Commercially bought protein energy drinks can be expensive, high in caffeine and packed with sugar. A good alternative, however, is to make your own protein energy drinks at home. You'll be able to control what ingredients you include, and you'll probably save some money, as well. The right ingredients will add a boost of key nutrients, too.
Start With Protein
Protein powders are easy to whip into an energy drink, but there are several varieties to choose from, and each has its pros and cons. Whey, casein, soy and egg protein powders are all available. With the exception of soy, each is also a high quality source of protein, which means each contains all eight of the essential amino acids. Whey protein is digested more quickly than the other types, according to Mike Greenwood, author of "Nutritional Supplements in Sports and Exercise." Soy protein powder contains antioxidants, and egg protein is the easiest to blend into a drink, though it is also the type that doesn't taste very good.
The amount of protein in the powder varies depending on what type you use. A scoop, which is equal to 34 grams, of whey protein can contain as much as 24 grams of protein, which is 52 percent of the 46 grams of protein women need each day and 43 percent of the 56 grams men require daily. Other types of protein powder might contain slightly less or slightly more per scoop. One scoop is the most common serving size for a protein drink.
Boost the Energy
The protein in your energy drink will help boost your energy level, but there are additional nutrients that will also give you a quick pick-me-up. For example, iron is a key mineral, and when you're deficient it can cause weakness and fatigue. Add leafy greens, such as spinach, to your energy drink to boost the iron content. B vitamins also help supply energy and flax seed and wheat grass are two good sources. Caffeine is another energy-boosting ingredient, and adding brewed black tea is one way to increase the caffeine content of your energy drink. Powdered B vitamins or caffeine supplements are available at many health food stores, and they'll work as well.
Add Healthy Ingredients
Nut butters, such as peanut butter, will increase the fiber content of your energy drink, which will help the beverage feel more satisfying. Lindsay Sullivan and Bill Summers, authors of "Paleolithic Diet: Digging Deeper into the Original Human Diet and Paleo Recipes," suggest almond butter. Fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, peaches, berries, cooked carrots and steamed squash, will boost the potassium, vitamin A and folate content of your energy drink without adding many calories. Fruit is naturally sweet, as well, which means that you can skip the added sugar to keep the drink as nutritious as possible.
Remember a Few Key Things
Experiment with different combinations of protein powders and added ingredients to find flavors you enjoy. For example, combine vanilla-flavored protein powder with blueberries, almond butter and almond milk or chocolate-flavored protein powder with strawberries and low-fat milk as two tasty flavor combinations. For the best results, make your protein energy drinks in a blender because it will ensure that all the ingredients are well-incorporated. Add liquid ingredients a small amount at a time to help you achieve the texture you want. Always ask your doctor before using powdered supplements to be sure they're safe for you and that you're using an appropriate amount.
- Paleolithic Diet: Digging Deeper into the Original Human Diet and Paleo Recipes; Lindsay Sullivan and Bill Summers
- Mother Nature Network: Why Not Make Your Own Energy Drink?
- Nutritional Supplements in Sports and Exercise; Mike Greenwood, et al.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- GNC: GNC Pro Performance 100% Whey Protein - Vanilla Cream
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Protein Supplement, Milk Based, Muscle Milk, Powder