Protein powder gets a bad rap. Some people say it’s tasteless, artificial, or just plain gross.
These people just don’t know how to make a good protein shake.
Preface: the importance of a balanced shake
If you’re drinking a protein shake as a substitute to one of your meals, then it’s essential that you get the same balance of macronutrients as you would in a regular meal. This means that, while the protein powder is great, drinking it with just water will only really give you protein. It’d be like eating just a single chicken breast – while that might work, it’s not a long term solution and it won’t fill you up.
The ideal macronutrient ratio is a hotly debated topic, but many agree that if you can stick with 30/40/30 then you’ll be all set. This means that you get your protein, carbohydrates, and fats in a ratio of 3:4:3 throughout the day. (The goal is to eat the same amount of fat as protein with more carbohydrates to give you consistent energy.)
You won’t keel over and die if you don’t get the right balance, but it helps. Your energy levels will be higher and you’ll have the necessary building blocks to form new muscle.
Step 1: Get your ingredients
The most common flavor of protein powder is chocolate, specifically Optimum Nutrition’s chocolate flavor. Hundreds of thousands of people use it on a daily basis, so we’ll be using it as an example.
Get these other ingredients from a supermarket. It’ll allow you to have delicious strawberry banana protein shakes whenever you want.
- Milk (or soy milk, if you’re allergic to dairy)
- Peanut butter (or almond butter, if you’re allergic to peanut butter)
- Bananas and strawberries
Step 2: Get a blender
The only real accessory you’ll need for protein shakes is a blender. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you do have to have one.
If you don’t already have one, we’d recommend picking this one off of Amazon. It’s crazy cheap and it has a large capacity if you want to make multiple shakes at once.
If you’re scraping by for money, then you can also just use a blender bottle to mix plain powder with milk. Again, though, you really want to have your shakes be balanced. If you have the cash to spend, go with the actual electric one.
Oats – yay or nay?
If you’re trying to lose weight, then you might want to leave the oats out of the equation.
They have a lot of calories!
A single cup is 600 calories. Depending on your daily goals, this alone might be enough to set you way over the limit.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to gain weight, then consider adding in the oats.
The shake will be thicker, but depending on your serving sizes you can make a single shake have over one thousand calories. If your bulking routine calls for more calories than you are comfortable eating, this is a good way to hit that limit without painfully forcing bites down one by one.
Step 3: Deciding quantities
Make sure to take into account all of the caloric values of all of your ingredients.
- An average banana has roughly 100 calories
- Peanut butter has around 200 calories per two tbsp.
- Oats, as we just discussed, have 600 calories per cup
- Milk, depending on if you got skim or whole milk, will have between 83 and 143 calories per cup
- Strawberries have only 76 calories per cup
To balance your macros perfectly, you’ll have to do a little more math, but if you just add a reasonable amount of each ingredient, then you’ll be all set. Bananas and oats are carbs, peanut butter and milk are fats, and protein powder is, of course, protein.
Why aren’t you listing exact values?
My favorite protein shake might be disgusting to someone else. Everyone has different taste buds – while I love my shakes thick and goopy, others might prefer a shake on the watery side.
Look: the first shake you make probably isn’t going to be delicious. You’ll probably put too much of one ingredient in. But, as you keep making them, each one will taste better and better.
Practice makes perfect, you know?
Eventually, you’ll get to the point where your shakes tastes like strawberry banana milkshakes made with chocolate ice cream.
The only difference? These delicious creations will, unlike a milkshake, actually be good for you.
The perfect protein shake is an invaluable asset to anyone in the fitness world – it’s why you always see athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness models drinking them all of the time.
Try the recipe above and you’ll be shocked at how delicious and cheap a nutritious meal replacement drink can be.