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Premade Protein Shakes: Are They Good for You?

By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

premade protein shakes

If you're interested in adding premade protein shakes to your menu, you're probably wondering if these convenient drinks are good for you.

The answer is: it depends.

Knowing which premade protein shakes are healthy and which to avoid is the key to maximizing your health and maintaining your ideal body weight.

Ready to learn more about premade protein shakes and whether or not you should be drinking them? Keep reading!

Are energy drinks bad for you? Find out the surprising truth!

Are Premade Protein Shakes Healthy?

Generally speaking, protein shakes are healthy for you — but not all premade protein shakes are a good option.

Many contain added sugar, artificial sweeteners, or other additives that aren't beneficial for your health.

Examples of ingredients to choose and those to avoid in ready-to-drink protein shakes (or homemade protein shakes) include:

Healthy Ingredients

  • Whey, casein, milk, or egg protein
  • Hemp, pea, rice, nut, soy, or other plant proteins
  • Water, milk, or unsweetened plant milk
  • Tapioca flour, brown rice flour, or oat powder
  • Coconut oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, and other plant oils
  • Almonds, flax seeds, and other nuts and seeds
  • Nut and seed butters
  • Avocados
  • Coconut or coconut powder
  • Turmeric concentrate
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Dark chocolate
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Bananas and other fruits
  • Vegetables, vegetable juices, or veggie powders

If you need some sweetness without the extra calories found in sugar and syrups, a little bit of Stevia, erythritol, or monk fruit is considered safe.

You might also choose honey as a natural sweetener (in moderation).

Not-So-Healthy Ingredients

Ingredients in premade protein shakes to steer clear of, or limit as much as possible, include:

  • Sugar
  • Cane sugar
  • Sucrose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Saccharin
  • Acesulfame
  • Aspartame
  • Neotame
  • Sucralose
  • Brown sugar
  • Molasses
  • Artificial colors
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Carrageenan gum
  • Other artificial ingredients

When choosing ready-to-drink protein shakes, pick those containing less than 5 grams of added sugar per serving when possible.

Learn how to reduce sugar addiction and recognize sugar addiction symptoms!

Which Premade Protein Shakes Are Best?

If you do choose ready-to-drink protein shakes, pick those containing whole food ingredients that are free from added sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, and other artificial ingredients.

Examples of some of the healthiest premade protein shakes are as follows:

Iconic Protein Drinks

As a ready-to-drink protein shake, Iconic shakes are some of the best available.

The nutrition breakdown includes:

  • Calories: 140
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Total sugar: 0 grams

The ingredients in these premade protein shakes include filtered water, grass-fed milk protein isolate, chicory root fiber, and less than 1% of the following ingredients: cocoa powder, natural flavors, sunflower oil, sunflower lecithin, potassium phosphate, sodium phosphate, organic locust bean gum, gellan gum, sea salt, monk fruit extract, Stevia leaf extract, and mineral salt.

Iconic protein shakes are free from lactose, gluten, soy, GMOs, BPA, and carrageenan.

Aloha Protein Drinks

Aloha protein drinks contain all-natural ingredients. They can give you a quick boost of energy, aid in weight loss, and help your body recover after strenuous workouts.

The nutrition breakdown is as follows:

  • Calories: 170
  • Protein: 18 grams
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 11 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Total sugar: 5 grams

Ingredients in Aloha premade protein shakes include coconut milk, plant-based protein blend, coconut sugar, cocoa, acacia fiber, coconut water, natural flavors, potassium citrate, sea salt, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, monk fruit extract, and organic coconut oil.

This nutritious protein drink is organic, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and vegan.

It's free from dyes and color additives, low in sugar, and non-GMO.

Organic Valley Protein Shakes

An Organic Valley protein shake is nutritious and delicious, and an excellent option when choosing healthy premade protein shakes is your goal.

The nutritional content of each shake is as follows:

  • Calories: 180
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 12 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Total sugar: 10 grams
  • Added sugar: 0 grams

Ingredients in Organic Valley protein shakes include organic skim milk, organic cream, coffee extract, dried coffee, organic flavor, lactase enzyme, organic vanilla flavor, gellan gum, sodium bicarbonate, Stevia, and vitamin D3.

Organic Valley protein shakes are free from lactose and gluten.

The milk used in these shakes is organic and sourced from pasture-raised cows.

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Raw Generation Protein Shakes

Consider ready-to-drink, Raw Generation protein shakes that can satisfy just about any sweet tooth and give you a long-lasting boost of energy.

The nutrition breakdown is as follows:

  • Calories: 210
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 19 grams
  • Fiber: 7 grams
  • Total sugar: 11 grams
  • Added sugar: 0 grams

The few ingredients found in Raw Generation protein shakes include filtered water, cashews, dates, vanilla extract, Himalayan salt, and cinnamon.

These drinks are 100% plant-based and free from added sugar, dairy, gluten, soy, and preservatives.

Purely Inspired Protein Shakes

For convenient, clean, ready-to-drink protein, consider Purely Inspired protein shakes as a keto-friendly meal replacement or between-meal snack.

The nutrition breakdown is as follows:

  • Calories: 160
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Fat: 8 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Total sugar: 0 grams

Ingredients found in organic Purely Inspired shakes include filtered water, pea protein, rice protein, cocoa, sunflower oil, organic flavors, vitamins, minerals, sea salt, Stevia, gellan gum, organic locust bean gum, and monk fruit extract.

Purely Inspired protein shakes are made of 100% plant-based protein.

They are organic and free from GMOs, artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, dairy, and gluten.

Pirq Protein Shakes

You can't go wrong when choosing Pirq protein shakes as an option when you're on the go or don't have time to cook breakfast.

The nutrition breakdown of each shake includes:

  • Calories: 110
  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Total sugar: 0 grams

Ingredients in Pirq shakes include water, pea protein, coffee, almonds, maca, curcumin, erythritol, natural flavors, dipotassium phosphate, rice protein, sunflower lecithin, cocoa, sea salt, gellan gum, Stevia, and locust bean gum.

These premade protein shakes are plant-based and free from added sugar, gluten, dairy, soy, and GMOs.

Koia Keto Protein Shakes

Plant-based, keto-friendly Koia protein shakes are healthy and delicious.

Grab one when you're on the go, at work, or don't have time to cook a meal!

Then nutrition breakdown is as follows:

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Fat: 15 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Total sugar: 1 gram
  • Added sugar: 0 grams

Ingredients in Koia Keto RTD protein drinks include coconut milk, medium-chain triglyceride oil, brown rice protein, pea protein, chickpea protein, coconut water concentrate, chicory root fiber, natural flavors, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, locust bean gum, gellan gum, and monk fruit extract.

Koia drinks are plant-based and keto-diet approved, with low net carbs.

They are free from dairy, gluten, soy, and GMOs.

Benefits of Protein Powder

If you're having a difficult time finding premade protein shakes that meet your expectations, consider using protein powder in homemade protein shakes instead!

Doing so is often the cheaper option and it's simple to find clean protein powder you can mix with your favorite healthy ingredients.

SuperFuel is a great option!

Flavors include chocolate, vanilla, and chocolate vegan. These powders contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant-rich ingredients sourced from fruits and vegetables in addition to high-quality protein.

Simply mix your favorite flavor of protein powder with water, milk, or unsweetened plant milk — or choose one of the following homemade protein shake recipes as a meal replacement, between-meal snack, or pre- or post-workout nourishment!

How much protein do we need per day? Calculate your daily protein intake!

Homemade Protein Shake Recipes

The healthy protein shake recipes below are simple to make but taste great nonetheless!

Choose a recipe based on the ingredients you have at home and your preferences.

Berry Banana Protein Shake

If you love fruit, consider this berry banana protein shake for breakfast or before (or after) your next workout.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of water or unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 scoops of vanilla or strawberry protein powder
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 cup of strawberries or blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of spinach
  • 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds
  • Ice (optional)

Servings: 1-2

Instructions

  • Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake

This delicious chocolate peanut butter protein shake will surely be a hit with your entire family!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of milk or unsweetened plant milk
  • 2 scoops of chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter powder
  • Ice (optional)

Instructions

  • Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
  • Enjoy your shake for breakfast, lunch, or as a between-meal snack!

Servings: 1

Vanilla Chai Protein Shake

Try this vanilla chai protein shake to curb a sweet tooth, stay full for hours, and maintain a healthy weight!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of brewed chai tea
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 tablespoon of natural almond butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Water for blending
Instructions
  • Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 1

Key Lime Pie Protein Shake

Protein shakes don't have to taste boring or bland.

Consider this key lime pie protein shake recipe for yourself, your spouse, or even your kids!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of cottage cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • ce cubes

Instructions

  • Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  • Enjoy this shake with your family!

Servings: 1

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Dark Chocolate Peppermint Protein Shake

If you have a sweet tooth but want to reduce added sugar, consider this satiating, delicious dark chocolate peppermint protein shake recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of dark chocolate chips (optional)
  • Ice cubes
  • Greek yogurt for topping (optional)

Instructions

  • Blend the first eight ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  • Top each protein shake with Greek yogurt if you'd like and enjoy!

Servings: 1

Coffee Banana Protein Smoothie

For breakfast or pre- or post-workout fuel in the morning, consider this healthy coffee banana protein smoothie recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of chilled brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 bananas, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • Ice cubes

Instructions

  • Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 3

Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie

Get in your daily dose of veggies with this delicious carrot cake protein smoothie recipe!

Ingredients

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 9 ounces of vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • Ice

Instructions

  • Blend the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 4

French Toast Protein Shake

As a meal replacement or between-meal snack, consider this satiating, delicious, sweet French toast protein shake recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of cottage cheese
  • unsweetened almond milk
  • rotein powde
  • innamon
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of maple extract
  • Ice

Instructions

  • Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  • Serve, and enjoy with friends or family members!

Servings: 1

Find out what and when to eat before a workout to maximize your fat loss and muscle gain.

Add Premade Protein Shakes to Your Menus

If you choose premade protein shakes because of how convenient they are, add them (or homemade protein shakes) to your meal plan the right way.

Drink a protein shake for breakfast or lunch as a meal replacement when you're tight on time or trying to lose weight.

Or, drink shakes as pre- or post-workout nourishment.

Don't overdo it with premade protein drinks, however.

Drinking one to two protein shakes daily is usually plenty.

On days you're on the go, you might rely on protein shakes a bit more.

To create healthy meals that complement premade protein shakes, aim to fill your plate the following way:

  • Fill half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, celery, etc.)
  • Fill one-fourth of your plate with protein foods (lean meat, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, tofu, eggs, etc.)
  • Fill one-fourth of each plate with fiber-rich starches (whole grains, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, dried beans, lentils, etc.)

Add three servings of dairy foods, non-dairy equivalents (almond milk, soy milk, etc.), or protein shakes to each meal plan plus 1-2 servings of fruit daily.

Choose at least one healthy fat at each meal or add fat to homemade protein shakes to increase satiety.

Heart-healthy fats to consider include oils, avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butters, and seed butters.

For more information about premade protein shakes, healthy eating plans, weight loss, and exercise programs for women, sign up for the Fit Mother Project plan for busy moms.

Or, try a free meal plan and workout to begin your journey toward better health today!

Erin Coleman

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on premade protein shakes.

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