It's just so cliché, the fitness person drinking a protein shake. But all judgments aside, my goal is to be (A) full for the longest possible period of time so that I don't want to eat lunch at 9:30am and (B) awake so I can GSD. #getshitdone
Oh yeah, and I want it to be tasty.
I've played around with shake recipes for years and years, trying new ones, modifying them to include more protein, more fiber, more/less calories... to get it just right. I still have a few different versions depending on what ingredients I have on hand but the base is set.
There is a single key element to making a protein shake that I think is the most important. And that is the quality of the protein you are using. There are a lot of brands out there. It's paralyzing, actually, googling protein powder and not knowing which of the thousands available is the best to use, and whether paying more actually gets you more. Do you go vegetarian and use pea or soy protein? Do you get flavored protein or plain? Do you buy it online, from GNC, or Costco?
The answer is that you have to experiment and read reviews, as well as take the advice you hear from trusted sources, like a fitness professional or nutritionist. What works for you, tastes good to you and avoids your personal dietary sensitivities is going to vary widely from one person to the next. Generally... I advise against getting protein powders that come already flavored because the introduction of taste means there are possibly other undesirable additives such as sugar, sugar substitutes, coloring agents, and other flavor enhancers. If you want a chocolate shake, then put cocoa powder in it. If you want it to be a little sweet, then add banana, dates, or a sweetener that works well with your digestive system- for me, that's stevia.
The protein powder that has been my go-to for almost a decade is IsoNatural Whey Protein Isolate (Natural, not flavored). I buy it by the 5lb barrel. It's super high quality, some of the most absorbable protein manufactured for this purpose, and because of the cold temperature microfiltration process, the lactose naturally present in the milk the protein comes from is virtually eliminated and only 3% of the protein is denatured. Most other protein powders are processed using ion exchange, which denatures 10% or more of the protein that you ingest because of the heat it is exposed to during processing. My dairy intolerant belly has no trouble whatsoever processing this milk-derived protein.
Alone, mixed with water, it tastes like chalk. Not recommended. But, blend it up with some delicious ingredients that also serve important nutritional roles in your diet, and you have a winner! My recipe, with some options listed:
8 oz Unsweetened Almond Milk (cashew or coconut milks would all also work here as well as real milk if you don't have a dairy intollerance like me)