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Recipe Roundup: Shakes and Smoothies

In the hustle and bustle of life, we naturally look for convenience wherever we can. When we commit to a health journey, the question becomes this: how can desired convenience and healthy eating conjoin?

Enter shakes! - a powerful, efficient and tasty way to get your needed nutrients.

Consider them for post-workout nutrition, meal replacement or even “dessert"! If you’ve thought of shakes as simply powder, liquid and ice, however, you’ve been selling them short!

Read on for more than a dozen great recipes that incorporate the full lineup of proteins, veggies, fruits and other real food choices.

The Basics

While powders needn’t be the sole or even central ingredient in a healthy shake, they can be a great addition for the nutrient density (e.g. protein, greens) they offer. Not all varieties are “created equal,” however. If you do add a powder to your shake, keep these 3 tips in mind when shopping for a tub.

  • Avoid the extra “garbage” (e.g. artificial sweeteners, added sugar, coloring, or any other ingredients you may not recognize).
  • Test what works for you. Some people may respond better to pea protein than whey or casein. Conduct a shake self-experiment by trying different protein source varieties and observing (and comparing) how you feel in the hours afterward.  
  • Try enzymes. Some companies add helpful, effective digestive enzymes to their blends. This can assist in the breakdown of protein for more effective results.

Keep in mind that a good blender is key for good taste and texture. I happen to use the Nutri-Bullet, but there are many others out there that can do the trick for a fraction of the cost of the high-powered, industrial-sized blenders.

Once you have the blender, now let’s tackle the basics!

  • Start with ice. How you like your shake (thick or thin) will dictate the amount of ice you use. Cubed or crushed is merely a matter of personal preference.
  • Pick a veggie. You can use a variety of non-starchy vegetables that will give you a ton of great nutrients while minimizing any additional taste. Some veggies (e.g. red pepper, cooked butternut squash, kale, etc), however, may even enhance the flavor of your shake. You can also look into powdered greens as a simple and delicious means to accomplish this task. (The espresso flavored are my favorite!)
  • Find a fat. Try out some healthy fat options in your shake. You can choose a seed (e.g. chia, hemp or ground flax), nuts, or nut butter (e.g. almond/almond butter, cashews, walnuts) or even toss in some avocado.
  • Choose a fruit. If you’re looking for a shake that has a little more sweetness, pick an antioxidant-packed fruit that you love. If your goal is weight loss, keep the veggie to fruit ratio around 3:1.
  • Top off with your liquid. There are plenty of options here as well, but be cautious about added sugars if you use something other than water. Almond milk, coconut milk, or full fat cow’s/goat’s milk can be another easy way to add healthy fats to your shake.

The Recipes

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask some of our Life Time professionals around the country about their favorite shake choices. Check out their suggested recipes, and see which ones you’d like to try!

Jay Stein – Life Time Athletic, Atlanta - Training Department Head

“I love the DaVinci Right Whey Vanilla with plain UCAN, Strawberry Kiwi Dynamic Greens powder, spinach, kale, water and ice. Sometimes I’ll also add half an avocado. It tastes great and offers all the best ingredients. Boring?”

No way, Jay. We love it!

Parker Wildeman – Mountain Region – Life Time Training Regional Category Manager

Chocolate VeganMax, Espresso Dynamic Greens, banana and peanut butter. That is definitely a post-workout shake that I enjoy from time to time after max squatting 600lbs.”

Julie Brown - Western Region - Regional Nutrition Coordinator

Another option I like is this….

D.TOX Options

  • 2 scoops of the Dairy Free Fast Fuel
  • 2 scoops of FiberMend
  • ⅔ cup frozen organic strawberries, mango and peaches
  • 6 ounces vanilla unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 4 ounces of filtered water

For another version of the D.TOX shake above, I limit the fruit to just mango and then add 1 Tbsp. of cocoa powder and 1 tsp. of Vietnamese cinnamon.

Becca Hurt - Corporate Office - Program Manager of Life Time Weight Loss

For my morning "coffee," I blend the following and serve “on the rocks.”

Also, this “Beet and Berry Smoothie" is perfect when I'm in the mood for a fruity taste.

  • 1 beet (peeled)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cup spinach (or kale)
  • 1/4 cup carrots
  • 1/2 cup Kefir
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 scoop Strawberry Kiwi Dynamic Greens

Ashley Engelhardt - Life Time Athletic, Berkley Heights - Training Department Head

“The Morganic”

Another option:

Garrett Guzman – Life Time Athletic, Dallas - Fitness Professional

My famous Triple Chocolate Sludge...

Mix dry ingredients together first.

Then mix in frozen berries and milk of choice. I add 1/2 cup frozen blueberries or strawberries (diced) with coconut milk. Add milk to desired consistency as you gently stir.

Phil Zerante - Life Time Athletic, Montvale – General Manager

“My favorite shake is this “Tropical Detox.” The mix of mango and VeganMax hides the veggie taste and is an easy way to get in some important greens.”

Harlan Smith – Corporate Office – Sr. Director

With over a dozen shake options here, you’ll likely have a few new recipes to try. Do you currently include shakes in your healthy eating routine? What favorites would you add to the list? Thanks for reading, everyone!

Written by Mitchell Keyes – Senior Program Manager, Life Time Training, NASM-CES, NASM-PES, RTS-123, MAT Graduate

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.


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