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Best Protein Shakes: Homemade vs. Premade

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By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer at The Fit Father Project

best protein shakes

Are the best protein shakes homemade or premade? Knowing what ingredients are healthy and nutritious and what ones to avoid is the key.

Whatever shake you choose, numerous options exist.

But don't just gulp down anything!

Knowing exactly what you're consuming and not just focusing on the number of protein grams is the key to staying healthy, reducing your risk of weight gain, and maintaining or building lean mass.

Use the tips and tricks below to choose the best protein shakes for you!

How much protein do you really need? Calculate your daily protein intake here!

Meet SuperFuel. The Delicious Protein Shake Packed With 40+ Energy-Boosting Vitamins & Superfoods (Designed For Busy Men)

As a busy guy, it’s challenging to stay consistent with healthy eating. That’s why we created SuperFuel… the delicious “all-in-one” nutrition shake for busy guys 40+ to give your body the protein + key nutrients you need for more energy, fat burning, and muscle building.

Click here to learn more about SuperFuel: the delicious “secret weapon” guys are using to feel energized 24/7 and finally stay consistent with healthy eating »

Protein Shake Ingredients

While protein shakes are generally healthy, some are better for you than others — especially when it comes to premade (ready-to-drink) protein drinks.

Some ingredients found in premade protein shakes, such as added sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, and other artificial ingredients, aren't great for your health.

Healthy Ingredients

  • Whey, casein, milk, or egg protein
  • Hemp, pea, rice, nut, or other plant proteins
  • Water, milk, or unsweetened plant milk
  • Tapioca flour, brown rice flour, and oat powder
  • Coconut oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, or other plant oils
  • Almonds, flax seeds, and other nuts and seeds
  • Nut and seed butters
  • Avocados
  • Coconut or coconut powder
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Turmeric concentrate
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Dark chocolate
  • Bananas and other fruits
  • Vegetables, vegetable juices, and veggie powders

Rather than consuming sugar or artificial sweeteners, consider adding a little bit of Stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, or honey to homemade shakes instead!

There is more to artificial sweeteners than meets the eye. Here's what you need to know!

Ingredients to Limit or Avoid

Because the following ingredients aren't as healthy for you, especially when consumed in excess, steer clear of them in protein shakes whenever possible.

  • Sugar
  • Cane sugar
  • Sucrose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Saccharin
  • Acesulfame
  • Aspartame
  • Neotame
  • Sucralose
  • Brown sugar
  • Molasses
  • Artificial colors
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Carrageenan gum
  • Other artificial ingredients

If you prefer ready-to-drink protein shakes over homemade protein drinks, look for brands with less than 5 grams of added sugar per serving.

Learn how to stop sugar addiction and what sugar REALLY does to your body!

Healthy Premade Protein Shakes

When choosing premade protein shakes, consider those containing mainly whole foods as ingredients.

Examples of some of the healthiest premade protein shakes available include:

Organic Valley Protein Shakes

Organic Valley protein shakes are nutritious and flavorful, and an excellent source of high-quality protein.

The nutritional content of each shake is as follows:

  • Calories: 180
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 12 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Total sugar: 10 grams
  • Added sugar: 0 grams

Ingredients in Organic Valley protein shakes include organic skim milk, organic cream, coffee extract, dried coffee, organic flavor, lactase enzyme, organic vanilla flavor, gellan gum, sodium bicarbonate, Stevia, and vitamin D3.

Organic Valley protein shakes are free from gluten and lactose. The milk used in the shakes is organic and sourced from pasture-raised cows.

Aloha Protein Drinks

Aloha protein drinks contain all-natural ingredients. They're an excellent choice for pre- or post-workout nourishment and between-meal snacks.

The nutrition breakdown is as follows:

  • Calories: 170
  • Protein: 18 grams
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 11 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Total sugar: 5 grams

Ingredients in Aloha premade protein shakes include coconut milk, plant-based protein blend, coconut sugar, cocoa, acacia fiber, coconut water, natural flavors, potassium citrate, sea salt, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, monk fruit extract, and organic coconut oil.

Aloha drinks are organic, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and 100% plant-based. They don't contain dyes or color additives, are low in sugar, and don't contain any GMOs.

Purely Inspired Protein Shakes

Try Purely Inspired protein shakes as a keto-friendly meal replacement or between-meal snack. These drinks are low in calories but can fill you up nonetheless!

The nutrition breakdown is as follows:

  • Calories: 160
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Fat: 8 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Total sugar: 0 grams

Ingredients found in organic Purely Inspired shakes include filtered water, pea protein, rice protein, cocoa, sunflower oil, organic flavors, vitamins, minerals, sea salt, Stevia, gellan gum, organic locust bean gum, and monk fruit extract.

Purely Inspired shakes are loaded with plant-based protein. They are organic and free from artificial flavors, colors, GMOs, artificial sweeteners, dairy, and gluten.

Learn how to read nutrition labels properly and what nutrition facts REALLY mean.

Iconic Protein Drinks

Iconic shakes are some of the best RTD drinks you'll find.

The nutrition breakdown is as follows:

  • Calories: 140
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Total sugar: 0 grams

Ingredients in Iconic protein shakes include filtered water, grass-fed milk protein isolate, chicory root fiber, and less than 1% of the following: cocoa powder, natural flavors, sunflower oil, sunflower lecithin, potassium phosphate, sodium phosphate, organic locust bean gum, gellan gum, sea salt, monk fruit extract, Stevia leaf extract, and mineral salt.

Iconic protein shakes are free from gluten, soy, lactose, GMOs, BPA, and carrageenan.

Raw Generation Protein Shakes

Raw Generation protein shakes offer long-lasting boosts of energy and can curb just about any sweet tooth.

The nutrition breakdown is as follows:

  • Calories: 210
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 19 grams
  • Fiber: 7 grams
  • Total sugar: 11 grams
  • Added sugar: 0 grams

The ingredients in Raw Generation protein shakes include filtered water, dates, cashews, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and Himalayan salt.

Raw Generation shakes are entirely plant-based and free from gluten, dairy, added sugar, soy, and preservatives.

Koia Keto Protein Shakes

Plant-based, keto-friendly Koia protein shakes taste delicious and offer a variety of health benefits! Take one with you to work, when you're on-the-go, or don't have time to prepare a meal.

Then nutrition breakdown is as follows:

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Fat: 15 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Total sugar: 1 gram
  • Added sugar: 0 grams

Ingredients in Koia Keto premade protein drinks include coconut milk, medium-chain triglyceride oil, brown rice protein, pea protein, chickpea protein, coconut water concentrate, chicory root fiber, natural flavors, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, locust bean gum, gellan gum, and monk fruit extract.

Koia drinks are keto-diet approved, plant-based, and contain few net carbs. They're free from soy, gluten, dairy, and GMOs!

Pirq Protein Shakes

Pirq protein shakes are an excellent RTD option when you're on the go or at work. They're loaded with protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients.

The nutritional breakdown of a Pirq protein shake is as follows:

  • Calories: 110
  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Total sugar: 0 grams

Ingredients in Pirq shakes include water, pea protein, coffee, almonds, maca, curcumin, erythritol, natural flavors, dipotassium phosphate, rice protein, sunflower lecithin, cocoa, sea salt, gellan gum, Stevia, and locust bean gum.

RTD Pirq drinks are entirely plant-based. They're free from gluten, soy, dairy, added sugar, and GMOs.

Healthy Protein Powders

The best protein shakes, at least those that come ready to drink, can be expensive and many contain artificial ingredients or other additives.

If you're at home and prefer homemade protein shakes over premade varieties, consider delicious, satiating, Fit Father Project SuperFuel!

SuperFuel flavors include vanilla, chocolate, and chocolate vegan. This type of protein offers a variety of healthy ingredients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidant-rich fruits, and vegetables in addition to top-quality protein.

Mix your favorite flavor of SuperFuel with water, milk, or unsweetened plant milk.

Try homemade protein shake recipes that taste delicious, give you energy, and help you maintain or gain lean mass!

Meet SuperFuel Vegan. The Super Delicious 100% Plant-Based Protein Shake Packed With 40+ Energy Boosting Vitamins & Superfoods

Meet SuperFuel Vegan.
The Super Delicious 100% Plant-Based Protein Shake Packed With 40+ Energy Boosting Vitamins & Superfoods

As a busy guy, it’s challenging to stay consistent with healthy eating… especially if you’re following a more plant-based diet. That’s why we built SuperFuel Vegan… the delicious “all-in-one” nutrition shake to give you the premium 100% plant-based protein + key nutrients you need for more energy, fat burning, & muscle building.
As a busy guy, it’s challenging to stay consistent with healthy eating… especially if you’re following a more plant-based diet. That’s why we built SuperFuel Vegan… the delicious “all-in-one” nutrition shake to give you the premium 100% plant-based protein + key nutrients you need for more energy, fat burning, & muscle building.
Click here to learn more about SuperFuel Vegan the delicious 100% Plant-Based Protein with 40+ powerful superfoods »
Click here to learn more about SuperFuel Vegan the delicious 100% Plant-Based Protein with 40+ powerful superfoods »

The Best Protein Shake Recipes

The nutritious protein shake recipes below are simple to make but taste phenomenal nonetheless!

When preparing protein shakes at home, add all ingredients to your blender and blend the mixture until it's smooth.

Pour milk or water into your blender before adding the other ingredients.

Choose some of the recipes below or create your own version using all your favorite ingredients!

Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake

Consider this satiating, peanut butter cup protein shake recipe for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or before or after workouts:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of milk or unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • Ice (optional)

Instructions

  • Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
  • Add milk, water, or protein powder to change the consistency of your shake if needed.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

Try this sweet, flavorful, pumpkin pie protein shake recipe for breakfast, lunch, or between meals to boost satiety.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of milk or plant milk
  • 1-2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
  • 3/4 cup of pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1 tablespoon of flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of walnuts
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract to taste
  • Ice (optional)

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend the mixture until smooth.
  • If you'd like, add additional milk, water, or protein powder to change the consistency of your shake.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Coconut Almond Smoothie

If you love coconut, this coconut almond smoothie is for you!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of milk or unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter
  • Ice (optional)

Instructions

  • Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
  • Add additional milk, water, or protein powder as needed.
  • Enjoy this shake between meals or after workouts!

Matcha Protein Smoothie

This blend of antioxidants, matcha powder, and protein is the perfect energizing combination!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk
  • 1-2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup of frozen mango cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of cashew butter
  • 1 teaspoon of matcha powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ginger
  • Ice (optional)

Instructions

  • Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  • Add additional water, milk, or protein powder to change the consistency of your shake when necessary.
  • Serve and enjoy with your family!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Protein Shake

If you enjoy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, you'll love this PB&J protein shake recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of milk or unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup of mixed frozen berries
  • 1-2 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons of oats
  • Ice (optional)

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend them until smooth.
  • Add additional milk, water, or protein powder to change the consistency of your shake if desired.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Iced Coffee Protein Shake

If you're a coffee drinker, consider this iced coffee protein shake recipe for breakfast, lunch, or before workouts for a quick boost of energy!

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup of milk or unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • 1 cup of chilled brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (optional)
  • Ice (optional)

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  • Add additional milk, water, or protein powder to change the consistency of your shake as needed.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Protein Shake

If you love oatmeal raisin cookies, try this oatmeal raisin protein shake recipe that satisfies just about any sweet tooth!

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk or unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup of oats
  • 1 tablespoon of raisins
  • 1-2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Ice (optional)
Instructions
  • Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  • Add additional milk, water, or protein powder to change the consistency of your shake as needed.
  • Enjoy this shake as a meal replacement or satiating between-meal snack!

Peach Protein Smoothie

Try a fruit-flavored peach protein smoothie that's sure to be a hit with your family and friends!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
  • 3/4 cup of frozen sliced peaches
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (optional)
  • Ice (optional)

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  • Add additional ice, milk, yogurt, or protein powder to change the consistency of your shake as needed.
  • Serve and enjoy!

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Add the Best Protein Shakes to Your Menus

There are many ways you can incorporate protein shakes into your daily menus.

If weight loss is your goal or you're in a hurry, drink a protein shake for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner.

Have a shake between meals or before or after workouts.

Choose healthy premade protein shakes or homemade protein shakes once or twice daily.

When developing healthy meal plans to complement protein shakes, fill each plate the following way:

  • Fill half of your plate with cucumbers, leafy greens, bell peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, or other non-starchy vegetables.
  • Fill one-fourth of your plate with fiber-rich starches like whole grains, corn, peas, sweet potatoes, dried beans, lentils, or other legumes.
  • Fill one-fourth of each plate with chicken, turkey, duck, lean beef, fish, seafood, eggs, or other protein-rich foods.

Consume three servings of milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, protein shakes, or non-dairy equivalents (almond milk or other plant-based, calcium-rich alternatives).

Eat 1-3 servings of fruit daily and healthy fats at each meal (or in protein shakes). Examples of nutritious fats to consider include plant oils, coconut, avocados, nut butters, seed butters, nuts, and seeds.

For more information about the best protein shakes for men, healthy eating plans, weight loss, and fat-burning or muscle-building workouts, sign up for the Fit Father Project.

Get started today with a free meal plan and workout to maintain exceptional health today!

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Erin Coleman B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer at The Fit Father Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on the best protein shakes.

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