homemade protein shake

Athletes and exercise junkies have gone mad for protein shakes and supplements over the past few years, with sales expected to reach £8bn over the next five years worldwide. The appeal of these products is that they claim to increase muscle strength, function and size, and although they’re largely consumed by 20-something men trying to bulk up for the summer before putting on a t-shirt a size too small to show off their hard work, they can definitely have a place in a active lifestyle.

Vanity aside, however, protein intake is an important factor to consider when exercising, especially if you are one of those who heads straight to the weights room to bench press your body weight. The science behind muscle gains after a workout is this: when you put a lot of pressure on your muscles, your muscle fibres tear and break. When they rebuild themselves, they rebuild bigger and stronger.

So, what does protein have to do with all this? Our muscles need protein to grow and repair so, to repair the damage done during exercise, we need protein. In the UK we easily get enough protein from our diets, and on average we exceed the recommended daily amount, which is 55g and 45g for men and women respectively – or more specifically around 0.8g per kg body weight every day. Exercise does not increase our protein requirements significantly enough to warrant drinking litres of protein shakes. Overloading on protein supplements will provide you with no extra benefits, nor will it speed up the bulking up process – your muscles can only utilise a certain amount of protein, so anything extra you take will go to waste. In fact, excess protein intake puts pressure on the kidneys and liver, which can have health implications.

More important than the amount of protein is the timing. You have a window of about two hours to aid muscle recovery, so this is the time to get the protein in! Most of us have our protein-heavy meal in the evening, so if you are a morning gym bunny rather than a post work gym-goer, switching this habit around would help you get the most from your workout and reduce muscle soreness.

Research shows that post-workout protein intake can affect these gains in a positive way, but it’s also important to remember that after a workout your muscle’s stores of glycogen – essentially energy – will be depleted, so including carbohydrate in your post-workout recovery fuel is equally as important. Hydration also goes without saying, but unless your workout exceeds an hour, water will suffice until you have finished your workout.

Because I do my exercise in the mornings, I have a couple of go-to smoothie recipes that I can quickly make up for a breakfast after a run. My favourite is this banana, peanut butter and chia seed smoothie, the recipe for which is below. Chia seeds have been dubbed “the runner’s food” because of their ability soak up to 10 times their weight in water, so they’re great for hydration, as well as being high in protein and packed with other nutrients. Peanut butter has a bad rep for being unhealthy because it is high in fat and calories, but it is also high in protein, so as long as your portion control/will-power is strong, then a tablespoon in your smoothie does no harm at all!

I have included non-dairy options for all the vegans out there too – happy exercising!

Homemade protein shake recipe

homemade protein shake

  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 150g low-fat natural yoghurt or soya yoghurt
  • 100ml of semi-skimmed milk or dairy-free milk
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (or to taste)

Simply whizz all the ingredients together in a blender and drink right away!

As ever, remember that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle will play a massive role in keeping your whole body in tip-top condition – these tips are specifically for all you super-sporty foodies who may require a little extra of the good stuff.

Check out our head nutritionist’s brilliant guide to alternative milks, complete with the perfect recipe for almond milk.


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  • петя спасова

    wonderful recipe thank you…i love milkshakes.

  • Lisa Dick

    Thanks for thinking of the non-dairy drinkers too!

  • German Fafian

    Right to my “When in Home” recovery drinks list.
    Thanks,

  • Michal

    So, what are the nutritional values of this shake? circa..

    • JUlia

      fat: 17
      protein:17
      carb: 48
      fibre:9
      cal: 417

      per recipe

  • Oli

    I thought based on all articles and books I have read that chia seed have to be left to grow in the shake not blend and drink right away because of their nutrition value. Is this correct or we can blend chia seeds?

  • Ana

    Can I change the peanut butter for almond butter and the low-fat natural yogurt for low-fat greek yogurt?

    • jamieoliverdotcom

      Definitely – sounds delicious!

      • AIEMAN

        is there any replacement for chia seeds

  • Darío Pescador

    That’s roughly 17 grams fat, 52 grams carbohydrate (mostly sugar) and 22 grams protein. Hardly a protein shake, which are around 80% protein. Also, the daily protein requirements cited are ridiculously low. That’s the amount of protein people need if they don’t want to get sick, not when they’re exercising. Don’t drink this.

    • jamieoliverdotcom

      There are 20.5g of protein in this shake recipe. That’s just under 1/2 of your Reference intake which is a good recipe for breakfast post exercise obviously if the exercise you are doing is really strenuous or exhaustive then you may require more. There is no added sugar and as referenced in the feature this recipe also replenishes your carbohydrate stores post exercise.

    • David Whitfield

      This is more like a mass gainer than a protein shake. If people drink this when they are trying to lose weight then they are gonna be wasting there time. If what you say is correct in terms of the macros, this is about 449 calories in a drink. Thats the easiest way to get people fat. Just 4 of these in a day for an average female will result in fat gainz, thats WITHOUT eating anything else.

    • http://www.fitcure.dk Rune J

      Very good said, all respect to Jamie, he does a wonderfull job helping people in this world, but his team needs to get into the program when it comes to nutrition, is not the first post where things is way off. And Soya milk! Soya has been linked (by Ori Hofflemaker) to spike oestrogen LVL in people, witch will have a negative inpact on your moucle gain, but boost your production of fatt cells.

    • HM

      Most people over consume protein and most people do not do enough exercise to warrant high amounts of protein. Actual athletes should be working with a dietician to make sure they are getting what they need.
      It also does not say anything about Soy Milk Rune J (and research on that is dodgy anyhow). Non dairy milk could be coconut, almond, wheat, hemp…

      Also no one should really be having more than one of these a day anyway David….
      This would be a good meal replacer/after workout snack for anyone doing a moderate to high amount of activity 4-5 times a week….

      • David Whitfield

        *Facepalm* I was not talking about having 4 in a day! I was just saying if you did then only 4 would be enough to make any average women gain weight. That was my arguement against it.

        But if we are gonna play picky, its a good meal replacer, yes. But a snack? Never heard of a 449 calorie snack before.

  • James Adams

    Poorly researched article. Half of it simply is not true at all.

  • Ian Tremblay

    The post-workout timing window is a myth, as are most nutrient timing claims. Recipe looks nice though.

  • Christie Pleasants-Heffner

    I think it’s amazing what Jamie and his wonderful team are doing with this program. However in addition to the comments below, another factor I’d like to bring up is the phytic acid content in nut butters. Phytic acid is a major contributor to mineral depletion and aids in tooth decay. Additionally I only provide organic, whole fat milk and/or kefir to supply the necessary nutrients for my child’s development. Keep up the good work!

    • CalMark

      Oh get real.

  • Michal Fix

    Can I change the banana to another fruit?

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  • David Brown

    I was looking for a cheap protein shake for my son and I. He needs to lose weight (130kgs and 6 foot 4) and I need to gain it (55kgs and 5 foot 6) I had cancer and Im on the mend I just have to put on some weight. After reading the comments I think this shake will be perfect for us he can have one before his crossfit session and I can have four or more a day to gain weight.
    Thanks

    • Jorgun Thome Von-Harburg

      5 months later and how are you getting on? An alternative for you might be jersey milk. 1 litre per day is about 800 calories. That on top of normal food consumption should definitely be enough to gain weight. When I did that (fortunately not due to an illness) I gained about 30 lbs in 6 months.

  • Brit Lindkvist Den Biggelaar

    Great recipe, but foremost great article.

  • Wasi

    @jamieoliverdotcom:disqus
    me from 3rd world country and made a shake for my workouts with following ingredients, needed to know is this feasible for health and how much proteins could be in it:

    Dairy milk 250ml, 1 egg, 1 tbs Peanuts, 1 tbs Chia Seeds, 2 tbs Oatmeal and 2 dates or any other fruit for taste.

  • https://www.vitasave.ca/ Gloria Vitori

    Thank you for sharing this recipe, It seems very healthy and delicious. I really like reading your post. It is very helpful.