Like other keto recipes, keto protein shakes should include not only a moderate serving of protein but also plenty of fat. After all, the vast majority of your daily calories (75 percent or more) should come from fat while following the keto diet.
What makes the keto diet unique is that it’s not a high-protein eating plan. (It is a very high-fat, very low-carb diet). It includes moderate amounts of protein, the equivalent of about 20 percent of your daily calories. So while you might be encouraged to load up on protein powders, meat, eggs and dairy while on another low-carb diet such as Atkin’s, this is not the case when going keto.
Ideally, the “perfect keto shake” will include several servings of fat, a serving of protein and very little carbs. Keep in mind that eating keto doesn’t mean stuffing your face with any and all kinds of fat! Instead, it’s about mindfully choosing foods that are high in healthy fats and low in carbs.
Now let’s take a look at what a healthy keto shake might look like.
There are many types of protein powders available, depending on your palate and personal preference. Several types are low in carbs, high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and have been linked to a wide range of health benefits such as lower cholesterol levels, better blood sugar control and improved skin health.
Here are tips for choosing a high-quality protein powder:
- For added electrolytes and trace minerals, try a protein powder made from bone broth or collagen. These will provide not only protein but also other nutrients that support joint health, digestion and more. Protein powder made from bone broth or collagen is packed with protein, low in carbs and low in sugar. You can get the benefits of slow-cooked bone broth easily by adding some to your favorite keto smoothie.
- Whey protein isolate is the best whey protein option if you have lactose intolerance because the lactose content is significantly decreased during processing. Whey protein is rich in branched-chain amino acids, which help promote muscle recovery and support muscle synthesis after exercise.
- Hemp protein powder is an easily digestible plant form of protein that stands out because it contains a hearty dose of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
- Pea protein is another plant protein that’s equally effective as whey protein at increasing muscle thickness when combined with resistance training. It also can increase levels of satiety hormones to keep you feeling full.
- Thanks to the high-fiber content of brown rice nutrition, it’s been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels and also may help cut cholesterol levels.
- Make sure that any protein powder you choose is unsweetened and low in carbs.
- Stick to a single serving (usually providing about 20 grams of protein), ideally right after working out, to maximize muscle gain and keep protein/carbs in check.
- Buy from a reputable retailer, and look for organic products with minimal ingredients and fillers to make sure you’re getting the best protein powders possible.
And here are other superfood ingredients to try adding to your keto shakes:
- Whole foods high in good fats — A filling keto shake/smoothie might be made with several fat-containing ingredients like coconut milk, avocado, almond butter, chia, hemp or flaxseeds, and coconut oil. Try adding 1 to 3 tablespoons nuts/seeds, 1 tablespoon oil and ¼ cup of your favorite milk alternative. Adding ½ frozen avocado and/or 1 tablespoon coconut oil will give your shake a delicious creamy texture.
- Deeply colored vegetables — Plant foods, especially non-starchy vegetables, provide important nutrients like vitamins, electrolytes, fiber and antioxidants. Think one to two handfuls of dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, or if you’re brave enough, greens such as collard greens.
- Herbs and spices — These can help fight inflammation and boost your body’s ability to detoxify. Try adding cinnamon, basil, cilantro, parsley, etc. I also recommend consuming sour and bitter foods such as lemons, lime juice and tahini.
- No-sugar flavor boosters — You can improve the taste of keto shakes with low-carb ingredients like cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, unsweetened almond or coconut milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and pure stevia extract for some natural “sweetness.”
- What about full-fat dairy? A small serving (up to ½ cup daily) of grass-fed certified organic dairy, including yogurt and kefir, can be consumed on the keto diet. Just make sure it’s unsweetened and doesn’t put you over the limit of your total carb intake that day.
Which ingredients should NOT be included in your keto shake?