Protein can boost metabolism, reduce hunger, and take the edge off cravings, helping you gain muscle mass or lose weight.
This explains why protein shake recipes for weight loss are such a beloved nourishment option when it comes to achieving health goals.
Often, you will even find a protein shake and smoothie bar right inside your gym or fitness center but beware…
What they don’t tell you is that these shakes and smoothies often have tons of added sugar, lessening the benefit of your workout, and preservatives that might potentially wreak havoc on your body.
Our nutritionist and foodies created a host of new delectable smoothie recipes that are both healthy, even if you don’t add protein powder to them, and are specifically designed to aid with weight loss.
From dark chocolate to key lime, to raspberry and beet, there is a recipe for everyone, no matter what your preferences are!
The 14 best protein shakes for weight loss include:
Fruity Protein Shakes
- Orange Protein Smoothie
- Strawberry and Basil Smoothie
- Banana and Coffee Smoothie
- Grapefruit Green Smoothie
- Mint and Watermelon Smoothie
- Strawberry Cinnamon Smoothie
“Dessert” Protein Shakes
Vegetable Protein Shakes
- Peach and Summer Squash Smoothie
- Spinach Flax Protein Shake
- Carrot and Strawberry Smoothie
- Raspberry and Beet Smoothie
Commonly Asked Question About Protein Shakes
What Should I Put in My Protein Shake?
Asking how to make a protein shake can be answered in an almost unlimited number of ways since there are so many good options for different ingredients you can use to make a homemade protein shake.
As mentioned, we avoid most pre-made protein shakes because they’re loaded with sugar and things you can’t pronounce, which —while tasty— are not helpful. My general rule of thumb is to not consume what you can’t pronounce (unless you’re in Italy).
You can use your favorite fruits, such as berries, bananas, avocados, lychee, pineapple, peaches, apples, or kiwi.
You can use your favorite vegetables, such as kale, spinach, carrot, cucumber, or celery.
Seeds, Nuts, Grains
Add your favorite seeds, nuts, or grains, such as quinoa, flax seeds, chia seeds, or almond (or any nut) milk.
Protein powders are delicious and come in all flavors, such as vanilla protein powder, chocolate protein powder, or even caramel.
Natural Sources of Protein for Smoothies
You have a ton of options when adding protein to your smoothies, such as:
Plant-Based High-Protein Food Sources
- nut butter (peanut/almond)
- nut-based milk (almond)
- nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews)
- oilseeds (flaxseeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, melon seeds)
- non-dairy milk sources (coconut milk, hemp milk, soy milk)
- legumes (pea and lentils)
- cacao nibs
Animal-Based High Protein Food Sources
- dairy-based milk, cheese, and yogurt
- raw egg (white or whole, and this comes with some risks)
Of these, it is best to pick plant-based proteins because:
- These are often fewer in calories and have better antioxidant content than the animal-based ones.
- Using plant-based proteins can improve the chances of including a wide range of nutrients in your smoothie.
- Plant-based proteins are better for our environment.
- You can enjoy an all-natural and preservative-free smoothie if you pick organically grown options of plant-based proteins.
Typically, you need about 2.2g to 2.8g of protein for every 100 calories consumed in your entire day to meet your nutritional needs depending upon your activity level and gender.
So, you should measure the number of nutrients provided in each recipe and then tweak it to suit your requirements by increasing the quantity of high-protein foods used in the recipe.
Liquids Versus Milk Options
You can choose between solid or liquid high-protein foods.
Both the ingredients will act differently, where the liquids will make the smoothie flowier with a thin consistency, solid or non-liquid proteins will make the smoothie denser with a thicker consistency.
However, ingredients like yogurt will add a creamy texture and a bit of tang.
Alternately, you can also use ice cubes to make the smoothies chilled, without worrying about additional calories!
Feel free to also use frozen fruits or vegetables, such as frozen bananas.
Be careful about the sugar content of your chosen yogurt!
You can reduce the calorie content of the smoothie recipes further by using a natural no-calorie sugar alternative or a natural sweetener.
In case you are not comfortable using sweeteners, it is best to enjoy the natural flavors and sweetness of ingredients and enjoy it as such.
Though, you can use some good quality vanilla extract to make the recipe more appealing and flavorful.
Taking all these ingredients into consideration, it is easy to come up with shakes that reflect your favorite desserts or treats, such as adding berries, peanut butter, and vanilla protein powder to make a copycat peanut butter and jelly style drink.
The combinations are endless!
Do Protein Shakes Help You Lose Belly Fat?
There have been a few studies that test whether or not adding protein shakes to your diet aids in the loss of fat, especially around the stomach area.
In one study, participants were asked to eat 25% of all calories from protein to see if it contributed to their weight loss. It was found that the subjects lost 10% more belly fat over 12 months than they would have without the high protein diet.
Another study showed that diets of 30% protein of all calories ingested, which is a high protein diet, caused a reduction in appetite, and these people lost more weight during the trial. This is compared to a study group that ate a moderate protein diet where 15% of all calories were protein.
Multiple other studies support this conclusion. Incorporating a higher protein count into your diet contributes to weight loss, especially in the mid-stomach region. Of course, you will also need to incorporate a workout routine that targets the specific area where you want to lose fat.
Doing crunches, light cardio, or core power yoga will help pinpoint the muscles and tone them.
Exercise and a high-protein diet can help you lose weight, according to scientists and nutritionists.
How Do Protein Shakes Help You Lose Weight?
Ingesting more protein changes several weight-regulating hormones in the body.
A higher protein intake increases the levels of appetite reducing hormones released in the brain, tricking your body into thinking it’s fuller, faster.
This reduces the secretion of the hunger hormone over time.
You will automatically eat less after some time on a high-protein diet.
Protein is also great for increasing your metabolism.
This means that the more protein you eat, the faster your body can burn the calories from your meal.
Even while you sleep, more calories will be burned daily.
High protein intake can increase your daily calories burned by 80-100 calories due to the metabolic uptick.
Since protein is so filling, you tend to eat less when on a high-protein diet.
Multiple studies have shown that eating more protein means reducing your appetite, eating fewer overall calories throughout the day.
What Kind of Protein Should I Use in My Protein Smoothies?
It is best to use an all-natural and preservative-free protein source to amp up the protein content of the recipe.
In case you pick a protein powder, do factor in calories present in the powder as mentioned in the label of the box.
Does the Flavor of the Powder Have Any Health Impact?
The flavor of protein powder does not affect its health impact.
However, you should be cautious about the presence of refined sugars in it.
How Do I Choose a Protein Powder for My Smoothie?
Your protein shake recipe may call for chocolate protein, vanilla protein powder, peanut butter protein powder, strawberry, or even cinnamon roll flavor.
Some brands make sample packets of each of their flavors, to taste test and see which is your favorite.
Protein powder can also be made out of a multitude of ingredients.
Some are milk-derivatives, while others can be plant-based, great for vegans.
You will commonly find whey, soy, casein, and plant-based protein powders.
Are Some Protein Powders Better Than Others?
Chose protein powders depending upon your requirements such as muscle building, weight loss (avoid the ones with BCAAs as they promote weight gain and muscle growth), vegan, for diabetes (with no added sugars in it), gastrointestinal problem safe (lactose-free, gluten-free, free from dextrins/ maltodextrins).
Whey protein works best for muscle gain, while casein protein (in combination with whey protein) works best for weight loss.
Try to stick to a scoop or two (between 20-40 grams) of proteins per day.
For most, whey protein works best as it is better than the others due to its easy absorbability and wide amino acid content.
For the ones eating vegan, use pea protein to meet the additional protein demands of your body.
Yet others can pick from another range of proteins; protein concentrates, protein isolates, and protein hydrolysates, where the isolates have an upper hand as they have a higher protein content, and the hydrolysates are quickly absorbed by our body.
Can You Be Allergic to a Protein Powder?
Some people can be allergic to whey protein.
Protein consumption as such can also trigger indigestion, dehydration, nausea, diarrhea, gas, itching, and skin rash in some people.
Can You Get Sick From Old Protein Powder?
Yes, eating expired protein powder can make you sick.
So, consume your trusted protein powder only within its specified “best before” date.
How Do You Make a Healthy Protein Shake?
While there are many recipes, they all have similar steps:
- Use the above information to choose a great quality protein powder that works well for your body and your health goals.
- Choose your mood, flavor, genre… whatever you want to call it. If you want dessert, then you might try something chocolatey. For savory, try spinach, carrot, and celery based recipes. I love morning smoothies with oranges, bananas, and strawberries. Keep reading below for 14 recipes to get your motor running!
- Prep and blend. If you don’t have a blender yet, then check out our buyer’s guide, The Best Blender for Protein Shakes. Of these, our favorite is the Ninja Professional Countertop Blender.
- Enjoy your protein smoothie.
We have broken up our recipe lists between fruity protein shakes, “dessert” protein shakes, and vegetable protein shakes. All are delicious, and all are good for you.
Fruity Protein Shakes
Orange is the perfect breakfast fruity flavor, but what if you are interested in an herbaceous, floral smoothie?
Basil is unexpected and delicious inside a smoothie.
Some people need more of a pick-me-up in the morning, and adding coffee to a protein shake is yummy!
After your coffee shake, you may want something more green and refreshing, with some nice earthy tones.
After experimenting with herbs in your shakes, try something with fresh mint and a complimentary flavor.
Herbs are great in smoothies, but what about spices? Cinnamon adds a lovely warm note to a blended drink.
“Dessert” Protein Shakes
Instead of making a smoothie that is strictly fruit, it is fun and rewarding to make a shake that tastes just like your favorite dessert! You can enjoy a much healthier sweet treat this way to stay with your weight loss goals.
Key Lime Pie is sweet and tangy. If you want the sweet without the tang, try…
Some people prefer vanilla, some people prefer chocolate. Lucky for us, dark chocolate is a healthy ingredient to integrate into your diet.
Desserts can still be fruity, and one of the best desserts of all time consists of peaches and sweet cream.
Vegetable Protein Shakes
Vegetables add tons of flavor into protein shakes, also adding good nutrition and fuel to your workout. Adding some sweet fruit into the mix turns the flavor way up.
Spinach is one of the most common additions to smoothies and protein shakes, and for good reason.
Everyone loves carrots, and has a bag of baby carrots in the crisper. Instead of eating them with dip, try them in a smoothie.
Beets are one of my favorite vegetables, and they blend up perfectly, adding great flavor, texture, and nutrition to the smoothie.
Related Helpful Topics
If you do not have a blender and buying one is outside your budget, it is possible to make a protein shake without one.
Mash your fresh ingredients with a fork, or mortar and pestle. Once the produce is mashed well, mix in your liquids and protein powder.
The result will be a thicker, chunkier, and perhaps grittier protein shake than what a blender can do, but having your protein in any form is the most important thing.
A Delicious Conclusion
We now have more information about our bodies and the importance of nutrition than ever before.
We can use this information to try and control our overall health and wellness by eating a higher protein diet and exercising at a healthy rate.
The use of protein shakes is one such hack, allowing us to create delectable beverages that will help us lose fat in the long run.
These recipes were designed by our nutritionist and culinary expert team.
They are to serve as a guide to inspire you to make your own homemade protein smoothies tailored to your needs and preferences.
Which one is your favorite? Leave us a comment below.