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13 Best Protein Shake Recipes for Weight Loss

Boost calorie burn and satiety while preserving lean muscle mass with these high-protein shakes.

Packed with essential nutrients that keep your skin, hair, bones, muscles healthy, store-bought protein shakes have no prep work or cleanup. But not just any drink will do. Protein sips from local gyms and juice shops often carry more added sugar than a dozen donuts, and the same holds true for some recipes you'll find on the web. Sorry to say, slugging those back every day won't get you any closer to your health goals. That is, of course, unless you choose from our round-up of the healthiest protein shake recipes.

To help you stay on track if you're trying to lose weight, we searched our recipe archives for the most mouth-watering protein shake recipes for weight loss out there. Ahead, you'll find something to satisfy every craving from refreshingly fruity to a milkshake-inspired dessert. We've taken care of finding the nutritional winners; all you have to do is pick a recipe, start up the blender, and enjoy.

How much protein do you need each day?

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet, especially if you're working out. Not eating enough protein can lead to muscle loss, undoing all your efforts at the gym.

"Try to consume about 30% of your daily calories from protein," says Nicole Hinckley, RD, LD, Speaker and Nutrition Consultant for Protein2o. "Aim for about 25-35 grams of protein per meal and after a heavy workout. Evenly spacing your protein intake throughout the day can help with optimal absorption."

Should you drink protein before or after a workout?

Having a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats in your diet is key. And if you do a strenuous workout, you'll want to make sure you have enough protein afterward, too.

"If you are considering a protein shake before a workout, try to do so a couple [of] hours before beginning any activity. Consuming protein right before a workout may cause some stomach discomfort because it can slow down digestion," Hinckley says. "If you are working out within 30 minutes to an hour, choose a carbohydrate-rich snack, such as a banana or crackers. Protein shakes are a great option to refuel your body post-workout to help ensure muscle recovery."

Here are some of the best protein shake recipes out there to fuel you after a workout and keep your body running strong.

1

Fresh Blueberry Smoothie

Blueberry banana protein shake recipe
Shutterstock
Nutrition: 232 calories, 6 g fat, 16 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 28 g protein

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 Tbsp natural unsalted almond butter
Water to blend (optional)

This recipe comes courtesy of Zero Belly Smoothies.

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2

Peanut Butter Cup Shake

Peanut butter banana smoothie
Shutterstock
Nutrition: 258 calories, 6 g fat, 21 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 30 g protein

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop vanilla or chocolate plant-based protein powder
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 Tbsp natural unsalted peanut butter
Water to blend (optional)

This recipe comes courtesy of Zero Belly Smoothies.

3

Vanilla Chai Shake

Banana almond butter smoothie
Shutterstock
Nutrition: 219 calorie, 9 g fat, 20 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 17 g protein

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup chai tea (brewed from a teabag and chilled)
1 scoop plant-based vanilla protein powder
1/2 frozen banana
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp unsalted natural almond butter
Water to blend (optional)

This recipe comes courtesy of Zero Belly Smoothies.

4

Green Monster

Green smoothie
Shutterstock
Nutrition: 271 calories, 6 g fat, 40 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 15 g protein

1/4 cup no-sugar-added apple juice
1/4 cup water
1 scoop plant-based vanilla protein powder
1/2 Bosc pear, chopped
1/2 cup baby spinach, loosely packed
1/4 ripe avocado
1/2 frozen banana

This recipe comes courtesy of Zero Belly Smoothies.

5

Strawberry-Banana Protein Smoothie

Strawberry banana smoothie
Shutterstock

"I love making smoothies because you can pack so many nutrients into one meal or snack," Hinckley says. Here's her go-to recipe!

1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen strawberries
5 ice cubes made with Protein2o Strawberry Banana protein + electrolytes
1/2 avocado
Unlimited spinach
Additional Protein2o Strawberry Banana protein + electrolytes if needed

Just blend to your desired consistency and serve!

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6

Paleo Meal Replacement Shake

paleo blueberry meal replacement shake with blueberries on top in glass
Rebecca Firkser/Eat This, Not That!

Whether or not you're following the paleo diet, you'll love this easy, blueberry-packed protein shake recipe. With chia seeds, protein powder, and even cauliflower, this smoothie is just packed with nutritional benefits.

Get our recipe for a Paleo Meal Replacement Shake.

7

Berry Cauliflower Smoothie

berry cauliflower smoothie
Courtesy of Tone It Up

Cauliflower in protein shakes and smoothies really isn't as weird as it sounds! You'll taste the berries and not the veggies, but you'll still get that nutrient boost.

Get the Tone It Up recipe for a Berry Cauliflower Smoothie.

7

Dark Chocolate Banana Nut Protein Shake

Dark chocolate banana nut
Eat This, Not That!

Remember when we said homemade protein shakes could taste like desserts? This dark chocolate-based recipe will make you a believer!

Get our recipe for a Dark Chocolate Banana Nut Protein Shake.

8

Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie

pumpkin smoothie
Shutterstock

Pumpkin spice isn't just for coffee. This recipe combines protein powder with canned pumpkin for a dessert-like experience, straight from your blender.

Get our recipe for a Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie.

9

Raspberry-Peach Protein Smoothie

raspberry peach swirled smoothies
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Greek yogurt and fresh fruit add protein to this smoothie recipe–no protein powder required.

Get our recipe for a Raspberry-Peach Protein Smoothie.

10

Paleo Iced Coffee Protein Shake

paleo iced coffee protein shake in glass
Rebecca Firkser/Eat This, Not That!

Coffee and a protein shake all in one? Sign us up!

Get our recipe for a Paleo Iced Coffee Protein Shake.

11

Chocolate Hazelnut Protein Shake

chocolate hazelnut smoothie in two glasses with hazelnuts around
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

This plant-based recipe relies on Four Sigmatic protein powder for an adaptogen boost. Plus, it tastes like hazelnut spread!

Get our recipe for a Chocolate Hazelnut Protein Shake.

12

Paleo Smoothie with Yogurt and Granola

paleo breakfast yogurt and granola smoothie in mason jar with granola in background
Rebecca Firkser/Eat This, Not That!

Sure, you've drizzled granola atop Greek yogurt. But you can enjoy this classic breakfast combo in smoothie form, too!

Get our recipe for a Paleo Smoothie with Yogurt and Granola.

13

Carrot Cake Smoothie

carrot cake smoothie in two glasses with carrots and cinnamon
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

Dessert for breakfast? You don't need to tell us twice! Chickpeas, grated carrots, and plenty of flavorful spices make this a smoothie recipe you'll never forget.

Get our recipe for a Carrot Cake Smoothie.

3.8/5 (23 Reviews)
Dana Leigh Smith
Dana has written for Women's Health, Prevention, Reader's Digest, and countless other publications. Read more