Exploring new and exciting ways to recharge with a post-workout shake is always interesting to me. To boost your muscle development, it’s easy to scoop protein, add liquid and shake. I do this while on the road. However, when I’m at home, I like to get creative and spice it up a bit.
My approach when providing athletes with recipes is to challenge their creativity. If you have the right information, you needn’t be bound by a recipe. Y0u can substitute ingredients and amend recipes to use what’s available in your pantry or align with your nutritional and dietary goals.
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The following are some ingredient options for something different when needed.
Depending upon your goals or dietary restrictions, here are some options for the liquid basis of your shake:
- Milk alternatives – soy, rice, coconut, hemp, almond, water, yogurt
- Obviously, protein content varies greatly; soy milk and Greek yogurt have the most.
Fruits & Vegetables
- Avocados – Not just for guacamole or savory items, avocados are neutral in flavor and add texture and creaminess.
- Fruits – Use fresh or frozen blueberries or cranberries for more antioxidants. If frozen, chill and enjoy the frozen shake effect. Use fresh or frozen bananas for potassium, creaminess and texture. If frozen, they will create the cold shake effect. Any other fruit of your choice will enhance with flavor and nutritional value.
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Powders & Meals
- Many protein powders are interchangeable.
- Peanut butter powder is a nice way to add flavor and boost protein while reducing calories compared to prepared peanut butter.
- Nut meals are fun as a way to increase nutritional value and incorporate flavor.
- Flax seed meal boosts protein by 5 grams; hazelnut meal only adds 2 grams in 2 tablespoons. The longer a shake sits, the more the meal absorbs liquid and thickens the drink.
- Milk powder increase nutritional value and improves texture.
- Powdered egg or powdered egg whites improve protein content and add texture.
- Turmeric powder serves as an anti-inflammatory agent.
- Essential oils are trending as valuable supplements.
- Greek yogurt boosts protein content and adds a slightly tangy flavor. If you choose a flavored variety, the calories will increase, but it will taste less tangy.
- Tofu is a good neutral additive to increase protein content. Silken and soft tofu outperform firmer varieties since they blend better. Firm tofu might remain a little mealy or chunky.
When making a standard protein shake, you can escape the doldrums and add some zing by hitting it with a spice—a little cayenne pepper, hot sauce or even a piece of hot pepper or fresh ginger. If this sounds strange, think about the variety of artisan and gourmet chocolate bars on the market. You will see how these combinations are practical approaches to make your shake more exciting.
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Blueberry-Banana Protein Shake
One portion has 300 calories and 47 grams of protein
Spicy Chocolate Cranberry-Banana Protein Shake
One portion has 400 calories and 67 grams of protein
Makes three one-cup portions; 200 calories and 15g of protein per portion.
- 1/3 cup low-fat cottage cheese
- ½ cup low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1/3 cup fresh kale
- 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 tbs honey
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1 peeled banana
- 2 eggs
Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake
Makes one 12-ounce serving, with 15-20 grams of protein.
- 1/2 apple cut into quarters
- 1 small carrot cut into 2-3 inch pieces
- 1/4 lime or lemon
- 1 leaf kale or ¾ cup
- 1/4 small beet
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1/2 inch cut ginger
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup ice
Directions for all the above shakes:
- Combine ingredients and add the liquid last.
- Blend on medium for about 15 seconds.
- Stop and stir if necessary.
- Blend again for about 30 seconds or to desired consistency (likely a minute for the vegetable shake).