Here’s one of the secrets to good nutrition: Not all of your meals have to be whole food meals.
In fact, you can even replace one to two meals each day with easy-to-make, tasty drinks we call Super Shakes.
Now, we know that there are tons of stores and juice bars springing up all over, offering smoothies.
But honestly, these store-bought and juice bar type shakes are often barely better than a fast-food milk-shake.
They’re typically sweetened heavily with sugar, contain minimal or low-quality protein sources, and missing many of the nutrients found in whole foods.
The Super Shake, on the other hand, is packed with good stuff like high-quality protein, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats.
In addition to the quality nutrition it provides, the Super Shake meets your need for quick, easy, high-quality food that you can have in a pinch.
So whenever you need a high-quality meal, but can’t make a full, whole food plate for yourself, try out the Super Shake.
With this in mind we devoted an entire section in our Precision Nutrition self-guided system to the creation of Super Shakes.
Indeed, in PN V4 we’ve got more than 20 Super Shake combos created and battle-tested by the Precision Nutrition Team members and community. All nutritious. All delicious.
But you have to do them right. And that’s where this guide comes in.
- Want to see our visual guide? Check out the infographic here…
- Want more delicious Super Shake ideas? Click here to download our Super Shake Guide, a beautiful booklet with recipes, photos, and more.
Get a good blender
Before you start experimenting with our step-by-step guide, here’s a question for you. Do you have a decent blender?
If not, and you want to start making Super Shakes, you’re going to have to go get one. And remember, you get what you pay for.
That’s right, if your blender starts smoking when you add a few ice cubes, it’s time for a replacement, one that’s more powerful and ready for the task at hand.
In terms of value, I like the Magic Bullet. It’s only 60-70 bucks and it’s quite powerful. The only issue is that it’s small. So if you want bigger Super Shakes you’ll have to go bigger with your blender. It also may wear out after a few months of daily use.
In which case you might choose the Vitamix. This is the Mercedes Benz of blenders. It’s pricey. But I’ve never seen another blender match its power and longevity.
Making your shake super
Ok, so let’s assume you’ve got your blender out and it’s powerful enough to do the job. Now you can follow the step-by-step guide below for creating nutritious and tasty Super Shakes.
We selected some of the fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats that seem to work best for our clients. Just go through each step and select an item (or two) from each column. Mix and match as you like. You’ll end up finding combinations you prefer the most.
That said, our list isn’t exhaustive.
Feel free to branch out.
Keep in mind, too, that not all of the steps below are mandatory.
If you don’t want a topper, leave it out. If you want extra veggies, go for it. If you are trying to keep your calories down, you can manipulate variables like number of portions, especially carb and fat amounts.
Note that our portion recommendations per serving are based on our hand-portion guidelines.
Pick a liquid
- Almond milk (unsweetened)
- Cow’s milk
- Soy milk (unsweetened)
- Hemp milk (unsweetened)
- Iced green tea
Less liquid = thick shakes. More liquid = thin shakes.
Aim for 4-8 oz per serving.
Pick a protein powder
- Whey protein
- Casein protein
- Pea protein
- Rice protein
- Hemp protein
- Other proteins or protein blends
Some protein powders contain thickeners, which will increase the thickness of your shake. Find the protein supplement that you like best.
Aim for 1 scoop per serving (20-25 g protein).
Pick a veggie
- Dark leafy greens: Spinach / Swiss chard / kale
- Pumpkin / sweet potato
- Beets / beet greens
- Cucumber / celery
- Powdered greens supplement
Spinach is usually your best bet, as it is virtually flavorless in your Super Shake. Canned pumpkin is great too. It goes well with vanilla. When using beets, try roasting them and removing the skin first. Beets pair well with chocolate. If you add celery or cucumber, you’ll need to use less liquid in your shake.
Aim for 1 fist-sized portion per serving.
Pick a fruit
- Pineapple / mango
- Powdered fruit supplement
Toss in a banana to give the shake an excellent consistency. Dates go a long way, as they’re very sweet (and make sure to get rid of the pit first!). Apples are easy — simply remove the core and slice into wedges. You can use fresh or frozen fruit.
Aim for 1 cupped hand-sized portion per serving.
Pick a healthy fat
- Flax, hemp, chia seeds
- Peanut and nut butters
When blended well, nuts and seeds give the shake a nice, rich consistency.
Aim for 1 thumb-sized portion per serving.
Pick a topper
- Cacao nibs / dark chocolate
- Oats / granola
- Ice cubes (if using fresh fruit)
Cinnamon is good with vanilla and pumpkin. Add oats if you need extra carbs, yogurt if you want a smoother consistency, and ice if you used fresh fruit.
For all of these, a little goes a long way.
So, how about an example?
Here’s one of my favorites. It uses 2 servings of each step to make one large Super Shake, replacing a full meal. (Alternatively, you could use 1 serving of each step for a small meal, or snack.)
- Step 1: Water (about 10 oz)
- Step 2: 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
- Step 3: 2 fist-sized portions of baby spinach
- Step 4: 1 banana and 1 cupped handful of frozen strawberries
- Step 5: 2 thumb-sized portions of chopped walnuts
- Step 6: Top with a few sprinkles of cinnamon
- Step 7: Drink.
- Step 8: Feel awesome.
There you have it, a template for creating awesome Super Shakes, every time.
If you’re a coach, or you want to be…
Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that’s personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.
If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.