Recipes for Protein Shakes Without Protein Powder
Yes you really can make high protein smoothies and shakes without having to use protein powders. Here I’m going to cover the ‘why’ and ‘how’ and give you some great tasting recipes to try too.
So let’s dig in and getting making some delicious shakes.
The Importance Of Protein
Amino acids are known to be protein’s building blocks. When you consume protein, your digestive process breaks the protein down into amino acids. These are then passed into the blood – thereafter, they are carried throughout the rest of the body. Your cells will select the amino acids needed for construction of antibodies, new body tissues, enzymes, hormones and blood cells.
Your body has a break down of 22 amino acids, each with its own characteristics. Out of those 22, there are 8 which are termed ‘essential’ amino acids. Your body cannot produce protein without these 8 essential amino acids. Protein in the body is not made up of one substance, instead it is made up of thousands of substances.
Protein Shakes As A Good Source Of Protein
Protein shakes allow your body to conveniently get nutrition, whether it is after your workout, on the run or just during a hectic day. Protein is known to provide long term energy and strengthen your muscles. While there are numerous protein powders available in today’s market, they are mostly fairly expensive.
So, how can you include protein in your daily diet conveniently without the expensive protein powder? With powder free shakes and smoothies of course 🙂
Common Ingredients Used In Making Protein Shakes Without Protein Powder
Making protein shakes without protein powders is a good way to get proper nutrition, especially after every workout to replenish the energy you have used up. There are literally dozens of different creative ways to make shakes or protein smoothies at home without protein powder. You can create them using natural ingredients already in your pantry – no fancy expensive ingredients required. Save money and even get extra vitamins and minerals into your diet.
Step 1 – The Protein Shake Base
For any high protein shake you’re going to need a base. You can basically either use water or milk – but milk is always going to be the best choice to achieve a thicker texture and richer flavor. It’s just going to give a better result.
That said, there are different kinds of ‘milk’ to choose from of course. You can use traditional cow’s milk or try goats milk if you can get it – lots of people with lactose issues seem to have no reaction to goat milk. Cow’s milk is a good source of protein and calcium but it does contain some saturated fat, which is not so good for the heart.
Then there’s the non-dairy substitutes of almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk or rice milk. If you’re male I’d suggest steering clear of soy products (it can cause all sorts of health issues), and women should probably limit intake too. Rice milk is cheaper and tastes good, but almond milk is my preferred non-dairy. Although I like the dairy option best.
Step 2 – Protein Boosting Ingredient
Depending on your chosen base, you’ve already got either some protein going on (obviously water doesn’t have any!). But now we’re going to take it up a notch.
To increase the amount of protein in your shake, just add more protein-rich ingredients such as peanut butter, raw eggs or chopped nuts. If you prefer a smoothie you will need to blitz nuts for longer or you’re going to get chunks. Ideally, soak your nuts overnight & then rinse before using them – this helps ‘activate’ them and improve nutrition and absorption – it also makes them easier to blend. If you blitz nuts first before adding your base you should be able to powder them.
Two tablespoons of your chosen protein booster ingredient is a good amount of protein to use.
Step 3 – Healthy Fruits For Nutritional Value
To achieve a better texture, taste and get a good nutritional quality, simply pile in the fruits (or vegetables).
Banana is the most common fruit used in protein shakes without protein powder – as it creates that creamy, smooth texture. Also, adding in a cup of frozen berries – good antioxidants – is recommended. You can just use any fruit in season or buy frozen bags that are just ready to use.
And whilst fruits are not known for being high protein, they do have some! A guava for example is about 2.6g protein per 100g, both blackberries and apricots are 1.4g per 100g. Passionfruits and pomegranates are also relatively high for fruits. But don’t obsess, just use what tastes great and gives some variety to your diet 🙂
If you want to get really creative, you can also add in some raw vegetables. Spinach, tomatoes and avocado are really good, particularly if you shy away from putting these on your plate.
Step 4 – Additional Flavoring Ingredients
To enhance the flavor and aroma of your protein shakes, you can also add in a few drops of flavoring ingredients. Things like vanilla, peppermint, cocoa and natural coconut oil/extract are great choices.
You can also use a teaspoon of coffee for that extra caffeine kick – I prefer to use real ground coffee as the taste is roughly a thousand times better than that nasty freeze dried stuff :-). Or even a teaspoon of raw cacao.
I would avoid any extras for sweetness though. The vast majority of artificial sweeteners have serious question marks over their safety, and you really, really don’t need them. The fruits alone should be more than sweet enough. But if you have a sweet tooth then try using a little honey.
Common Protein Shake Recipes
Apricot Pineapple Strawberry Shake
– 1 freshly diced apricot
– ¼ cup pineapple, crushed
– ½ banana
– 6 strawberries
– 1 tablespoon skim milk powder
– 1 ½ cups water
– 1 teaspoon flax seed oil
Process the fruit and the other ingredients in a blender. Blend until thoroughly mixed, and enjoy.
Tropical Protein Smoothie
– ½ frozen banana
– 4 frozen strawberries
– ½ mango
– 1 ¼ cups cow’s milk
– ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 teaspoon flax oil
– 6 ice cubes
Throw everything into a blender and blitz up thoroughly. Deliciously refreshing.
Fruit And Bran Protein Shake
– 1 cup apple juice
– ½ fresh banana
– ½ cup blueberries and peaches
– 1 teaspoon bran
– 3 tablespoon oats
– Ice cubes
Place everything in your blender, and process thoroughly until smooth and thick. Enjoy.
Lemon Cheese Cake & Strawberry Shake
– 3 scoops of ice cream (preferably lemon cheese cake ice cream!)
– 3 tablespoon coconut milk
– 1 cup frozen strawberries
– 4 eggs
– 2 ½ cups of cow’s milk
First, blend the eggs and milk together. Next, add the ice cream. Continue blending the mixture. Lastly, add in the strawberries and coconut milk and blend until smooth. Plain vanilla ice cream is good too, but lemon cheese cake flavor is killer 🙂
Let me know if the comments below if you try and like these recipes, and I’ll come up with some more you can use.
More About The Benefits
General Protein Health Benefits
Proteins are essential for construction including tissue repair and new tissue in your body. Each cell requires protein to function properly. The primary substance needed to replace worn out and dead cells is also protein. Here are several more benefits of boosting up your protein intake:-
- Protein is vital in replacing white blood cells (every ten days!).
- The cells in the blood platelets and gastrointestinal tract lining are replaced by protein.
- Protein helps replace skin cells every 24 hours.
- Up to 98% of molecules in your body are replaced completely every year… with the help of protein!
Not only your muscles – but hair, skin, nails and eyes all require protein. So do the cells in your kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, brain, nerves and sex glands. The glands in your body are the most active protein users of all including the thyroid, pancreas and pituitary along with other hard working muscles and organs.
Protein is of course essential for production of muscles. Proteins also play a role in manufacturing enzymes, hormones, nucleic acids, cellular messengers and components of the immune system. If your body doesn’t have adequate protein, it cannot assemble the structure which makes up every cell, organ and tissue. Without proper intake of protein, your body will not be able to generate biochemical substances required for muscle contraction, cardiovascular function, healing and growth. Inadequate protein could also lead to over training of your muscles resulting in injury.
Which is why every gym rat that I’ve ever known uses protein shakes nearly every day, but certainly on workout days at a minimum. Most use protein powders made from whey, and in particular whey protein isolate (see what is whey protein isolate). But there are plenty of vegan or lactose intolerant gym addicts out there, and of course whey is extracted from cow’s milk. So these bodybuilders make their protein shakes without protein powder, or use very specialized (and very expensive) non-animal based products.
If you are into body sculpting or bodybuilding, you will be well aware of the need for protein, even if you didn’t know the extent of the body processes that require it. Protein is the building block of your bodies muscles and pretty much everything else too. Therefore without adequate levels your body can never perform to it’s optimum. But obviously it’s not the only requirement, we still need all those other nutrients, vitamins and minerals in sufficient quantities too. Which is why once in a while it can be a good idea to make one of the shakes above to boost other nutritional requirements, even if you want to throw a scoop of protein powder in there too 🙂