Let’s talk about how to make a protein shake at home!
I love protein shakes. Every morning, I indulge and start my day with a protein shake that is both delicious and packed full of amazing nutrition. But not everyone enjoys starting their day with the same thing in the morning.
I often get asked how to make a protein shake that won’t get boring. And that’s a great question!
Today, I’d like to break it down for you so that you know how to make a protein shake every single morning that’s delicious, full of flavor and different. Plus, I’ll share some of my favorite products that I personally use and recommend to clients.
Before I go through the rules of how to make a protein shake, let’s talk about the philosophy of making enjoyable food.
To have variety in your meals or protein shakes means that you need to have flavor options to play around with.
For example, imagine you were a painter. Your palette only consisted of the same four colors. You’d probably get bored of painting after a certain point.
But what if you had access to twenty colors.
Wouldn’t that offer you more variety?
The same concept applies to food. You’ll quickly tire of meals using the same four ingredients.
BUT if you set yourself up to have more option and flavor combinations, then you’ve hit gold.
How To Make A Protein Shake (That You Won’t Get Bored Of)
So let’s talk first about my rules for making a protein shake.
Rule number one is to start your shake with a cup and a quarter of filtered cool water.
I know a lot of people feel like they need to make a shake using juice, milk, or dairy-free milk, but that’s actually very unnecessary.
Water blends up just fine and costs way less. I promise you won’t have any idea that you used water.
It also allows you to get your calories from the food you include rather than from a liquid source.
Next, you want to balance your macronutrients. Those are protein, fat, and carbs.
Your carbs can come from some sort of healthy fruit or starch sources like sweet potato or pumpkin puree.
My favorite low glycemic carb sources include berries like wild blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries. Sometimes I use sweeter fruits like bananas, cherries, figs, peaches, kiwi, orange, pear, and apple.
Your fat can come from any number of items like avocado, coconut oil, a coconut oil/ghee mix, ghee, nuts, seeds, or MCT oil. And don’t forget about nut butters and seed butters as an easy way to a distinct flavor in your protein shake.
As for how much you can use, try ¼ of an avocado or 1 tablespoon of any oils and butters. If you use whole nuts or seeds, typically a handful is good enough.
And next, you need a healthy dose of protein. Since this is a protein shake, you’ll be getting it from protein powder. There are many different types of protein powder out there including those made from hemp, rice, pea, vegan blends, egg whites, whey, and even beef.
There has been recent controversy about vegan protein powders from Vega and Garden of Life containing elevated levels of heavy metals. Toxic metals like lead and arsenic from the ground where the plants grow end up in the plant. And so eating a concentrated source of protein from them increases the toxic burden that you’ll be exposed to.
I personally do a mix of protein powders so that my shake ends up being half beef protein isolate and half of a vegan formula.
I generally recommend that your protein shake should have somewhere between 20 to 25 grams of protein coming from the protein powder itself. If your current protein powder only has 14 grams per scoop or serving, you’ll need to increase how much you use. In this example, I’d add another half serving or scoop to your shake.
This is especially important if you are still on a healing journey and your body is in a state where more protein is required in order to correct and rebalance your health. You can read more about this here.
Don’t Forget About Adding Fiber To Your Protein Shake
And the last piece to this is fiber.
I typically encourage clients to add more fiber to their shakes than what’s in the powder. Sometimes there isn’t any fiber at all as is the case with most beef protein isolate formulas.
My personal opinion on fiber is that having some is wonderful, but having too much can be overkill. As a general rule of thumb, 1 tablespoon of added fiber is a perfect boost to a protein shake.
If you’re wondering what type of fiber will work best for you, I like to pick the type based on what’s up with your pooping situation. My experience as a clinical nutritionist has demonstrated to me that it actually makes a big difference.
Healthy pooping means that you poop one to three times every day.
On the Bristol Stool Chart, your poop should look likes a 3 or 4. You don’t strain or have to sit on the toilet for a long time in order to get the job done.
So if you’re pooping less than once every day, I’d consider you to be more constipated. Opt for ground flaxseed as your fiber source assuming you don’t have a known allergy or sensitivity.
On the flipside, if you struggle with loose stools or flat out diarrhea, you’re probably better off using Acacia fiber. (Here’s my favorite type.)
Nutrition Boosters You Can Add To Your Protein Shake
Taking this all a step further, there are extra ingredients that you can add your protein shake that increase the nutritional value.
Greens powders are an easy way to add flavor while increasing your intake of antioxidants. Plus they’re helpful for people (and kids) who are picky and struggle to get enough plant foods in their diet. It’s not an exact fix, but every little bit does help.
Make sure that any greens you buy are clearly marked gluten-free. Many greens powders contain grasses from wheat, barley, and other grains that could be contaminated.
My favorite Greens powders come from Rado Nutrition. They make four absolutely delicious flavors (chocolate, mocha, strawberry-kiwi, and mint) that take your protein shake to a whole new level.
You can use one at a time, or mix half of one with half of a scoop of another. They don’t taste like that grassy, green or earthy flavor that can be off-putting to some people.
Another favorite nutrient-boosting addition is collagen powder!
Collagen powder can be added directly to the mix before you blend. It’s completely tasteless and good for your skin, gut, and joints. I include collagen in every skin healing and gut healing protocol assuming that someone isn’t sensitive to histamines.
A good rule of thumb is to use one tablespoon of collagen powder in your daily protein shake. My personal favorite collagen peptide products come from Great Lakes Collagen.
I should mention that there is no such thing as a vegan collagen powder. Typically collagen is derived from cows or chickens. If that doesn’t float your boat, you can always get collagen that’s derived from fish.
Adding Veggies And Spices To your Protein Shake
Now if you want to get in more veggies, here’s how to make a protein shake without tasting them.
Believe it or not, frozen zucchini and even frozen spinach are great options to start with. Zucchini literally is flavorless so you won’t even know it’s in there. Spinach also doesn’t add a flavor that I’ve found, but I’d avoid using it if you have a history of kidney stones since it’s high in oxalates.
Typically, I will pick one and add about ¼ to ½ cup to my shake. You could probably use fresh veggies, but I typically just buy them frozen since it’s less prep and they last longer.
What about having fun with even more flavors?
Well, why not add spices directly to your protein shakes!
It’s an easy and quick way to vary the flavor and keep them interesting.
Some fantastic spices to add to your protein shakes include sea salt, cloves, cardamom, pumpkin pie spice, and ginger.
Vanilla extract isn’t the best option especially if it’s got alcohol in it, but vanilla powder is certainly great. (Don’t be stunned by the price tag. Vanilla has recently become quite expensive due to a shortage of vanilla beans.)
Cayenne adds a kick that can be fun mixed with cherries or blueberries.
This list of spices is by no means complete. And don’t forget to verify that the spices you purchase are free from gluten since there’s a high rate of contamination. Plus any type of vanilla extract you buy, much be clearly marked to say that it’s gluten free.
Typically I’ll pick one or two options and then do three or four small dashes or a pinch or two of those particular spices into the protein shake.
And believe it or not… but balsamic vinegar (just one tablespoon) adds a really delicious punch to fruit based-protein shakes!
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Making Protein Shakes
Are you new to making protein shakes at home? It’s not uncommon to wonder how to make a protein shake that isn’t all chunky and unevenly blended.
The key to how to make a protein shake that’s creamy is this — always add the water and then the fruit and veggies to the blender first. That way, they’re more likely to get fully processed.
Then you add the rest of your ingredients. And that’s when you finally blend.
Sometimes you might need to scrape down the sides of the blender and blend again. That’s typically the case with beef protein isolate powders since they stick to the sides.
Just a word to the wise — all blenders are not created equal.
A cheap $25 blender may struggle to get everything to a consistency that you’ll enjoy. There are plenty of options on the market at different price points. So find something that works for your budget and consider it an investment in your health.
And finally, do not guzzle down your shake in under 5 minutes! If you do, you’ll discover that you don’t feel anywhere near full and will end up eating more food.
To avoid this from happening, I recommend to my clients and you (the lovely listeners) to slowly sip your protein shake over a 20 to 30 minute period.
This way, your body has time to recognize the food entering it and ultimately release the hormones of satiety so that you feel full.
I hope you realize that there’s more to a protein shake than just liquid, protein powder, and fruit. You’ve got so many other options to truly make this nutritious morning meal your own.
All you need to do is start experimenting!
Homemade Protein Shake Ideas
To see how I put it all together, check out the following recipes:
My favorite Skin Rash-Smoothie Shakes great for anyone with chronic eczema and other skin rash conditions!
And hey, got some suggestions I didn’t even mention? Share them below in the comments!