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If you’re into weightlifting, you’re probably used to swirling some protein powder in some water or milk and downing it one gulp.
That’s one of way of getting your protein in, but why not treat yourself with some variety and flavor?
Well, that’s why I compiled this list of 20 protein shake recipes and not a single one is dull or bland. Instead, you’ll be enjoying healthy smoothies like the pineapple upside-down cake protein shake or the banana chai protein shake.
So pick your protein–there are plenty of great tastes to go around.
Turn your favorite summer dessert into a healthy way to cool off with this peaches and cream shake.
This isn’t going to taste like ice cream, but it has half the calories and ten times the protein. That’s a fair trade when you’re still able to enjoy fresh peaches and cream – not heavy cream, of course, but low-fat cottage cheese.
Instead of having another peanut butter protein shake, take it to the next level with the flavor of toffee.
Altogether, this ends up being a lot like a Butterfinger candy bar – except with nutritional value. Plus, when you turn peanut brittle into a protein shake, you can enjoy it without getting pure sugar stuck in your teeth.
No protein powder needed! Instead this low-calorie strawberry smoothie gets its substance from a serving of cottage cheese. That makes it one part strawberry cheesecake, one part strawberries and cream.
And if you do want to add a scoop of whey isolate, there’s no stopping you. By making it a strawberry protein shake, it’ll only become a more filling, more nutritious means of killing your dessert cravings.
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup cottage cheese
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Stevia to taste (or 1 tsp. pure meaney)Get the Recipe
Forget about the overly specific flavored protein powders. With all-natural vanilla and chocolate as a base flavor, you can make any protein shake of your dreams.
Take this cinnamon roll shake for example. It uses egg white, almond milk, cinnamon, and maple syrup to recreate the essence of a Cinnabon. But instead of a whopping 880 calories per pastry, this cinnamony shake adds up to less than 200 calories yet has 33 grams of protein.
Chocolate protein shakes are a classic, but they’re also a great base to build into a decadent concoction. This version not only adds half a banana and a handful of hazelnuts for flavor, but there’s a mix of seeds – hemp seeds, flax, and chia – as well as acai powder for big nutritional boost.
The final result doesn’t taste exactly like Nutella, but if that’s the flavor you’re after, you can always add a tablespoon of the hazelnuts chocolate spread to the recipe. Just keep in mind you’ll be adding about 100 calories.
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A lot of smoothies that are based on breakfast favorites rely on maple syrup, but not this pancake protein shake. Its aim isn’t to recreate the decadent brunch; instead it captures the cook’s treat when making fresh pancakes.
This blueberry smoothie tastes a lot like licking the bowl of batter while the pancakes are sizzling on the griddle.
1/2 cup coconut water
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. coconut flour
2 Tbsp. date paste (or pure honey)
1 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. baking soda (optional)
1/4 cup fresh blueberriesGet the Recipe
How can you make Oreos healthy? Aside from cutting them out of your diet completely, you can ensure one serving of cookies goes far.
With this recipe for chocolate cookies and cream milkshakes, it’s possible to enjoy the Oreo flavor you love while having less than two cookies – ok, three if you eat one while you make the shakes. The rest of the creaminess comes from nutritious cottage cheese. That already adds up to 20 grams of protein; double it with a couple scoops of your favorite protein powder.
1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
1 cup skim milk
3 Oreo cookies
1 tsp. truvia
1 tsp. vanilla extractGet the Recipe
This is a vanilla protein shake and then some. These ingredients add just the right element to create the flavor of cake batter.
This shake is delicious, protein packed, and is great as an occasional creamy treat.
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
3-5 stevia packets
3-5 drops of butter or almond extract
1/2-1 cup of water (based on desired consistency)
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. rainbow sprinkles, divided
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1 scoop WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate
6–8 ice cubesGet the Recipe
To make a paleo protein shake, you’ll have to pass up the usual protein powders, including plant-based soy and rice protein, as well as dairy-based casein and whey. What’s surprising is what can be used in their place: gelatin not only adds a little protein, but it creates a silky, thick texture.
This coffee protein shake is a well-rounded start to your day with chia seeds, a few slices of avocado, and a spoonful of almond butter. With all that healthy fat, your brain will be powered for hours to keep you productive without the pressure.
1 Tbsp. grass-fed gelatin
1 Tbsp. ground chia seeds
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 cup warm brewed coffee
1 Tbsp. almond butter (or sunflower seed butter)
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp. raw honey
Dash of cinnamon (optional)Get the Recipe
Think you’ve tasted every possible fruit smoothie combination?
This recipe will freshen up your protein shake rotation, using not just frozen banana but avocado too. That makes this perfect for replenishing your body after an intense workout, offering an unbeatable combo of healthy fats and natural sugars. By adding a scoop of protein powder, this smoothie has it all.
All it takes to make an amazing banana protein shake is a frozen banana, protein powder, and milk. But bananas can also be the base of a bunch of other amazing shakes, like this one featuring spiced chai tea.
Not only does this healthy smoothie have an immense amount of flavor, but it manages to pack an amazing 21 grams of protein into less than 200 calories.
If you don’t like bananas, you can still enjoy a rich chocolate protein shake.
Replace it with an equal amount of another fruit, or try a cup of firm tofu for even more protein. You’ll be adding another 20 grams of protein if you choose tofu, resulting in a creamy chocolate shake with about 350 calories. Depending on your tastes, a little sweetener – maybe a touch of zero-calorie stevia – may also be in order.
If you love to swing through the drive-thru for a fast food frosty treat, then you’ll love this healthy twist that swaps out the sugar for protein powder. And like the original frosty, it has just a hint of cocoa with a touch of cream.
This low-carb protein milkshake uses liquid stevia, but you can use any sweetener without sacrificing the nutritional value.
Because of America’s love affair with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it’s a no-brainer to add nuts to a berry smoothie. But every now and then, it’s time for a break from the classics – or add to them.
Instead of coming up with a new berry flavor combination, this recipe combines it with another favorite dessert flavor: pumpkin pie. It’s like topping a slice of cashew-crusted pumpkin pie with fresh blueberry sauce.
For whey protein, you know we’re camp Legion over here. But sometimes you’d rather load up on plant-based proteins. If you ever have that need in your family, try this homemade vegan protein powder made with oats, hemp seeds, and powdered peanut butter.
The downside is it has a higher carb to protein ratio, whereas whey isolate contains just a couple grams of carbs per 22 grams of protein. Yet, we admit there are a few benefits to this vegan protein powder too, including fiber, iron, and vitamins.
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
1 1/2 cups powdered peanut butter
1 cup hemp seedsGet the Recipe
Although beets are naturally sweet – while adding only 6 grams of sugar per beet – they don’t make the best juice. It’s not that they aren’t tasty, just that as a smoothie beets will be more palatable when mixed with other fruits.
By brightening the flavor with citrus, you can create a superfood smoothie packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
There are a wide variety of protein shakes that can be made without supplemental protein powder.
This one relies on peanut butter – both all-natural and powdered – and egg whites. We might not be used to drinking egg whites anymore, but it’s actually a traditional way to make a sweet beverage that’s creamy and delicious.
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
4 Tbsp. PB2 powdered peanut butter
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. liquid egg whites
2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1 small container (5.3 oz.) nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup iceGet the Recipe
Protein shakes with vegetables don’t have to taste boring – especially with a touch of lively fresh mint. When you make a green protein shake, that doesn’t mean you have to leave out the fruit completely.
This one gets its bright green hue from the inclusion of kale, celery, and cucumber. Yet it’s still sweet enough to enjoy sipping thanks to a whole apple, a bit of mango, and a splash of tangy red grapefruit juice. What this vegan protein shake doesn’t need, though, is protein powder. The entire batch gets 17 grams of protein from hemp hearts.
1/2 cup fresh red grapefruit juice
1 cup destemmed dinosaur kale
1 large sweet apple, cored and roughly chopped
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 medium stalk celery, chopped
4 Tbsp. hemp hearts
1/4 cup frozen mango
1/8 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
4 ice cubesGet the Recipe
This isn’t just a tropical protein shake – it’s also a sippable version of a classic cake. The only thing missing in the pineapple shake is the dark caramel flavor that comes from the sugar melting in the oven.
So if you want to go all out, drizzle some caramel sauce on top. Go with a light touch, though, because a tablespoon is about 100 calories and 10 grams of sugar.
Drive by the Dairy Queen, and pull out your blender at home instead. With this recipe, you can make a thick, spoonable milkshake complete with cashew chocolate chip cookie dough. And since it’s vegan (if you choose an appropriate protein powder), there’s no ice cream, milk, or heavy cream required. Frozen bananas are an awesome replacement for ice cream in healthy desserts, and this one is no exception.
The entire shake contains only 16 grams of sugar, compared to an unbelievable 117 grams of sugar per DQ Cookie Dough Blizzard.
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