How to Make a Good Protein Shake, and Mistakes to Avoid

Get the most out of your protein shakes by learning how to prepare them properly for your goals and which mistakes you’ll want to stay away from!

How to Make a Good Protein Shake, and Mistakes to Avoid
Photo by Nature Zen / Unsplash
María Rubio María Rubio
6 min read

If there’s a supplement that unites most of the fitness world, it’s protein shakes. They’re highly accessible, quick and easy to make, and super beneficial for your fitness goals due to their nutrient content. And while you can make a lot of different things with protein powder, shakes are the usual go-to for many!

That said, there isn’t one correct way of making a protein shake. There are many things to keep in mind, such as what powder you’re going to use, which ingredients are best for your goals, and how you should be including them in your diet. But don’t worry! That’s why we’re here for.

If you want to make a delicious and nutrient-rich protein shake for your goals, we’ll show you the most common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid, as well as the best way to make a protein shake for your weight loss or muscle-building goals. Plus, a couple of protein shake recipe ideas so you can get inspired!

Common protein shake mistakes to avoid

Before we get into the best way to make a protein shake for your goals, let’s go through some of the most common mistakes that people make when making their protein shakes so you can avoid them in the future!

You use them as a food replacement

Big mistake #1 is thinking that a protein shake is enough to pass as breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. Yes, protein shakes are packed with nutrients and minerals that are great for your body and goals, but they’re not nearly as nutrient-rich as a full meal!

You need carbs and fats on top of protein to keep a healthy balance in your body and make sure that everything is going smoothly there, plus a bunch of vitamins and minerals that are not found in protein powders. So make sure you’re using your protein shake as a filling supplement to support your protein intake and fitness goals and not as a meal!

Protein powder is your only source of protein

Let’s say you are eating relatively well during the day and you’re not replacing any meals with protein shakes, but you don’t consume enough protein in your diet because you’re relying on protein powder. Again, while protein powders and shakes are a healthy supplement option, they shouldn’t be your only source!

Natural protein sources such as oats, nuts, and Greek yogurt are some protein-rich foods that you can add to your shakes to make them more packed with protein and other nutrients.

You pack them with artificial sweeteners

Just because protein shakes are healthy doesn’t mean that they can cancel out artificial sweeteners. These sweeteners are on the less healthy side of foods and can actually make you gain weight, and you probably won’t even notice how much you’re using!

Instead of topping up your protein shake with artificial sweeteners, try healthy sugar alternatives! Honey is the most popular option, but you can also try maple syrup or some cut-up fruit of your preference to give your shake that sweet taste without making it less healthy.

You don’t pick the right protein powder for you

While you might think this isn’t super important, if you’re drinking protein shakes with certain fitness goals in mind then you might want to pay more attention to which protein powders you’re buying.

For example, whey protein powder is the most popular because it’s a complete protein and it helps build significant muscle, but it’s not lactose-free or vegan. On the other hand, plant-based powders are vegan and perfect for plant-based diets, but they don’t usually contain all the essential amino acids – except for soy protein powder, which is a complete protein! It all comes down to your lifestyle and goals, so pay attention next time so you can find the right protein powder for you.

You ignore the ingredients in pre-made shakes

Maybe you don’t buy protein powder but opt for pre-made protein shakes instead, or you like to have both. No matter the case, just because a pre-made protein shake looks good on the outside doesn’t mean that it actually contains the best ingredients for your goals.

Reading the nutritional label of the products that you buy is essential to avoid any unhealthy additives, and pre-made protein shakes are no exception! Just because they’re marketed as a healthy supplement doesn’t mean that they truly are, so always check for any unwanted artificial sweeteners or other additives that might not align with your fitness goals and healthy diet.

How to make the best protein shake for your goals

Now that you know what to avoid when making or buying protein shakes, it’s time to learn how to properly make a protein shake that supports your personal fitness goals!

Since weight loss and muscle building are the most popular goals for people who drink protein shakes, we’ll show you how to make the best protein shake for both goals for a better fitness journey:

Protein shakes for weight loss

If your focus is on losing a few pounds, mixing exercise with a healthy diet is the best way to go, and protein shakes can definitely help with that. High-quality protein powders are low in sugars and calories, which is already a great head start when trying to lose weight, but there are many other ingredients that you can add for a more powerful shake.

Fruits such as berries are a very popular option, not just because they’re delicious and can make your shake 100% times better, but because they’re lower in carbs and sugar.

Healthy fats and fiber such as peanut butter, chia seeds, and leafy greens are also great options because they help aid in digestion, slowing it down and making you feel full for longer, helping you avoid overeating. This also goes for adding nuts or nut butter to your shakes, such as almonds and walnuts!

Here’s a great protein shake recipe for weight loss that you can try:

  1. Mix 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk or the plant-based milk of your choice with one scoop of 373 Lab Whey Protein Isolate Chocolate Cheesecake.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries and a scoop of natural nut butter to the mix. You can also add a few drops of vanilla extract to add a touch of sweetness.
  3. Blend well (with some water if needed) and you’ll be all set!

Protein shakes for muscle building

If you want to grow bigger and stronger muscles, you’ll want to increase your protein and carb intake to aid in muscle repair and growth as well as energy recovery. So, on top of high-quality protein powder, you need to pack your shakes with protein and carb-rich ingredients.

There are many ingredients that you can use in both weight loss and muscle-building protein shakes, such as healthy fats and fiber to aid in digestion. But when it comes to fruits, focus on high-carb options such as mangoes, pineapples, avocados, and bananas, as well as other carb-rich foods like oats and squash!

Since you’ll also want to add some extra protein to your protein shake, Greek yogurt is one of the best options for you. That’s because dairy products are very rich in protein, although not all of them go well with shakes, but yogurt and even cottage cheese are both great options. And while dairy milk is full of protein, there are also healthier plant-based sources, such as soy milk which contains 8 g of protein per cup.

Here’s a delicious protein shake recipe for those with muscle-building goals:

  1. Mix 1/2 cup of unsweetened soy milk or the plant-based milk of your choice with one scoop of 373 Lab Vegan Protein Isolate (or use a whey protein for those that are not following a dairy-free diet).
  2. Add 1/2 cup of frozen mango, 1/2 cup of frozen banana, and a scoop of unsweetened and unflavored Greek yogurt to the mix. You can add some honey to make it sweeter.
  3. Blend until smooth (with some water if needed) and you’re done!

Master your protein shake-making to support your goals

While most of your nutrients should come from natural food sources and a nutrient-rich diet, protein powders and shakes can be a great supplement for those with serious fitness goals in mind. Just make sure you use the correct ingredients that will get you far in your journey instead of holding you back and don’t forget to check the 373 Lab Protein Powder Collection if you’re looking for some high-quality protein powder to add to your pantry!