So you just got a great workout in, and you want to make a tasty protein shake to help you recover…but what should you mix your protein powder into for the best taste?
If water seems too plain, we’ve got you covered with the best 6 liquids to mix your protein into…just be warned…number 6 might surprise you!
‘P’ is for Protein
Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps your body repair its muscles and tissues while making hormones and enzymes.
Eating enough protein can also aid with building muscle and weight loss.
Most active people know that protein is the most important macronutrient in their diet…
And most of know that sometimes it’s hard to get enough protein per day.
(read our recent post on how much protein you need per day to find your optimal protein intake.)
Getting enough protein isn’t always easy, which is why we love supplementing with a yummy protein powder to ensure we’re getting what our body needs.
However, the protein powder on its own is just one part of the equation — you also need the right liquid to mix it with.
In this guide, we’ll go over all the benefits of supplementing with a protein powder — in addition to five of our favorite liquids to mix with it.
The Benefits of Supplementing With Protein Powder
There has actually been a great deal of confusion around protein, and how much protein you actually need per day.
If you’re a 150-pound female, then you will likely need to eat about 54 grams of protein per day to meet your minimum daily needs.
However, if you’re consistently engaging in tough workouts — such as HIIT cardio, endurance training, or weight lifting — then you’ll likely need to up that number.
Because your muscles need much more help in recovering, you might need as much as two or three grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
This amount of protein is not always easy to get from your food — especially if you’re following a plant-based diet.
And even if you’re a full-on carnivore, a diet of chicken, steak, and eggs can get boring.
Luckily, protein powders come in a variety of delicious flavors that allow you to mix things up while keeping monotony at bay.
Another benefit of protein powder?
You don’t need to store it in the fridge, cook it, or use a fork and knife to eat it.
It can easily be taken with you when you’re on the go and need a quick boost of protein.
Plus, protein powder is easy to digest, which means that you can consume it on your way to the gym.
Of course, what you mix it with has an effect on how likely you are to enjoy drinking it, in addition to how healthy the protein powder ends up being.
In the following section, we’ll go over our five favorite liquids to mix with our protein powders to give you some inspiration.
The Six Best Liquids To Mix With Your Protein Powder
Okay okay, you knew water was going to be on this list, so why not get it out of the way first.
Sure, it’s boring, but here us out…
Water is cheap (well, hardly, in this economy!), doesn’t go bad, and is usually the most easily accessible of any of the others on this list.
But our favorite thing about water?
It’s zero calories!
Plus, it can help you get closer to meeting your daily water intake requirements.
We all know staying hydrated comes with a TON of benefits, and this can help you get an extra 10-12 ounces ‘out of the way’.
Although water won’t do much to enhance the flavor of your protein shake, it’s the simplest, most efficient, and most convenient liquid for your protein shakes.
Milk is an absolutely classic liquid to mix with your protein powder.
If you’re working with whole milk, then the resulting mix can be creamy, foamy, and delicious.
If you’re avoiding dairy milk, then you can sub it out for almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, soy milk, or macadamia milk (we think we’ve covered them all!).
Although milk will add some calories to your protein shake, it will also give you an extra dose of protein in addition to some other vitamins and minerals.
For this reason, milk makes a common appearance in our protein shaker cups.
TIP: Check out our library of protein powder recipes for fun ideas on how to make your next protein-infused masterpiece.
3. Coconut Water
If you’re working out intensely, then you’re probably sweating.
This means fluid and electrolyte loss.
To replace your sodium and potassium levels, we can’t think of anything more delicious and healthy than coconut water.
(Well, other than our cutting-edge YUMINO essential amino acid endurance formula, that is)
But coconut water does make an excellent mixer for protein shakes.
Mix it up with a fruity protein powder — such as our Banana Cream Pie Protein Powder— for a festive Summer flavor that you won’t be able to get enough of.
If you want to blend up a healthy smoothie to start your morning, a protein boost is a must-include.
As healthy as fruit may be, it contains lots of sugar, which can spike your blood glucose levels.
However, adding a low-carb protein powder to the recipe will allow your body to slowly digest the mixture.
If you’re using a blender to make your protein smoothie, then you’ll ensure that your shake remains 100% clump-free.
Bonus tip: Add some flax seed to your smoothie for an extra dose of fiber!
Adding protein powder to your coffee is definitely not a standard practice…
However, if you follow a good protein coffee recipe, than the results can be simply electrifying!
We recommend using vanilla protein powder or chocolate protein powder to make for a beverage that resembles a (much healthier) frappuccino.
Plus, if you’re drinking your protein shake before hitting the gym, then the caffeine from your coffee will give you a much-needed pre-workout boost.
6. Orange Juice
Good ‘ol OJ.
This breakfast-time staple that many of us sip with our morning meal is also a fantastic protein mixer.
And although it sounds a little funky at first, after one sip you might just become a believer!
10-12 ounces of orange juice with one scoop of vanilla protein powder has a citrusy burst, and smooth vanilla vibes that balance each other so well.
Any ‘oranges and cream’ fan knows what we’re talkin’ about!
Just be aware…
Orange juice is also the highest-sugar mixer on this list, so save it for special occasions, like post-workout, when your body will use that sugar to re-fuel.
So that rounds out our top six liquids for making the ultimate protein shakes, but let’s go over our top pointers for helping you get that perfect consistency.
Top 5 Tricks To Make Your Protein Shake Silky-Smooth Every Time
Many protein powders contain a combination of protein and fat molecules.
These molecules are considered to be hydrophilic — which means that they attract water.
This can explain why protein powders tend to clump up when you mix them with a liquid.
What’s more, if you don’t store your protein powder in a cool and dry environment, then you increase how much moisture your protein powder is exposed to.
This makes clumping even more likely.
Although the clumps are annoying, they certainly aren’t bad.
Clumps or no clumps, your protein powder will have the same exact effects on your body.
However, it will make it just slightly harder to drink.
To keep your protein shakes free of clumps, here are five of our favorite anti-clumping strategies to keep your protein shakes silky smooth every time.
1. Store Your Protein Powder in a Dry Place
Although this advice is written on every dry food container, it’s something many of us don’t follow.
However, it makes a big difference.
As we mentioned before, protein and fat attract water molecules, which leads to those annoying clumps.
The more moisture and humidity that you expose your protein powder to, the more likely it is to form them.
Keep your protein powder in a cupboard away that’s not close to your stove.
If you live in an especially humid area, then you might want to consider keeping the silica packet that came in your protein powder container.
2. Invest in the Right Tools
To completely break up the clumps in your protein powder, a high-speed blender is the best tool you can invest in.
As a plus, you’ll be able to add many other ingredients to your protein powder, such as frozen fruit.
However, we get that you won’t always have access to a blender.
A great alternative is a shaker bottle, such as this option from UNICO.
It uses a wire whisking ball to completely break up all the clumps in your protein powder, giving you even texture in just a few shakes (insert shake-weight joke here).
3. Break Up the Clumps Beforehand
Another trick for a silky-smooth protein shake is to get rid of the clumps before you mix them with a liquid.
You can break up any large clumps with a fork.
To get the smaller clumps out, you can sift your protein powder before you mix it with a liquid.
4. Add Your Protein Powder After the Liquid
This will more or less guarantee a clump-free shake with perfect texture…
Add your liquid to your smoothie cup, or blender bottle, and then add your powder into the liquid a little bit at a time to prevent clumping.
Do not pour liquid on top of your dry powder, or you are likely to get a clump or two!
5. Add Some Ice
If you do have access to a blender, adding ice to your protein shake won’t only make it more delicious, but increase how much “blending” your protein powder gets.
Other great texture-boosters are frozen fruits, especially frozen banana and/or frozen avocado, which mimic a ‘dairy’ texture when blended.
Consider adding them to your next protein smoothie for a massive texture-boost.
Protein powder is a tasty, effective, and hassle-free way to get your protein intake up.
To make it more delicious, we recommend mixing it with your milk of choice.
If you’re running low on electrolytes, then coconut water is a great liquid to make it with.
And if you want to keep your protein shake as low in calories as possible, then water is always a solid choice.
To help you meet your fitness and nutrition goals, a yummy protein powder is a must.
UNICO has a selection of delicious flavors to make sure that meeting your daily protein requirements is as fun as can be.
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