How to Make ‘The Best Protein Shake’ For Your Young Athlete

This article is courtesy of Dr. Lorraine Williams, a.k.a. TrackMom, whose daughter Lauren “Rain” Williams was a two-time New Balance Indoor Nationals champion in the 200m and a California state champion in the 100m.

There is so much to be shared with in terms of the right type of shake at just the right time. I will today talk about important shakes that can be used for pre-workout or prep training and post-workout or recovery. They are easy to make and taste good too. While I believe that these shakes can be basically universal in application as well as taste, each individual has his or her own unique taste preference, and as you begin to make shakes for your athlete, you can mix and create them with various ingredients and flavors that you and your athlete most enjoy.

I have many flavors and ingredients that I have used with great success and some with not so great success over the years. This is because a child’s palette changes and evolves — much the way their bodies do — over time. Don’t be surprised if a shake that you have been giving your child for a season or two is no longer palatable. You will need to roll with the changes and find out their latest favorite flavors and textures, and simply go from there.

But key to it all is having the necessary nutrients for your athlete. These MUST always be included in the shakes.

They are:

Protein

– Some plant examples are coconut, pea, brown rice, or nuts. Animal examples include whey and cow or goat’s milk.

Nutritious Good Fats

– Animal or dairy fats and plant fats like nuts, avocados, coconut, etc.

Carbohydrates

– A mild to moderate amount of carbohydrates can come from fruit and a little bit of low-carb variety natural sugars like monk fruit, Stevia, or other natural sweeteners.

I’m sharing two of my favorite performance/recovery shakes. One is derived from a plant-based protein and the other is from a whey-based protein. The proteins that I use in these shakes are my family’s favorites.

If you have a favorite, feel free to use it, or try mine, and feel free to share your comments about how they worked out.

Below are the basics of what you will need on hand.

Choose what you like or add some you don’t see:

Whey Protein

The whey protein I use and like best is called “Naked Whey.” The flavor we regularly purchase is vanilla, though they also have chocolate and something called “plain.” Along with “Naked Whey” is a product called “Less Naked,” which contains a little bit of coconut sugar along with the grass-fed whey and vanilla (lately, I have been cutting back to a more moderate carbohydrate intake so I mix part of the “Less Naked” whey with a high-quality collagen powder in a half-and-half ration. It works great for me and my family).

Plant-Based Protein

The plant-based protein I like based is called “Garden of Life.” It is a smooth chocolaty protein though there’s also a vanilla flavor.

— Fruit and vegetables
— Berries (fresh or frozen of your choice)
— Banana
— Pineapple
— Orange
— Spinach
— Kale
— Ginger

Spices and Flavorings

(any or all optional but all are good)

— 1/4 tsp or more of Stevia powder or liquid (my favorite is from Trader Joe’s. Use sparingly but it tastes good).
— Sea salt
— Vanilla extract
— Vanilla cream drops (Skoia brand)
— Dark chocolate (one half to one full small square of Trader Joe’s)
— Freshly grated cinnamon
— Pumpkin pie space
— Matcha Green Tea Powder (1/8 tsp. You won’t taste it, but it’s a great antioxidant and a good energy boost)
— *Coconut oil
— *MCT oil
*With the oils, start with 1 tsp up to one tablespoon as you like

Liquid

(usually 1-1&1/2 cups per serving)

— Full cream
— Coconut milk (Canned from Trader Joe’s is great)
— Unsweetened almond milk (sweetened is OK, more calories)
— Cashew milk
— Water

TrackMom Basic Whey Shake #1 = Whey with Fruit

— 1-1&1/2 cups of one of the following or a combination of water, whole milk, coconut milk

— 3-4 tablespoons of “Naked Whey” or “Less Naked” Vanilla whey protein (about 13 grams of protein)

— 1 tsp-1 tbsp of MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil or coconut oil

— 1-2 tbsp of heavy whipping cream

— 2-3 inches of a banana

— 1/4 tsp cinnamon

— 1 or more drops of Stevia

TrackMom Basic Protein Shake #2

— 1 scoop Garden of Life Smooth Chocolate Protein Powder

— 1-1&1/2 cups of one of the following or a combination of water, whole milk, coconut milk

— 2-3 inches of a banana (more if you like)

— 1 tbsp peanut or almond butter

— 1/2 tbsp of organic Chia seeds

— 1/2 tbsp of flax seeds

— 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

— 1/2 dropper of vanilla cream drops

— pinch of salt

— 1 tsp-1 tbsp of MCT oil or coconut oil (optional)

TrackMom Bonus “Verde Bebe” Green Drink (Of course, you have to get a bonus green smoothie)

— 1/2 avocado

— 1 cup of blueberries

— 1 cup of spinach

— 1-2 tsp of Chia or hemp seeds

— 1/4 tsp Matcha green tea powder

— 1-3 scoops of naked Whey vanilla whey protein or collagen powder

— 1-2 squeezes of fresh lemon juice

— 1/4 cup of orange juice

— 1 cup water

— two drops of Stevia

Blend vegetables and water well, then add remaining ingredients and blend on high for 35 seconds. Serve in a cup over ice cubes immediately. You won’t taste the greens! Makes 1-3 servings depending on amount. Chill whatever you don’t immediately consume for the post-workout recovery drink.