8 Alternatives to Protein Shakes That Aren’t Boring AF

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Yo, let’s keep it real. Protein shakes can get pretttty boring if you’ve been in the iron game for any appreciable length of time.

It’s time to do something about it; it’s time to step your game whey up. 

1. Make Them Into Spreads

Bet you didn’t know you could turn whey into peanut butter, did you?


Now the protein will need to be peanut butter flavored, but it’s important to note that certain whey blends mix thicker than others (especially those with xanthan or guar gum). The goal is to resemble the texture of peanut butter; I prefer Cellucor as it’s 3rd party verified and tends to mix pretty thick.

Start by throwing a scoop of protein in the nearest bowl and slowly add water while mixing steadily. Add a tablespoon of water at a time. While you’re adding water, stir the mixture and assess the texture. Once it’s the texture of peanut butter, spread it on your favorite piece of bread and drop in some jelly for a classic, high-protein PB&J.

PRO TIP: This doesn’t work with isolates as they usually mix too thin, so stick to concentrates.

2. Add Some Crunch

What makes chocolate chips or sprinkles the perfect ice cream mix in? They change the mouth-feel, the texture of what you’re eating.

Now, obviously, you shouldn’t be putting sprinkles or chocolate chips in your shakes. I mean, you COULD depending on your goals, but that’s another article for another time.

However, to add a little extra flair to your shakes, toss in some chia seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, cocoa nibs, or even granola, if you have the calories to spare.

PRO TIP: Chia seeds are easier to digest when soaked, so prepping your shake the day before and allowing the seeds to soak will improve absorption within the gastrointestinal tract.

3. Bake with It

Who doesn’t like cupcakes and brownies?

I know. You’re trying to eat healthy. That’s cool. Me too. 

So, make your own healthy, delicious foods

You can literally have your cake and eat it too. Don’t let the local bro from your gym tell you otherwise.

Defy the status quo and learn how to bake with protein powder. Don’t know where to start? Try these Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosted Donuts or Strawberry Milk Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes. I’ve made and can vouch for both. 

4. Make Overnight Oats

The last thing I want to do in the morning is to wake up early to make myself a full pricing.

Enter Overnight Oats.


Grab the largest Tupperware container in your possession and assemble:

  • Oats: Any version is fine; one isn’t superior to another. Just be aware that steel cut may require more time to soak.
  • Protein Powder: I love Onnit’s Hemp Force, but it’s your choice, bro.
  • Cocoa Powder: This one’s optional, but it works exceptionally well to enhance the flavor of chocolate protein powders. Plus, you get added antioxidants.
  • Fruit: Fresh or frozen work equally well.
  • Greek Yogurt: Get the real stuff, please. Skip the high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Coconut Oil: Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are good for the soul.
  • Peanut or Almond Butter: I like almond butter, but it’s up to you. 
  • Flax or Chia Seeds: The most powerful plant foods on the planet. 
  • Cinnamon: Because what isn’t better with cinnamon? Not to mention it helps regulate insulin sensitivity.
  • Splenda: Artificial sweetener discussion aside, add Splenda if you need to offset the biterness of the cocoa. 

When combining ingredients, mix the wet ingredients with the protein first. Then mix in the rest. After you assemble it, let it sit in your fridge overnight, and that’s it!

5. Use It as a Topping

Odds are you’re going to be eating a post-workout meal after you train, so why are you slamming a shake and then moving onto whole foods? 

Try whipping up some protein pancakes and then drizzling a chocolate shake on top as syrup. Add just enough water so it that begins to get thick and resemble the texture of syrup rather than spackling paste.

PRO TIP: If you combine a whey protein with melted coconut oil, it closely resembles the texture and consistency of icing. Hellooo, cupcakes.

6. Turn It Into Ice Cream

Ice cream is the greatest invention known to man. This is a fact. However, if you want a 6-pac, you can’t eat as much of this udderly delectable goodness as you want.

Until now. 

Thanks to the ingenuity of a few ice cream lovin’ bros, you can now buy or make healthy ice creams that will fit your macros. There are a million different ways to make it, but Precision Nutrition just came out with 8 healthy ice cream recipes that are crazy good. Espresso & Cacao Nib ice cream anyone? Check ’em out and try a few for yourself. 

PRO TIP: The fat content in ice cream generally determines its level of creaminess. If your protein ice cream is too “icy” (and you can spare the macros), try adding a full-fat product such as whole cream, nut butter, or a full-fat coconut milk.

7. Fluff Them

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to eat a cloud?

No. Are you thinking about it now? Good. 

Enter: the almighty protein fluff – excessive volume with minimal calories.

Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • Protein powder (obviously) – Whey works best.
  • Frozen fruit – Berries work best.
  • Liquid – Milk is creamier than water.
  • Xanthan gum – Optional, but needed for best results.

 Xanthan gum is used as a thickening agent and helps turn the concoction into a “meringue-esque” dessert; stir in a large bowl until you reach the desired texture. If casein or xanthan is already added to your whey, then it isn’t necessary  to add more. I tried to make this a few times and it always ended up resembling a smoothie until I finally tried it with xanthan.

PRO TIP: If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can experiment with other ingredients such as egg whites, full-fat coconut milk, instant pudding mix, or diet soda but it may take a bit of experimentation (and googling) before you get those right.

8. Rice Pudding Anyone?

Why are you drinking your protein shake when you can eat it?


Rice is the “magic” carb among lifters; it’s hypoallergenic and easy to digest. That said, plain white rice can get pretty boring. Try this easy-to-make rice pudding recipe next time you’re craving something sweet. 

  • Basmati or jasmine rice – 1 Cup
  • Whey protein – 1 Scoop
  • Greek yogurt or milk – 6 Oz
  • Cinnamon – A few liberal dashes
  • Splenda – 1-2 packets

Combine the Greek yogurt, whey, cinnamon, and Splenda until it forms a thick paste. If it’s too dry or won’t stir easily, add water, one tablespoon at a time. From here, simply mix in the rice and leave in the fridge overnight.

Protein Shakes? Bro, Come On

There are huge possibilities for protein powders. You can keep it simple or make decadent desserts with just a few ingredients; it’s entirely up to you.

And you don’t just need to take these on workout days. Protein is great for rest days too.

Ok. Back to the kitchen. Bye. 

About the Author

Mike Wines is a strength and conditioning coach and the content editor for Muscle & Strength. He received his B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of South Carolina and seeks to combine personal experience with practical application in order to provide programming and movement based solutions to match each individual's goals.

Comments for This Entry

  • Coach Cindy Newman

    These are awesome ideas, although I'm not a big fan of many of the chemicals in some of the protein powders listed. I've never made peanut butter, but I have made protein balls that taste like brownies :) Great ideas!

    November 21, 2015 at 5:19 am

    • Michael Joseph Wines

      Hey Cindy, Glad you liked the article! Those powders are just merely suggestions based upon my personal preferences in taste and mixability. Feel free to substitute with brands which you enjoy, the recipes will still work just as well.

      November 23, 2015 at 3:03 pm

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