10 Healthy Hacks To Improve The Taste Of Protein Shakes & Smoothies

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Protein is a vital part of any fitness regimen and if you’re in the business of making any serious muscle gains, it may be impractical to get the amount of protein you need just from your diet. After all, it's not always easy to carry around coolers filled with grilled chicken breasts and salmon everywhere you go!

Protein shakes are a staple among avid gym goers and body builders because of the high amount of protein that can be consumed from a single glass or cup. However, many individuals, particularly beginners, can’t really stomach the taste of a protein shake but that’s usually because they follow the instructions on the protein powder packaging without adding any tweaks or customization to their drink. It's pretty bland just added to water.

What then happens is that drinking the protein shake becomes a chore and they slowing start drinking less and less, thereby halting or limiting potential gains. Adding some flavor to your protein shake, and mixing it up from time to time is the key to your long term fitness success. 

This article touches on a few simple but impactful ways to make your protein shakes much more palatable on a budget. 

1. Use Milk Instead Of Water 

Protein shakes are often mixed with water as it's considered the healthiest option. Mixing protein shakes with milk, though, also has benefits. Not only will the shake taste better, but you'll receive a boost of additional casein (slow digesting) protein which can also help your muscles recover more quickly. The extra calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and potassium can go a long way as well. I usually prefer skim milk or unsweetened soy milk with my protein.

2. Try Flavored Coconut Water

If you're looking for a tastier protein shake but don't want to increase your caloric intake, coconut water (or even flavored coconut water) might be an option to consider. Coconut water has a plethora of benefits, including replenishing electrolytes such as potassium, reducing cholesterol and overall added protection for your immune system. 

3. Tastier Protein Powder 

Sometimes, taste is all about the type of powder you use. Some brands have different flavors to choose from, such as chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and even cookies and cream, but the brands themselves also add their own unique twists that can impact taste. 

Switching up the type of protein powder you use can lead to a tastier protein shake. You should experiment with different protein powders to find the right brand or line that makes your taste buds flutter. 

4. Add Fruit Or Yogurt 

One of the most iconic ways to add tastiness to your protein shake is to include fruit, yogurt, or both. The possibilities are endless. You can add fruits such as: 

- bananas 
- strawberries 
- blueberries 
- raspberries 
- mangoes 
- pineapples 
- cherries 

Any type of fruit you can add to a blender will undoubtedly add taste to your protein shake. On top of that, yogurts often combine flavors on their own which can also give your protein shake some added flavor. Furthermore, yogurt will give your shake/smoothie even more protein, calcium and probiotics. 

5. Add Ginger Or Peanut Butter 

Two lesser known taste building options for protein shakes are ginger and peanut butter. Ginger adds spice and sweetness to shakes but the taste can be rather explosive in large quantities. A small, dime sized portion is really all you need to get that intriguing flavor without being overwhelmed. Peanut butter will thicken your shake some, giving it more of a nutty taste and feel. 

Ginger can also help to ease pain from your workout, while peanut butter adds extra protein. In any case, adding these two ingredients, either by themselves or together, will certainly give your taste buds a new sensation that will make your protein shake a delicacy instead of a chore. 

6. Chill It 

What’s better than a nice, cold drink after a workout? Nothing. Well, nitpickers may argue that room temperature or warm drinks are better for digestion but while that may be true, the benefits are minimal and there’s no doubt that a cold drink taste better to most of us - especially after working out. 

We can’t have it all, however, so the best middle ground is having your shake at a nice, chilled temperature (somewhere between room temperature and cold). You can obviously also blend a protein shake with ice cubes or add ice cubes after the fact.

7. Pumpkin Spice Or Cinnamon

Cinnamon is pretty simple when it comes to easily boosting flavor without adding any additional calories. It's cheap and even has additional health benefits. Ground pumpkin spice can provide even more of a unique flavor for nearly the same price and just as easily. It's basically just cinnamon with nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. All healthy ingredients! Just don't buy the unhealthy flavored syrups instead that they use at many coffee shops and packaged products.   

8. Flaxseed & Chia Seeds

OK this one doesn't add that much flavor, and that's the best part! While it can add a little thickness or nutty / whole grain flavor, it's a mostly flavorless way to add extra protein, heart healthy omega-3 fats, and fiber to your shake! 

9. Cocoa Powder

While chocolate candies aren't usually the healthiest option for you, 100% cocoa powder is very healthy, easy, and affordable. It's definitely a little bitter but it gets sweetened with the additional ingredients in your shake. Cocoa powder has protein, heart healthy fats, antioxidants, and fiber as well. 

10. Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is another great way to quickly and easily boost flavor. Just a single drop is enough to significantly add some flavor without adding any extra calories.

Gone are the days where drinking protein shakes was like chugging cement. Enjoy your protein shakes and smoothies, no excuse!


I hope you enjoyed this article about helpful healthy hacks to improve the taste of protein shakes and smoothies on a frugal budget.

Interested in more articles about protein and nutrition? 

Read My Posts:

- Drink Protein Shakes For Muscle Gains & Fat Loss

- When Should I Consume Protein Shakes?

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