The Best Chocolate Protein Shake You’ll Want To Drink Every Day
Many people find that premade protein shake mixes can be kind of like torture to drink. They often come out chalky and the flavor can sometimes seem artificial.
Making your own flavored protein blend doesn’t have to be difficult, and chocolate lovers have plenty of options. The best chocolate protein shake you’ll want to drink every day is a protein shake customized to your taste.
Understanding the Different Kinds of Chocolate
Chocolate is a powerhouse of antioxidants, as long as it’s treated right. We often regard chocolate as a dessert or a junk food. The truth is that it depends on the kind of chocolate you’re eating. When you use the right kind, you’re getting the flavor and the benefits without any of the drawbacks your dentist probably warned you about.
Milk chocolate is the “junk” chocolate. Most candy bars at the grocery store checkout utilize milk chocolate. It tastes sweet, and it has nothing to offer you except for empty calories. The addition of milk and sugar to the cacao powder dilute it and change its texture. Milk chocolate is merely a confection with a chocolatey flavor, rather than actual chocolate. You probably shouldn’t put it in your protein shake, unless that protein shake is really just a misnomered milkshake, which it will be if you don’t start paying attention to your ingredients!
Semi-sweet chocolate is pure chocolate with a little bit of added sugar. While it’s undoubtedly lighter in calories than milk chocolate, it’s still less-than-ideal from a health perspective. Semi-sweet chocolate contains about 60% cacao, i.e. actual chocolate.
Bittersweet chocolate is about 70% cacao with a little bit of sugar. If you can’t escape your sugar cravings, bittersweet chocolate is the perfect compromise.
Dark chocolate is up to 90% cocoa, making it the healthiest of traditional chocolates. Manufacturers usually list the cocoa content on the back of their products. The more cacao there is, the less sugar. Crushed or powdered dark chocolate can be added to protein shakes without jacking up the sugar content to the point where they become more of a dessert.
Cacao, or Raw Chocolate
Cacao, also called cocoa solids or raw chocolate, is chocolate in its purest form. In this form, you’ll actually experience the health benefits of chocolate. Some cacao powders contain up to 4 grams of protein per serving, along iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. They’re also relatively low in calories, coming in at around 60 per two tablespoons.
What’s the Best Chocolate?
Dark chocolate powder or raw chocolate are always going to be your best bets for protein shakes. Raw cacao will even boost the protein content by a few valuable grams.
Understanding the Different Kinds of Protein
Everyone who drinks protein shakes should have an unflavored (or vanilla) protein powder on-hand at all times. These powders are the perfect blank canvas for custom shake creations.
Whey protein (blends or isolates) are one of the most popular forms of protein powder thanks to the taste and texture they lend. When blended, these powders offer a thick and creamy consistency that make a protein shake feel more like a milkshake, but without the added calories.
Powdered egg white protein is odorless and flavorless on its own. When placed in a blender and blitzed to perfection, egg protein creates light, whipped, smooth, and silky protein shakes.
Rice protein is a valuable option for people who, for one reason or another, cannot have dairy or egg proteins. Rice protein is thicker and starchier than most other kinds of proteins, but its less than delicious flavor is easily disguised with potent chocolate.
Blended Plant Proteins
Blended plant proteins are almost always vegan. In addition to protein, they usually offer vitamins and minerals that naturally occur within their blend of greens and legumes. This can sometimes impact the way the protein powder tastes, and it’s especially noticeable when you’re a little light on the flavoring.
Chocolate does a great job of masking the taste of greens, so people who have a hard time choking down their veggies might find that plant proteins for a chocolate shake offer more nutritional benefits.
What’s the Best Protein?
The best protein is whichever protein fits within your dietary requirements and lifestyle. If you’re a vegan, give blended plant proteins a shot. If you really love a good chocolate milkshake, whey protein will give you something much closer to what you desire.
Understanding the Different Milks
Protein powders can be blended with water. If you’ve never done it before, give it a shot. Most people really don’t like it. Water is very thin. It doesn’t add any calories to your recipe, but it doesn’t add any nutrients either. Your shake might come out more like chocolate juice if you don’t use some kind of milk.
For those who don’t have any dairy sensitivities or restrictions, cow’s milk might work just fine. It’s important to note that whole milk is very calorically dense and somewhat high in fat. Opt for 2% milkfat or less if you choose to use cow’s milk.
Almonds are full of healthy fats and nutrients. Cashew milk boasts very similar benefits, and it’s equally as easy to find. You’ll also find more exotic varieties of nut milk, like macadamia, walnut, hazelnut, and even pistachio milk. You can even find them in chocolate flavors, which is especially helpful if you’re going for a “death by chocolate” approach. Just make sure to opt for an unsweetened variety to avoid adding unnecessary sugar to your recipe.
Oat milk is thicker and starchier than nut milk, but not quite as thick as cow’s milk. It’s a great alternative for households that balance allergies and sensitivities. Those who are lactose intolerant, allergic to nuts, or sensitive to soy will likely find that oat milk is safe and gentle on their tummies.
Soy milk is a non-dairy milk alternative that is closest in thickness and texture to cow’s milk. If you’re looking to ditch the cow’s milk and you’re unhappy with the texture of other alternative milks, soy will probably work perfectly for you. Be warned that many soy milks, especially the flavored varieties, are often sweetened. Check your label before you buy -- you don’t want a ton of added sugar.
Rice milk is kind of cloudy and very thin. It’s a little starchy. Most of the time, it doesn’t blend into a thick or satisfying protein shake. If you already use rice milk, give it a shot and see if you like it. If you don’t, perhaps you should try other milks first.
What’s the Best Milk?
Almond milk and oat milk are among the most popular milks for protein shakes. They lend the right texture and most people actually like them even on their own. Oat milk is much higher in calories than almond milk, coming in at over 100 per serving. Unsweetened almond milk usually clocks in at around 30 calories for the same amount. If you’re looking to lose a little fat, almond milk is the right call.
What Else is Going in the Blender?
First things first: there is absolutely nothing wrong with a protein shake that’s chocolate through and through. Chocolate has never needed any help being delicious. That having been said, there are a few things you can add to a chocolate protein shake to up the nutrients and boost the volume of the shake. If you have a monstrous appetite after a hard workout, you might want to toss some in.
Bananas are a good addition to almost any protein shake, no matter what the flavor is. They’re low in calories and rich in fiber and potassium. They have a small amount of naturally occurring fat. The texture will make your protein shake thick and rich, and the fiber will leave you feeling fuller for longer while stabilizing your blood sugar. That said, adding a banana to your shake might help you skip that pre-dinner snack.
Seeds, like chia seeds and flax seeds, are great sources of omega fatty acids and antioxidants. They add a little body to your protein shake while providing a great kick to its nutritional content. If you’re the kind of person who likes to replace a meal with a protein shake, don’t skip the seeds.
The best protein shake is always going to be a matter of preference. If you’re looking to incorporate more protein shakes into your diet, the best thing you can do is work from a solid foundation.
Experiment a little bit. Try different flavors and see what you like the best. If you can come up with the perfect recipe, you’re more likely to commit to making shakes a part of your lifestyle.
When you’re on the go and you can’t make yourself a protein shake, don’t forget there’s always Mid-Day Squares to carry you over.