Protein shakes are all the rage these days, and for good reason. These fast, convenient drinks can help you get the nutrients you need on a busy schedule, while helping to boost metabolism, increase satiety and fulfill your taste buds. And when you pick one of the best protein powders for weight loss, these shakes can also be used to whip up delicious smoothies that actually take the place of normal, regular meals!
The trick is, getting the proper ratio of ingredients into the smoothies to whip up the perfect protein shakes for weight loss. Although everyone will have different calorie goals, in general, there are some proven ratios for all macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs) that, when followed can assist with muscle-building and slimming down.
Are you ready to learn what mistakes you might be making when mixing up your protein shake smoothies?! Check out our top 5 tips below!
1) Pick The Best Protein
The first and most important step in mixing up fat-burning protein shakes is choosing your protein source. But many people get lost in a sea of options here… Should you use a protein powder like whey or pea, a dairy source like Greek yogurt, or some nut butter?
Our Go-Tos: We recommend plant-based protein powders (especially a mixture of pea, rice and hemp proteins such as you’ll find in our #1 rated shake powder, 310 Shake). This is because, in general, plant proteins are easy to digest and contain essential nutrients like fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Also, with a combo of the three plant proteins we mentioned, you get a complete source of protein – including muscle-building and health-promoting amino acids the body can’t produce on its own.
How Much: Many of the body-building diet shakes available containing whey or casein proteins contain over 20g of protein per serving – some going up to 30g in one shot. But this much protein is not necessary, and could also contribute to you consuming too much protein. Anything over 30 to 35g of protein in one meal won’t do much for your muscles – and especially if you aren’t exercising, the excess protein can even get stored as fat.
Instead, use a protein powder for weight loss that has around 15g of protein per serving. Then, you can feel free to add in other ingredients that also contain protein (but you don’t have to). Just make sure that with the other protein ingredients you choose (regular or non-dairy milks, yogurt, cottage cheese, nut butters, etc.), you don’t go over 25-30g per meal.
2) Have Fun With Your Liquid
This is another area where people are often misinformed when making their protein shakes, thinking their only option is water. But really, there are a number of healthy yet low-calorie liquids that can add both great flavor and invaluable nutrients to your protein shakes for weight loss.
Our Go-Tos: Non-dairy milks (such as almond, coconut and cashew), are often lower in calories than regular dairy milks, while giving a creamy, desirable texture to shakes – plus, they’re suitable for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. In addition, coconut water is a great source of natural hydration and electrolytes.
Finally, especially for breakfast smoothies, don’t be afraid to dump your coffee right into the blender! There are a ton of great coffee protein shakes to empower your morning.
How Much: 8 – 12 ounces, depending on how many water-based veggies and fruits are in your shakes, and if you like them with thicker or thinner consistencies.
3) Add Smart Carbs
Especially for weight loss, you have to be careful about the amount of carbs in your protein shakes. This is also because carbs show up in sneaky places, so you definitely want to check product labels. In general, low-carb, high-fat diets are increasingly popular right now (especially the rapidly-rising keto diet) – because research shows they do work for weight loss.
But, that doesn’t mean you have to fear carbs by any means. It just means that you should choose fresh, whole food sources like fruits and veggies as much as possible. And if you’re on a keto diet, there are plenty of low-carb, high-fiber veggies and herbs that can up the flavor and health factor of your shake, without kicking you out of ketosis.
Our Go-Tos: The best protein powder for weight loss will be low in carbs, with a good amount of fiber (at least 5g) and little to no sugar or artificial sweeteners. This way, you have the freedom to include carb add-ins into your shakes if you wish.
Some great (typical and innovative) choices include ½ cup of strawberries (6g of carbs), 1 cup of raw spinach (1g of carbs), 2 tbsp of mint leaves (0.5g carbs), 5 slices of ginger root (2g of carbs), and one 3.5 ounce serving of dragonfruit (13g carbs).
How Much: The answer to this is really dependent upon your particular dietary and weight loss goals. We recommend that you use this calorie calculator (which doubles as a keto macro calculator) to determine the right amount of carbs for you per day. Then, you can break it down per meal (and use a calorie-tracking app to ensure you stay within the guidelines for success).
4) Bring On The Healthy Fats
Whether you’re trying to slim down or just maintain a healthy lifestyle, adding healthy fats to your protein shakes is always a great idea. Good fats are not only extremely satisfying, therefore helpful for controlling your hunger and eating less junk food, but they’re also full of health-boosting nutrients.
And certain fats, like medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), found in coconut oil, can even help to greatly boost your metabolism for fat-burning – along with your energy and mental focus.
Our Go-Tos: 100% pure MCT oil (with the above mentioned MCTs) is a super-fat that can greatly energize your day – and it’s easy to add 1-2 tablespoons into your smoothies. In addition, coconut oil, avocado, peanut butter (or another nut butter), seeds (including chia, flax and hemp), are all great healthy fat sources that can do wonders for your protein shakes.
How Much: A good recommendation is about 15-20g of fat per meal shake – unless you are on a low-fat diet. However, we do recommend healthy fats as part of a balanced lifestyle and weight loss plan.
5) Boost Flavor Naturally
When it comes to the flavor of your shakes, it’s important to remember that you don’t need sugar (or artificial sweeteners) for great taste. The best protein powder for weight loss will have awesome taste without these things (and will likely use a natural alternative sweetener like Stevia instead).
Our Go-Tos: When you choose a protein powder that’s already low in sugar, you have the freedom to add in some healthy sweets in small doses (like local honey or pure maple syrup). But don’t make this a daily habit. Instead, train your taste buds to like savory over sweet, and add in nutritious and tasty spices like organic cinnamon, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, turmeric, and more.
How Much: Keep the honey/maple syrup/other natural sweeteners to small doses, like ½ a teaspoon. But with the spices, feel free to add them to your hearts delight!
Ready to make delicious, perfectly-balanced protein shakes for weight loss?! Now that you have a great idea of what they should look like, pick out the best protein powder for weight loss and get mixing!