When given the choice between a milkshake or healthy smoothie, which would you choose? If I were faced with this dilemma, one of two things would happen. In the first scenario, I’d pick the smoothie without hesitation, convincing myself: Yes, kale does taste great in smoothies! In the second scenario, I’d order a double-chocolate milkshake with the works—whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles, and a side of sweet potato fries while I’m at it. #TreatYoself.
But why choose? We’ve found a happy medium.
With the rich flavors of our favorite milkshakes, a touch of protein, and a whole lot of nutrients, these protein shakes will satisfy your sweet tooth and nourish your body—making the healthy choice the easy one. Bottoms up!
1. Caramel Apple Pie Protein Shake
Sadly this shake doesn’t fill the room with a seductive scent of fresh-baked apple pie, but it does have all the same flavors—with caramel to boot. Since it’s sweetened with stevia, pumpkin spice, applesauce, and butterscotch pudding mix, you won’t even miss the pie’s doughy exterior. But hey, if you really miss that smell, treat yourself to a scented candle.
2. Cookie Dough Protein Shake
It’s the quintessential portrait of a breakup: sitting on the couch, spoon in hand… with a tub of cookie dough. Luckily, we found a healthier way to get your cookie fix (no breakup required). Made with vanilla protein powder, maple extract, raw oats, and chocolate chips, this smoothie is almost as good as a tube of Toll House.
3. High-Protein Oreo Shake
Whether you like Oreos solo, dipped in milk, or smothered with peanut butter, this recipe will make you ditch the cookie and head to the blender instead. Made with real cookies (repeat: real cookies), fat-free cottage cheese, skim milk, and a few natural sweeteners, it’ll be tough to stop at just one serving. But that’s a-OK, because this smoothie is actually pretty healthy.
4. Almond Joy Smoothie
Candy bar or smoothie? Vegan or filled with ice cream? These are questions you won’t be able to answer when sipping this shake. Made with coconut water, almond milk, cocoa powder, and almond butter, this smoothie is great as a post-workout snack, breakfast, or dessert.
5. Chocolate Cake Batter Protein Shake
This shake is the real deal. While healthy and cake batter are two words that don’t seem to belong in the same sentence, they’re joined together here with one secret ingredient: butter extract. Mixed with almond butter, cocoa powder, cottage cheese, and chocolate protein powder, this smoothie is a piece of cake to make. Bonus: It tastes like one too.
6. Butterfinger Protein Shake
As a child, I would trade almost all of my Halloween candy for Butterfingers. Fortunately this habit didn’t lead to excessive cavities, but it did make me crave this crunchy chocolate bar every fall. This shake uses chocolate protein powder, peanut butter, and sugar-free butterscotch pudding mix to create the classic candy bar flavor while providing plenty of protein and healthy fats. Now trick-or-treating feels less tempting.
7. Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie
Chocolate and peanut butter: The flavors are made for each other. So it’s no surprise this smoothie made our list. With banana, Greek yogurt, honey, and peanut butter, this shake isn’t far off from the common protein shake combo, but it breaks from the pack with vegan whipped cream and chocolate syrup. (You can even sneak a handful of spinach without noticing!)
8. Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake
Pumpkin pie lovers, rejoice! There’s a way to enjoy your favorite pie all year without feeling like a stuffed Thanksgiving turkey. This shake blends vanilla almond milk, banana, pumpkin purée, yogurt, and a variety of spices and natural sweeteners to create the pie filling flavor you love—without excessive sugar.
9. Dark Chocolate Peppermint Protein Shake
Frozen bananas are a great way to mimic the taste of ice cream without overloading on sugar, and they give smoothies the same creamy texture. (We dare you to find someone who can taste the difference.) With chocolate protein powder, peppermint extract, cocoa powder, and nondairy milk, this recipe is everything you love about dessert—minus the stomachache.
Originally published September 2014. Updated February 2016.