If you’re making protein shakes a regular part of your routine, you might be wondering how you can supercharge your drink.
Protein shakes are an excellent way to boost energy, aid muscle recovery after a workout, and even assist in weight loss.
Boosting your protein shake with additional ingredients can make the drink nutritionally rich. However, it’s important to avoid just throwing any ingredient into the mix.
Otherwise, you might turn your healthy shake into a calorie-rich dessert.
In this guide, we’ll explore the different ingredients you can put in a healthy shake.
Ingredients For A Healthy Shake
Protein shakes — sometimes referred to as protein smoothies — are drinks that are absolutely packed with protein.
They tend to be enjoyed before or after a workout, to aid recovery and boost energy.
There are many ways to build a shake, but the focus should be on healthy ingredients that provide plenty of nutritional goodness.
Protein powder is the easiest way to get extra protein into your shake.
This is also a good way to add flavor! Many protein powders have a low-sugar sweet flavoring. It’s a healthy way to build a delightful taste in your shake.
But avoid protein powders with an excessively long ingredient list.
Nuts Or Nut Butter
Nuts are rich in protein while also containing plenty of healthy fats.
They’re a great protein source in a healthy shake before or after the gym. Blended smooth, they can also provide a rich creaminess to your shake.
Some nuts to try include:
If you have a powerful blender, you can add the nuts straight to your shake.
However, you may need to soak your nuts before using them. Cover your nuts with water and leave them for at least 2 hours, but overnight is best.
Next, drain your nuts and give them a quick rinse, before adding to the blender with the rest of your ingredients. You only need a small amount of nuts in a shake.
Alternatively, try nut butter. These are easier to use (no soaking required) and deliver lots of protein and a thicker texture. Make sure to choose a sugar-free nut butter and use only a spoonful!
Milk Or Other Liquids
You need to add a liquid to your shake to dissolve your protein powder and loosen the overall texture.
Which liquid you use will depend on your dietary restrictions and the type of smoothie you’re trying to build.
- Cow’s milk. Skim cow’s milk is a fantastic choice for a healthy smoothie. It’s low in fat but high in protein.
- Pea protein milk. Made from yellow peas, pea milk is a dairy-free alternative with a lot of protein. Not everyone is a fan of the flavor, but you can use clever ingredients to balance the taste.
- Unsweetened almond milk. Almond milk is a good choice for dairy-free shakes with a creamier texture. It doesn’t contain much protein, but it will deliver a better texture than water.
- Soy milk. An excellent dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk, soy milk has a lot of protein.
- Coconut water. You can use plain water in your shake, but it’s a bit bland. Coconut water is a decent alternative that helps bring flavor.
Fruit plays a key role in building a healthy shake that you’ll actually want to drink! Fruit can provide texture, lots of flavor, and some necessary nutrients. Many good shakes start with a fruit base.
- Banana. Banana is popular in shakes and smoothies because the flavor is mild but the texture is creamy. Use frozen bananas, for extra creaminess.
- Strawberries. Strawberries contain vitamins and fiber, as well as a high level of antioxidants. The tart taste also pairs well with other flavors!
- Blueberries. Fresh and frozen blueberries are known for their high level of antioxidants and subtle sweetness.
- Pineapple. Combine chunks of pineapple with mango for a tropical shake.
- Peach. Peaches are rich in both antioxidants and vitamin C. Plus, they taste of summer.
- Avocado. Yes, avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable! It’s also a good protein source and contains healthy unsaturated fats.
Vegetables might seem like an unusual addition to a shake, but they provide much-needed nutrients without high levels of sugar.
- Spinach. Spinach has a mild flavor and contains plenty of protein and iron. Mixed in with the other components, you’ll hardly notice the spinach in your shake! This is also a good way to add some extra fiber to your diet.
- Kale. Kale has many of the same benefits as spinach, but a slightly more prominent taste. However, kale is celebrated for being so nutritionally dense.
- Chard. Another leafy green, chard contains vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, and magnesium.
- Cauliflower. It might seem like a strange suggestion, but cauliflower has such a mild flavor you’ll hardly notice it’s there. Your body will, however, notice the vitamins C and K.
These additions can boost the nutrition level, as well as bring new textures and flavors.
- Chia seeds. Chia seeds are full of fiber, leaving you feeling fuller for longer. They’re great if you want to lose weight.
- Flaxseeds. Ground flaxseeds are another excellent source of fiber, plus contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Oats. Oats are another fantastic fiber source and an easy addition to a shake.
Greek Yogurt Or Other Protein Sources
For an alternative protein source, why not try:
- Greek yogurt. Not a fan of protein powder? Greek yogurt is packed with both protein and prebiotics, and it creates a creamy shake.
- Cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is an excellent protein source.
- Silken tofu. A vegan protein source with lots of nutrients.
The final step is to decide on any additional flavorings to add to your shake. You want to use a light touch here. Too many added flavorings can totally throw off the healthy balance of your shake.
With that said, if your shake tastes uninspiring, a few flavor touches can brighten the whole thing up. And if you like the taste, you’ll be more tempted to incorporate healthy shakes into your routine.
Some potential choices include:
- Vanilla or almond extract. You only need a small drop to give a luscious sweetness to your shake.
- Cocoa powder. Unsweetened cocoa powder is best and will give depth to your shake.
- Cinnamon and turmeric. Both spices contain anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.
- Ginger. Add fresh ginger to ease digestion.
- Matcha powder. Unsweetened matcha gives an energy boost to your morning shake.
- Honey. Bring some sweetness to your shake with honey, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent.
A healthy shake is packed full of nutritionally rich ingredients while avoiding foods that might add flavor but also lack benefits.
It’s easy to build a healthy shake that you’ll enjoy drinking after a tough workout.
What healthy ingredients do you enjoy in your shakes?
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Put In A Shake?
A healthy shake contains good protein sources, plenty of nutrients, and flavors you enjoy. Combine a liquid with a protein source, some fruits and veggies, healthy fats, and a few flavor enhancers.
How Do You Make A Shake Taste Good?
You can make a shake taste good with healthy additions in flavors you love. Try adding a handful of fruit, a spoonful of nut butter, and a touch of cinnamon or ginger.
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