Lately, it’s been out with protein bars, in with protein shakes. They’re popularity is on the rise as their protein can be processed much faster than by eating solid proteins. They make you feel full and have good nutritional value, so they’ve become a popular meal replacement.
Because shakes are a liquid, it makes them very convenient. They can be sipped nearly any time, nearly anywhere. For busy, active Americans, this is especially important. However, there is a downside to protein shakes: Store-bought shakes are pricey, and they are often fairly bland and boring.
Making Protein Shakes at Home
A great alternative is to make your own homemade protein shakes. You can save tons of cash and give your tired taste buds a bit of variety. You can create your own shake using powders, natural ingredients, and other mix-ins.
Powder-based shakes will typically have a higher amount of protein per serving. Your average scoop of store-bought protein powder will contain 20-25 grams of protein. Shake recipes that use natural ingredients instead may fall in the 10-15 grams of protein range instead.
For those trying to bulk up quickly, powder-based shakes may be the way to go thanks to their higher protein content. A quick Google search reveals many sites with recipes that start with a standard powder flavor (vanilla or chocolate). With a powder as a base, they then mix in coffee, nuts, fresh fruits, pudding mixes, and other ingredients for easy customization at home.
However, don’t be too tied to recipes. Be creative, and experiment. And don’t feel like you need to stick to the basic protein powders. You may try some of the more exotic powder flavors, such as tropical punch or cake batter, in your mixes.
A Few Tasty Examples
Here’s a fun one to get started: The Bad Girl from bodybuilding.com. Mix together 12 oz. of skim milk, a handful of ice, 2 scoops of chocolate-flavored whey protein, and (are you ready for this?) 4-8 Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. Heck yes.
Wanting some ingredients to add in to up your protein but not add artifical powders? Try yogurt (approx. 10 grams/cup), peanut butter (8 grams/2 tbsp), and cottage cheese (14 grams / half cup). An extremely helpful resource is dannonkitchen.com, which contains dozens of recipes for homemade protein shakes that use all-natural ingredients.
For instance, here’s a great powder-less recipe to start the day with. It’s called the Get-Going Morning Smoothie, and is made by combining one cup of plain or lowfat yogurt, a whole banana (peeled), 2 tbsp each of both peanut butter and maple syrup, and a half cup of chilled coffee.
Better than ice, use frozen bananas. They will make it creamy, but the bananas must be frozen for it to work.