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An Introduction To Protein Shake Making

Protein shakes have become hugely popular for all sorts of reasons. They are great to use as meal replacements if you are on a diet. If you workout, there are pre-workout and post-workout drinks which are available either ready-made or you can make your own from simple, relatively inexpensive and easily available ingredients. For seniors who may be recuperating from illness or whose appetite is poor, tasty shakes are ideal for encouraging them to take good quality protein and other nutrients in a way that is both nice to drink and useful for enabling carers to monitor what has been consumed.

Using Protein Powder Is Easiest For Beginners

Whether you are a vegetarian, a vegan or are happy to consume animal derived protein, you will find protein powder bases to suit your requirements. There are lower calorie versions for those on a diet and higher calorie versions for those looking to build muscle and ‘bulk up’.

Of course, high protein recipes can also be made without the use of protein powder, but if you are a beginner, using a proprietary powder is perhaps the easiest to start with. There are two reasons for this. First you can be assured that the protein quality is consistent and you can also monitor the amount of protein in grams that you are consuming. You can use the same recipe but add more of the powder as required to increase the protein content.

As an introduction to the benefits of adding protein shakes to your diet, I have included the following video. Don’t worry if you don’t get all the ingredients noted while you are watching the video, you can get the recipe below and I have given some variations too so you can mix it up a little according to your nutritional goals and your dietary preferences.

Recipe For Making A Cherry Protein Shake

Basic Recipe Ingredients

  • 4 Ice Cubes
  • 1 cup of cherries (pits or stones removed)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1 scoop of protein powder (recipe uses powder sweetened with Stevia1, not Sugar)

To make your shake, either as a meal replacement or as a post workout drink, just whizz everything together in your blender, adding the ingredients in the order listed.

1 Stevia is a naturally occurring sweetener that is extracted from the leaves of a shrub in the Chrysanthemum family. To find out more about Stevia and its properties, please use the link provided.

Variations on a Theme

  1. Rice milk is a suitable alternative to the almond or coconut milk mentioned in the video. However, you should be aware that it is not as high in protein. If you are not vegetarian or vegan or lactose intolerant, you can use dairy milk. Another alternative is soy milk which comes in sweetened and unsweetened varieties and like the other milks mentioned is available to buy in bulk in long-life packs which make storage easy if refrigerator space is at a premium.
  2. You could substitute the cherries with almost any fruit, except citrus fruits which do not work well in shakes and smoothies. If you are looking for suitable alternatives, try a cup of either Strawberries, Raspberries, Chopped Banana, Peach, Mango or Avocado. Or you could mix any combination of your favorites to create your perfect shake! Preparation of fruit is easy. Dependent on your dietary requirements, fruits can be peeled or just washed and chopped, removing any pits or stones.
  3. You can make your drink really thick and creamy without adding any extra calories, by freezing the fruit first. Just separate soft fruits on a baking tray and freeze them ‘dry’. Once they are frozen, you can pop them into a bag or freezer container and take out only what you want, as you need it without the individual fruits sticking together. If you are using frozen fruits in your smoothies and shakes, make sure that your blender or smoothie maker is up to the job as some personal blenders and cheaper smoothie makers are not powerful enough to blend frozen fruits.
  4. Use your choice of protein powder – there is no need to use the brand mentioned in the video. If you are looking to make some savings on buying this, try Amazon. They offer lots of discounts and some products are at even lower prices if you place them on a regular order. Use the quantity you need to get the required number of grams of protein for your dietary or training goals. Individual products vary so you may need more (or less) than one scoop. As a rough guide, the table below will help you in determining your daily protein requirements. For more accurate figures, consult your doctor or dietician as the exact requirement depends on your lean body mass and amount of physical activity daily.
Age Daily Req. Males (in grams) Daily Req. Females (in grams)
11-14 years 45 46
15-18 years 59 44
19-24 years 58 46
Over 25 years 63 50

Making homemade protein shakes is easy and less expensive than buying ready-made versions. If you make too much mixture, just store it (covered) in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Possibly the mixture would keep for longer, but the antioxidant properties and vitamin content start to deteriorate over time so shakes and smoothies are always best consumed fresh. Remember you can also get ‘take and go’ insulated containers so you can enjoy a nutritious protein shake on the go, on your way to work, in your lunch break or after your workout.

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