Is it all just a bunch of hype for “unhealthy” milkshakes or are there really healthy smoothies and protein shake recipes?
While you can buy healthy protein shakes and make healthy smoothies on your own, most of those available, though tasty, are not very healthy.
Why? They’re too high in fat, calories and/or high glycemic sweeteners.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right ingredients, protein shakes and smoothies can greatly contribute to a super-healthy diet. And you can make a delicious shake or smoothie with just 120 to 275 calories.
How to Make a Smoothie or Protein Shake That’s Healthy
Healthy smoothies and protein shakes are the perfect easy and fast way to start a day. Especially since most people find that they can’t afford the time it takes to prepare a healthy breakfast, snack or lunch, for that matter.
But you can quickly whip up a healthy protein shake or fruit smoothie.
Whether you’re making a smoothie or protein shake, the first step is to choose a healthy, low-calorie liquid foundation from the following list:
• pure water,
• non-fat milk,
• low-fat yogurt,
• or light soy milk,
It’s best to avoid fruit juices since they’re so high on the glycemic index.
Whether it’s a shake or a smoothie, the next step is to find the best protein powder – one that’s low in calories, fat and sugar and high in nutrition.
A good complete protein powder helps you to fulfill your protein needs without all of the fat and high calories that usually come along with high-protein sources like meat, eggs, cheese and full-fat dairy products.
Here are the 4 main protein powder concentrates used by athletes:
While they’re all good sources, by mixing several you can create a protein profile that’s better utilized by your body. For example, milk casein combined with soy from beans makes a complete high-protein powder with all of the 22 amino acids that are important for human nutrition.
But of course, no matter how healthy your protein powder is, it has to taste good too – or you won’t want to use it in your shake or smoothie.
Healthy Smoothie and Protein Shake Recipes
There’s not necessarily any difference at all between a healthy protein shake and a healthy smoothie. But, to make a distinction, let’s say that a shake is higher in protein and a smoothie is higher in added fruit.
But, whether you call it a shake or a smoothie the basic directions are the same – blend all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
Here are a few healthy smoothie and protein shake recipes to try out:
• 1 cup nonfat milk, soy milk, low or non-fat yogurt or water
• 1 frozen banana, chopped (peeled before freezing)
• 1 – 2 tablespoons or scoops of protein powder
• 1 teaspoon psyillium or daily fiber blend
• ½ – 1 cup frozen strawberries
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Note: Use chocolate, strawberry, vanilla or plain protein powder.
Variation #1: If you want a stronger fruit flavor, leave out the banana and add more strawberries with some natural strawberry flavoring.
Variation #2: Use frozen blueberries, raspberries, peaches, cherries, mangoes or pineapple instead of strawberries. Or try combining any of those fruits with any flavor of protein that you think will go well together.
Basic Healthy Protein Shake
This basic protein shake is similar to a smoothie only higher in protein:
• 1 cup of water, low or non-fat yogurt, nonfat milk or soy milk
• 2 scoops of protein powder, chocolate, vanilla or other
• (½ chopped frozen banana, peeled before freezing)
• 1 teaspoon of psyillium or blended daily fiber
• 1 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring
• (½ to 1 cup of frozen fruit)
Note: The items in parentheses are optional. If you want a sweeter shake, just add a few drops of liquid stevia or other low glycemic sweetener.
Variation #1: If you like chocolate and want a strong chocolate flavor, add unsweetened cocoa powder and a few drops of chocolate stevia drops.
Variation #2: Other tasty extracts and flavorings are various fruit flavors, coconut, coffee, cinnamon, mint, maple, stevia toffee and almond.
Chocolate Almond Protein Shake
• 1 cup non-fat milk, soy milk, low-fat yogurt or water
• 2 scoops of quality chocolate protein powder
• 1 teaspoon psyillium or daily fiber blend
• ¼ teaspoon of almond flavoring
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• 8 to 12 raw almonds
Note: For a stronger chocolate flavor add 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder and 8 drops of liquid stevia chocolate drops.
Variation #1: For mocha, leave out the almond and add 1 teaspoon instant coffee or decaf and ½ teaspoon of coffee flavor.
Variation #2: For a coffee almond protein shake, use vanilla protein powder instead of chocolate and for just plain coffee, leave out the almonds.
With these low-calorie healthy smoothie recipes and my recommendation for the best protein powder, it’s easy to learn how to make a smoothie or high-protein shake that’s both super nutritious and delicious. And they all work great for a healthy breakfast, snack or lunch on the go.
More Commonsense Health for You:
The Healthiest Fruit List of Fruits
Best High Protein Foods for Weight Loss
High Fiber Foods and High Fiber Supplements
Sugar Addicts Guide to Overcoming Sugar Addiction