Many people, even yourself, have problems making a shake they can actually enjoy. Whether it's the consistency, the flavor of a particular brand that was recommended or other limiting factors, some of us just can't seem to get it right every time. Use these tips to ensure a perfect protein shake, and always ensure you'll get the fuel you need to get stronger and leaner.
Looking for something to do this weekend? Find what you need in our Weekend Entertainment Guide newsletter.
If your protein shake is:
Too thin: Try adding a few ice cubes, frozen fruit or a tablespoon of sugar-free instant pudding mix to thicken it.
Too thick: Some protein mixes have guar gum or other artificial thickeners. Instead of throwing them out, you can make shakes using only half the packet, mixing in a regular whey protein to cover the protein gap.
Not creamy enough: Try using a tablespoon of sugar-free pudding if you make your shakes with water or milk. If you use milk, you can try using milk with higher fat content (1 or 2-percent instead of skim) or just use a tablespoon of dry, sugar-free instant pudding mix.
Won't dissolve: Solubility problems usually have to do with the particular brand of protein that you buy.
Your best option is to first blend your liquid and ice and slowly add the protein to the blender. Look for an "instantized" protein that blends with a few shakes to avoid the problem all together.
Not sweet enough: Add a packet or two of Stevia or a small piece of banana. Fructose (fruit sugar) is 70-percent sweeter than sucrose (table sugar) so even just a small piece of banana or other fruit goes a long way in providing sweetness.
Weak vanilla flavor: Add 1/2 teaspoon of imitation vanilla flavor or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract will enhance the vanilla flavor without adding calories. Alternatively, you could add a tablespoon of sugar-free instant vanilla pudding for just 13 calories.
Weak chocolate flavor: A teaspoon of real cocoa powder will give you a nice chocolatey flavor without adding the sugar that comes with using chocolate syrup. This is a great idea for those on tighter budgets that can only purchase one flavor of protein at a time because you can add cocoa to vanilla protein and make a chocolate flavor.
Protein sticks to blender glass: Always add the liquid to your blender or shaker first. When blending thicker shakes, try pouring the protein into the blender as it whirls. Or lightly push the powder down with a spoon to ensure it mixes, just not too far, or you'll have a nice addition of steel chips in your smoothie.
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer and co-owner of Home Team Fitness LLC. Go to www.hometeamfitness.net for more information.