Have you with joyous anticipation and excitement, tried one of those over the counter weight loss shakes from your local pharmacy, health store or supermarket… only to find yourself gagging in disbelief at the noxious concoction marketed as a “meal replacement”? I have.
Meal replacement! As if anyone could drink such a thing. Rather than losing weight you find yourself raiding the cupboard for anything to stuff into your mouth to disguise the residual chalk lining your mouth. Yuk, can people really expect that to be called a meal?! Now what do you do with the whole tub of powders that even your dog won’t eat? Of course, shove it at the back of the cupboard and make mental note “never again”!
Well, while not promising a miracle, this article may be just the thing to get you to pull out that powder and give it another go. You see, what many people don’t realise there is a small art to making a really good diet shake. The art of combining great flavours and the art of cooking. (Well “cooking” of a kind and no disrespect meant to accomplished cooks). Nevertheless it is easy to make a bad weight loss shake….and with a little skill, and practice and experimenting, you might be able to put together one that is passable or even dare I say, yummy.
Here are my best tips for making a yummy weight loss shake. The first of these will be to improve your technique, the second is to give you a mini recipe book of shakes you might like to trial.
Perfect Your Shake Making Technique
(a) The Blender
Forget mixing by hand or in a plastic/metal shaker (like mixing a cocktail). Most shake powders contain a meal sized portion of protein which does not dissolve easily in liquid. What you need for a great shake is an electric hand held mixer (the wand kind) or a blender that sits on your bench top. Anything else is insufficient for the job, because it will wear out quickly,OR give you a lumpy shake OR won’t be strong enough to blend the really delicious ingredients I’ll show you later on to put into your shake.
If your budget can stretch to a heavy duty electric wand that also crushes ice….this will give you great versatility, speed and expand the range of shakes you can make.
(b) Measuring Cups/Spoons
Yes, these are important because getting the powder right is critical – especially when you are starting out. Too much powder may give you a chalky feeling and too little powder will leave you feeling hungry (not enough protein). Measure accurately and learn the difference between a heaped tablespoon or a rounded dessertspoon so you know what the recipe is calling for. A good cookbook will explain these for you. Because they are not standard sizes, don’t use your cutlery to measure ingredients….buy a small plastic measuring spoon kit for a couple of dollars.
(c) The Serving Glass
Treat yourself and put a really nice large glass into the refrigerator for a few minutes before serving your shake. A cold glass makes a great deal of difference to the sensation of the shake and it will help keep your prepared shake cold. (See notes below).
Also, don’t drink your shake from plastic-ware. Who likes eating off plastic? Much better to be nice to yourself and drink your shake from very nice glassware. The enjoyment of food is not just taste but also encompasses your visual and tactile senses as well.
(a) The Liquid
Keep it cold! Think about it…if the recipe calls for milk, soy milk, etc would you drink these at room temperature? Certainly not, so chill the liquids well, really well before using.
Keep a supply on hand. Usually a couple of ice cubes will help improve most shakes. Many recipes call for them. Crushed ice adds an interesting texture to shakes, so don’t skip this if the recipe calls for it.
Fresh or frozen is fine. If you buy fresh fruit for your shake, make the shake while the fruit is at its peak. If you don’t like slightly under-ripe bananas to eat, then don’t make your shake with a slightly under-ripe banana! Despite marketing claims, the shake powder is not supernatural….it won’t magically ripen the banana. Likewise, don’t use very ripe fruit in your shake if you wouldn’t eat your fruit that way.
Crushing ice in a wand blender can be a bit tricky. My first time sent bits of ice and ingredients all over the kitchen bench, the floor and me! (The worst were the pink bits of fruit spattered all over my vertical blinds).
Learn how to use your equipment without making a mess. Practice crushing ice on its own. Practice mixing the powder to the liquid. Get used to the torque (suction for us girls) that the blender creates in the container. Steady where you are mixing by placing it onto a kitchen towel on the bench for grip. Start blending slowly and then speed things up.
(b) The Order
The order you put the ingredients into the mixing container can make a big difference. Generally, most powders require liquid to mix them into. Duh! What I mean is don’t try mixing shake powder directly with ice cubes; or directly to yoghut or directly to fresh fruit.
Try making a small slurry of the powder before adding it to the rest of ingredients. My experience is that will give you the best mix. Make the slurry with a small amount of liquid from the recipe itself.
Now, if you are ready to practice your technique and experiment with flavours you can probably get some use out of that tub of powder at the back of your pantry.
Once you have perfected your technique the following recipe will probably produce a rather nice summer time shake suitable for an easy and leisurely breakfast:
- 8 cubes of ice, crushed with 50mls of water (gives a great icy slurry);
- Add 1 cup of low fat Ski d’Lite Tropical flavoured yoghurt
- Add one quantity of vanilla shake powder;
- Blend until all mixed well;
- Pour into a beautiful, chilled piece of glassware;
- Sit down under a pergola, listen to the birds, pat the dogs, and
- Drink slowly (to avoid a brain freeze…and to enjoy the shake flavours).
Here is a range of different shake recipes to suit a variety of tastes using chocolate, berry and vanilla shake powders, a bunch of different fruits and so on. Please feel free to enjoy and share with your friends, but please don’t post on your website or use for any commercial reason without asking. Recipes.