of the inclusion of green tea, this one will take a little longer to prepare (thanks to the extra brewing and chilling steps. But trust me, the taste is worth it. All it takes is a little advance planning to enjoy this tasty treat.

4. Leafy Greens Protein Shake

kc2We all know green veggies are fantastic for your health, so why not kill two birds with one stone and add them to your protein shake?

Of course, lettuce and kale and broccoli aren’t exactly known for their great taste. Here’s a way to get the best of both worlds.

Ingredients

 

    • ½ cup chopped kale
    • ½ cup diced broccoli
    • 1 scoop protein powder (preferably vanilla)
    • ½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
    • 1 teaspoon honey (or an equivalent amount of the artificial sweetener of your choice)
    • 1 cup milk or water

5. Citrus Splash Protein Shake

Oranges and mangos are known for their high vitamin C content, and their citrusy flavor is just delightful. It’s also a powerful taste, helping to overcome the flavor of less-than-appetizing protein powders.

Ingredients

 

    • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
    • 1 orange, peeled and sliced
    • 1 mango, peeled and sliced
    • 1 cup milk or water
    • 2 ice cubes

6. Nutty Banana Protein Shake

Nuts are great sources of healthy fats and protein, both of which are fantastic for helping lower your blood pressure, improve your overall heart health, and even boost your brain function. They’re also Paleo-approved, and when added to a protein shake, give you a deliciously nutritious combo.

Ingredients

 

    • 1 scoop protein powder (flavor of your choice)
    • 1 cup chopped nuts (choose from walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, and pecans)
    • 1 large banana
    • 1 ½ cup milk or water
    • 2 ice cubes
    • 1 teaspoon honey (or an equivalent amount of the artificial sweetener of your choice)
    • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

If you have a food processor, run the nuts through for 30 seconds first. If not, chop them by hand as small as you can. Extra servings of nuts can be chopped ahead of time and stored in your freezer for up to three months.

7. The “Classic” Protein Smoothie

This “classic” smoothie is the simple combination of strawberries and bananas. Together, these fruits pack a powerful punch of vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals. Blend them together with your favorite protein powder supplement, and you’ve got a fantastic combination that’s packed with great taste.

Ingredients

 

    • 1 scoop protein powder
    • 1 cup strawberries (halved)
    • 1 large banana
    • 1 ½ cup milk or water
    • 2 ice cubes

Because this shake falls a bit higher on the glycemic index, save it for a post-workout treat when your muscles are primed and ready to use as much of the incoming sugars as possible.

8. Summer Sun Protein Smoothie

kc3In homage to the warmer weather, give your protein shake or smoothie a distinct summer flair by grabbing some watermelon and grapefruit. Watermelon, aside from its great taste and ample amounts of vitamin C, is also high in the amino acid citrulline, which helps facilitate blood flow, and, in some cases, has been shown to block accumulation of fat in fat cells.

Grapefruit is also crazy high in vitamin C, and is very similar in nutritional content to oranges. There’s a reason dieters have sweared by grapefruit for years!

Ingredients

 

    • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
    • ¾ cup watermelon, chopped
    • ¾ cup grapefruit, sliced
    • 1 cup water
    • 2 ice cubes
    • 1 teaspoon honey

9. Taste of the Orchard Protein Shake

Do you ever get a craving for apples? Maybe you’ve been to an apple orchard, maybe not - but it really is a unique experience. Apples picked straight off the tree have their own “flavor,” you could say - and now, you can recreate that flavor in your protein shake.

Apples, like pears, contain many of their nutrients in the skin, so don’t peel them if you want the best effects - like their major impact on lowering blood cholesterol and improving heart health.

Ingredients

 

    • 1 scoop protein powder
    • 1 ½ medium-large apples, cored and sliced
    • 2 teaspoons honey (or an equivalent amount of the artificial sweetener of your choice)
    • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 cup milk or water
    • 2 ice cubes

10. Tropical Island Protein Shake

People talk a lot about retreating to their own tropical island, calling up the image of a paradise far away from civilization. And while that may not be within your reach (if it was, you’d probably already be there!), you can get that same feeling by blending your protein shake with the right combination of fruits.

Pineapples, a key ingredient in this recipe, are packed with vitamin C, but also a helpful little mineral called manganese. This micronutrient has a big impact on bone health and structure - traits normally only credited to calcium. Speaking of which, manganese also helps boost absorption of calcium, so if you’re looking for a bone-strengthening x-factor, pineapples are the surprise solution.

Ingredients

 

    • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
    • ½ cup pineapple, chopped
    • ½ medium orange, peeled and sliced
    • ½ medium mango, peeled and sliced
    • ¼ berries of your choice
    • ½ medium banana
    • 1 ½ cups milk or water
    • 1 tablespoon coconut milk
    • 1 teaspoon honey (or an equivalent amount of the artificial sweetener of your choice)
    • 2 ice cubes

There you have it - ten delicious recipes to make your protein shake or smoothie appetizing. Keep in mind, though, that experimentation is absolutely encouraged! These recipes are very customizable, so try varying the amount of water or milk you include for texture, choose your favorite flavor and brand of protein powder, and mix and match different fruits within the same recipe.

Explore your options. Try each of these recipes, tweak them, play with them, and figure out what you enjoy the most. There’s no one-size-fits-all here. Find your favorites and make the most of them.

Taking in adequate protein is a critical part of your post-workout recovery. Don’t let bland-tasting protein powders keep you from getting what you need. Take advantage of these recipes and work towards discovering the one that’s right for you.

Let us know below - what are your favorite shake and smoothie recipes for post-workout nutrition? We’d love to hear from you!

 

Images: Flickr, Flickr, Flickr

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