Easy-to-Make Protein Shakes?
March 30, 2012 7:40 PM   Subscribe

How do I make it easier to make and drink protein shakes with a limited selection? Bonus points for protein powder recommendations and shake recipes.

I need to increase my protein and calorie intake. There are tons of protein shakes and powders that should make it easy, but of course my restricted diet screws it all up again. My requirements for protein/shake powders:
  1. Low potassium and phosphorus, must be labeled. By "low," I mean somewhere below 200 mg of potassium and 150 mg (15% DV) of phosphorus for a serving that includes 25 g of protein.
  2. No non-nutritive sweeteners. I can't stand the taste and aftertaste of artificial sweeteners, stevia, or sugar alcohols. Plain old sugar or maltodextrin are far preferable.
  3. Mixes easily. If I can get away with stirring or shaking, I'd prefer that to having to clean a blender.
The only powders I've found that meet the first two requirements are pure, unflavored whey protein isolate. I've tried only one brand, and it didn't mix well by hand. So, I'm looking for flavored protein powders that taste good, fit into my diet, aren't artificially sweetened, and mix easily. Do you know of any?

Since that seems to be a long shot, the real focus of my question is this: assuming I have to use pure, unflavored whey protein powder, how do I mix it into a high protein, high calorie shake easily enough that I can do it every day? What should I put together to make a nice shake? Banana, milk, ice cream, and more than a couple ounces of Greek yogurt are out, but protein powder + sugar + flavor in almond milk would work.

Is there an easier way to make it without lumps than in a blender? Do the shakers with wire balls work well enough?
posted by WasabiFlux to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Screwed up the link. This is the whey protein I've tried.
posted by WasabiFlux at 7:42 PM on March 30, 2012

Mixing protein powder with iced coffee was probably the most magical "trick" I discovered. Works double if you get a chocolate powder and like "mocha". I keep unfinished coffee around in the fridge for this purpose...

Side note, whey has a very specific absorption profile (super fast). If you are looking to make this a substantial component of your caloric intake I might look in to casein blends... they metabolize more slowly and will keep you from just staying hungry all the time.
posted by milqman at 7:59 PM on March 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

i picked up this "glasslock" thing (airtight glass shaker cup with a plastic grid inside) for a few bucks and it's blended every powder i've tried with it - not sure if it's big enough for your application, but it's very quick and it works.
posted by facetious at 8:08 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure if they've caught on in the US yet but the UK has many excellent online bulk supplement vendors, with stuff of such quality and value I'm baffled as to how the big name brands are still in business. I get unflavoured whey, casein and powdered egg white by the truckload, mix them together for an optimal amino profile and staggered absorption time, and apply various flavourings as I feel like: any non-citrus fruits, cocoa powder, coconut, honey, cinnamon, coffee, etc. (I find the concentrated flavourings are excellent too, but you say you hate sugar alcohols).
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 8:37 PM on March 30, 2012

The wire shakers work great.
posted by fshgrl at 10:19 PM on March 30, 2012

We've been making several shakes a day and found that we get much better quality using ice in a blender. The secret is to refill it with water and a drop of dish soap, blend it for a few seconds and then dump and rinse - very quick easy way to wash up a blender.
posted by metahawk at 11:48 PM on March 30, 2012

Addressing #'s 1 and 2 is going to be tough, but if you're stuck with using plain whey powder, besides metahawks suggestion, also consider getting a stick blender ('immersion' blender). I use one to make protein shakes, yogurt smoothies and lots of other things and they're pretty easy and quick to clean compared to a regular blender.
posted by imagineerit at 5:28 AM on March 31, 2012

True Protein is the major bulk protein distributor in the US. They're great -- you pick your base protein type (whey, casein, etc) and have the option of adding flavoring or not (they even have unsweetened flavors so you can get flavors and then add your own sugar).

I've never had a problem with a plain old Blender Bottle (the ones with the wire ball inside). If your protein is particularly tough to blend, I'd recommend putting a tiny bit of water in the bottom of the cup first, then scoop in protein, then add more water (keeps you from getting a layer of 'sludge' stuck to the bottom of the cup).

I don't think you need to go overboard with putting a ton of different ingredients in your shake in order to increase your protein and caloric intake. Two scoops of protein mixed with whole milk is going to come out to about 500 calories. As long as you continue eating real food too you shouldn't have a problem reaching your goals with one or two shakes a day, no tricks.
posted by telegraph at 7:02 AM on March 31, 2012

Frozen blueberries, strawberries and/or bananas in a blender with vanilla protein powder= instant milk shake. Better than ice cream! A dash of amaretto makes it even better.
posted by doreur at 4:24 AM on April 1, 2012

Where can I buy good sample packs of protein powders? I just saw that telegraph's recommendation of True Protein has some samples. Do other major manufacturers or distributers? I've had a hard time finding a good selection.
posted by barnone at 5:16 PM on April 1, 2012

Iced coffee! Yes, I've done that before, and it's... well, good with a full-fledged milk-like shake mix. It's a little less successful with pure whey protein. But it's another option I had forgotten about.

I've tried to look into micellar casein powders, but I can't find any phosphorus content information for it. The same thing for True Nutrition - I'd be all over buying powders from them if they listed what I need them to.

I'll buy a Blender Bottle or another kind of shaker bottle with a widget to break up clumps, and see how well I can keep up using a blender.

Two scoops of protein mixed with whole milk is going to come out to about 500 calories. As long as you continue eating real food too you shouldn't have a problem reaching your goals with one or two shakes a day, no tricks.

I can't drink milk, or soy milk, or 16 ounces of anything. That's part of why mixing the protein powders is more difficult - I'm on a strict fluid restriction, and 16 ounces is almost half of my daily allowance. I try to limit it to 8, maybe 10 ounces of liquid.

And some days, just eating real food is difficult, hence the wanting to increase my average protein and calorie intake overall. Yes, real food is a better (and, ostensibly, easier) way to do what I want, but it gets 50 times as difficult when most of the recommended foods and ingredients are out of my own diet, not to mention the last of appetite and money.

I am still trolling AskMeFi and the web in general for ideas about real food and other supplements, but maybe I'll have a question in that vein in a week or two!
posted by WasabiFlux at 7:27 PM on April 1, 2012

Are you on dialysis? A friend was faced with similar restrictions. Even if you're not, that might provide some useful terms for googling.

Don't forget that you can mix protein powder into other things: oatmeal, pancakes, yogurt, butter, even casseroles.

- "What protein powder is best for the dialysis patient?"

- Designer Whey is really good - 19g protein, 80mg phosphorus, 90mg potassium

- this rice protein powder has 12g protein, 80mg phosphorus. So if you doubled it, that makes 24g protein and 160mg phosphorus. A smidge off your requirements.

- Energy and Protein Boosters for Dialysis Patients - this page has a bunch of suggestions, including some proteins for patients in renal failure

- Novasource is protein powder for kidney disease

- Super Advanced Whey Protein Powder - 26g protein and 62mg phosphorus

- NutraPro - 22g protein, 27 mg phosphorus

- Biochem Sports Whey Protein Isolate - 20g protein, 49mg phosphorus, 87mg potassium

- Pea Protein - 25g protein, 0g potassium, unknown phosphorus (email them)

- Bioplex Nutrition WPI Whey Protein Isolate - 22g protein, 53mg phosphorus, 126mg potassium

- BSN Syntha-6 Ultra-Premium Sustained Release Matrix Protein Powder - 22g protein, 170mg potassium, 90mg phosphorus

I have a feeling that Whey ISOLATE Protein Powder will get you the closest to your needs. Check out that list to see if any others look useful.

I just realized you had a bunch of additional requirements in terms of sugar and sweeteners. Sorry - wasn't counting that much in these suggestions, but I'll post it with the hopes that some of it will be useful!
posted by barnone at 9:06 PM on April 1, 2012

Are you allowed Hemp Seed Protein?
- Hemp Protein Powder, Trueprotein.com - 50g protein, 0 reported phosphorus and potassium

As for TrueProtein.com - I would email them to ask about mineral information.
posted by barnone at 9:19 PM on April 1, 2012

« Older I've been thinking about our fortune   |   Show Me Love Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.