Learn how to make a healthy homemade protein shake with this quick and simple tutorial. Includes tips, ideas, and a customizable recipe for a DIY protein shake made with clean and nutritious ingredients.
It’s a great idea to incorporate protein shakes into your diet, because they are so simple to make and are chock-full of nutritious ingredients. They make a nourishing breakfast that will kick-start your day and will keep you feeling full all morning. Protein shakes also make an ideal post-workout snack that will refuel your energy and help your muscles to heal after exercising.
Are Protein Shakes Good For You?
Yes! Protein shakes are an excellent choice for breakfast, a snack, or meal replacement. All adults need around 46-56 grams of protein each day (source) and protein shakes are a convenient way to meet that requirement.
The best protein shake recipes, in my opinion, rely on protein powder to provide protein. Protein powder has many benefits, including the following:
- Aids with weight loss
- Helps build muscle and strength
- Functions as a appetite suppressant
- Boosts metabolism
- Repairs muscles from exercise
You can use a plant-based protein powder (pea, chia, soy, hemp or rice) or an animal protein powder (whey, casein, egg or collagen), depending on your preferences. Just make sure the protein powder you use is free from additives, hormones, artificial sweeteners, and fillers. Lastly, always remember that organic is best.
Should You Drink a Protein Shake Before or After a Workout?
Protein is necessary for muscle repair and growth. For this reason, many people consume protein shakes along with their workouts. However, the optimal time to have a protein shake is a widely debated topic. Some believe it is ideal to drink a protein shake before a workout, while others argue that after a workout is best.
Recent research suggests the amount of protein you consume per day is more important than when you consume it for gaining muscle mass (source). So as long as you consume protein around your workout, it doesn’t matter if it’s before or after training. Therefore, you can choose which time you prefer or is most convenient for you. Personally, I always opt to have a protein shake after exercise, but that’s just what works for me.
Are Protein Shakes Good for Weight Loss?
As long as protein shakes are made with a mix of high-quality, junk-free ingredients, they are terrific for weight loss. When you’re trying to lose weight, protein is the most important nutrient. It increases satiety and prevents spikes in blood sugar. Consuming an adequate amount of protein also helps build lean muscle, which will increase your metabolism.
The next most important ingredient for weight loss is fiber. It helps keep you full, nixes cravings, and keeps your gut healthy. Fruits and veggies are the best source of fiber and nutrients, so I recommend adding at least one type of vegetable or fruit, such as a banana, to your smoothies.
Homemade Protein Shake Ingredients
Alright, so let’s talk ingredients. To make a healthy homemade protein shake, you will need:
- A cup of milk: I usually use organic whole dairy milk, but you can use any kind of milk you like. Unsweetened almond, coconut, soy, hemp, or any other type of plant-based milk are all fabulous options.
- A scoop of protein powder: If you can, choose organic protein powder that contains no additives, fillers, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. I love this one from Thrive Market.
- A banana: Bananas give smoothies an excellent consistency and are a great source of potassium and dietary fiber, so I always like to toss one in.
- One or two teaspoons of a natural, unrefined sweetener: I like to use honey, but you can substitute maple syrup or agave nectar. Alternatively, you can throw in a couple of pitted dates instead of a liquid sweetener.
- Half a cup of ice: I like to add ice because it helps thicken shakes. However, if I don’t have any ice in the freezer, I just make my shake without it.
- Optional add-ins: Any of the following ingredients can be mixed into a protein smoothie to give additional nutrition and/or flavor:
- Fresh or frozen berries: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries all work great. Add about half a cup per serving.
- Fresh fruit: Pineapple, peach, and mango are my favorite fruits to add to smoothies. Aim for half a cup per serving.
- Leafy Greens: Spinach and kale work very well in smoothies. Add about a cup per serving.
- Greek yogurt: I recommend using plain and unsweetened yogurt only, because a lot of flavored yogurts contain a ton of sugar. Alternatively, you could use plain cottage cheese instead. Add a quarter of a cup per serving.
- Nut butter: Peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter add extra protein and healthy fats to smoothies. Aim for one to two tablespoons per serving.
- Collagen: Adding one or two scoops of collagen peptides to shakes and smoothies boosts their protein content further. Collagen is also known to improve the condition of skin, hair, nails, joints, ligaments, and is great for gut health. I recommend using one that is all-natural, unflavored, and unsweetened. I recommend this one from Thrive Market.
- Naturally-flavored powders: Raw cacao powder and matcha green tea powder are fantastic choices. Mix in one to two teaspoons per serving.
- Seeds: Chia seeds, ground flax seeds, and hemp hearts get blended nicely into shakes. Aim for one to two teaspoons per serving.
- Spices: A dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla taste delicious in smoothies.
The ingredients I’ve linked to above can be ordered from Thrive Market, which is an impressive online store that sells healthy, organic food and natural products at 25-50% below retail prices. I like to think of it like Amazon (online retailer) meets Costco (low, wholesale prices) meets Whole Foods (all nutritious, junk-free foods).
If you want to purchase anything from them, you will need to sign up for a Thrive Market membership. However, if you’re a reader of my website, you will get an exclusive bonus when you join:
How to Make a Healthy Homemade Protein Shake
Making a smoothie takes only two easy steps. To make a homemade protein shake, simply:
- Add all of your ingredients to a blender.
- Blend until smooth and serve.
That’s it! A shake is quite possibly the most effortless healthy meal to make at home. 🙂
How to Make this Recipe with Vanilla Protein Powder
If you want to use vanilla protein powder instead of plain protein powder in this recipe, you definitely can. I recommend using a high-quality vanilla protein powder that is naturally flavored and sweetened, like this one from Thrive Market.
To make your shake, simply make the recipe as written below (using a scoop of vanilla protein powder instead of unflavored protein powder), but omit the sweetener and don’t add any vanilla extract. If your protein shake is not sweet enough after you’ve blended it, then feel free to sweeten it to taste with a natural sweetener.
Tips for Making Homemade Protein Shakes
Here are some pointers I have learned over the years about how to make the best homemade protein shakes:
- When adding your ingredients to your blender, always add the liquid first near the blades. This will help your blender to run a bit more easily whenever you are making a shake.
- Use a good-quality, high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix or a Ninja, that will easily break up frozen fruit, vegetables, ice, and any other dense ingredients into oblivion.
- If you don’t think you need a high-powered blender, an individual-sized blender, like a Magic Bullet, is a great alternative. The biggest benefits of using a small blender are that it will help you save time on clean-up, it takes up less counter space, and it’s much less expensive than a big fancy countertop blender.
My Favorite Hack for Making Protein Shakes
If drinking a protein shake is a part of your regular routine, you have to try SmoothieBox. SmoothieBox is a protein shake kit delivery service that uses only the best, organic produce with no added sugar or artificial ingredients.
Each box comes with between 20 to 25 pre-portioned smoothie pouches that contain a blend of flash-frozen fruits, vegetables, and seeds. You also have a choice of either grass-fed collagen, vanilla whey, chocolate whey, vanilla vegan, or chocolate vegan protein powder to add to your box. SmoothieBox’s shake mixes are available in four flavors – Green, Berry, Clementine and Cacao.
To make a protein shake, simply pour the contents of a smoothie pouch into your blender. Then add a scoop of protein powder, any liquid you like, and blend until smooth. Depending on how much blending liquid you use, each smoothie pouch will yield one 16-20 ounce smoothie, or two 8-12 ounce smoothies.
The price ranges between $5.56 to $7.44 per smoothie and shipping is always free. You can choose to have a one-time order or a monthly subscription. If you choose to have a subscription, it can be paused, delayed or cancelled at any time. SmoothieBox also offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. Additionally, my readers get a discount on their order using the link and code below:
More Smoothie Delivery Services
If you want to learn more about all of my favorite smoothie and protein shake delivery services (including SmoothieBox), check out these posts on blog:
- The 7 Best Protein Shake Delivery Companies Online
- The Top 3 Organic Smoothie Delivery Companies
- The 7 Best Healthy Smoothie Delivery Services Online
Homemade Protein Shake Recipes To Try
Looking for some DIY protein shake inspiration? Here are some of my favorite recipes on the blog:
- Strawberry Protein Shake
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake
- Banana Protein Shake
- Green Protein Smoothie
- Vanilla Protein Shake
If you make this Homemade Protein Shake recipe, let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating ★ below, because I love hearing from you! ♡
How to Make a Healthy Homemade Protein Shake
- 1 cup milk, of choice
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- 1 scoop plain (unflavored) protein powder
- 2 teaspoons honey, maple syrup or agave nectar
- Fresh or frozen berries/sliced fruit
- Spinach or kale
- Plain (unflavored) Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
- Any nut butter
- Collagen peptides
- Raw cacao powder or matcha green tea powder
- Chia seeds, ground flaxseed or hemp hearts
- Vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg
- Add base ingredients and any of the optional add-ins to a blender.
- Blend until smooth and serve immediately.
- For easy blending, add the milk first near the blades when adding the ingredients to your blender.
- Vanilla protein powder can be substituted for the plain protein powder. If you’re going to do that though, I recommend omitting the natural sweetener from the recipe and not adding any vanilla extract.
- Nutritional facts below are calculated using only the base ingredients (none of the optional add-ins are included).
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