If you’re drinking the same bland, grainy protein shake after every workout, it’s time for an upgrade. New ingredients and flavor combos are a great start, but that’s not all you can do. With the right equipment, you can upgrade your shakes from average to downright delectable.
Start mixing up shakes you and your muscles will both look forward to with these pro tips.
Get one with ice-crushing ability. More power—at least one horsepower—is best. A weak blender means you’ll have to water down your smoothies to mix them properly. Plus, a better blender will allow you to add veggies like spinach and kale and pulverize them so well that you won’t have to taste them.
The frozen stuff tends to be more nutritious than fresh fruit—it’s frozen immediately after being picked, thus locking in the vitamins and minerals. Frozen fruit can also substitute for ice cubes, chilling your drink and adding a slushy consistency when blended.
Powders should contain primarily the main ingredient they advertise. Look for “100%” whey, egg-white, or casein protein. Choose one that’s low in carbohydrates—you don’t want to pay extra for carbs, since you can get them cheaply and easily from other foods.
You can toss fresh or frozen vegetables into any smoothie to add nutrition and fiber, which will help fill you up and avoid extra calories later. Spinach has a subtle flavor, so it’s barely detectable in a smoothie mixed with fruit or protein powder (especially if you have a strong blender). Celery and cucumber are great choices, too. Ginger and parsley can add spice to a shake as well as soothe your stomach.
You’ve probably seen funky ingredients like acai powder, maqui, and wheatgrass at your gym’s smoothie bar or your local smoothie spot. You can add these to homemade shakes as well. Look for them in the natural-foods aisle at your market or health-food store. They might seem expensive, but you’ll need so little per smoothie, they’ll cost pennies per serving.
BY M&F EDITORS