So many diets and workout regimens out there claim to help you lose weight. Some are as extreme as cutting out certain food groups or only eating certain things, while others are more moderate and allow a variety of foods– including shakes.
Vegan protein shakes are a great way to get all the nutrients your body needs without any of the animal products that you may wish to avoid. If you’re wondering whether their benefits extend to weight loss, the answer is yes! Vegan protein shakes can help you lose weight as part of a healthy balanced weight loss diet.
How? Read on to find out.
The Link Between Protein And Weight Loss
On top of that, the more energy your body has to expend on digesting and metabolizing food, the more calories you’ll burn in the process— which can help you lose weight.
But not all proteins are created equal when it comes to weight loss. In general, animal-based proteins (like those found in meat, poultry, and dairy) tend to be more effective than plant-based proteins (like those found in beans, lentils, and nuts) at promoting weight loss (23).
The reason may be that animal-based proteins are typically higher in leucine— an amino acid that may help boost metabolism and promote the breakdown of fat cells —than plant-based proteins (24).
With that being said, protein powders made from plant-based proteins can still be beneficial for weight loss. Just like their animal-based counterparts, plant-based protein powders can help boost metabolism and promote satiety (9).
Vegan protein shakes also play a pivotal role in muscle growth, which spills over into metabolism-increasing benefits.
Here’s how it works:
When you build muscle, your body has to expend more energy (i.e. burn more calories) to maintain that muscle mass. So, the more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolism will be — and the easier it should be to maintain a healthy weight (6).
Additionally, drinking a protein shake after your workout can help you recover faster and build muscle. It’s because protein helps repair the microscopic tears in your muscles that are caused by strength training (10).
Since vegan protein powders are typically low in calories and fat, they can be a great addition to a weight loss diet. Just make sure to choose a powder that’s high in protein and low in sugar, and avoid adding too many unhealthy ingredients to your shake.
For example, steer clear of shakes that are loaded with fruit juice, honey, or syrups as these can add a lot of sugar and calories to your shake without providing much in the way of protein or other nutrients.
Best Vegan Protein Shakes For Weight Loss
What ingredients should you use to make healthy vegan protein shakes for weight loss?
Here are a few ideas:
Vegan Protein Powder
Look for a powder that’s made from pea protein, brown rice protein, or hemp protein as these are all high in protein and low in calories. Check the label for added sugars and choose one that has few or none.
To keep your shake low in calories, use water or unsweetened plant milk as your base. Some healthy milk options include almond milk, cashew milk, and soy milk.
Healthy fats can help promote weight loss by keeping you feeling full and satisfied after your shake (12). Good fat sources to add to your shake include avocado, chia seeds, and nut butters.
Fruits are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber (14). However, some fruits are higher in sugar than others. When adding fruit to your shake, opt for low-sugar options like berries or green apples.
Yes, you can add vegetables to your protein shake! Just make sure to use ones that don’t have a strong flavor so they don’t overpower the taste of your shake. Some good options include spinach, kale, and cucumber.
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Vegan Protein Smoothies For Weight Loss
As you consume your vegan protein smoothies, bear in mind the number of calories you should consume daily. Since your goal is to lose weight, it is important to make sure that not only are your smoothies nutritious but also low in calories.
Now that you know what to add to your vegan protein shake, here are some recipes to get you started:
Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie (2)
This makes for a perfect breakfast shake. But since it is high in calories, you might want to take half a serving instead of a full serving, depending on your goals.
- 1 medium Honeycrisp apple
- 6 ounces of cashew milk
- ¼ cup gluten-free oats
- 4 cubes of ice, or more to taste
- 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup, or more to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more to taste
- Core apple and cut into chunks. You can skin the apples if you prefer them that way.
- Place the apple chunks in a blender with cashew milk, oats, ice, vanilla protein powder, maple syrup, and cinnamon.
- Blend until smooth and thick.
- Serve as desired.
Nutritional info: 729 calories, 78.1 g protein, 51.6 g carbohydrates, 25.1 g fat, 6 g fiber, 22 g sugar
Chunky Monkey Protein Smoothie (4)
You can try this chunky monkey protein smoothie instead of your everyday chocolate protein shake. The best part is that you get about 28 grams of protein in one serving, making it a great choice for after a workout.
- 1 to 2 cups of ice
- 1 banana, sliced and frozen
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla cashew milk or any plant milk of choice
- 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 to 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- Pinch of salt
- Chocolate chips (optional)
- Add all the ingredients to a blender and blitz until smooth and thick.
- Serve immediately and garnish with chocolate chips if you wish to.
Nutritional info: 346 calories, 36 g carbohydrates, 28 g protein, 12 g fat, 6 g fiber, 16 g sugar
Coffee Protein Smoothie (8)
This particular vegan smoothie is for coffee lovers and is a great way to kick off your day. You should also keep in mind that coffee interferes with your sleep, so don’t consume this protein smoothie late in the evening.
- 1 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1 banana
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds meal
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup soy milk or almond milk
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Pour the brewed coffee into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight.
- Place all the ingredients in a blender, including the coffee ice cubes, and blend until smooth.
- Taste and add more honey if necessary.
- Serve and enjoy.
Nutritional info: 144 calories, 26 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 4 g fat, 4 g fiber, 10 g sugar
Green Protein Smoothie (13)
If you like green smoothies, then this green protein smoothie would make a great addition to your breakfast favorites. You can swap the frozen banana with frozen cauliflower rice, frozen zucchini, or frozen fruit like mangoes.
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
- 1 cup cold unsweetened vanilla almond milk or other milk
- 2 cups baby spinach, loosely packed
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Serve as desired with your favorite toppings.
Nutritional info: 268 calories, 38 g carbohydrates, 17 g protein, 8 g fat, 11 g fiber, 15 g sugar
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Matcha Berry Smoothie (16)
Besides being a protein-rich weight loss helper, this matcha berry smoothie is an anti-inflammatory smoothie as it contains green tea powder.
Chronic inflammation plays a major role in many chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis (3).
- 2 cups nut milk of choice
- 2 cups blueberries frozen
- 1 banana
- 2 tablespoons protein powder unflavored
- 1 tablespoon matcha powder
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of salt
- In a high-speed blender, blend the nut milk, blueberries, banana, protein powder, matcha powder, chia seeds, cinnamon, ginger, and salt until smooth.
- Serve immediately.
Nutritional info: 224 calories, 38 g carbohydrates, 7 g protein, 5 g fat, 8 g fiber, 22 g sugar
Orange Cranberry Greens Protein Smoothie (17)
If you love oranges, then this smoothie is a must-try. It combines the rich flavors of oranges, cranberries, and cinnamon.
- 1 medium banana, frozen
- 1 cup whole cranberries, frozen
- 1 navel orange, peeled
- 1 cup baby spinach or other greens, packed
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Additional liquid such as unsweetened almond milk, as needed to blend
- In a blender puree all the ingredients until smooth. You can add some almond milk as is needed to bring the consistency of the smoothie to your liking.
- Serve and enjoy.
Nutritional info: 369 calories, 64.8 g carbohydrates, 29.1 g protein, 1.6 g fat, 12.7 g fiber, 32.3 g sugar
Strawberry Coconut Protein Shake (20)
Who doesn’t love strawberries? This tasty protein shake combines strawberry, coconut milk, and vegan protein powder and makes for a perfect post-workout shake.
- 2 cups frozen strawberries
- 2 cups cartoned coconut milk
- ½ cup vanilla protein powder
- 4 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon ground flax seed
- Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. You can add more coconut milk if desired.
- Serve and enjoy.
Nutritional info: 270 calories, 31 g carbohydrates, 21 g protein, 7 g fat, 8 g fiber, 22 g sugar
Vegan Berry Protein Shake (25)
This vegan berry protein shake is very simple to make and offers rich flavors. You can have it for breakfast or in between meals.
- 25 g vanilla protein powder
- 1 cup frozen mixed berries
- A handful of spinach (optional)
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon cashew or almond butter
- ½ tablespoon chia seeds or flax (optional)
- Ice (optional)
- Add all your ingredients to your blender except the ice.
- Blend until smooth. Serve in a glass or jar, then add ice if desired.
Nutritional info: 298 calories, 25 g carbohydrates, 27 g protein, 13 g fat, 7 g fiber, 12 g sugar
How To Make Vegan Protein Shakes More Effective For Weight Loss?
There are a few things you can do to make your vegan protein shakes more effective for shedding pounds.
Consider Your Overall Calorie Intake
Vegan protein shakes aren’t a magical weight loss solution on their own. If you’re eating more calories than you’re burning each day, you’re not going to lose weight– no matter how much protein you’re consuming (11).
To see weight loss results, make sure your protein shakes fit into a healthy, calorie-controlled diet. If you’re not sure how many calories you should be eating each day, talk to a registered dietitian or your doctor.
Include Other Types Of Food
Protein shakes shouldn’t be your only source of nutrients. They’re best used as part of a healthy, balanced diet that includes foods which are rich in nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
To make sure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs, eat a variety of whole foods in addition to drinking protein shakes. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds (5).
Choose Low-Sugar Options
Some protein powder products are loaded with added sugar– which can quickly offset any weight loss benefits you might get from the protein (21).
When shopping for vegan protein powder, look for products that are low in added sugar and calories. You might also want to consider making your protein shake at home using unsweetened plant-based milk and a sugar-free protein powder.
Don’t Skimp On Exercise
In addition to following a healthy diet, you’ll also need to exercise regularly to see weight loss results. Exercise can help boost your metabolism and burn more calories (19).
A combination of diet and exercise is often the most effective weight loss strategy (26). If you’re not sure how to get started with exercise, start slow with 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
You can also talk to a certified personal trainer to help design an exercise plan that’s right for you.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough shut-eye is important for overall health, including weight loss (22).
Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight or obese than those who get adequate rest (15).
To make sure you’re getting enough sleep, aim for 7 to 9 hours each night. If you have trouble sleeping, try these tips to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly:
- Establish a regular sleep schedule.
- Avoid caffeine in the evening.
- Avoid working or using electronic devices in bed.
- Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.
The Bottom Line
Vegan protein shakes can be a helpful part of a weight loss diet. They’re a good source of protein and can be used as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
To see weight loss results, make sure your protein shakes fit into a calorie-controlled diet and include other nutrient-rich foods. You should also exercise regularly for best results.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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- Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit (2019, mdpi.com)
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- Lose Sleep, Gain Weight: Another Piece of the Obesity Puzzle (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Matcha Berry Smoothie (2021, delightfulmomfood.com)
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