Quick & Easy Protein Shake

Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or someone who enjoys tasty fruit smoothies, anyone can benefit from this how-to guide for quick, easy, and (most importantly) cheap protein shakes. They are great for a dose of post-workout protein, a mid-day meal replacement, or even just a tasty dessert before bed. This article will show you how to make your own homemade smoothie that will taste better than most ordinary protein shakes and will be much cheaper than buying pre-made varieties. As an added bonus, all ingredients are vegetarian friendly and incorporate as many organic products as possible.

First, here's what you'll need:

- A Blender (preferably not a flimsy one - a onetime investment of $60 will get you a really good blender that will last you for a long time. I highly recommend Hamilton Beach Blender.)

- Whey Protein Powder (I use Gold Standard's Natural Whey Protein, which contains no artificial sweeteners and tastes great.)

- Organic Milk (I prefer Horizon Organic Low-Fat or No-Fat Milk)

- Stonyfield Farm Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt (which will give your shake a thicker, creamier consistency).

- Your choice of fruit: bananas are a great base, but you can also try pineapples, peaches, pears, mandarin oranges, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries for additional variety.

- Optionally, I add a small amount of Flax seed to the shake, which contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids, shown in many studies to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. To read about some of the health benefits associated with Flax seed, visit this website.

Once you have all of your ingredients begin mixing in the following order:

1.) Add 1 scoop of your Whey Protein Mix to the blender. Based on the protein content of Gold Standard's protein powder, a full scoop combined with the rest of the ingredients of the shake will add up to about 30 grams of protein. If you are a serious bodybuilder or have just completed a vigorous physical workout, this is probably a good amount. If you simply want a nutritious meal replacement, add just half a scoop of protein mix.

2.) Add 6-8 oz. of no-fat/low-fat organic milk so that the protein powder can begin to absorb.

3.) Next, add the desired amount of low-fat vanilla yogurt. If you want a creamier or thicker shake, add several ounces of yogurt, but for a lighter shake, just a few spoonfuls will do.

4.) Take one whole banana, peel the sides, and chop the banana into rings before placing in the blender. This is an excellent base, but for an additional flavor punch to the taste buds, try different combinations of fruits. I often like to buy those little fruit cups, then drain the juice and add the fruits (pineapple, pears, mandarin oranges). These are fantastic, because, they are small, fairly cheap, and already finely chopped to make your life easier. They are also an excellent source of potassium, Vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals.

5.) Add a table spoon of Flax seed for an added health bonus, close the lid, and blend! About 20-40 seconds should do it, depending on much you've added and the quality of your blender.

And voila! A healthy protein shake and a delicious meal replacement fruit smoothie! Cheap and quick to make - what more could one ask for? Once you have the ingredients close at hand and get the hang of it, you can whip yourself up one of these in 5 minutes with limitless flavor opportunities so it never gets old.

Eat, enjoy, and be healthy!

~ Renaissance Mouse

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