Protein shakes are a popular and healthy post-workout drink or a convenient but nutritious breakfast on-the-go that you can make with your blender. Many creative recipes for protein shakes combine protein powder or natural protein with fruits, vegetables and other healthy options that elevate this simple, filling drink. Read this guide to learn more about protein shakes and how to make them in your blender.
WHAT IS A PROTEIN SHAKE?
Protein shakes are often used after working out for extra nourishment or as a quick and easy snack or meal. They can range in their protein content, and may also contain some carbohydrates and fat. Protein shakes are often made using a blender and protein powder, mixed with other fresh ingredients like fruits, vegetables, liquids such as dairy or water, yogurts and more.
BENEFITS OF DRINKING PROTEIN SHAKES
Protein shakes have many benefits. You can drink them after working out to help build and repair muscle, or enjoy them as a filling meal replacement. Protein shakes can also come in handy on a busy day when you might not have access to a meal or snack, but want to maintain a balanced diet or when you’d like to use up fresh produce from the garden.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PROTEIN USED FOR SHAKES?
Different ingredients can be used as the base protein for protein shakes. Depending on your preferences, you might use a protein powder, milk or other liquid, fruits, vegetables, nuts, other ingredients or a combination of these to create a protein-rich, delicious shake.
Protein powder comes in a variety of different types. Whey protein is a common variety and is derived from milk. Casein is another protein that is derived from milk, but is different from whey protein because it may be digested and absorbed more slowly. Other less common but still widely used forms of protein include pea protein, egg-white protein and mixed plant protein.
NUTS OR NUT BUTTER
Nuts and nut butters are not only delicious but full of protein. Some common nuts and nut butters you might consider including in your shake are almonds, peanuts, cashew and walnuts. Nut butters may also have added sugar, so keep that in mind as you decide on ingredients. If you’d like to have more control over the ingredients in your shake, consider making your own homemade nut butter.
Seeds can be a great source of protein to add to the mix of your shake or even to sprinkle on top of the final product. Chia seeds, flax seeds or hemp seeds are all great high protein vegan and paleo options.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Fruits and vegetables are great additions to protein shakes because of their flavor, but some are also rich in protein themselves and can be a great foundation for your shake. Some high-protein fruits include guava, avocado and kiwi. Some high-protein vegetables are spinach, kale and sweet potato.
OTHER PROTEIN SOURCES
Other great sources of protein for your shakes include garbanzo or lima beans, silken tofu, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt. Once you have a base recipe you enjoy, you can get creative with flavors and textures and levels of protein to achieve your desired outcome.
HOW TO MAKE A HOMEMADE PROTEIN SHAKE: STEP BY STEP
Follow the steps below to make a basic homemade protein shake in your blender. Experiment with fresh produce, different types of protein and sweet toppings to make it your own.
1. CHOOSE A BASE
Add ice or frozen fruit right to your blender. Frozen berries or bananas work well as a base if you want to opt for something more flavorful.
2. ADD PROTEIN
Next, decide what type of protein you’d like to use. You can use protein powder or a natural protein. You can also use a few different sources of protein such as nut butter, protein powder, chia seeds and greek yogurt.
3. ADD FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Although adding fruits and vegetables is optional, they are a great way to add extra nutrients, incorporate fresh ingredients and add flavor and sweetness naturally. Fresh produce from the garden or the farmer’s market is a delicious and healthy addition to any shake.
4. ADD SWEETENER
If you’d like to add a bit of sweetness to your protein shake, you can add honey, agave, maple syrup or any other sweetener you prefer. You may not need to sweeten your shake at all depending on if you already added fruit or protein powder.
5. ADD LIQUID
Add a conservative amount of liquid at first to be sure your protein shake has the right consistency. Continue adding liquid as needed during the blending process. You can add milk, almond milk or another dairy-free alternative, or even water if you’d like to keep it simpler.
Begin blending your protein shake on low, slowly increasing the speed based on how smooth you’d like it to be. You can use the Ice Crush, Icy Drinks and Smoothie settings on select KitchenAid® blenders to help make blending simple and smooth. Blend until it has your desired texture. Pour your protein shake into a glass or cup and enjoy.
7. CLEAN YOUR BLENDER
Be sure to clean your blender thoroughly when you are finished, so it is ready for your next protein shake creation.
PROTEIN SHAKE RECIPE IDEAS
Protein shakes can range from basic ingredients like protein powder and water to creative, elevated takes that include fresh produce and natural sources of protein. Take a look at the recipe ideas below to spark your inspiration.
CHOCOLATE PROTEIN SHAKE
Chocolate protein shakes can be made with chocolate protein powder and unsweetened almond milk. Other additions might include frozen bananas, homemade nut butters and cocoa powder. Top your chocolate protein shake with a bit of homemade whipped cream for some added sweetness. Add a shot of espresso to make it a mocha protein shake.
VANILLA PROTEIN SHAKE
Elevate your basic vanilla protein shake recipe with the addition of chia seeds or a sprinkle of freshly ground cinnamon. Unsweetened almond milk in place of water can help add just a bit of flavor and creaminess, too.
PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN SHAKE
A peanut butter protein shake is packed with protein and has a thick, creamy flavor. Chocolate, vanilla or banana are great additions to a peanut butter shake, and you can even experiment with making your own peanut butter at home. Top your peanut butter shake with some dark chocolate chips for a little indulgence.
COFFEE PROTEIN SHAKE
A coffee protein shake is a great way to enjoy a post-workout recovery drink along with your morning coffee. Make a delicious homemade cup of coffee and allow it to cool before adding it to your protein shake. Raw honey is a great sweetener and vanilla almond milk can be a delicious addition, too.
MINT PROTEIN SHAKE
Start with a delicious chocolatey base and then add a hint of mint extract or even fresh mint from your garden to make this refreshing protein shake in your KitchenAid® blender. Get creative by sweetening it with diced medjool dates or adding cacao nibs for a bit of crunch.
COOKIES AND CREAM PROTEIN SHAKE
If you’re looking for some extra protein but also have a sweet tooth, a cookies and cream protein shake might be the perfect fit. Using vanilla protein powder, chocolate graham crackers and milk, you can create simple and delicious cookies and cream protein shakes at home with your KitchenAid® blender.
PUMPKIN SPICE PROTEIN SHAKE
With pumpkin pureé, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla protein powder, banana and almond milk, you can make this dessert-like protein shake. The thickness of this shake makes it creamy and delicious like you might imagine a pumpkin pie milkshake to be. You can even make your own homemade pumpkin pureé to add more authentic flavor.
TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR PROTEIN SHAKE RECIPE
Once you’ve determined the best ingredient combination for your tastes, it’s time to mix them together to create a creamy, delicious shake. You can experiment with different flavors and thicknesses, as well as different sources of protein to find the right combination for you.
HOW TO MAKE PROTEIN SHAKES TASTE BETTER
Experiment with natural sources of protein instead of powders
Add a bit of sweetener, such as honey, agave, dates or maple syrup
KitchenAid® blenders come in a variety of speeds and capacities to ignite your imagination with the turn of a dial. With the four part blending system to take on tough ingredients and settings such as Ice Crush on select models to make your shakes smooth, the possibilities are endless. Mix up your next protein shake, homemade juice or milkshake creation with fresh ingredients from your garden and your favorite flavors.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO USE KITCHENAID® BLENDERS
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