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Healthiest Protein Shake Recipes

Creating the healthiest protein shake recipes means we must learn how much protein we really need and the best protein source. Then, we can build a classic protein shake recipe based on balancing frozen fruits, leafy greens and liquids.

I don’t think it is too far of a stretch to say we are a generation of protein shake recipe devotees. Our protein shake obsession goes beyond a daily habit. It’s become a full-on lifestyle.  Just Google “protein shake recipes” and you’ll see what I mean.

There’s a LOT of information in this post. Here’s a quick table of contents to help you maneuver around the article.

Protein Powder Industry is a 17.5 Billion Dollar Market

In addition to being a lifestyle trend, protein shakes have also become highly profitable for businesses. According to Grand View Research, the US market for protein powders is currently at 17.5 billion dollars and is expected to grow another 8% in 2021.

That’s a LOT of protein powder! And thanks to crafty marketing, protein powders are often positioned as an indispensable component of a healthy lifestyle. So, there’s a lot of people who truly believe their protein powder is an essential food group. But the fact is, it’s not, protein powder is really a supplement.

But there’s an elephant in the room….

protein shake recipes

The Truth About Protein Powders

Average Person Does Not Need More Protein

As a nation, we are by no means in any sort of protein emergency. The vast majority of people living in the United States not only do not need more protein but already get too much. This is relevant because protein is not a free food.

If you eat more protein than your body needs, the extra protein does not just evaporate. It actually gets stored as body fat. Extra protein calories you are drinking in your favorite protein shake recipes could contribute to an extra 10-30 extra pounds.

Too much protein can also be taxing on your kidneys and liver. The body can only break down 5 to 9 grams of protein per hour. Any excess that is not burned for energy is converted to fat or excreted. Therefore, it’s a ridiculous waste to be consuming so much more than you really need.

How Much Protein Do You Need

The exact number of grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass a person needs each day is still in the gray area. Most experts estimate the amount to be 1 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that we ingest 0.8 gram of protein for every kilogram that we weigh. For example, a 120-pound woman would need to eat only about 44 grams of protein a day. This isn’t a whole lot. And yet, whether you are buying a pre-made protein shake or making protein shake recipes using a protein powder, the average protein shake contains about 15 to 20 grams of protein per serving.

The point is, the protein in your diet can quickly add up. Check here how quickly I get to 72 grams of protein on a day where I decided to only eat vegan.

Focus Less on Protein and More on Antioxidants and Nutrients

Although everyone is making a mad dash for extra protein, the reality is a protein deficiency is not the main dietary mistake people make. The #1 biggest diet mistake people make is not eating enough antioxidant and phytonutrient rich fruits and vegetables. Instead of trying to get more protein in your diet, you should instead be trying to get more phytonutrients and antioxidants. But that argument is for another day!

In addition to the fact that extra protein calories is the last thing on earth most people need, there’s another big problem with protein shakes that nobody is talking about.

protein shake recipes
Protein Shake Recipe: Frozen bananas, Leafy greens, Almond milk, Almond butter, Hemp Hearts and Cacao Nibs

Protein Powders are Highly Processed and Nutrient Deficient

Unfortunately, protein shake recipes that use protein powders are highly processed and lack nutrients. It is ironic so many of the people who go for healthy protein shake recipes are quite interested in clean eating. Yet they are totally unaware that the protein shake powders are the epitome of processed foods.

Protein Powders are Highly Processed

Take a look at the following popular protein shake powder brands listed below and you will see the primary ingredients. You will note very quickly that the first one or two ingredients listed on the nutrition label are not whole foods.

The protein powders listed below are all made by taking a whole food and then isolating a compound in that food (protein) and refining it into a powder. This process is the very definition of a processed food!

Anytime you isolate just the protein component of a whole food, you eliminate the fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients, minerals, essential fats, and essential nutrients.

Take a Closer Look at Popular Protein Powders

Take a careful look at what ingredients make up these protein powders products and why we DO NOT want them in our healthy protein shake recipes.

But don’t fear! Next up I am going to share the BEST PROTEIN you can use in your Protein Shake Recipes from now on.

protein shake recipes

What About Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein?

Well, the first two ingredients in this product include organic pea protein and organic sprouted brown rice protein. The sprouted brown rice protein is made exactly like the pea protein, by extracting the protein from the brown rice.

Again, this is just a processed food. So, no, we don’t consider this a healthy source of protein.

Shakeology Claims “The Healthiest Meal of the Day”. Is it true?

The first two ingredients in this popular brand include whey protein isolate and pea protein, both of which are processed food ingredients. Whey protein isolate is created by separating components from milk and processing it to yield whey protein. Pea protein is made by extracting the protein from peas.

Neither whey protein isolate nor pea protein constitutes a “whole food” ingredient. Therefore, no, Shakeology Protein is not the healthiest meal of the day.

But, Nutiva is an Organic Plant Protein Superfood. Is this Healthy?

The first ingredient is listed as “Protein Blend”, which consists of a blend of isolated protein from pea, pumpkin, sunflower, chia, hemp and sacha inchi, all of which would be incredibly healthy ingredients if they were simply left in their “whole” form!

As you are learning, isolating the protein from all of these incredible whole foods removes their nutritious value. So, no, Nutiva Organic Protein isn’t great either.

I know that Vega Clean Protein, must be Clean and Whole, Right?

Sorry, wrong again. The first four ingredients include pea protein, hemp protein, pumpkin seed protein and afalfa protein. Again, isolating the protein removes the value.

If Vega Clean Protein could instead just use “whole” peas, “whole” hemp seeds, “whole” pumpkin seeds and “whole” alfalfa then it wouldn’t be a processed food. (sigh…)

protein shake recipes
Protein Shake Recipe: Leafy greens, Frozen bananas, Frozen Pineapple, Pineapple Juice, Whole flaxseeds and Filtered water

Avoid Protein Powders That Use “Protein” Behind the Ingredient

I can’t possibly list all of the protein shake brands on the market. But, if you start taking a look at the ingredients of various products you will soon quickly see how they are all more or less the same.

If they have the word “protein” behind an ingredient (such as soy protein isolate, whey protein, pea protein, etc.) then you know it is a processed ingredient. I am not aware of a single protein shake brand on the market that can claim it is made entirely from whole foods.

Formula for the Cleanest + Healthiest Protein Shake Recipes

Instead of using store-bought protein powders, why not make your protein shake recipes from whole food ingredients? This way, you will get ALL the nutrients and the protein boost you’re looking for. Oh, and it’s cheaper too!

Hemp Seeds Nutrition Facts

For a number of reasons, my absolute favorite whole food ingredient for making protein shake recipes from scratch is hemp seeds. It is every bit as easy to measure 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds as it is to measure out 2 scoops of processed protein powder.

protein shake recipes

Hemp Seed Nutrition Fact #1: 1 Serving of Hemp Seeds is 10g of Protein

Hemp Seeds have double the protein of chia seeds and flaxseeds. Although, we do love using those seeds too, hemp seeds pack a bigger punch. With “whole food” hemp seeds you get so many perks. In addition to providing an excellent source of easy-to-digest plant protein, the health benefits of hemp seeds are tremendous.

Unlike with processed protein powders, “whole food” hemp seeds nutrition delivers antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and super anti-inflammatory omega fats.

Hemp Seed Nutrition Fact #2: 1 Serving of Hemp Seeds is 12g of Omega Fats

There are almost twice as many Omegas in hemp seeds over chia and flaxseeds, while only having 1 carb gram. Yes, that’s it!

One of the omega fats found in “whole” hemp seeds, GLA (gamma linolenic acid), can be considered the perfect supplement to protein. GLA is very difficult to get from diet alone as few foods have it, but hemp seeds happen to be one of the richest sources. In addition to being highly anti-inflammatory, the GLA in hemp seeds is incredibly helpful for balancing hormones as well as nourishing the hair, nails and skin. 

If you make your protein shake recipes using a processed protein powder then you totally miss out on the health perks of GLA, phytonutrients, antioxidants, etc. all found within “whole” hemp seeds.

How to Make the Perfect Protein Shakes Recipe

My super simple formula for making homespun protein shake recipes uses “whole food” hemp seeds and avoids all of the overly processed protein powders. Here’s what you need to make the perfect protein shake recipe:

Protein: 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds

Fruits: 1/2 cup of any frozen fruit (pineapples, raspberries, blueberries, apple)

Greens: 1/2 cup of any dark leafy greens for phytonutrients and antioxidants

Nuts: 1 tablespoon of pine nuts or cashews

Natural Sweetener: a few dates will add a sweetness and a boost of fiber

Liquid: 1/2 cup of water, almond milk, coconut milk or hemp milk

High Speed Blender: The only downside to homespun protein shake recipes, is that you need a high speed blender to get the smooth and creamy texture. I know high speed blenders can be pricey, but they are so well worth it. I personally prefer the premium high-speed blender, from Luvele and always encourage people to really look into having one.

protein shake recipes

One Serving Yields at Least 10 grams of Protein

Although “counting your food” in the form of calories, carbs, fat grams, protein, etc. is not at all something we recommend (learn more about why calorie counting is not helpful HERE). I do realize that many of you will want to know how many grams of protein are in my protein shake recipe formula below.

The exact amount of protein will vary slightly depending on what fruit and vegetable you use. Since, all “whole foods”, including fruits and vegetables, have some protein. No matter what, tne serving should yield approximately 10 grams of protein just based on the hemp seeds alone. Of course you’ll be getting WAY more than just protein too. 😉


How to Make the Healthiest Protein Shake Recipes

Healthiest Protein Shake Recipes and we’re ditching the processed protein powder. Sharing the secret for the healthiest and cleanest protein.

protein shake recipes
Save Recipe
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x


  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, like our favorite from Manitoba
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts or cashew butter
  • 1/2 cup frozen fruit, or any frozen fruit will work
  • 1/2 cup frozen dark leafy greens, or any frozen dark green leafy vegetable will work
  • 1 or 2 pitted medjool dates, like these ones from Terrasoul
  • 1/2 cup water or nut-based milk such as: almond or coconut milk
  • Pinch of unrefined sea salt
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional: Cacao nibs


Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender, like this one from Luvele and process on high until smooth and creamy. Add a few ice cubes and process again. Drink cold.

Last Step! If you loved our recipe, leave us a review below. This helps future recipe makers and ensures continued high-quality recipes for years to come!

© 2024 clean cuisine Recipe by:

Ivy Larson

In 2010, Clean Cuisine was launched because Ivy Larson wanted to share her anti-inflammatory lifestyle and delicious recipes using ingredients in their most natural and nutrient-rich state. In 2020, Ivy passed the website to Aimee and Madison. Since then, they have been adding new recipes and nutrition posts while updating old recipes and articles. Thanks for visiting Clean Cuisine!

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Friday 14th of December 2018

I'm impressed,I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that's both equally educative and engaging, and leet me tell you, you've hhit the nail on the head. The problem iss an issue that too few folks are speaking inteloigently about. I'm very happy I stumbled across this in my hunt for something regarding this.

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