Smooth Moves: 7 Protein Shake Recipes That Will Tantalize Your Taste Buds

Whether your call them smoothies or protein shakes, I get it: this is a very personal topic, and it strikes a chord. I have had many a heated post-workout discussion over the ingredients that belong in a protein shake. Let’s agree that given the choice between the clumpy concoction produced in a shaker bottle or the creamy creation made in a blender, the blender is always best. But then … whey or vegan protein powder? Ice or no ice? Fresh or frozen fruit? Water? Coconut water? Milk? Almond milk?  And do you use a Ninja? A Vitamix? A NutriBullet? There are so many choices. And I understand, mine might cause some dissension in the ranks: Vegan protein. No ice, ever. Fruit, that I have purchased fresh and frozen myself, in silicone stasher bags, in lieu of ice cubes. And half almond milk, half water, to a total liquid volume of about 16 ounces, because I like the shakes that come out of my trusty, decade-old, mint green, ridged glass Waring blender to be a little thin. Some of you are already mad at me, but I’m going to share my favorite recipes anyway. I invite you to alter them any way you like, substitute ingredients, use them as a jumping-off point to generally get creative with what goes in that blender. After all, it’s your belly we’re talking about.

THE GREEN MACHINE

Matcha comes from the same plant as green tea, but it is grown in the shade, which produces a unique nutrient profile. Matcha contains nutrients from the entire leaf, so it is higher in antioxidants and caffeine than traditional green tea. However, matcha’s caffeine increases focus without the jitters that often accompany caffeine from other sources.  

1 cup almond milk

1 cup water

Huge handful of fresh spinach

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 teaspoon matcha powder

1 packet VitaHustle Vegan or Whey Protein, vanilla

THE BERRY BLAST

Highly antioxidant anthocyanins are the plant compounds responsible for the red pigment in strawberries and the beets, acai, blackberries, blueberries and tart cherries in VitaHustle Reds & Greens.

1 cup almond milk

1 cup water

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1 packet VitaHustle Reds & Greens

1 packet VitaHustle Vegan or Whey Protein, vanilla

THE FRAPPUCCINO

Why not get your protein and your caffeine in one, quick breakfast? Coffee is loaded with antioxidants and B vitamins. Cinnamon is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and has been shown to boost metabolism, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, and regulate blood sugar levels.

1 cup almond milk

1 cup cold brew coffee, or chilled regular coffee

1/2 frozen banana

1 packet VitaHustle Vegan or Whey Protein, vanilla (or chocolate if you enjoy a mocha!)

1/2 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon

THE CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TORTE

Both cacao nibs – small pieces of crushed cocoa beans – and their slightly more processed little brother, cocoa powder, have a nutty, chocolatey flavor and are loaded with iron, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese and zinc, antioxidants, and the plant compounds flavonoids.  

1 cup almond milk

1 cup water

1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1 tablespoon cacao nibs or cocoa powder (or both!)

1 packet VitaHustle Reds & Greens

1 packet VitaHustle Vegan or Whey Protein, chocolate

THE PUMPKIN PIE

Pumpkin is packed with the antioxidant beta-carotene and loaded with vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium and iron. Ginger is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood sugar and sooth cranky stomachs.

1 cup almond milk

1 cup water

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 cup pumpkin pure (you can buy this canned and freeze the leftover in an ice cube tray to pop out for future use)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

(or 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice, which contains all three, plus clove and allspice)

1 packet VitaHustle Vegan or Whey Protein, vanilla

THE PEANUT BUTTER CUP

With 90% less fat than traditional peanut butter, powdered peanut butter is just 60 calories for a two-tablespoon serving. It has all the flavor of traditional peanut butter, mixes well into shakes and adds an extra six grams of protein.   

1 cup almond milk

1 cup water

1/2 frozen banana

1 tablespoon cacao nibs or cocoa powder

2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter

1 packet VitaHustle Vegan or Whey Protein, chocolate

THE PB&J

This smoothie just tastes like being a kid, while giving you all the nutrients from red fruits and VitaHustle Reds & Greens.

1 cup almond milk

1 cup water

1/2 cup frozen strawberries or raspberries

1 packet VitaHustle Reds & Greens

2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter

1 packet VitaHustle Vegan or Whey Protein, vanilla

ADD-INS

These three bonus ingredients mix seamlessly into any smoothie recipe without changing the flavor profile. Choose what suits you!

FOR PROTEIN:

Unflavored collagen peptides pack in an extra 8 to 18 grams of protein, depending on brand and serving size. The amino acids in collagen are used by the body to support healthy hair, skin, nails and joints. 

FOR FIBER:

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and lots of calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc and B vitamins, all for just 130 calories. 

FOR OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS:

One tablespoon of ground flax seeds has just 37 calories and over 1500 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, mostly in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA.

Lindsay Berra

Lindsay Berra

Sports Journalist - http://lindsayberra.com/

Lindsay Berra is a New Jersey-based freelance sports journalist who contributes regularly to the Sports Business Journal, Baseball America, ESPNW, Fast Company, Men’s Health, Bodybuilding.com and other outlets. At MLB.com and MLB Network from 2013 through 2018, she established herself as an authority on baseball fitness and injuries. As a senior writer for ESPN Magazine from 1999 through 2012, she covered primarily ice hockey, tennis, baseball and the Olympics. Lindsay graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she played varsity softball and men’s club ice hockey. She is a Level 1 CrossFit coach, triathlete, avid hiker and yogi.