Protein shakes and smoothies are your fitness routine’s best friend. Easy to make, portable and packed with the nutrients your body needs before and after a workout – it’s no surprise you see shakers all around the gym.
Most shakes are based around protein powders, but not everyone enjoys the taste, ingredients or price of these products. If you’re not keen on the powders, fear not– we’ll run through some killer powder-less protein shake options you can make at home.
Instantly boosting the amount of protein per serve is the type of liquid you use to blend your ingredients. Milk, soy milk and nut milks all increase the amount of protein. In a glass of both soy and regular milk there is eight grams of protein on average – which is already about half way towards making up the (roughly) 15 – 20 grams of protein in a serve of powder based shake.
If you’re leaning towards the thicker side of the shake scale, you can also opt for some great soy and dairy based additions to bulk up your protein intake. Yogurt is high in protein with roughly 10 grams of protein per 100 grams – just be sure to look for low sugar and natural varieties.
If you’re not into dairy for dietary reasons you can add silken tofu – which has approximately seven grams of protein per 100 – for a similar creamy and protein filled thick shake.
Nuts and seeds are another great source of protein, and they can add some serious flavour to your recipe. Peanut butter is the obvious choice, but don’t always settle for the store bought stuff, which can be full of sugars and other things your body doesn’t always need.
Go natural and look for pure nut butters that have no added ingredients. By themselves they can taste strange, especially if you’re used to branded peanut butter, but when mixed in with other ingredients they are a fantastic addition.
In 100 grams of peanut butter there is approximately 25 grams of protein, so you can see why it’s a great source, but be aware of the higher fat content. A tablespoon of peanut butter has roughly four grams of protein, so not a bad addition in moderation.
Chia and flax seeds are a healthy protein source with good fibre content to boot. Adding them to your ingredient list is a great option, just be aware that when left to soak in liquid chia seeds take on a gelatinous texture. If you add them into your container before whizzing all the ingredients up, they can become stuck to the bottom. To avoid this you can grind the seeds before you add them in, or simply soak them while you prepare the other ingredients. One tablespoon of chia or flax seeds contains around 2 grams of protein.
Cocoa powder is a delicious addition made from the fermented seeds of cocoa beans. One tablespoon of the brown stuff contains over a gram of protein, adding a small protein boost and a massive flavour increase.
It might sound counter intuitive to talk about adding grains to your shakes, but they can be a valuable source of protein and fibre. These additions are typically better in a high power blender, as they can leave a rougher texture if not properly blended.
Oats are a good source and go well with other common ingredients. Half a cup of oats added into your mix will provide around five grams of additional protein. Dry oats don’t necessarily mix well, so you can either precook them before adding, or soak them overnight in water or a milk of your choice.
Quinoa is another solid choice, with a cooked cup of the stuff providing approximately eight grams of protein.
Taking the nutritional value up a notch, you can add protein rich fruits and vegetables to your shake.
Spinach and kale might not be the top of your list flavour wise, but kale contains over four grams of protein per 100, and spinach contains just under three grams per 100. Adding sweeteners such as maple syrup and honey can go a long way towards masking the flavour of these strong ingredients.
Most fruits aren’t overly high in protein, so can be added to boost flavour and sweetness. One exception is dried apricot, which contains over three grams of protein per 100 grams, be sure to use the dried kind, as fresh apricots contain significantly less at just over one gram per 100.
Using these ingredients you can form protein rich recipes that are quick and easy to make and don’t require protein powder! Check out the range of NC Fitness gym gear and equipment to make sure your new protein game is going to good use.