How To Make Protein Shake Thicker
Protein shakes and smoothies are an important part of a healthy diet, regardless if they are taken right after the workout, as a daily snack, or even as a full meal.
Making a protein shake thicker can make the shake more satiating, but it also depends on the personal needs and preferences of the athlete. Thankfully, there are several very simple ways of making protein shakes and smoothies thicker...
Published: December 19, 2022.
Making Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are made by mixing protein powder, low-fat cottage or similar cheeses, and other protein sources with water, milk, yogurt, fruits, butter, and similar foods.
By varying the amounts of foods and liquids, one can make protein shakes thicker or thinner.
Thicker shakes are generally consumed longer than thinner shakes (which are usually just drunk) and are often more satiating than thinner protein shakes.
Here are several very simple ways of making protein shakes and smoothies thicker.
Add Less Water
If You want to make the protein shakes thicker, add less water.
When mixing ingredients, it is possible that less water will cause lumps to create - if that happens, mix the ingredients a little bit longer.
The good thing about adding less water is that the nutritional profile of the shake is the same since water contains no nutrients.
If You are on a strict diet, especially low carb or similar diet, making shakes thicker by adding other foods must be done carefully since carbs easily add up.
Making protein smoothies and shakes using ice instead of water makes protein shakes and smoothies thicker to the level that they appear as an icecream.
Such protein shakes can be very refreshing, especially during hot summer days, and can be even used to fight cravings for sweets.
Add Milk or Yogurt
By making shakes and smoothies using milk and/or yogurt, one can make them thicker, especially when fruit yogurts are used.
However, by adding milk and yogurt to the protein shake, one alters their nutritional data, which must be recalculated - if that is important, of course.
Also, many people having issues with lactose chose protein shakes with no lactose or with added lactase, an enzyme that helps them digest the lactose. By adding more lactose found in milk and yogurt, such protein shakes can cause certain digestive issues.
So, if You plan on adding milk and yogurt to your protein shakes but You have issues with lactose, go for lactose-free milk and yogurt.
Add More Protein Powder
By adding more protein powder, one can easily make a protein shake thicker, especially if casein protein powder is added.
Casein protein is slowly digested (up to 8 hours), making protein shake more satiating, which is very important for daily shakes and meals, and especially for a bedtime protein shake.
Since casein protein powder contains very little fats and carbs, it is rather easy to recalculate new nutritional data if required.
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Note: other protein powders can be added as well, for example, whey protein, egg albumin protein, etc.
Add Low-Fat Cheese
The effect of adding low-fat cheese to protein shakes is very similar to adding a casein protein powder.
Low-fat cheese makes protein shakes thicker and more satiating, but it also changes their nutritional profile.
But, often adding just 2-3 ounces (60-90 grams) of such cheese can make a protein shake much thicker, and only adds 7-10 grams of protein, 2-3 grams of fats, and 2-3 grams of carbs, depending on the cheese nutritional profile and the exact amount.
Fruits can be added to protein shakes to make them thicker, alter their flavor and aroma, and increase the amount of vitamins, minerals, fibers, but also carbs.
Typical fruits that are added to protein shakes are bananas, apples, strawberries, blueberries, avocados (beware of additional fats), and similar.
When adding fruits like bananas, be very careful regarding the amount of carbs - for example, just 3 ounces of banana contains ~20g of carbs.
Berries, on the other hand, contain a large amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibers, and similar, but their stains are really hard to clean (seriously!).
Personally, when making protein shakes and smoothies, my favorite fruits are mixed frozen berries combined with a low-fat cheese - such protein shake contains plenty of slowly digesting casein protein, complex carbs, fibers, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, etc., and can be made in just a few minutes.
Grees can be added to protein shakes as well. As the greens soak water, they make shakes and smoothies thicker, but they also may add some protein, complex carbs, and fibers.
By adding greens, one may significantly increase the daily intake of antioxidants, vitamins, and even some minerals, just be aware that sometimes too much of something good is not necessarily a good thing.
Add Raw Or Cooked Vegetables
Adding a few leaves of spinach, celery, parsley, carrot, or some cooked peas, broccoli, cauliflower, and similar vegetables can make shakes thicker.
Also, such vegetables make shakes and smoothies more filling and richer in fibers, vitamin,s and minerals. But, one should also count additional protein, carbs, and fats when being on a strict diet.
Add Peanut Butter
Peanut butter tastes great and can make any protein shake thicker.
However, peanut butter is rich in fats and carbs, and one must be careful regarding added nutrients and calories in general.
But peanut butter also contains plenty of fibers, protein, minerals, and even some vitamins.
Again, it tastes so good :)
Add Whole Grain Organic Oats
Adding rolled whole-grain organic oats and similar cereals can increase the thickness of the protein shake and increase the amount of complex carbs and digestive fibers.
Also, such oats contain plenty of plant-based protein, which increases the total amount of protein content.
Since some people are used to nutrition not having enough fibers, don't add rolled/milled whole grain cereals to your diet in larger quantities - start slowly.
Add Xantum Gum or Psyllium Husk
Personally, I am against adding Xantum Gum and Psyllium Husk to daily meals and snacks since both Xantum Gum and Psyllium Husk (especially Xantum Gum) are commonly added to processed foods to make them thicker and more satiating and filling.
But, if You really want to make your protein shakes thicker without adding more digestible food, consider adding small amounts of Xantum Gum or Psyllium Husk - they are "just" soluble fibers that slow digestion, but they can also cause some digestive discomfort and cause other issues.
Just my 2c.
Few Final Words
Protein shakes can be made quickly, and they are an important part of the healthy diet of any athlete.
Personally, although there are many ways of making protein shakes thicker, my favorite methods are the simplest ones: add some casein protein powder (various flavors are available), add some low-fat cheese, or add some whole-grain organic oats.
And for making protein shakes to fight cravings for sweets, sometimes I add a teaspoon of peanut butter.
Note: when altering the ingredients of your protein shakes, consult your nutritionist or even a physician, just in case.