Which Protein Shakes Should You Incorporate Into Your Diet?

Which Protein Shakes Should You Incorporate Into Your Diet?

Authored by Audrey on October 4, 2019

The way in which you feed your body before and after a workout is just as important as the activities and movements that you perform. A healthy and nutritious diet is vital to maintaining physical health, fully experiencing the benefits of exercise, and keeping your body in tip-top condition. It’s for this reason that many athletes swear by protein shakes.

Protein-rich shakes are the perfect companion to a physical fitness routine for a number of reasons:

  1. It’s Crucial for Muscle Recovery

After an intense and satisfying workout, your muscles are exhausted. By consuming protein after you hit the gym, you are giving your muscles the tools they need to recover— and shakes are quick, easy, and refreshing after a heavy workout.

  1. It’s a Great Way to Add Bulk

For athletes hoping to gain weight, protein shakes are a great way to pack loads of healthy nutrients into one small meal — without consuming an exorbitant amount of calories as well. 

  1. It Works as a Nutritious Meal Replacement

Though a well-balanced meal is generally the way to go, the reality is that not everybody has time to cook and prep something nourishing three times a day. When time is tight, a filling, nourishing protein shake is a great alternative to processed snacks or fast food.

  1. It Can Help Athletes Build Muscle and Strength 

Protein is a muscle-building machine, and consuming it regularly can keep athletes strong and powerful. 

So, where to begin? 

At Jack City Fitness, we know plenty of athletes! Plenty of our trainers, staff, and partners are protein shake enthusiasts, and we went to them for their favorite recipes. 

Pumpkin Spice Shake

If you spent your summer months dreaming of crunching leaves, carving jack-o-lanterns, and cozy sweatshirts, this is the shake for you. Not only does it taste as autumnal as your favorite seasonal cup of joe, it’s packed with protein — and includes actual pumpkin!

Ingredients:

½ cup frozen pumpkin puree (either homemade or from a can) 

2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

½ cup Greek yogurt

10 pitted dates

1 pinch each: cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground clove

Where’s the Protein?

This shake has plenty of protein sources! Pumpkin seeds, otherwise known as pepitas, contain 24% protein, Greek yogurt has 34%! And though they’re a small portion of the shake, the pumpkin puree and dates also add their own doses of protein at 2% each.

Other Benefits:

The values of pumpkin go well beyond that of being delicious and autumnal. It’s loaded up with health benefits and considered a nutrient-dense ingredient. The ubiquitous gourd is a major source of Vitamins A, E, and C, as well as beta-carotene, antioxidants, iron, folate, potassium, and fiber. 

Dates, by the way, are one of our top picks for an all-natural sweetener. They provide a layered, rich sweetness, and have their own host of benefits like high fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. 

The Avo Smash

Think avocados are only for savory dishes? Then it’s time to reframe your impression of this creamy fruit — yes, fruit! Avocado smoothies and shakes are quite popular around the world, particularly in Vietnam, where it’s called sinh tố bơ, and is sweetened with condensed milk. For a nutrient-rich, protein-forward version of a delightfully green avocado smoothie, try this shake!

Ingredients:

1 whole avocado, pitted

1-2 scoops vanilla honey whey protein

¼ cup raw tahini

½ cup greek yoghurt

⅓ cup oat milk

Where’s the Protein?

Once again, Greek yogurt provides plenty of protein here. We also chose to highlight oat milk here, since this star ingredient contains an impressive 17%. Finally, the vanilla and honey-kissed whey powder gives the shake a similar creamy flavor and texture to the Vietnamese treat it’s inspired by — plus a healthy dose of protein.

Other Benefits: Avocados and tahini might not be sky-high sources of protein (each contain 5%,) but they are both chock full of nutrients. Avocados are home to a host of fortifying vitamins, potassium, and fibers. Both avos and tahini contain plenty of “good fat,” and the nutty sesame paste is also known to contain plenty of B-vitamins, minerals, and iron.

The Morning Buzz

Do you hit the gym first thing in the morning? Get two early birds with one stone by mixing your morning coffee and oatmeal into one convenient (and delicious) shake. This one is great before a workout, since it’ll get your mind and body ready to perform. 

Ingredients:

⅔ cold brew or iced coffee

⅓ cup oat milk

¼ cup almond butter

3 tbsp rolled oats

½ of a frozen banana

Where’s the Protein?

The main protein sources in this shake are the nut butter, as a single gram of almonds contain 6 grams of protein, and also the oats which are 17% protein.

Other Benefits:

Bananas aren’t known for their protein, but they often make their way into shakes for their other health benefits, as well as the silky, fluffy texture they provide. Aside from being a known source of potassium, bananas contain plenty of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

The Monkey Mix

This might taste like it came from the ice cream shoppe, but it’s actually a gym-ready, protein-rich shake! 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 frozen banana

1-2 scoops chocolate protein powder

½ cup cashew milk

Where’s the Protein?

Aside from the chocolatey, protein-rich kick provided by the supplement powder, peanut butter is a great source of the stuff — it contains 25%! 

Other Benefits:

Peanuts are loaded with fiber, good fats, nourishing vitamins, and minerals, while cashew milk is thought to improve cardiovascular health and keep blood sugar levels stable. 

The Creamsicle

One sip of this, and you’ll be transported to childhood days eating creamy, zesty popsicles straight out of the ice cream truck. This one is great to drink after a training session or active workout; it’s a rewarding treat that will help your muscles find relief.

Ingredients:

1-2 scoops vanilla whey powder

½ cup freshly squeezed or organic orange juice

¼ cup Greek yogurt

½ cup ice cubes

Where’s the Protein?

The yogurt and whey powder take the stage here, with each providing a hefty dose of protein.

Other Benefits:

Oranges (and other citrus fruits) are practically synonymous with Vitamin-C, but that isn’t where their benefits end. They are great sources of fiber, potassium, folate, and Vitamin B1, as well. 

The Tropical Sunrise

Turn your gym into your own slice of paradise by sipping this tropically-inspired shake before your next training session. It’s naturally sweet from fruit, and nice and thick from protein-rich chia seeds. 

Ingredients:

1 ripe mango, peeled and pitted, or 2 cups frozen mango chunks

1 tbsp chia seeds

¼ cup raw macadamia nuts

½ cup coconut-almond milk

1 frozen banana

Where’s the Protein?

Chia seeds have undergone a makeover in the past few decades! Previously unknown to many (outside their ability to grow on novelty “pets”), nutritionists have made them a household name in the US due to their interesting set of benefits, among which is a protein count of 9%. Not so bad for a tiny seed. 

The other star ingredient here is the macadamia, a buttery nut native to Australia. A single ounce contains 2 grams of protein, and plenty of sunshiney flavor. 

Other Benefits:

Chia seeds are a very impressive little seed — just two tablespoons contain a whopping 11 grams of fiber, and high levels of magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium, B-vitamins, zinc, and phosphorus.

Mocha-Almond Crunch

We love this flavor combination in our ice cream cones, so why not make a protein-rich version to tuck into after an intense workout? The coffee will provide an after-gym boost, while the protein will give your muscles all of the restorative juice that they need. 

Ingredients:

1-2 scoops chocolate protein powder

½ cup iced coffee or cold brew

2 tbsp almond butter

1 tbsp flax seeds

Where’s the Protein?

Of course, while the chocolate powder will provide plenty of protein, there’s plenty more where that came from! Almond butter, as we covered earlier, is chock full of protein. Flax seeds pack a serious punch as well — there are 1.3 grams of protein in a single tablespoon of the stuff. (It also provides a satisfying crunch to cakes or muffins, a bowl of cereal, or of course, a shake!) 

Other Benefits:

Flax is actually a bit of a buzzword these days — many consider it a superfood, and try to incorporate into their diet on a regular basis. It’s a considerable source of Omega-3, which can help to protect one’s cardiovascular system and prevent the risk of stroke. They also contain an asotoundly high amount of lignans, which can play a role in preventing cancer. 

The Romance Novel

Those who train together, stay together. If you want to create a romantic but practical treat for your one true love, try making this nutritious shake to share before you hit the gym as a pair. Or, you can just enjoy it yourself! It’s like a chocolate-covered strawberry, but packed with protein.

Ingredients:

1 cups frozen strawberries

1/3 cup frozen or fresh raspberries

⅓ cup frozen or fresh blackberries

1-2 scoops chocolate protein whey powder

⅓ cup almond milk

Where’s the Protein?

Both the almond milk and whey powder will provide you with all the protein that you need, but berries also provide an additional burst.

Other Benefits:

Berries aren’t just sweet and tasty, they are also loaded with benefits. Not only are berries known to be a fantastic source of antioxidants, they’re high in fiber, particularly raspberries and blackberries. They provide plenty of nutrients, with Vitamins C and K1, and manganese in particularly high levels. 

Get Creative!

If these shake recipes have you feeling inspired, get brainstorming! Once you know which foods are rich in protein, coming up with new shake ideas can be fun! You can even challenge yourself by experimenting with less traditional items that have high protein counts, like cottage cheese, egg whites, or even broccoli.

While you’re riding that protein shake train, we want to add: it never hurts to speak with a nutritional counselor. They’ll be able to give you recommendations for a shake that suits your individual lifestyle and physical condition. 

Now that you’ve found your perfect protein shake, it’s time to let it work its magic in an environment where it can thrive: Jack City Fitness. At Jack City, we’re much more than a gym. We’re a gathering place for Boise locals to accomplish goals, improve their health, and build long-lasting relationships with new friends, valuable trainers, and their own physicality. Get in touch with us today to come visit our centrally located facility, where you are invited to undergo a FREE fitness consultation and meet our staff of passionate trainers, nutritionists, and movement experts. If you choose to become one of our valued partners, you’ll be entitled to 24-hour gym access, a host of effective classes, flexible custom training, and more!