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The Best Dairy-Free Protein Shakes for Weight Loss and Muscle Gain

Whether you’re on an all-meat or a vegan diet, are lactose intolerant, or allergic to dairy, you should avoid dairy products. Dairy-free protein shakes are nutritious drinks that align with your diet and help you lose weight and gain muscles. But which dairy-free protein shakes can help you reach your fitness goals?

The Best Dairy-Free Protein Shakes for Weight Loss and Muscle Gain
Highlights
  • Dairy-free protein shakes can be made from plant-based or even animal-based sources.
  • Those on plant-based or dairy-restricted diets, allergic to dairy, and sensitive to lactose can use Dairy-free protein shakes.
  • The best dairy-free protein shakes for weight loss and muscle gain contain low calories and sugar, high amounts of protein, and moderate levels of carbohydrates.

What Are Dairy-Free Protein Shakes?

Dairy-free protein shakes are liquid protein sources without dairy products. They can be made from plant-based sources or animal-based sources other than dairy.

Plant-based dairy-free protein shakes usually include:

  • Protein Source: Including pea protein, rice protein, hemp protein, soy protein, or a mix of these. These sources are rich in amino acids, making them comparable to animal-based proteins [1].
  • Liquid Base: Dairy-free protein shakes usually include water, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, oat milk, etc., as the liquid base.
  • Flavoring and Sweeteners: These shakes come in different tastes and often include natural or artificial sweeteners, such as stevia, monk fruit, etc., to become free of refined sugars.
  • Nutrient Additions: Some dairy-free protein shakes may also include additional nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Learn More: Is Coconut Milk Keto? 5 Keto-Friendly Coconut Milk Recipes

Animal-based, dairy-free protein shakes can be made from animal sources other than dairy, including the following protein sources, plus a liquid base (usually water), no-sugar sweeteners, and added nutrients. 

  • Egg White Protein: It is a complete protein source made from egg whites that is rich in essential amino acids. It's lactose-free and can be used to create dairy-free protein shakes [2].
  • Collagen Protein: It is a protein found in connective tissues of animals. Collagen protein powder derived from sources like bovine or marine collagen is dairy-free and can be used to make protein shakes. Collagen can have various positive effects on human skin, joints, and connective tissues [3] [4].
  • Bone Broth Protein: You can make bone broth protein powder by dehydrating and concentrating the protein found in bone broth derived from beef or chicken bones. Bone broth is highly nutritious with anti-inflammatory effects [5].

But why should we choose dairy-free protein shakes instead of regular protein shakes?

Learn More: 20 Best Zero-Calorie Drinks: Are They Healthy for Weight Loss?

The Benefits and Side Effects of Dairy-Free Protein Shakes

Traditional protein shakes usually contain whey or casein, which come from milk (whey) [6]. But dairy-free proteins are made from animal-based or plant-based sources (other than dairy) and are suitable for those

  • Who are lactose intolerant,
  • Allergic to dairy or
  • Who are on meat-based or plant-based diets like Keto or Vegan.

So, you can use them if you have dietary restrictions or are on a vegan diet. Also, they are great options for reducing the risk of digestive issues for those sensitive to dairy [7] [8].

However, you need to carefully read labels, as some dairy-free protein shakes may contain other allergens or ingredients that may not align with your specific dietary preferences or restrictions.

Additionally, if you’re on a meat-based diet and try to avoid dairy products, you need to find shakes made from egg white protein, collagen protein, or bone broth protein.

Also, it’s wise to consult a dietitian or a healthcare professional to ensure dairy-free protein shakes align with your diet and health status.

So, if you’re on a vegan or dairy-restricted diet or are allergic to dairy or lactose intolerant, you can drink the following dairy-free protein shakes.

Learn More: Low-Carb Wine: The 10 Best Red and White Wines

The Best Dairy-Free Protein Shakes

Here are the 10 best dairy-free protein shakes nd how to make them:

  1. Keto Protein Shake
  2. Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie
  3. Raspberry Protein Shake
  4. Peach Mango Protein Shake
  5. Honeydew-Avocado Protein Shake
  6. Peanut Butter Protein Shake
  7. Turmeric Carrot Protein Shake
  8. Apple Cider Protein Shake
  9. Coconut Strawberry Protein Shake
  10. Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Protein Shake

Keto Protein Shake

To make 4 servings, include

  • 1&1/2 cups almond milk,
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil,
  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter,
  • 1 scoop vanilla (low-carb protein powder or chocolate), and
  • 4 ice cubes.

Learn More: The Carnivore Diet Protein Powder: 4 Best Protein Powders

Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

To make 2 servings, include

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk,
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (or almond butter),
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds,
  • 1 tbsp. hemp seeds,
  • 1 tbsp. flax seeds,
  • 4 pitted dates,
  • 2 medium frozen bananas (sliced),
  • 1 cup ice cubes, and
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional).

Raspberry Protein Shake

To make 4 servings, use

  • 1 cup of frozen raspberries,
  • 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk, and
  • 1 scoop of vanilla.

Peach Mango Protein Shake

To make 1 serving, include

  • 1 scoop vanilla,
  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches,
  • 1/2 cup frozen mangoes,
  • 8 oz. unsweetened almond milk, and
  • 1 tbsp. stevia (optional).

Honeydew-Avocado Protein Shake

To make 1 serving, you need

  • 1 scoop vanilla,
  • 1 cup water,
  • 4 basil leaves,
  • 1/2 lime juice,
  • 1/2 honeydew melon,
  • 1/4 avocado, and
  • 1/2 cup ice.

Peanut Butter Protein Shake

To make 1 serving, you need

  • 1 scoop vanilla,
  • 1/2 frozen banana,
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk,
  • 2 tbsp. peanut powder,
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and
  • 1/2 cup ice.

Turmeric Carrot Protein Shake

  • To make 1 serving, use
  • 3/4 tsp. turmeric powder,
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot,
  • 1/2 cup mango,
  • 1/2 cup ice,
  • 1 scoop vanilla, and
  • 1 cup water.

Apple Cider Protein Shake

To make 1 serving, you need

  • 1/2 cup water,
  • 1/2 cup apple cider,
  • 1 scoop vanilla,
  • 1/2 tsp. Canela, and
  • 1 cup of ice.

Coconut Strawberry Protein Shake

To make 1 serving, you need

  • 1 scoop strawberry,
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh strawberries, 
  • 1/2 frozen banana,
  • 8 oz. unsweetened coconut milk, and
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut.

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Protein Shake

To make 1 serving, include

  • 1 scoop of strawberry,
  • 8 oz. unsweetened almond milk,
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries,
  • 1/2 cup frozen bananas, and
  • 3 tbsp. oats.

The following table shows the average estimate of nutrients found in the above ingredients of dairy-free protein shakes [9].

ShakeCaloriesCarbohydratesSugarProteinFatFiber
Keto Protein Shake 170 5 g 2 g 15 g 15 g 2 g
Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie 900 80 g 40 g 20 g 40 g 15 g
Raspberry Protein Shake 230 15 g 5 g 15 g 5 g 5 g
Peach Mango Protein Shake 800 80 g 40 g 60 g 30 g 10 g
Honeydew-Avocado Protein Shake 600 30 g 10 g 25 g 10 g 8 g
Peanut Butter Protein Shake 450 20 g 7 g 20 g 10 g 5 g
Turmeric Carrot Protein Shake 90 15 g 15 g 20 g 3 g 6 g
Apple Cider Protein Shake 350 17 g 8 g 20 g 3 g 2 g
Coconut Strawberry Protein Shake 750 30 g 12 g 35 g 15 g 5 g
Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Protein Shake 250 40 g 17 g 22 g 8 g 9 g

If you aim to lose weight or gain mean muscles, you need to note that protein shakes are just there to help your body replenish losses, and you need specific diets and regular physical activity. But some shakes can help boost weight loss and muscle gain.

Learn More: The Bone Broth Diet: Meal Plan and How to Do

Which Dairy-Free Protein Shakes Are Good for Weight Loss?

Dairy-free protein shakes with the following features can help your weight loss efforts.

  • Low in Calories: Consuming low levels of calories helps create a calorie deficit, which is essential for weight loss [10] [11].
  • High Protein Content: Protein creates satiety and helps maintain lean muscle mass during calorie restriction [12].
  • Low in Added Sugars: Added sugars mean extra calories. So, to lose weight, you need shakes low in or without added sugars [13] [14].
  • Moderate Carbohydrates: While carbohydrates provide energy, excessive carb intake slows weight loss [15].
  • Low in Saturated Fat: Minimizing saturated fat can help general health.
  • Contained Fiber: Fiber creates fullness and helps digestion, which helps weight loss [16].
  • Nutrient-Dense Ingredients: Choose shakes that contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Limited Artificial Additives: Choose more natural shakes with minimal artificial additives, colors, and preservatives.
  • Consider Plant-Based Proteins: If you’re on a plant-based diet or are lactose intolerant, choose shakes with plant-based protein sources like pea protein, hemp protein, or brown rice protein.
  • Portion Control: Although protein shakes can help weight loss, you should consider serving sizes and avoid consuming huge shakes because consuming too many calories, even from healthy sources, can slow down weight loss [17].

Learn More: Can You Eat Eggs on the Carnivore Diet? 5 Ways to Eat Eggs

Which Dairy-Free Protein Shakes Are Good for Muscle Gain?

Dairy-free protein shakes with the following features can boost muscle gain.

  • High Protein Content: Protein helps muscle repair and growth. Generally, you can consume 20-30 grams of protein per serving [18].
  • Complete Protein Sources: Complete plant-based protein sources like pea protein, rice protein, hemp protein, and soy protein contain all essential amino acids [19].
  • Added Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs): BCAAs, including leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are essential amino acids necessary for muscle protein synthesis. Some protein shakes may include added BCAAs to further support muscle growth [20].
  • Low in Added Sugars: Consuming added sugars can result in fat gain. So, it’s better to choose shakes with lower or no added sugars to support lean muscle development [21].
  • Moderate Carbohydrates: Choose shakes with a moderate amount of carbohydrates to have enough energy for workouts and recover faster after workouts.
  • Healthy Fats: Some shakes include healthy fats, such as those from coconut oil, avocado, or flaxseed, which are healthier than those containing saturated fats.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Choose shakes with various vitamins and minerals to support metabolism, energy production, and muscle function.
  • Digestive Enzymes: Choose shakes that contain digestive enzymes to help absorb and digest nutrients.
  • No Artificial Additives: Choose shakes with minimal artificial additives, colors, and preservatives.
  • Consider Creatine: Creatine is a supplement that can boost muscle strength and growth. While it’s not generally found in protein shakes, you can add it to your shakes if muscle gain is a primary goal, of course, after consulting a dietitian or healthcare provider [22].

Summary

Dairy-free protein shakes can be good options for those on plant-based or Keto diets, individuals who are intolerant to lactose, and those sensitive or allergic to dairy products.

While some dairy-free protein shakes can help weight loss and muscle maintenance, it’s important to consume them in moderation and be mindful of caloric intake.

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